Keeping Caregivers Connected

This Week on Sage Aging

<img src="sageagingguestrishawndindial.jpg" alt="Sage Aging podcast guest Rishawn Dindial">As a caregiver, have you ever felt isolated and alone? I’d venture to guess that if you’re a caregiver, the answer to that is a resounding yes! Have you ever wished that you could just find a way to connect with other caregivers and resources to help you along your own caregiving journey? If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone and you’re in the right place.

We often talk about isolation as it relates to our aging loved ones, but would it surprise you to learn that the problem is almost as prevalent among caregivers? The ability to connect to resources and information is an important part of creating a positive caregiving experience. There are lots of ways to do that. Listening to podcasts like Sage Aging is one of them. Social media and other tech tools are also a solution and in this episode, we will explore a mobile app that helps caregivers stay connected to the support they need. Click the player above to listen to episode 7 or scroll to the bottom of the page for the full transcript.

My Guest

My guest today is Rishawn Dindial. Rishawn is the founder of the Memoryz digital caregiver app, which supports families experiencing dementia through a digital caregiving community, chat-based companionship, and task reminders. As is the case with so many of my guests, a family caregiving experience with his grandfather inspired Rishawn to create a solution for the issues his family was facing. To learn more about Rishawn and Memoryz, see the links section below.

Caregiver Solutions

As with every other area of our lives, technology is taking a front seat in providing solutions for family caregivers. I’m doing my best to keep up with new apps for caregivers. Last season in Episode 45, we met Lucinda Koza and heard about her Millenial caregiver app, I-Ally. This season in Episode 6 we met Nancy Meyers and talked about the app she is developing, AccountAbility, that will help caregivers keep track of important documents and information. This week, Rishawn shared the Memoryz app with us. You might be thinking “another app?!” but stick with me here. The apps I’ve introduced you to are all valuable tools that will make your caregiving experience a better one. The beauty of having so many options is that you can choose the tool or tools that serve you best.

I think the Meomoryz team has a home run on their hands. Using this app on its own or in conjunction with other tools will definitely benefit family caregivers and the support community is the cherry on top! Take the time to listen to this episode. You’ll be glad you did!

Links & Resources
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Transcript

Season 2, Episode 7: Keeping Caregivers Connected

Liz Craven: [00:00:00] The Sage Aging podcast is brought to you by Polk ElderCare Guide. Your guide to all things, senior care and resources. Find the 2021 guide in English and Spanish, at polkeldercare.com.

Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your Liz Craven. Sage Aging will connect you to information and resources you need to navigate the aging and caregiving journey. I’ll bring you education, inspiration, amazing industry guests and caregivers spotlights to shed some light on the topics of aging information and resources can be so hard to find if you don’t know where to look, but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. So grab a cup of coffee, sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now and let’s get started.

Hello, and welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. This is season two, episode seven. Being a caregiver is a really big job and one that most of us are not really prepared for. Every caregiver experiences unique because every person’s needs are different. Having said that there are lots of things that most caregivers have in common, not the least of which is feeling isolated.

As a caregiver, have you ever felt isolated and alone? Well, I’m going to venture to guess that if you’re a caregiver, the answer to that is a resounding yes. Have you ever wished that you could just find a way to connect with other caregivers and resources to help you along your own caregiving journey?

Well, if this sounds familiar, you’re not alone and you’re in the right place. We often talk about isolation as it relates to our aging loved ones, but would it surprise you to learn that the problem is almost as prevalent among caregivers? If you’re a caregiver, I know that you’re saying I’m crazy and of course not, we know that that’s a problem among caregivers, right?

The ability to connect to resources and information is an important part of creating a caregiving experience. A good one. There are lots of ways to do that. Listening to podcasts like this is one of them. And in the last episode, I introduced you to Nancy Myers and the AccountAbility app that focuses on securely keeping track of all the medical and financial pieces that go along with caring. Today, we’re going to shift our focus a bit to the needs of the caregiver.

