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Care4Caregiver

Care4Caregiver’s app and support network helps them take care of themselves physically and emotionally so the journey is sustainable.

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Who is your idea designed for and how does it better support family caregivers as they care for a loved one with dementia?

Care4Caregiver supports family members as they transition into the role of caregiver of a person with dementia by connecting to a nationwide support network to help them: plan for and recognize the disease progression signs, execute this plan. A tablet app simplifies all the typical complexities of web-based forums, and coaches them on how to take care of themselves physically and emotionally so the journey is sustainable so that the senior with dementia receives the best care possible.

Responsiveness to the challenge area:

CreateAbility has been focused on a business-to-business (B2B) strategy for the last several years, where our primary customers are agencies, organizations and companies.  Over the past year within the senior market, CreateAbility has received an increased level of requests from families, since the need is much larger than what the home care industry can affordably address.

CreateAbility (CCI) is excited about this category, and feels that this “Care for the Caregiver” proposal is a natural extension of our existing product lines. This could mean that together, we could provide the platform for a more comprehensive solution due to the type and numbers of existing products.

Project Summary

Care4Caregiver supports family members as they transition into the role of caregiver of a person with dementia by connecting to a nationwide support network to help them: plan for and recognize the disease progression signs, execute this plan, and help them take care of themselves physically and emotionally so that this journey is sustainable.

This proposal involves the addition of a crowd-sourcing component in the form of a cloud-based Forum to the CreateAbility Concepts Inc. (CCI) existing cloud-based caregiver and communication capability (called BEAM).  CCI’s existing Mobile Avatar Coach (MAC) app will have new capabilities and content added to help coach the caregiver throughout their journey of caring for a senior with dementia.

During the preliminary research into this topic area, CreateAbility considered the following technical questions regarding feasibility and utility before proceeding to a proposal on this approach:

· What are the key end user requirements for such a system and what are the strengths and weaknesses of applying this technology to helping caregivers?     

· Will this technology significantly impact the engagement of caregivers with other caregivers or mentors?

· Will this technology help increase the caregiver’s sustainability?

· Will this technology help reduce the caregiver’s stress?

· Will this technology help increase the caregiver’s ability to care for the individual with dementia?

· How will the system function under peak loads?                                        

· Does this system provide a cost advantage over other available technologies or services? 

· Will individuals enjoy using the Care4CareGiver approach?

Responsiveness to the Evaluation Criteria:

 

  1. Kept people at the center. Empowering caregivers to feel supported and equipped as they care for loved ones with dementia is at the very heart of this proposal. Hopefully I have articulated how the impact of this Care4Caregiver system will dramatically improve and/or maintain the quality of caregiving for people with dementia.
  2. Affordable. The Care4Caregiver solution is accessible, as the caregiver interacts with an accessible app on an accessible tablet. While initial users will pay a nominal fee, this will shift to most (or all) costs being supported by respectful, targeted advertising as cloud analytics connect the caregiver’s situation to partners and suppliers that offer solutions that can assist them. 
  3. Naturally integrates. Care4CareGivers is designed to seamlessly fit into the lifestyles of caregivers. Current caregiver forums are not reaching all caregivers needs, so Care4CareGiver uses a fresh approach that is personalized, addresses their emotional support needs, helps people with little or no technical skills.
  4. Scalable. We will start locally, and then scale to regionally and then nationwide.  This proposal incorporates the experiences from working with the different structures that exist in the caregiving for dementia space, and will be designed to naturally adapt as adoption expands. As the system adoption expands, language options will be added to better support caregivers with little or no English.


Technical Objectives 

The overall goal of this multi-phase project is to develop a system that will help improve the lives of caregivers who are taking care of seniors with dementia.  While the final version of this solution will apply to a variety of living situations, in this initial step we will focus on caregivers of seniors who wish to rely in their own home as long as possible.  This will help us control variables in the evaluation of the initial delivery.

The goal of this OpenIDEO-funded project is to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of the essential elements of the Care4CareGiver system through the construction of a prototype and the evaluation of the utility of the prototype with the target population who are caregivers of seniors with dementia, who wish to age in place.  The greatest input on meeting target population needs can be obtained by concentrating this project on the tasks of interacting with the caregiver and people who have expertise or experience in this area and wish to council others.

