The Care behind the Caretaker
In 2016, the world announced a monumental milestone: it was home to over 7 billion people. Amidst the celebration, worries rose, grappling the weight behind what this meant.
To put in perspective, the global population of people aged 80 and older is expected to more than triple between 2015 and 2050, growing from 126.5 million to 446.6 million (National Institute of Health Census Bureau).
Not only is a vast portion of our population continuing to grow older, but a need continue to grow to aid the caretakers behind these individuals.
"Two out of three (66%) of older people with disabilities who receive LTSS at home get all their care exclusively from their family caregiver, mostly wives and daughters. Another quarter (26%) receives some combination of family care and paid help; only 9% receive paid help alone."
-Family Caregiver Alliance Report
The Problem Space:
How might caretakers receive care from their physically
and mentally strenuous jobs?
Step 1: Empathy Interviews
To understand our personas, we first conducted empathy interviews. An ethnographic research technique such as an In-Depth Interview (IDI) helped us understand how our personas felt about the problem we were trying to solve.
After recruiting to conduct our interviews, we chose to conduct an In-Depth Interview with Sarah and Jen (real names not used to protect the identities of these individuals) who we felt fit the different characteristics that defined our caregiver persona. We set up the interviews so that were was a moderator and note-taker. The moderator's job was to ask open-ended questions.
This way, we were able to achieve our goal of doing much more listening than talking, and gain valuable insights to directly take back for an informed brainstorm session.
Step 2: Brainstorming
2.1 Stakeholder Map
Our first step after conducting the In-Depth Interviews, was to organize our findings into a stakeholder map. We wanted to gather the different pieces of information from our interviews and organize them into a visual aid. Specifically, the stakeholder map would help us better understand the different relationships our stakeholders had relatively with each other.
This way, we could get a better understanding of who would be affected or would have the power to affect within the problem space. From this stakeholder map we understood some of the tensions between the caregiver and elderly because of the lack of overlap in parties involved with both groups. For example, there may be an imbalance in how close the nurse with the elderly group, compared to the caregiver.
2.2 Empathy Map
The next step to deeply understanding our persona was to prioritize their needs. To organize this, we conducted a brainstorming session utilizing an empathy map.
Our Empathy Mapping helped us better understand how our persona groups:
• Think and Feel
• Say and Do
• Their Pains
• Their Gains
2.3 Personas & Their Journey Maps
Since we now better understood the motivations, needs, goals, and pain points of our personas, we wanted to organize these various components into final-stage personas.
Step 3: The Solution
3.1 Feasibility and Usefulness Graph
After brainstorming the various ideas we had as a team for the solution,
we decided to discuss where each idea would fall on a scale of a
Feasibility and Usefulness Graph.
Since feasibility and usefulness are both high priorities for the final
solution, we were able to discuss through the various ideas
and find a solution that would meet both of these criteria.
3.2 The Final Solution: Vesta
From the various brainstorming sessions, we were able to recognize that a high priority were for caregivers to attend to their duties as a caregiver. However, many of the loved ones that was receiving this care, were very hesitant to give up their freedom and independence. We aimed to find a solution that would not have to compromise safety of the care-receiver.
Vesta is aimed to connect both the caregiver and care-receiver without having to make big compromises for both parties involved. The caregiver's worries can be alleviated while still having a direct communication source to the care-receiver.
On the other hand, the care-receiver can exercise more freedom and independence because they can trust and depend on Vesta, in case of an emergency.
Below, you can see how we highlight the features of Vesta, and a storyboard illustrating a user scenario.