We’ll talk about why it’s important to connect and stay connected to resources and other caregivers. And we’re going to turn you on to another amazing app. My guest today is Rishawn Dindial. And gosh, Rishawn I hope I pronounced that right. Founder of the Memoryz mobile caregiver. As this, the case was so many of my guests, a personal experience with an aging loved one inspired Rishawn to create a solution for the problem that his family was facing.

There’s so much more to Rishawn than a quick intro can do justice to, but we’re going to learn more about that in just a minute. To learn more about Rishawn, check out the blog post for season two, episode 7, at sageaging.com. Or you can find a link in the show notes in your favorite podcast app. Welcome to the show Rishawn I’m so excited to have you here today.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:03:35] Thank you so much for having me and you absolutely pronounced my name right. Which is fantastic.

Liz Craven: [00:03:41] Right. That’s a good one. I was, I meant to ask you in our conversation before we got started and I thought, well, I’m just going to have to go with it here.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:03:50] You ran with it, then you crushed it. I couldn’t be happier to be here.

Liz Craven: [00:03:55] Well, Rishawn you are quite an impressive person. And I have thoroughly enjoyed learning about you and all that you’re doing as I’ve prepared for this episode. And as I mentioned in the introduction, your own caregiving experience was the catalyst for the creation of this app, but your educational pursuits have also played a role, haven’t they?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:04:17] They absolutely have. I think a lot of my experience as a caregiver for my grandfather, along with my mother, sort of exposed me to the needs that caregivers have and the gaps in their tools and resources. And then that actually supported my. And medicine and then pushed me into actually making a difference in leveraging some business expertise to get to business school.

And so I think the caregiving experience I have actually curated the educational experience. That’s really shaping my future right now.

Liz Craven: [00:04:45] That’s really amazing. I love that. There’s nothing better. You’ve heard that saying before. If you do something you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:04:53] Absolutely.

Liz Craven: [00:04:55] Well, tell me more about you and your own situation.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:04:58] Sure. So, my grandfather, he was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment when I was in my teen years. Prior to that, and currently lives with nearly 10 chronic diseases, the whole range of Crohn’s through the sarcoidosis and other things. And his medication management has always been a little bit difficult

and then coupled with some cognitive impairments and the, the burden of his diseases, it really took a huge toll on him. He started to decline and needs a lot of support with medication management. However, a lot of the largest changes that we saw with him actually came towards behavior. His personality did start to change quite a

bit. Almost leading somewhere towards the frontal temporal dementia side of things.  Because of that caregiving for him became a little bit difficult. He definitely wanted to maintain his independence, but there would be random outbursts,  stuff like inappropriate things said to my mom or things similar.

And given the strain that she had of raising and taking care of a family, working full-time, and then providing care and support for my grandfather, these sorts of situations would lead to a lot of stress. And that created a little bit of a tough spot in our family and that relationship with my grandfather wanting to maintain independence, but as also trying to walk on

sort of a tight rope around him in certain situations so that we wouldn’t create any sort of additional burden. And managing that relationship was something that really, created a large impact in me and understanding sort of the empathy that’s needed in caregiving to understand one, the stressful situation that my grandfather’s having, but two, the toll that it can take on a caregiver and a loved one.

And seeing how the experience has aged, my mom and myself was definitely something that I wanted to make an impact in, or at least be able to support. And then given the fact that my grandfather does live away from home and there’s a distance, I really believed that technology or some sort of innovation would be able to be there to support us so that we would have some transparency into how his day’s doing without having to call his home phone or a cell phone, which he had prior, to be able to get ahold of him.

Those sorts of experiences led post my undergraduate career to get some technology experience. That sort of started a whole, snowball effect of me working in tech, me exploring health tech, and then finally moving into starting my own company and then trying to merge healthcare and business on the education side.

Liz Craven: [00:07:16] Merging healthcare and business. That is a big job, but gosh, so important. I think a lot of times people don’t connect the two. Knowing that you’re out there doing that makes me very happy because the more that we embrace technology and all that it can bring in every single life situation, the better we can get a handle on situations like these, not only caring for an aging loved one, but caring for a disabled child or caring for a spouse who has had some type of debilitating illness.