TECHNICAL OBJECTIVE 1: Requirements Development. CCI will determine the key end user requirements for the Care4CareGiver system using directed inquiry among focus groups of caregivers of older adults who have dementia. Conducted by JoAnn Burke, the focus groups will enable CCI to obtain input on presentation of the system design concept, desired system functionality, and user the interface.

TECHNICAL OBJECTIVE 2: Prototype Development.  CCI will develop a proof-of-concept prototype of the Care4CareGiver system.  CCI’s initial effort will be to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of combining state-of-the-art software and commercially available mobile and cloud technology with CCI’s existing product Mobile Avatar Coach (MAC) to deepen its application to caregivers of people with dementia.

TECHNICAL OBJECTIVE 3:  Pilot Study Evaluation.  CCI and the Tipton County Health board will perform a pilot study evaluation of the Care4CareGiver system.  This pilot study will have participants use the prototype device to measure the effectiveness of the Care4CareGiver approach compared to their existing approaches in the care of a senior with dementia and themselves.

CCI frequently uses the “Sprint” concept to quickly test an idea and its utility out.

Traditionally, CCI Sprints last 7 days (with a max of 30 days).

About Sprints: In product development, a sprint is a set period of time during which specific work has to be completed and made ready for review.

Each sprint begins with a planning meeting. During the meeting, the product owner (the person requesting the work) and the development team agree upon exactly what work will be accomplished during the sprint. The development team has the final say when it comes to determining how much work can realistically be accomplished during the sprint, and the product owner has the final say on what criteria need to be met for the work to be approved and accepted.

The duration of a sprint is determined by the scrum master, (typically the founder, Steve Sutter) the team's facilitator. Once the team reaches a consensus for how many days a sprint should last, all future sprints should be the same.

Passing the Sprint step, CCI transitions into the work plan phase.

Work Plan

The following plan outlines CCI’s approach to establish the technical and commercial feasibility of this project.  Each objective and associated tasks are described in detail in this section. 

The Principal Investigator, Steve Sutter has over 26 years of project management experience, including serving as PI on over 30 research and development projects (most of which involved human subjects).  Based on our experience and previous successful completion of these projects, CCI developed this work plan in order for it to be accomplished within the timeframe and budget of this Phase I project.  CCI has made every effort to minimize risks and the work plan reflects a balance between an aggressive yet realistic schedule.  Because of parallel efforts, CCI has a comfortable time range built in to easily handle delays or unforeseen problems.  In most cases the schedule assumes that a person is available less than 50% (on average) to accomplish their specific task assignments. This is true even when the person is involved in more than one task at a specific time interval.  All work performed by Sutter, Burke and Daiuto will be performed in Indiana. King will work in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  The contributions from the consultant Dr. JoAnn Burke is shaded in the Table.

Table 1 explains the work flow, staffing resource allocation based on level of task involvement, and four-month timeline. 

Refer to Table 1 in the Attachments: Work Breakdown, Resource Allocation, and 4 Month Schedule

Legend:

P =  Task primary owner/major contributor      

A = actively involved            

s = some involvement

Larry King, Computer Scientist                                  

Steve Sutter, President CCI, PI on project

Mitchell Daiuto, Computer Scientist                          

Dr. JoAnn Burke, Tipton County Health 

                       

Objective 1:  Requirements Development

Development of requirements for the Care4CareGiver system includes the requirements for the features and functions as well as for the user interface for the caregiver and those who are contributing to the knowledge base via a cloud-based forum.  One factor driving the system requirements is the typical problems and situations that caregivers encounter in the journey towards delivering care to seniors with dementia.

