We live in a world where we coexist with over 39.8 million caregivers who provide care for adults with an illness or disability (Family Caregiver Alliance (FCA), 2015). That number does not include the millions of caregivers providing care to children and adolescents with or without disabilities. Caregiving for a loved one is typically not a paying job, it is not a glamour job, it is not an easy job; but it is a necessary job. On average, caregivers spend 24.4 hours per week caring for a loved one (FCA, 2015). 25% of caregivers provide care for 40+hours a week. That’s a full time job. In addition to providing full time care, some of these caregivers are also working part to full time jobs. When does that leave time for the caregiver to care for themselves? It doesn’t.
We love our spouses, our mothers, our brothers, our friends and therefore we put in the hours, the sweat, the blood, and the tears required to ensure they live the happiest and safest life possible until the very end. But what happens to those caregivers when they provide round-the-clock care to someone else? What happens when the life of the loved one takes precedent over the caregiver? What happens when the caregiver forgets about themselves for so long in order to increase the care for those they love?
They get sick. Not the flu or the cold, but they get really sick. 40-70% of caregivers have higher levels of depression and anxiety disorders which can lead to heart disease and elevated blood pressure (National Family Alliance, 2015). According to the National Family Alliance, “Caregiving can result in a feeling of loss of self-identity, lower levels of self-esteem, constant worry, or feelings of uncertainty”. Due to the increased risk of health disparities among caregivers, 70% of caregivers over the age of 70 pass away before the person they are caring for. (Leroy, 2014)
This is why we are creating an App for caregivers to use to focus on their personal health and well-being so they can be better equip to provide the essential care to the ones they love. Our app creates the support and accountability caregivers need from other caregivers to spend time doing something for themselves every day. With so much time and mental energy spent toward caring for a loved one, an app ensures an easy and convenient way to ensure that a caregiver is being intentional about their own mental and emotional health. As an avenue for self-care, an app can be accessed through any kind of smart phone device such as a phone, tablet, or computer. According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of older adults over the age of 65 consistently access the internet via smart devices. Over half of the entire population of older adults in American use smart device technology and this number is only expected to increase. The technology boom is creating a world where more and more people are accessing apps on a daily basis. An app specifically geared toward the promotion of psychological, mental, and emotional well-being of the caregiver could be the difference between life and death.
Our caregivers need help and we want to help them. Creating an app specifically for the caregiver is a crucial step in a process to ultimately preserve the health those sacrificing their own well-being for the well-being of others.
The Pew Research Center
Family Caregiver Alliance National Center on Caregiving
LeRoy, A. (2014).
Is caregiver syndrome a real medical diagnosis?