So love the direction you’re taking with it.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:07:51] I appreciate you bringing that up as well, because it’s something that I really believe in, and we’ve actually received numerous requests for sort of out of current domain applications of Memoryz outside of dementia care folks, reaching out for traumatic brain injury care. People rehabilitating from, let’s say, a hip injury or things similar as well as behavioral support for folks living are and children living with developed debilitating diseases.

So, I think the caregiver burden can be universal.

Liz Craven: [00:08:19] I agree with that completely. I think there are a lot of things that caregivers have in common. First of all, overwhelm. That’s probably at the top of the list. Every caregiver is overwhelmed in some way, and this is a good point to talk about the different types of caregivers that there are, because not all caregivers are hands-on caregivers.

You also have those who are handling. The administrative side of caregiving, making sure that  the appointments are scheduled and that the transportation is taken care of and the meds are managed and the meals are taken care of and things like that, but not necessarily in the home with the person. But there are those who are providing that hands-on care and all of them, almost all of them tend to have others that they’re caring for.

As a matter of fact, The latest statistic that I’ve seen from the ARP report last year was that 24% of caregivers are caring for more than one person at a time. And 61% of caregivers are still working while they’re providing care. And so that leads to the topic that I really wanted to dig into a little bit today.

And that’s caregiver isolation, having to shoulder all of that responsibility can leave a person feeling very alone in their endeavors.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:09:42] I absolutely agree. And I’m glad that we’re moving in this direction because I think it’s not always a conversation that’s brought up, especially given the current situation with the pandemic, accelerating the separation of folks from their loved ones, especially in aging population and having homes, isolated.

They’re the caregiver isolation and stress has only been exacerbated during this time.

Liz Craven: [00:10:06] That is so true. And it has created a lot of a lot of and logistical issues that weren’t there before to further burden caregivers. And I hate to use that word burden because as a caregiver myself, I never considered it a burden to care for my parents. It was just something that was there, but there were a lot of tasks that did become overwhelming because of it.

But you know, that’s just kind of where caregivers are. They have a lot of responsibilities on their shoulders. And so how do you feel about that as it relates to the importance of building a support community? How does one even begin to do that?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:10:46] Yeah, I think that’s a great question. And I think if we would take a step back and we sort of look. Isolation and what that means for caregivers. It’s usually at the point of diagnosis, it’s an overwhelming, and to use your word from earlier, sort of experience where you may have a suspicion that something may be going wrong with your loved one, you have received the formal diagnosis, and then you’re sort of shouldered with all of these things that are about to immediately change in your life.

And that leads to the financial strain the physical strain of actual care and the mental strain. I think usually there’s a couple of phases that happens at that point of diagnosis. The first one is a knowledge gathering phase where individuals try to find as much information as they can, whether that’s from Alzheimer’s disease.net, whether that’s from AARP or other resources, just to be able to get a bearing and be like, okay, This is what my loved one is dealing with.

I have a somewhat of an understanding. Then there’s the resource gathering phase where folks are looking for ways to make their home more accessible things that they may need to be able to support their care for their loved one, if they are staying at home and then finally trying to fit in the finances, as you mentioned, and the work schedule.

How am I going to be able to afford this? Do I need to get somebody to come in and take care of my loved one? Can I take off work? What will the post-work schedule look like for me? Because usually these diagnosis is they don’t necessarily happen in a vacuum, but they can be somewhat out of the blue, especially for earlier ages of diagnosis.

So those three things happen relatively quickly and that in itself can be overwhelming. However, what’s often missed is the fourth step here, which is how do I mentally prepare for this relationship change that I’m going to have with my loved one? What support system do I have in place and sort of who is that comprised of?

And if I don’t have one, where can I turn to? What are other people in my position doing? Those sorts of questions really take a moment of reflection to be able to have answers to. And unfortunately, caregivers in this initial phase don’t even have that time to be able to reflect. And then as the

experience of caregiving and these tasks continue to add onto their schedule. There’s less and less time made for these reflective exercises and identifying the network, which will only further the isolation.

Liz Craven: [00:12:52] I couldn’t agree with that more. It is crazy when you’re in the midst of it. And you know that from your experience, you just, are day to day, trying to get it all done and trying to be as effective as possible. And I don’t know, I think those are the types of things that we say, oh, I can do that tomorrow.

