Co-authors: Naman Mandhan, Daphne Puerto
Conducting empathy and research on family caregivers revealed that in several instances, family caregivers can feel isolated, confused, and helpless due to a lack of understanding on how to navigate through their journey of being caregivers. Caregivers can be left without a clear understanding of how to respond to certain situations, where to find resources, who they can talk to, and what some of the behavioral variations in their care recipients mean.
This concept seeks to alleviate some of the stresses associated with this lack of understanding by providing family caregivers a platform where they can seek help, ask questions, and connect with individuals who are encountering similar situations as them.
Caregivers can submit a set of behaviors and needs to search for community-driven answers that solve complex circumstances, like a chronically lost wallet. They can access this information by web or phone, so the product is accessible to caregivers more comfortable on the phone. This is particularly helpful for those individuals who find it difficult to use more modern technological means of communication and would prefer a one-on-one conversation. For instance, a family caregiver could dial into a hotline, provide a description of the behaviors that their care recipient is exhibiting, as well as any known diagnoses. The operator can use this information and look up suggestions for how to counter these behaviors in a database.
Using a location- and needs-based algorithm, we match caregivers with community members who can offer conversation and empathy online, on the phone, or in-person. This would be facilitated through a short series of simple questions. Similar mechanisms are employed by dating websites and in hospital residency programs to connect people with other people or resources.
Through each conversation and shared experience from experts and novices around the world, the platform surfaces knowledge through methods like machine learning to serve as a living body of knowledge for people looking for help. The database is accessed by operators in the hotline, or by family caregivers themselves through a web platform.