CCI has developed an acute awareness of these situations by working with seniors to develop assistive technology since 2003. During our past efforts, CCI has documented the following:

Areas where caregivers underestimate the impact of caring for a senior with dementia:

Impact on finances (gas money and time for transporting loved one)

Impact on emotions (Worry, guilt, feeling like a failure)

Setting boundaries to avoid creep effect (expectations may not be correctly set if others add to the list chores or responsibilities over time)

Impact on spouse and family life

Impact on career

Personal health

Life after Caregiving

Navigating Healthcare

The power of Journaling


Things caregivers frequently need help with:

The importance of exercise (increases endorphins, helps cure depression)

Detecting early warning signs of burnout

Knowing the disease progression and stages

Where to go for help at each stage

Having difficulty saying no to things they should not do

Help with coping skills

Building resilience

Identifying button-pushers or stressors

Developing proper coping skills

Underestimating the impact of caregiving on your other family members

Not clearly knowing their stressors and trigger points

Setting realistic expectations for others and yourself

Realizing that it’s OK to not be perfect


Caregivers are typically not prepared with sufficient information on dementia in terms of the disease, the disease progression, what resources are available

Keeping technology solutions simple – as technical skill varies widely among caregivers and family

Realize that the seniors, and other family members may want to be included in the development of the plan

Understanding how to keep the plan nimble enough to adjust to changing needs of seniors as the disease progresses.

Realizing when skilled or non-medical nursing is needed

Realizing when a transition to institutional care is needed

Feeling overwhelmed and not knowing where to go for help

Feeling like they are all alone

Finding someone to lean on and pour out frustration

Finding time to recharge (respite, time off)

Caregiving with a full-time job

Feeling understood

Finding love, respect and support from others

Identifying emotional trigger areas

Worrying how this is sustainable


A significant portion of the problems faced by caregivers stems from forgetting that taking care of yourself is as important as taking care of someone else.

This preliminary information was gained from previous research and development projects and serves as the basis for the rationale for the Care4Caregivers. CCI expects that this first phase of this multi-phased project to further enhance our understanding of what is important to the potential users of this technology.  Specifically, CCI’s commercially available BEAM system (that helps coordinate resources in the care of a loved one and improve communication within that team), plus the Mobile Avatar Coach (that currently is designed to help people deal with emotional issues) will form the basis of the Care4Caregivers system for helping meet the needs of caregivers for seniors with dementia.  The caregiver forum will be a new development.

Task 1.1:  Perform participatory focus group with potential caregiver customers                   

Dr. Burke together with CCI will analyze the needs of potential users / consumers content and user interface design of the future Care4CareGiver system.  CCI will leverage contacts developed during projects with the Tipton County health board as well as previous projects (myPad, SafetyNet and SmartPrompt and HomePortal) research projects which has become the genesis for an on-going advisory board on assistive technologies.  Directed focus group studies of 12-14 randomly selected caregivers of people who are over 65, have dementia, wish to continue to live independently, will be conducted by Dr. Burke.  Participants will be paid a stipend of $50 for their participation.

The specific areas to be discussed by participants are: 1) the areas where their current strategies and tactics are not working; 2) their suggestions as to how they could be met; and 3) feedback on several models of a proposed user interface design for a cloud-based tool and app. CCI expects the results to resonate with data from our preliminary research and extend our understanding of the caregivers needs and current gaps. 

Task 1.2:  Analyze the functions and features required in the prototype          

Primary requirements to be analyzed will be the amount of information the system must supply to help the user: a) become oriented to the system, b) navigate the user interface, and c) use the system to find information, support, and available resources on specific areas of interest.  The features and functions of the app will concentrate on how it could best deliver emotional support and the availability of new information.  Also, evaluation of the proper prompting strategy and implementation will be undertaken and completed during this time.

Task 1.3:  Define the system design requirements for the prototype                 

The system design requirements (based upon the results of Task 1.1 and 1.2) will determine the integration of appropriate NetWare and software mechanisms for presenting information to users.  CCI will incorporate the new data into the previously defined use cases and detailed models from prior projects that describe the system and its interfaces.

Challenges that CCI anticipates encountering include: a) the tradeoffs between performance and development cost; b) ease of use; c) providing the proper balance between capability and simplicity; and d) CCI’s desire to make the product’s use model consistent with current technology.  Six prototypes of the Care4CareGivers system will be developed for use in the pilot study evaluation. This first release of the software and NetWare components will be a limited function prototype, which will implement user requirements gathered from the potential users.  The objective is not to initially produce fully functional commercial units, but to concentrate on essential features and capabilities that will determine the technical feasibility in the pilot study.  