That’s not an emergent need and I’m going to put that off, but it probably is the most vital piece of your caregiver experience, creating that support community for yourself. So who are the types of people that would make up a support community or another term for that might be care team.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:13:33] There can be some variability into actually who makes this up because some folks are blessed where they have a large family where they could have many siblings or some close family, whether that’s cousins or aunts or uncles or things similar. And that could be a very family-based care team.

And there is an easier understanding of what the diagnosis is and how to make it within the family and that’s sort of handled quite well. However, I will say that is also very region and culture-specific because there are a lot of south Asian communities where any illness that is affecting cognition or even mental illness is usually met with a lot of stigmas and some of these diagnoses is even within the family can be quite destabilizing and isolating. So that unit may not actually be present. It’s a huge area of research that needs more exploration. But outside of that family dynamic, then if you are lucky to have a social support network,

then you have the opportunity to reach out to some of your friends or perhaps a local caregiver community that you may have been exposed to by the physician team at the point of diagnosis, whether they say, okay, there are these local resources, this is the caregiver group that meets at this office every Tuesday,

for example, then that may be your support group and you can lean on each other to help out with various tasks. Otherwise if neither of those options are available or if perhaps you are just a bit overwhelmed with  the situation, and you don’t feel comfortable talking to other people yet or reaching out, then you may be in a position where you don’t have a care team established right from the beginning.

And unless steps are taken or resources are introduced, you may end up doing a lot of this alone.

Liz Craven: [00:15:04] That is the importance of the virtual option as well. And we’re going to get more into your app in a bit, but I think that one thing COVID taught us was that the online world is quite small and that finding connections there that are very valuable is not too hard. And those who have embraced the technology and embraced that type of communication and that type of support network, I think, are doing quite well as it relates to dealing with their day to day and getting quick answers to questions that they have.

But there are those who are not comfortable on social media, who aren’t going to go there. And so apps like yours are definitely going to be a big part of filling in the gap.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:15:54] I appreciate that. And I think that’s something that we tried to do in designing our application. If you look at current sort of online support groups, there are numerous on Facebook and other communities where there’s tens of thousands of individuals that are there. However in groups like that, or things similar to Reddit threads, there isn’t as much moderation and folks are able to sort of build off of each other, whether that’s a negative emotion or positive, however, overwhelmingly folks will

be looking to support for a negative experience and are looking for commiseration, which isn’t necessarily solution-oriented. And I think there are times where folks would benefit more from online groups that actually provide support messages that are ways to sort of, I understand how you’re feeling, this is how we’re going to move forward instead of I understand how you’re feeling and let the situation rest there.

I think that’s a productive way to move conversations forward. So sort of directed support groups, like what we’re building at Memoryz are quite helpful, I believe. I also think that But there is a disconnect between social media users and traditional Facebook or other caregiver groups especially those that used to be in person.

And that is, there is a little bit of an age skew and there are more and more younger caregivers that are either assisting their primary caregiver, whether that’s a parent and supporting them. Or themselves are experiencing an earlier diagnosis, whether that’s early onset Alzheimer’s disease or just cognitive impairment being diagnosed early and earlier.

And these individuals are turning to social media because it’s a platform that they’re more aware of, but are using it more to demonstrate their experience with less to reach out to other individuals who are experiencing something similar. So I don’t think any solution out there right now is perfect. I think being able to bridge the gap and combining these two communities will be essential.

I think our application is a start. I really hope that our application isn’t the only one that’s doing this. I think that in a space like this, where caregivers are so in need of support, there can be 50 applications out there or 50 solutions, and that’ll only push the competition to be better and better for the caregivers themselves.

Liz Craven: [00:17:53] 100% and we’ve been talking to other app creators, and I agree with you so much, not one of you is the same. And each one , I ally, for example, they are more skewed to the millennial generation and really needing to talk it out, you know, come on, let’s talk it out together. And mental health focused which is great.

