How Caresquared, an App created for carer’s saved a life while still in testing.
Behind-the-scenes of dementia care.
10 years ago, I’m at my girlfriend’s dads when he asks “Who are you?”
I ask him “How can you not know your own daughter are you winding us up?”
He seems confused by the question & says:
“Of course I know who she is she’s my daughter”. His daughter didn’t notice but she has felt that knife to the heart many times since when he doesn’t recognise her.
I thought little of it myself but that was the first sign of a long decline & a battle with a relentless disease that strikes one person every 3 seconds,
Fast forward 10 years, he’s now consistently confused, has wild mood swings eats like a chicken unless it’s sweet & then he eats like ant let his previous cleanliness routine lapse. Wanders off to the shops where he’s a local celebrity, but struggles to make it there & back because his legs have been affected my mini stroke. He Repeats himself over & over & calls myself or his daughter up to 75 times a day. (The record) Has periods of incontinence & suffered several urinary infections leaving him seriously ill. Each small strokes made his vascular dementia & Alzheimer’s worse He’s had a heart attack, talks to strangers in the street & on the phone like they’re best friends. Consistently complains he’s bored & nobody visits minutes after you’ve left. Can never find his lotto tickets & confuses it with the old football pools, so from 5.30 pm about 3 hours early, he’s calling asking for the results He refuses medication so has to think it’s vitamins & refuses to admit he is unwell.
“I’ve taken care of myself for 50 years, there’s nothing wrong with me…” is his battle cry
- 1-14 over 65 diagnosed
- 150 million people with dementia by 2050
- $2 trillion dollar annual cost
- Impacts not just the person but family, friends & anyone In the bubble.
Being a curious person, I wanted to see who else this impacted, I became a student of dementia.
So I studied everything I could find that might help me personally, yet the strange thing is, the more I searched for specifics to me the more I uncovered I wasn’t the only one. There are a forgotten army of carers just like me. Each one fighting an individual battle in a shared war. One thing that quickly becomes obvious when you do the maths is when you’re at your wits end, overwhelmed & on the edge of despair, overwhelmed with the routine demands & also the surprise ones & you think you’re the only one going through this & you’re crying “why him, why me” you are not alone it’s a well trodden path
There’s a positive.
It’s not bad all the time, there are times he becomes himself, it’s a cruel glimpse into the past you remember before its gone again. You learn to appreciate the small things.
He can crack you up with his humour, just before Christmas he says “I need a woman, but not before Christmas because she’ll want a present He’s 81?
Self depreciating humour “ bloody hell my memories got bad” said with a chuckle.
Topical humour “ When my numbers come up on the lotto I’m taking you as my gardener”
All glimpses into the person we miss most of the time.
I got Covid during the first wave & he was feeling more isolated & abandoned, I struggled to order him a food delivery & take his calls as I fought against the virus which at that time had no vaccine.
When I finally recovered & left isolation, I was so frustrated I decided to do something to make this easier on me,l so I got to thinking
“What does he really need? And what do I need to still allow me some kind of work life balance”
What immediately sprung to mind were the most practical things.
- Company ( he was isolated, feeling lonely, calling us to the point of employers losing their patience, talking to strangers & going hunting for company)
- Familiarity ( when things weren’t where they were expected he got really agitated he needed familiarity)
- Routine ( He needed to be reminded to do routine things & be reminded not to do others.
Then I thought “what do I want in an ideal world?”
- To know he’s safe
- To be able communicate with him remotely
- To be able to screen who he talks to.
- To know he’s not at risk from hoax callers in or outgoing
- To save money
- To save time
- To know where he is if he wanders & be able to get him home.
- To have an improved work life balance
I hadn’t a clue where to start but I knew I had to do it. So I did.
My first real test came when the paid care & his daughter called me in blind panic.
“What are we going to do dad’s gone missing he’s been gone since 10 am” the time the carer discovered he wasn’t home. It was more than 5 hours later the alarm was raised. “Will dad be alright that man wondered off from Shirebrook the other day, they organised a search party through Facebook & they found him in Essex two days later. We’ll find him won’t we?”
I could sense the panic & it was then I remembered i’d downloaded an APK of my app onto his phone to test it. & I pulled out my phone & within 5 minutes I knew exactly where he was & we went to pick him up. He was borderline hypothermic, having gone out in a thin t-shirt & jeans but he was home & he was alive
Hurray for caresquared
That experience, the Shirebrook incident & the volume of missing vulnerables be being reported on a daily basis in the local news, convinced me that i could really help to do something positive for not just me but other carers to keep their loved ones safe.
That’s not my location but it is my app.
But that’s not all.
- The ability to create customised routines & tasks for both carer & their loved ones ( yes multiple loved ones can be added)
- The ability to add photos to tasks/ routines so familiar placeholders of their or your home can be shown. ( Sometimes a picture says a thousand words)
- A one app two user feature so nothing the carer does can be amended
- A communication platform to allow your loved ones to speak to their peers in a safe environment controlled by you the carer. A virtual support group.
- Continue to communicate with your loved one until the taxi you ordered arrives if you’re too far to collect them.
- And I’m adding more features as I go such as:
- Video calling
- Audio messages
- Sounds to acknowledge the alerts
- IOS version
- International translations
- Top secret developments not yet shared
To figure out if Caresquared can help you (apart from having a great product) you’re going to have to try it for free.
I considered all carers in developing this app so you can use it to give you time & money back & one of the things I learned is carers are desperate for a break any time to themselves even 15-20 minutes of respite. I think I’ve given you that it’s like care squared ( see what I did there?)
How it works
- Provide your email so we can send you to a Google Doc to ask a few questions ( We want to be sure the right to people get this app)
- Download a copy to your phone from the appstore links I’ll send you to your own & your loved ones Android phone (important) with different email addresses
- Log yourself in as child & your loved one as parent – (1 app 2 users)
- Create your first task add an image check your loved ones location (see how simple the Caresquared app is.)
[Tip #1] Help me improve the app with your suggestions
Designed to help overwhelmed carer’s to take a well deserved rest.
5 Key Takeaways From the Caresquared mobile app
When it comes to caring for dementia , I know what you’re suffering because I’ve lived it & myself & my developer are using the app & it’s doing everything I hoped it would.
And now that I’ve lifted back the curtain and shown you how to do the same, it’s time for you to test it out yourself.
Here are the 5 key takeaways:
- The Caresquared app has already proven useful in saving the life of one missing vulnerable person.
- This app has utility for both paid or unpaid carers
- The Caresquared app has only just begun in the way we can create a simple user experience & what we can do with that going forward to help every carer & every vulnerable loved one.
- I wanted to solve a problem by building a useful tool. ( I believe I’ve succeeded)
- Stuck on what type app to create? I built the app around my most common pain points as a carer but I’m happy to discuss how we can help with yours.
P.S. If you love the app or you hate it please let me know personally, I’d value your feedback & if you leave your phone number I’d love to speak to all of you individually.
P.P.S. Dementia needs routine. When dementia is end stage it’s too late to use our app with your loved one. Therefore we encourage our users to use the caresquared app with your vulnerables before formal diagnosis and if the worse should occur your loved one will already have that routine of using the Caresquared app that will allow them to stay independent for longer.