The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Journey Map Serves As A Resource For Those Caring For Loved Ones

| April 3, 2018 | 0 Comments | Email This Post Email This Post

The Alzheimer’s Caregiver Journey Map Serves As A Resource For Those Caring For Loved Ones

By Liddy Manson, Director of the AgingWell Hub, a program at Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI), part of the McDonough School of Business

And Consuelo Benito Olalla, Associate Professor, Universidad Pontificia Comillas in Madrid, and visiting GSEI fellow during summer 2017

It’s a cold and rainy day as Allison helps her mother, 82-year old Greta, into the car to yet another doctor’s appointment. After the doctor, the two will make a quick stop at the grocery store to make sure the kitchen and medicine cabinet is stocked. Up since long before dawn, Allison will then spend the afternoon doing laundry, cleaning the house, and making sure Greta takes the medicines important to her health and well-being.

 

Allison isn’t a professional caregiver, and yet this day isn’t at all unique. It’s one of many, as Allison, a former administrative assistant, has traded in her professional life to stay at home and care for her mother, who suffers from a variety of ailments, including diabetes and dementia. Allison’s experience is becoming universal each day, as people across the world are finding their lives changed by the daunting wave of responsibility associated with global aging.

Twenty percent of the U.S. population is now over the age of 65. Ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, stoking the growing wave of older Americans. As our population continues to live as much as 20 to 30 years longer than previous generations, this ‘silver tsunami’ gives rise to a multitude of issues across many fields. To address the complexity affecting so many, Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI), part of the McDonough School of Business, established the AgingWell Hub in 2015 with a grant from Philips. The Hub is a cross-sector collaborative that connects companies, organizations, and agencies to develop shared frameworks and to create innovative, technology-driven solutions to enhance the delivery of products and services to the aging population. The Hub harnesses the expansive skills and expertise of its member stakeholders to accelerate improvements in the quality of life for the aging population and untangle the entwined web of services designed to solve problems associated with financial, physical, and emotional challenges.

When the Hub embarked on its first sizable collaborative initiative, it became clear through research, brainstorming, and insight-gathering process, that all roads converged on caregivers. The outcome of the work is a granular caregiver journey map which chronicles an extraordinarily detailed path of providing care to a parent with Alzheimer’s. It serves as a uniquely effective tool in establishing a common framework to reveal critical pressure points that can help all actors in caregiving.

The valuable insight and utility of the Caregiver Journey Map would not have been possible without a collaborative model fueled by the constellation of caregivers and service providers that come together to provide solutions after diagnosis. Without full representation, it’s impossible to assess the range of paths affected by the disease, and it’s impossible to support providers, both professional and non-professional, in coordinating care. The map’s value is that it consolidates into a single framework both the family caregiver’s path and the needs, goals, and missions of the diversity of organizations participating in the care continuum.

The Caregiver Journey Map is currently in use and providing insights to people across the expansive continuum of care, indicating the more cross-collaboration groups such as this need to be created in order to effectively address other public concerns. The AgingWell Hub also shows that – at least for aging – collaboration is key, as myopic development can’t and won’t meet the needs of the diverse set of stakeholders involved in aging care.

For more information, visit: https://www.agingwellhub.org/.

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