I love what they’re doing. They’re amazing folks. And so happy to see all that they’re creating. And then last week we talked to Nancy Meyers with the AccountAbility app, and she’s really primarily looking at just keeping those documents secure and making sure the people who need access to them are going to have them and connecting people in that way and helping caregivers to make sure that the liability that they’re carrying will not get them in trouble down the road by doing things the right way.

And then here you are and I love what you’re building with your app. So  let’s talk more about that.

I want to hear about Iris and I want to hear about your reminder system and your mood tracker and all of these cool things that you’re building into Memoryz.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:19:05] Absolutely. And I appreciate you bringing that up and the conversation, oftentimes I find myself forgetting that we are building a mobile application because I really see Memoryz as a company that represents caregivers in any way that we can do that, whether that’s through technology or whether

that’s through our social media or just lending them a voice by doing interviews or something similar. I think it’s so multifaceted. However, we do have a mobile application that I would love for people to use. So, Memoryz is that application and you can download it on the Apple Store or the Play Store, but at its crux, it has three main features right now.

And that is task reminders. Daily mood tracking and a caregiver support group centered around our chat bot, Iris. For the task reminders, we’ve set up this system where you are able to send yourself or your loved one, a reminder for anything. That could be medication reminders, whether that’s reminding you to take something out of the oven, whether that’s scheduling in a self care moment for yourself and the day.

And we’ll send a reminder 15 minutes before. At the time of the event and if you missed it and if your loved one is missing an event, then you get a notification directly to your phone. And what I’m describing here is the opportunity for you to use the Memoryz application yourself as a caregiver, or if your loved one still has the ability to interact with smart technology, whether that’s their phone or an iPad, they have the ability to have a memories interface for themselves as well.

And they can connect to you and all of the tasks that you’re able to do or schedule you can send to their device and vice versa. So, at the earlier stages of diagnosis, we do hope this can be a tool that is able to support both parties. However, as cognitive decline progresses, this is going to be a tool primarily for caregivers.

So the reminder assistant may be directly for the thing, those that I’ve mentioned. And we have mood tracking built in and we actually reach out in the evenings at 6:00 PM and we may actually increase the frequency of that to sort of ask you how you’re feeling and for you to identify that mood that you are feeling, whether that’s happy, excited, resilient, sad, stressed, anxious, or anything in between.

Identify that, write a little note about made you feel that way and then store that information. And we hope that outside of the prompts that we send you to check in, you start checking in at different points in your day, so that we want to keep this as a catalog for you to be able to see, okay, this has been a particularly fantastic week for me.

I’ve been happy, 75% of the time. A lot of the reasons why, has been, I’ve been having a lot of wins with the person I’m taking care of. Or you could notice that maybe between Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00 PM consistently, I’m feeling a little sad. What’s something in my life that I can do to address this, or what’s happening there?

We want to provide as much sort of mood visualization for you because numerous reports are indicating that the rates of caregiver, depression, especially for those taking care of loved ones, living with dementia is between 40 to 70%. And some of the reasons for that, isn’t because caregiving itself lends to depression.

It’s that the actual physical and mental strain really burns out an individual. And that will manifest with depressive symptoms coupled with the isolation. So we’re trying to tackle that with the mood tracking and then finally, to tackle the isolation we’re using our chat bot, Iris, to create a caregiver support community, really based around anecdotal messages, where you as a caregiver can log in, identify what you need support with.

Whether that’s a quick activity to do with your loved one, whether that’s a recipe idea, whether that’s ways to connect with your friends or a self care routine, you can click into the application and you’ll see a suggestion from another caregiver in the community. Let’s say caregiver, Maria recommends taking a 15 minutes

saltwater bath to relax at the end of the day. That’s something that you may see from somebody. You have the opportunity to try that out and then incorporate their suggestions into your routine. And then to give back into the community, we’ll ask you a question. What’s some that you do when you’re feeling anxious, you provide an answer and that goes out there.

And so through that, we’re really hoping to foster this caregiver to caregiver support network, without having to build a messaging system within an application without you having to maintain social relationships, we think the best way to do that is actually to share support. That’s the crux of what our application is doing right now.