Objective 2:  NetWare and Software Development

The requirements specification from Objective 1 and human factors design guidelines will drive the design methodology that CCI will utilize in the software development and hardware integration for the prototype.  The following graphics and narratives are provided to aid in the understanding of the various tasks that will be performed during the accomplishment of this objective.  Specifically, this section begins with a description of how the initial prototype is expected to perform so that the activities in Tasks 1, 2 and 3 will make sense.

 

The team is always concerned about security, and thus far none of our cloud-based systems have been hacked, or used to spread viruses or ransomware.  Naturally, since this proposal is open to public viewing, we will not post HOW we do this, as it is art of our secret sause.

Description / Explanation of the concepts and prototype design: 

Care4CareGivers is based on a network of supports, therefore the domain name “Care4CareGivers.net” was purchased by CCI to show our commitment to this endeavor.   

The cloud-based and app-based components will be integrated into our existing BEAM system, and the app-based components will be will be an extension of our Mobile Avatar Coach. This enables the fastest and lowest risk for deployment from a position of strength.

Here is some background on BEAM:

 

 

 

BEAM provides improved coordination of care, and communication within the care team. BEAM helps the many people involved in taking care of an individual by helping coordinate resources and then aid in communicating within this team.  A simple dashboard provides a quick summary of an individual’s status, and highlights the items still needing to be addressed.

  

BEAM is a web-based tool that can be used by any device that runs a web browser, and can be used in group homes, assisted living or independent living centers, homes, or in vocational settings.

  

BEAM uses a freemium model, where many useful features are provided free, and additional features are provided for a modest fee.

  

https://youtu.be/bhYO0WT330g

Below is a YouTube link to how MAC is used today to help provide emotional regulation to people who are stressed or have a history of behavioral health issues:

The goal of this demonstration of our new Mobile Avatar Coach is to illustrate how mobile technology can help people whenever / wherever, it provides the individual the opportunity to receive emotional supports as they need it.

CreateAbility’s Mobile Avatar Coach (MAC), is a type of “conversational agent” that have been shown to help people to share experiences they don’t want to talk about with another person” and thus encourage more patient honesty.

The following YouTube link is a screen recording while “Jeff” makes selections. A variety of Avatars and voices will be available soon, and the content will be customizable to a wide array of situations.

https://youtu.be/9LNdqXhwPZQ

The primary interaction with the Care4CareGivers system is via the app which will run on Apple and Android phones and tablets, as well as Android TVs.  Here is an example of how the app would initiate an interaction with the caregiver based on the schedule setup in the settings page:

On the top bar, the settings icon would expand to the following:


This would enable the calendar/schedule, access to tutorials, profiles for both the caregiver and the senior with dementia, how notifications of new and relevant content will be presented, and access to our partner network for goods and services (such as discount codes for nearby spas, exercise locations, getaway locations, respite services, durable medical equipment, home healt aid services and temporary sitter services).

If the caregiver indicated that they were upset, a screen such as the following would eventually be displayed, where MAC tries to gage the level of their emotions, so that it can suggest the proper advice or course of action. The Avatar can be disabled, and relevant photos selected instead. A variety of voices will be selectable as well, or the app could just play music.


The “?” icon helps them post a question to the knowledgebase, or the forum.. Alternatively, the caregiver could always choose to post questions directly on a form in the BEAM cloud, that would look similar to the following:



The QnA section in the middle lists the most recently and most popular topics. 

The process for questions is presented in the next graphic. The answers to questions are first searched in the knowledge base. If an answer is not found, the question is sent to the Forum. Experts, mentor caregivers, and professionals nationwide are notified of a new post that matches their area of expertise or interest.  If an answer is not received within 30 minutes, CCI staff will Mechanical Turk the process to manually search other forums and return the answer to the caregiver, and update the Forum.

