According to the most recent Pew Research report on caregivers, 4 out of 10 Americans are currently caring for aging parents, and MetLife Mature Market Institute research estimates over 10 million of us are doing this directly, while millions more are contributing to the cost of assisted living care. Middle aged adults are often juggling this with continuing to care for their grown children, earning them the nickname "the sandwich generation". Additionally, 50% of adult caregivers are also employed full time. It's not easy, and one of the most stressful parts of caring for one's parents is managing health.
Recently, a CareSync member, firmly planted in the sandwich generation, shared the story of how her family uses our solution for coordinated care for her elderly mother.
During our brief interview, I learned more about her pain points, and how she leverages the tools and services to help make her caregiver duties a little less of a burden.
Q: How did you end up being the primary caregiver for your mother?
A: I am the oldest daugher. I am the closest in location. I just fell into the role gradually over the years. I'd join her at doctor's appointments, helped manage medications. I own a small business. I live over three hours away. It's not convenient. But if i didn't do it, who would?
Q: What are your biggest pain points as a caregiver?
A: Time. There's not enough of it. I don't have much time for the things I love to do. When I do find time, I typically prefer to nap on the couch! It's also been a financial struggle - there aren't enough hours in the day to effectively run my small business and be a caregiver. I am really tired! The stress has been hard on my entire family - but they don't really understand how much I give up each and every day.
Q: How does the distance factor into your caregiving?
A: Well, I've put a lot of miles on my car in the past 18 months! The distance is overwhelming. Most of the rest of the family lives on the other coast, so I do a lot of driving back and forth to go to visits, and make sure everything is in place at the house. She loves her home, and plans to spend as many of her days as possible there. I do what I can to accomodate that.
Q: What made you decide to get help from CareSync Plus?
A: A friend mentioned you to me about a year ago. She was using it to manage her own chronic conditions as she prepped to have an organ transplant. She raved about having her complete health record easily available to her - without having to collect and manage all of the records. I downloaded the free app, and instantly knew that services were needed to help manage my mother's care. After the care coordination services, I have to say that I love how it's built in a way that lets multiple family members and other caregivers contribute.
Q: How has this helped you as a caregiver?
A: Having all of the medical records in a single place (that's portable, no less!) made it very easy to coordinate care once we made the decision to attempt heart surgery last year. It was easy for me to access all of the information, but it was so nice to have my sister, children, and other people involved with her care involved too. As bad as it sounds, after an exhausting day at the doctor, the last thing I wanted to do was call everybody to discuss the day's activities.
- Post-surgery, there was a lot of time spent in a rehab nursing home. Her caregivers there were able to make updates with important information. Our extended family care team enjoyed having access to progress and updates.
- We've recently hired two home health nurses who come and go throughout the day. They help track medications each day. I love the alerts I get when she has missed a medication.
- We rely heavily on the voice recording feature in the Care Manager. If I can't go to an appointment, we can still record the doctor's care plan (she and her home caregivers know to do it on the iPad mini). I know I am getting the correct information, even when I am not there.
- Tasks - we have a lot of tasks. It's great to be able to collaboratively manage them. Sometimes I just need to take a break and let someone else do some of the work.
The CareSync Plus team is impressive. I had already started my records gathering journey prior to learning about CareSync. Once I signed up, they called within a couple of hours, helped me set up the account and start adding providers and requesting records, and were just so diligent in getting crucial information in a very short period of time. It would have taken me months to do what they accomplished in days.
To learn more, or to create your free account, visit our website, or give us a call at 800.587.5227. We are always happy to help!
We love to talk with our users about their stories and experiences with our solutions. If you have one to share, please let us know in the comments. We'd love to set up an interview to learn more about how CareSync helps you in your role of patient or caregiver!