Liz Craven: [00:23:07] I really liked that component of it. And by the way, Iris is so cute. I love the icon you have

Rishawn Dindial: [00:23:12] Oh, thank you.

Liz Craven: [00:23:13] for Iris. She’s adorable. But I really love the fact that people can plug into things that they need without having to, like you said, build the relationship. Now. I don’t want people to misunderstand what I’m saying.

Relationships are super, super important. You need them, you need a support community. You need a care community that’s going to help you along the way. However, sometimes you’re just looking for an answer to a question and Google’s not providing your answer because it comes back with 50 pages you need to look at.

I love the fact that you can go in and ask a quick question and find from within that community, a quick answer, without having to go back and forth with a conversation, that’s really an important piece, I believe because part of the problem that caregivers have is asking for help, they, number one, don’t want to burden somebody else.

And secondly, they don’t have the time to facilitate the conversation that asking for help is going to take.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:24:16] Absolutely. I agree. And I think that the current source search networks, like you mentioned with Google, it’s just too cumbersome to navigate through 50 pages. And maybe you did have only five minutes to find an answer and your time has been spent just searching and you haven’t been able to get a solution.

I also agree that what we want to continue to build within the application is a support system that doesn’t necessarily need to be chat-based. We would love as folks continue to add support messages to the caregiver community and we build out the robustness of the application, you have the opportunity to save messages from caregivers.

Identify who are some of your favorite caregivers are send support messages out to them when they do check into the application. Sending a congratulations on your day. If you see they’ve identified a happy mood or something similar and be able to foster that community there without having to create this conversational system within the application, have you be sort of glued to your phone, to respond to messages and then actually dilute the experience?

So I think there is a way to. Create social support outside of the traditional means that have been explored. And we’re using these anecdotal support messages as sort of a kicking off point.

Liz Craven: [00:25:22] Do you also incorporate Facebook groups or any other platforms that integrate with your app?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:25:31] We don’t and I don’t think that’s a direction that we will be going into. What I think is more important for us in terms of integration is using other services. Like you’ve mentioned applications like AccountAbility and others, to be able to have this be the one-stop shop in terms of being able to, whether you’re tracking any information on your loved one, whether you have any sort of gate tracker or whether there’s in their area at home, if they are compliant with their medications, if they have their finances taken care of and et cetera, plus the social support you’re getting from Memoryz, all of those things, you want to bake into it, but

what I really would like to not happen is to replicate different experiences within the same application. Because I think if you have a chat messaging system on Facebook, you have an Instagram group on that platform and you have another chat based group on Memoryz, or there’s an amalgamation of the three.

It can be overwhelming. Who do I reply to at what time, which service am I actually using at the right moment? And those sorts of questions or things we don’t want to introduce into their life.

Liz Craven: [00:26:29] The less confusing, the better.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:26:31] Absolutely. Yeah. I think that’s sort of how we designed this application as well, to be like it’s incredibly tech advanced on the backend, but we wanted to distill each page to its most simple components to not distract, not to have any ads in the application at all. Just so when you go into the application and you have a minute, you know, exactly what to do.

Liz Craven: [00:26:50] So when somebody says, I’m going to use this app, what would you say is the biggest reason for them to jump on and use Memoryz?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:27:02] I think that’s a great question. I think the biggest reason is that they’re just looking for a little extra help. I think whether maybe they’re using paper reminders to be able to schedule their activities. Perhaps they’ve missed a couple of tasks in their day and they’re like, well, I can’t have this happen anymore.

Or they’re feeling a little alone. I think all of those reasons are reasons that they need help or some sort of solution introduced in their life. So if you’re feeling that your current responsibilities are taking a little bit of a toll on you and you would love support, look at Memoryz as an option that can help you.

Liz Craven: [00:27:33] One thing I failed to ask you while we were talking about this app is keeping family in the loop. Does your application facilitate for keeping other family members informed?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:27:44] That is our most number one requested feature. And it’s something that we’re working on consistently on the backend. I think that it, it does not currently support that, given the robustness of what that feature means, because when you incorporate a family member and multiple caregivers into any sort of tracking situation, it can be confusing as to who is taking care of what reminder, which mood has been identified for who or different access points in the application.