 

Task 2.1:  Design the Care4CareCiver System

This design effort can begin soon after early data is received from Objective 1. System requirements will be refined after the results from the surveys and user interface requirements have been fully analyzed.  Evaluation and comparison of best candidate products to be integrated into the system will be completed as well. 

Because the design of the Care4Caregivers system will be based on standardized technology, CCI will be able to offer the broadest connectivity with commercially available software and interfaces. 

Task 2.2:  Develop the Forum                                            

The virtual white board and survey tools will be coded in a combination of Python, Java, JavaScript and HTML 5 to maximize the number of devices and PCs that can interact with these tools.  The Survey tool will include a web-based utility to create the questions and associate graphical images with each answer.

To protect individual’s confidentiality, the user (or designated loved one) controls the amount of information tracked by the system, as well as details associated with this information. Secondly, the database access is encrypted by network security keys created by an algorithm developed by Purdue University.

In the initial phases, only CCI personnel will be able to assign these credentials to the selected study participants for the brief duration of their involvement with the pilot study. In later phases, CCI will explore new security techniques in this emerging field.

Task 2.3:  Expand MAC Capability and Content                                                                      

The focus of this effort will be on developing the expanded MAC features and functions required as described at the beginning of this Objective.  Since this section is chocked full of intellectual property, only a brief explanation will be provided. The development will mostly be accomplished in LUA, a platform independent by Corona.

 

Task 2.4:  Integrate and test the Care4CareGivers system                                  

CCI will ensure that the Care4CareGivers software and NetWare satisfy the requirements identified in Objective 1 and the design from Task 2.1. The modular design allows each section to be independently tested.

These tests will help CCI verify the minimum usable thresholds, and test the system’s response to drop-out issues. After each module has been verified and tested, they will be integrated into the prototype system for testing.  The use cases defined during the preliminary investigation and refined in Task 1.3 will provide excellent test vectors for this level of integration.  This testing will be done under laboratory conditions and will include debugging; this allows for a more rapid turnaround of modifications and software updates as problems are discovered.  The design documentation from Task 2.1 will be edited to reflect all changes.  The system will then be available for evaluation in Objective 3.

Objective 3:  Pilot Study Evaluation of the Care4CareGiver prototype

This research plan will include a pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of the Care4CareGivers system when used by user in performing caregiving activities. 

The basic hypothesis is that the Care4CareGiver system will enable caregivers to find information, resources and support more quickly, more easily, and with a greater sense of emotional support and empowerment than through their existing approaches.

This objective will be accomplished via three tasks.  The preliminary details of the experimental design for the pilot study are described, followed by a description of each task.

Pilot Study Experimental Design: The pilot study will utilize a standard two-group within-subjects design [R22], selected because this experimental design removes the introduction of test group variance. CCI and its partner Tipton County Health Board, both have extensive experience conducting similar and even more extensive pilot studies with human subjects. Each subject will participate in two experimental sessions in which they are requested to perform typical caregiver search and support tasks the way they currently do, then again with the use of the Care4CareGiver system. This experiment is designed to measure how easily and accurately the caregiver study participant can: search for and find information on the care of the senior with dementia, as well as find care suggestions for their own emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

The caregiver participant will be tested to see how well they understand the senior’s needs and what to do about them using both approaches.

For the pilot study trials, there will be one independent variable with two levels representing the presence or absence of the Care4CareGiver system.  The order of the independent variable will be randomized to minimize the incidence of order effects. A total of four dependent measures will be recorded:  1) assistance required, 2) time required for task completion, 3) task accuracy, and 4) level of satisfaction.

 

Study Participants: The Tipton County Health Board will secure the assistance of 12 human subjects for this project to prove the technical merit and feasibility of the Care4CareGiver system. The screening criteria will be refined during Task 3.1. Naturally, as part of our normal study method, consent will be obtained from all study participants prior to beginning the study. It will be made clear to the test participants that all study data will be kept confidential and that results will not be traceable to individual subjects. They will indicate knowledge that they can stop at any time and there will be no penalties. Subjects will be paid a stipend of $50 for their participation in the study. Burke and her staff will verify the system from the caregiver perspective as part of her consulting effort.

