On the hallway where the Waldron Center is located, five of us are caregivers for loved ones. We make phone calls and fax documents between classes, run out at lunch to take care of business items that can’t wait, and take days off to assist with transportation to doctor appointments or during emergencies.
Being a caregiver can be a frustrating, exhausting life, periodically consumed with searching for appropriate services with limited time. Sometimes the need for critical services arises abruptly, creating immense pressure to make decisions quickly. Estimates are that 26.1 million full-time employees in the United States are caregivers for a loved one. The average caregiver-employee misses 350 hours of work a year due to the responsibilities of caregiving, and protracted caregiving frequently has negative implications for the wellness of the caregiver.
What if companies could help valued employees more easily honor commitments to their loved ones while maintaining more of their productivity and sanity during this stressful season of their lives? The “why” statement Cariloop staff recite in their weekly meeting says, “No one should go through the process of caring for their loved ones alone.”
Dallas-based Cariloop is a digital health company that provides the world’s first fully-integrated, tech-enabled caregiver support platform to help working caregivers and families plan for and manage the care of a loved one. The Waldron Center staff first met Cariloop co-founder and CEO Michael Walsh, and Jeryn Laengrich, Cariloop CSO, on a recent visit to campus. I had lost my 91 year-old father two weeks earlier, and immediately related to the problems the company’s business model addresses.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6w8rAmaHJEY?rel=0]
CEO Walsh said, “One out of every five people in the workplace today is a caregiver, and most people are Googling their way through it.” Originally Cariloop was like an “Open Table” for finding available nursing home and assisted living beds. The second iteration became more a dynamic decision tree, walking caregivers through a series of steps where they could match caregivers with needed services. Finally, they realized people needed not just a platform, but a user experience where a caregiver and family can video chat with a certified healthcare coach who understands what customers are going through. Cariloop retooled its business model when data indicated the majority of users were accessing its website between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on weekdays, during work hours. They began to market the platform to companies as part of a benefits package.
Michael Walsh, Cariloop CEO, and Harding alum Jeryn Laengrich, CSO. Laengrich is Harding’s College of Allied Health Outstanding Alumnus of 2017.
I was pleased to learn that Cariloop now also provides a secure space within its website for family members to upload important documents such as medication lists, power of attorney documents, advanced directives, insurance policies, and more. Family members always have them available for meetings, and can collaborate with one another in a secure space. As my father’s power of attorney and now the administrator of his estate, it has been my experience that having documentation archived would be a powerful tool for a caregiver who has to eventually shift gears settle a loved one’s estate.
The aging of the Baby Boom and increasing life expectancy is creating a “Silver Tsunami” that challenges our healthcare system, stresses our families, and places new demands on companies to manage and support employees who are losing focus and productivity due to the distraction of honorable caregiver concerns. As the first in the market to directly address those employer concerns, innovator Cariloop is well-positioned to grow as they continue to refine their service.
Update: CEO Michael Walsh was recently selected Longevity Network’s Entrepreneur of the week!