And especially if you’re connecting to a loved one, we don’t want to have any confusion there. So it’s something that we’re actually really working on on the back end to create sort of an innovative approach, whether that’s a different app experience for each individual or a different interface for each individual.

That’s what we’re working on, but it absolutely is something that needs to be done in something that will be introduced at some point.

Liz Craven: [00:28:28] Wonderful. What other things are on your wishlist?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:28:32] Well, that’s a great question.

Liz Craven: [00:28:34] And if you don’t want to give away the secrets it’s okay.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:28:38] Oh, no, no, no. I’m a huge secret sharer. We actually built on our website, this page called the vivid vision recently and it’s our outlook into 2024. So it actually outlines all of our secrets and where we would like to see the caregiving industry. Go to ultimately what I’d like to see is the leveraging the increase in internet connectivity with 5g and the opportunity for more internet enabled devices, where Memoryz isn’t just limited to your phone.

When you hop into your car at the end of the day, your smart system is able to greet you with the Memoryz interface, letting you know some of the updates, your loved one has. When you get home, your fridge is able to tell you, okay, it’s actually time to warm up this meal that you reminded Memoryz to do.

Prepare this for your loved one. By the time you settled down to your laptop, you’re reminded that it’s time to do a weekly burnout questionnaire from Memoryz and to track your mood. And then finally, when you’re about to go to bed, your Apple watch, or your smartwatch reminds you to send a good morning message to your loved one, and to reach out to your caregiving community, all of these things built.

That’s the idea for me in the future, where

Liz Craven: [00:29:38] I love it. That’s really exciting. I’m excited hearing that you said something within there that was very interesting to me. And that was fill out a burnout questionnaire. What is that? That sounds good.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:29:53] Thank you. But it’s actually something that we have cooking on the back end for us. So one of the things that we want to do with the mood tracking is one provide you as much visualization to the trends that you are actually experiencing, but we want to go one step further in being able to show you.

Okay. Based on this mood reporting that you’re providing here is a standardized metric that other organizations or healthcare teams are using to track burnout. We are incorporating that into the application. Here’s your report on how you’re feeling you’re trending towards burnout or currently you’re experiencing it, whatever the definition of burnout is that we’re using or that you define for yourself, this is what your’re experiencing.

We would like you to be aware of it so that you are charged with this information. And perhaps that prompts you to reach out to a mental health provider or look at a way to actually incorporate more resources into your care. We just don’t want there to ever be a time where you’ve been going and going and going for three months and within that period, have no idea how you got to the point of where you feel currently.

Liz Craven: [00:30:48] That’s a brilliant. Love it. I love everything that you’re doing. Well really quick before we finish. I wanted to mention to our listeners to visit your website because you’ve got some fantastic videos there or that they might be on YouTube, but I think they link from your site. Fantastic. Go take a look at the caregiver videos that Rishawn and his team have put online.

If you’re feeling alone and if you’re feeling a little over welcomed by your situation, just hearing somebody else, who’s going through it and getting to hear their story and how they went from overwhelmed to feeling great about their current situation. All of it. It’s really great. So thank you for posting those.

Is there one of those stories that stands out most for you?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:31:38] Thank you for bringing that up. It’s actually been a recent addition to our website where we had our caregiver interviews on YouTube and we totally, did a terrible job of representing what we do as a company. As I mentioned earlier, we’re really a platform that’s supporting caregivers outside of just a mobile application.

So we wanted this to be at the forefront. I think we have over 40 YouTube interviews now done, and we’re continuing to do caregiver interviews, maybe three to five every week. So I totally agree with that. I absolutely cannot say if I have a favorite. Interview or, or not. But I do watch all of the interviews.

I did the majority of the beginning ones, and then what we actually do as a team, something I built into the company is it’s almost a mandatory part of orientation to do a caregiver interview yourself, because I think that is a really humbling experience for somebody who’s joining the team to understand what we’re actually doing and why we’re supporting these individuals and why everything that we do is so care oriented and we want to

incorporate caregivers into all of our decision making. So I’m glad that you’ve seen some of those videos. I hope the listeners who are listening to this, have the opportunity to check some out. Maybe reach out to any of these individuals they’re all on Instagram or other social media. And it will never hurt to let an individual know that you resonated with their story.

