App for families aims to improve care for seniors living at home

VANCOUVER—In the last two years, Christina Chiu collected 180 “heartbreaking” stories from Lower Mainland families caring for their aging parents, which led her to launch an app to “personalize” care for seniors living at home.

Among those testimonials was an aging couple who wanted to stay at home so they sold all their belongings, reversed mortgaged their home to pay for professional home care.

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Family testimonials compelled Christina Chiu to build an app that was conceived in 2016. (MATHEW MCCARTHY /WATERLOO REGION RECORD)

“The kids felt like the people they hired weren’t doing a good job, and the caretakers felt like the families weren’t doing a good job,” said Chiu, founder of CareCrew Technologies and a UBC health administration graduate student.

The CareCrew app lets families and caretakers to share to-do lists and digitally log updates while being able to view and make changes to the plan.

It’s meant to improve communication among caretakers and families, Chiu said, and help reduce problems that surfaced from the interviews like giving seniors foods they can’t consume because a caretaker wasn’t aware of their condition or prevent seniors from getting an infection because the caretaker wasn’t aware that they had to get their nails clipped by a doctor.

According to Statistics Canada, the proportion of the senior population (aged 65 and older) has been increasing steadily over the past 40 years. By 2021, “the number of seniors is projected to exceed the number of children aged 14 and younger for the first time ever.”

The idea was first conceived in 2016 and has won the people’s choice award at the national eHealth conference. It’s free to download on Android with paid features to be added in the future.

PressChristina Chiu