 

Test Procedures: The field evaluation will take place over a four-week period in the final month of the project.  Each subject will receive training on how to operate the Care4CareGiver system.  After participants’ master operation of the system, the evaluation period will begin.  There are a total of two separate sessions that each subject will participate in during the evaluation.  The procedure discussed under the pilot study experimental design will be implemented here.  When performing the experiment using either approach, they will be able to ask for assistance. These data will provide an objective means of measuring how easily and accurately the study participant understands what to do and how to do it.  The order of the presentation for each level of the independent variable will be randomized to control for order effects.

Data Collection Procedures: Each subject will perform each of the tasks as described in the previous paragraphs.  During this time, the amount of help requested (if any) in using the tablet or the applications will be recorded.  Finally, the accuracy of the subject's responses will be recorded.  For example, CCI and Burke will tally the number of errors made in: 1) responding to the information presented as prompts or graphics, 2) taking unnecessary actions, and 3) not detecting when they should enter information.

For greater insight into these quantitative assessments, a questionnaire will be used to collect qualitative data from the study participants to determine their level of satisfaction with each approach. This data will identify target areas requiring more rigorous assessment during future development phases.

Data Analysis and Expected Results: When the data collection phase is complete, the data will be analyzed using SPSS for Windows, a software package utilized in behavioral statistics.  A series of t-tests will be performed to check for mean differences between the presentation approaches for each dependent measure.  Mean differences will be tested for significance at the .05 level (the gold standard). The expected results are that performing healthcare-related tasks using Care4CareGiver users: 1) a greater sense of support, 2) increased ease of use, 3) increased accuracy and availability of information, 4) with less physical and mental effort, and 5) higher satisfaction as compared to performing the above tasks without Care4CareGiver.

Quantitatively and qualitatively, CCI believes that these results will support the contention that the Care4CareGivers system will facilitate an easier and less strenuous approach, and will create a greater sense of emotional supports, particularly in comparison to their current methods.

We also expect that our team will benefit from an increased understanding of caregivers who wish to mentor and support other caregivers in their journey, as well as information on what tools and techniques are most supporting to this segment of the population.  The implications of the results will be investigated in preparation for final documentation of this research and development. 

Task 3.1:  Finalize Assessment Plans and Procedures:                                        

Details of the assessment plans and procedures for evaluating prototype effectiveness will be finalized.  These will be based on the proposed pilot study experimental design herein and augmented as necessary following the initial months of the project.  Selection criteria will be refined and specific test participants, test items, and test environments will be identified.

Task 3.2: Administer Assessment Plans and Procedures:                                  

Dr. Burke and CCI will implement the detailed assessment procedures described previously and finalized under Task 3.1.  This will primarily include the implementation of all aspects of the experimental evaluation. CCI expects that as caregiver subjects are actually using the system, knowledge of things that need to be changed will emerge. Therefore, CCI has allowed time for adjustments to be made to the system in order to obtain an accurate evaluation.

CCI will broadly disseminate the results of this project in a variety of media to not only increase the market awareness, but to enhance the scientific and technological accomplishments as well, to assist as a foundation for others to build upon. Technical dissemination methods include CCI’s website, call for papers requests at conferences, and national organizations, and submissions to relevant trade journals.

Related Research or Research and Development

The bulk of fundamental expertise and advanced technology required to successfully develop the Care4CareGiver system will be leveraged from prior and successful CCI development efforts.  This existing knowledge and technology will be integrated in a new way to specifically meet the needs of caregivers taking care of seniors with dementia as they are aging in place. 

The specific past experiences and research projects to be leveraged for this project include the following:

BEAM, our could-based caregiver coordination and communication system was developed in our Rural-Health-Mate project, and significantly matured in the HomePortal project.

The Mobile Avatar Coach project was developed as part of the memBRAIN project that was designed specifically to help young adults with Autism better deal with emotional issues.

CCI has successfully used cloud computing in the commercialization of several research and development projects: Independence Keeper, Rural Health Mate (a remote monitoring system for rural seniors with dementia), and HomePortal (a smart home system for seniors who recently lost their eyesight).