You may feel something similar and keep going.

Liz Craven: [00:32:52] oh, that’s great. Well, how can people be a part of what you’re doing? You mentioned that they can use the app now, is that a free or a fee-based?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:33:01] Absolutely. So we’re a free application and you can check us out at memoryz.co memoryz.co and you can download our application from the Apple store or the play store. Our app is free. It’ll continue to be for the next little bit as we, this current version of our application before we built in features like app integrations and other things, we’re hoping to keep our application free.

So feel free to go ahead and use it. And there are no ads and we don’t want to clutter that experience. The other ways that you can actually join us is to follow us on our social media. To book some time with me on my calendar. The direct link to my calendar is on the website under chat with our founder because what we’re actually looking to build as well is an ambassador program, where if there are caregivers or folks who would love to be able to help us spread the word of Memoryz to maybe reach out to caregiver communities themselves and share their experience, or to just have a larger audience for what it is that we’re doing.

We want to use all of our resources at our disposal to support you. So if you’re interested in anything similar outside of our using application, send me an email, sign up for our newsletter, reach out on Instagram. Any of those ways we’ll be able to get in touch with you and help you out.

Liz Craven: [00:34:05] Wonderful. And I will provide links to all of that in the blog post for this episode, which is season two, episode seven, you’ll find that at sageaging.com or you can find it via a link in the show notes. Which you’ll find in your favorite podcast app. Well, the last question, my favorite question of every interview, do you have one piece of Sage advice you’d like to leave our listeners with?

Rishawn Dindial: [00:34:33] I think I’ll, I’ll say advice that I wish I got and that’s There was no room for pride in this equation. I think for somebody like me who wanted to maintain, especially externally that I am always doing okay with my caregiver responsibilities, that I can handle all the stress in front of me. And that was a really isolating and debilitating mindset to have, I think, realizing right from the get-go that this is going to be overwhelming.

And there are people who are also overwhelmed, reach out as early as possible, understand that caregiving is a collective exercise and that people want to support each other. So be as early and prompt and identifying how you’re feeling. And I think you’ll only benefit from that.

Liz Craven: [00:35:10] Very good advice. Love it. Well, thank you Rishawn, so much, for taking time to share with us today. And gosh, I wish you so much success with this app and I hope that you’ll come back down the road. I’d love to see where this is a year from now.

Rishawn Dindial: [00:35:25] Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me, Liz, I would love to, I think you’re doing a fantastic job with this platform and this podcast, and I hope all of your listeners realize the work that you’re putting into this and the value that this is providing. So thank you so much for having us.

Liz Craven: [00:35:38] Oh, thanks. I appreciate that. And thank all of you for listening. As a caregiver, it is really easy to get lost in all of the responsibilities of taking care of others. And as we’ve discussed today, it’s very easy to feel alone in that endeavor, but staying connected to others, staying connected to your support community, to other caregivers and the resources that are available to you is a super important part of the equation.

And I hope that you’ll take the time to make sure that that’s happening in your own situation. We don’t want to see you run the risk of burning out and becoming ill and needing care yourself. So it’s super important, whether it’s through the Memoryz app or through all of the other wonderful things that are available to you, including this podcast and ElderCare Guide, we hope that you’ll stay connect. Are you enjoying the Sage Aging podcast? Well, I sure hope so. I’m loving the feedback that I’m getting from all of you, keep it coming and keep those suggestions rolling in. I appreciate you so much. Let’s connect on social media. You can find Sage Aging on Instagram and Facebook, and you can find me, Liz Craven, on LinkedIn. And,

I think I’ve reminded you of this before, but you know, you can get the Sage Aging podcasts sent straight to your inbox each week is very easy to do. Simply go to Sageaging.com, scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and you can subscribe there. Season two is absolutely packed with great content.

So be sure to subscribe. We don’t want you to miss a thing. Thanks again for spending some time with me today. I sure do appreciate you all. And we will talk real soon.

 

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.