New council will guide family caregivers to available tools

By Aditi Pai
11:27 am
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A number of companies and organizations focused on helping caregivers have formed a group, called the Caregiver Council, to raise awareness about family caregiver support tools, identify problems that family caregivers face, and create new tools that solve these issues. The council was coordinated by Great Call.

Members of this council include UCSD Center for Healthy Aging Executive Director Danielle Glorioso, National Alliance for Caregiving CEO Gail Hunt, AARP SVP of Public Policy Susan Reinhard, Aging in Place Institute Founder Louis Tenenbaum, and GreatCall CEO David Inns.

“The sheer number of family caregivers in the US – 44 million, more than 18 percent of the population – has changed the landscape of family life in this country,” Inns said in a statement. “The issues are not only care-related, but impact physical and emotional health, finances and workplace productivity. As the Baby Boomers age, there will be a huge care gap and a critical need for caregiver support. The Caregiver Council was born from a desire to look at these issues in a collaborative, meaningful way.”

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Inns told MobiHealthNews in an email that because family caregivers do not identify as caregivers, they do not seek out the caregiver tools that could help them, so the council wants to build awareness about family caregivers and curate those resources.

"How can they be reached or supported if they are not looking for family caregiver support tools because they don’t even know that they are family caregivers?" Inns said.

The group's first deadline is early 2016, Inns said, at which point the council plans to release a tool that guides family caregivers through a curated list of resources that help them address their particular needs. The council hopes this guide will make it easier for family caregivers to find the resources they need. After this deadline is met, the council will also announce other initiatives they plan to launch.

A number of caregiver-focused startups have made news in the last few months, including Nortek Security and Control (NSC), Verbal Applications, and HelpAround.

And at the end of last year, Parks Associates released research about caregivers and the role digital health devices play in their lives. According to Parks, 41 percent of US caregivers in households with broadband internet use a digital health device. Eight percent use some kind of online tool to coordinate their efforts.

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