About the company

CreateAbility Concepts, Inc. is dedicated to helping people with special needs and the people who support them. CreateAbility’s company vision is to literally to Create –the- Ability for people excel beyond their current capability, through the proper strategies and the appropriate use of technology.

The company started in 1997 as SMS Consulting in Colorado and was focused on helping small research and development-centric assistive technology companies in marketing activities (business development, advertisement, satisfaction surveys, product launch and pricing, support strategies, press releases, focus groups, and outbound customer communications).  In 2001, SMS incorporated and changed its name to better reflect its own efforts in research and development of assistive technology.  The company moved its headquarters from Colorado to Indiana in 2006 when the founder’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.  Steve Sutter has since taken care of his mother-in-law with dementia.

CreateAbility currently has three full-time, two part-time employees, and 6 - 1099 employees. Our work environment is designed around building a remote network, and t two of our employees are remote from our home office in the Indianapolis, Indiana area.

CreateAbility Concepts has a history of previous Federal and non-Federal funding.  In the past sixteen years, CCI has received over twenty Phase I and four Phase II awards from the Department of Education's SBIR program (NIDILRR), one Phase I from the NIH, and two Phase Is and one Phase II from the USDA (from a group within the USDA that is focused on improving life in rural America).  CCI has also received nine awards from the State of Indiana’s for our technology, as well as three innovation awards.

CCI believes that assistive technology needs to be flexible to accommodate changes in an individual's strengths, including memory skills; learning style; communication style; sensory, perceptive, and fine and gross motor abilities; and stamina [R23, R24].  Commercially available components will be used wherever possible to lower the cost and leverage existing warranty replacement options. CCI is also excited about future possibilities to explore the implications of merging the Care4CareGivers system with CCI’s intelligent sensors network and vital sign measurement devices in the our Independence Keeper system.

Care4CareGiver Pricing: Since the Rural-Health-Mate system will run on low-cost consumer electronics, rural seniors will benefit from the lowest price and best service and support available. A Care4CareGiver system with tablet/phone app will cost approximately $2.99 per month.

The cost for on-going development in this multi-phase project will be funded via respectful targeted advertising when the combination of the caregiver’s and person with dementia’s profile matches the need fulfilled by the advertising company’s good or service. This will result in a low-cost system that will help caregivers of people with dementia, and indirectly help the person receiving care.

The competitive advantages of Care4Caregivers are: 1) it is based on a proven crowd-sourcing service model, versus a product model, 2) its integration with mobile and cloud technology, and 3) its research-based design that are designed specifically for the caregiver as well as those caregivers who wish to contribute to help others.

What early, lightweight experiment might you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

We will run a Sprint, where we mock up the Forum, and the MAC user interface, and quickly code the connections. We will test this with 5 or 6 caregivers that we have never worked with, but are in the greater Indianapolis, Indiana area to verify 1. the technical feasibility, but more importantly, 2. the utility. We will then ask the caregivers a set of questions to collect their feedback on how to best present information and interact with them before proceeding to the work plan.

What skills, input, or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

The OpenIDEO community offers a tremendous opportunity to learn from, not just feedback on the concepts, but your knowledge and experience that will help guide us on the best approaches in the implementation, deployment, scaling, and marketing. Our set of partners and collaborators have been extremely helpful in helping us get to a successful and sustainable business case - but we really love the opportunity to tap into your fresh ideas and connections to help bring about change in this space.

How long has your idea existed?

  • 0-3 months

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Tell us about your work experience:

This is detailed in the full body of the proposal, but the founder, Steve Sutter has been a caregiver since 2006 - first caring for his dad who had Alzheimer's, and more recently caring for his mother-in-law who also has Alzheimer's and is still living. Many of our customers are caregivers as well.
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Team (3)

Jennifer's profile
Jennifer Flagg

Role added on team:

"Jen has been such a breath of fresh air and ideas for many years, and inspired us to submit this proposal - would love for her to be part of this plan."

Age Care's profile
Age Care Foundation

Role added on team:

"Love their work, would really like to have them as a team member"

Steve's profile

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