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12 Tiny Well-being Tips for Caregivers

12 Tiny Well-being Tips for Caregivers is a visual workbook designed to remind caregivers to care for themselves as they care for others.

Photo of Robin Albright
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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?

My book is designed for the overwhelmed caregiver who feels emotionally drained and defeated. As a caregiver, I looked for books that would help. I was overwhelmed and couldn't bring myself to read all of the words in any one of the books I found, so I wrote and illustrated 12 Tiny Well-being Tips for Caregivers. First I tell our story, followed by hands on exercises designed to help caregivers own their reality while acknowledging their own resourcefulness. It's visual, simple and inspiring.

My son said to me, "Mom, why don't you take this ugly story that has happened (his dad/my husband getting sick) and turn it into something beautiful".  When I wrote 12 Tiny Well-being Tips for Caregivers, I was sitting at our kitchen table with a large pad of paper in front of me. Every idea that flowed onto that paper was therapeutic and felt as if it was pre-determined.  It came from a place that was fierce... a place of knowing. Once I started, I knew that I had to write it.  It was on my mind all of the time.  It took me about 6 weeks and it was finished.  I started with our story (my husband's diagnosis of BVFTD and the chaos I fell into) followed by the 12 Tiny Tips.  Each page is simple, handwritten and drawn out. There are coloring pages and affirmations.  There is a permission slip designed to help caregivers let go of stress as well as many other hands on self-help exercises.  

My idea is to eventually have a book in every caregiver's home, which means that I'll have to print more.  My idea is to travel, speak about our story, create awareness about the challenges caregiver's face and hug as many as possible.  

I also plan to create another visual book, compassion cards designed to encourage treating one another with compassion & kindness and an organizer specifically for caregivers.  

My husband and I live in a motorhome and have begun our journey - creating exposure for my book, telling our story, offering awareness about FTD and hugging caregivers.  I plan to blog about our adventures.  

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

I've already sold and given away several of my books. The reviews have been really good (blushing). One thing that I've learned is that when I'm ready to print my next round of books... It'll most likely be a soft cover so that I can give out even more. We've met with caregiver's, given out books, listened to their stories, acknowledged their efforts and hugged them. It's been amazing so far.

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

I need help streamlining my ideas. I'm an artist so it's easy to go in a bazillion different directions. I need help creating a sound plan as I expand and offer additional creative, visual tools for caregivers. As mentioned, I'm on a teeny, tiny budget but have so many ideas... another book, organizers, greeting cards, etc... I'm an overwhelmed creative caregiver who needs an ear, a shoulder and an angel to help me see this idea come to life as it truly should.

How long has your idea existed?

  • Over 1 year

This idea emerged from

  • A group brainstorm

Tell us about your work experience:

I've been a life & business visual coach since 2008. Every client walks away with a visual representation of our session together. I'm also a visual facilitator. I draw out each workshop or seminar I offer. I love to create and find that it's the best way to connect with the core of another person.

How would you describe this idea while in an elevator with someone?

I’m Robin Albright and I have a book that helps caregivers remember to take care of themselves as they care for others. It’s called 12 Tiny We’ll-being Tips for Caregivers. It’s visual, unlike most books with a gazillion words that overwhelm the already overwhelmed caregiver. I also have other heart-felt products that will be out in the future - also designed to help Caregivers cope.

How does your idea demonstrate or plan to demonstrate scalability?

It's just a matter of time (confident I guess). I'm hoping to collaborate with large organizations down the road. I just sent a copy of my book and a few cards to someone at AARP... hoping to gain recognition. I just need to continue to move forward and watch what happens. I am operating from a place of LARGE HOPE. :) OH! I'm also doing guest spots on podcasts and blogs.

How do you plan to measure the impact of your idea?

I get feedback and of course... sales increase from word of mouth, etc... Phone calls asking me to do a workshop/seminar... sharing my story... watching the eyes of those in the audience... etc...

What are your immediate next steps after the Challenge?

I continue to work on selling what I have and then applying the profits to buy more cards, books etc... so that I can continue to sell them. We hope to continue traveling, speaking, hugging caregivers and selling my inventory (and giving away some too, of course). :)

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Photo of Joanna Spoth

Hi Robin Albright ! Happy 2018 and thank you for sharing your story with us. Your creativity and passion are contagious. And we love the video you added. Curious if you and Karen Stobbe have had a chance to connect? I'm also wondering if you've seen this coloring book:
Could be neat inspiration since coloring is one element of your book.
It sounds like your current method of measuring impact is collecting feedback you receive from caregivers. As your idea grows, will you continue with that method or do you have something else in mind? Are you currently tracking the feedback you receive? We talked about this a bit in our last refinement call, but we're also curious if you've thought about a potential business model. Clearly sales of the book are a big piece. Have you projected that or thought about other ways to market your skills? We're also curious about your thoughts on creating an e-version. Perhaps on a tablet? Have you received any interest in that from caregivers?
Have you taken a look at Deva in the Challenge? wondering if you see room for collaboration there...
Lastly (phew!), I'm wondering who at AARP Services you sent the book to! We'd love to make sure it gets to the right person. :)
Thanks you for all your incredible work and joining our Challenge.

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