The most recent Census 2021 puts the estimated number of unpaid carers at 5 million in England and Wales. This, together with ONS Census data for Scotland and Northern Ireland, suggests that the number of unpaid carers across the UK is 5.7 million. This means that around 9% of people are providing unpaid care. Source
In this context, the story of Kevin Shaw presents a compelling case. Founder of Mind for Care, Kevin Shaw in his lonely quest for an investor to make carer support accessible for individuals and businesses. In March of 2021, when Kevin Shaw was combating the terrifying symptoms of Covid-19, his life had turned upside down as a carer for multiple individuals, including an 81-year-old relative with two types of dementia. The lockdowns compelled him to look for a means to provide remote care, but the available options were inadequate. He embarked on a voyage to create an app that would revolutionize caregiving for dementia patients and their overworked carers because he was determined to make a difference.
In this pursuit, Kevin withdrew his personal savings to fund the initial version of the Mind for Care app. He took the help of a freelancer coder on Upwork to design it, which helped him bring Terry (the 81-year-old) back home. The Mind for Care app installed on Terry’s phone helped Kevin to take remote care of Terry as his son never bothered to look back.
Ever since Kevin can be taking care of his own family of his father with two-time brain strokes, and his mother who succumbed to extreme anxiety of managing Kevin’s elder brother with acute paranoia, who is also Kevin’s responsibility. The affair is not that grim as Kevin has to take Paddington out for a walk daily with the confidence he has on his app to be remotely in charge of all these people when he needs his me-time.
“Caregiving responsibilities are unpaid and super stressful,” sighs Kevin. “The helplessness of seeing aging people with cognitive issues such as dementia, paranoia, anxieties, is not a great experience.” He didn’t know what resources and support services were available to help. And, after a few months of juggling it all, he quit his last job of 13 years as a board-certified hypnotherapist. Kevin didn’t realize that he wasn’t alone in his dilemma: some choose to give up their careers due to caregiving responsibilities.
While continuing to take care of his vulnerable, Kevin continues to think of ways he can address the unmet needs of caregiving. He notices the size of the market and the incredible gap that presents an opportunity to mobilize support for caregivers. Kevin has no background in business and so he inclined toward the Longitude Prize 2023, which he couldn’t earn after 3 months of waiting. Kevin says, “While I am confident about what technology can do, I am seeking investors to recognize this and dive in with conviction.”
According to Carers UK, “It is clear from carers’ responses this year that the cost-of-living crisis has created unprecedented pressure, which has not only affected their finances but their health and well-being. In October 2022, we published a report – Heading for Crisis: Caught between Caring and Rising Costs – based on these findings. As well as finances, our State of Caring 2022 survey covered many other aspects of caring, from the impact of caring on health, to experiences of using support services, and the challenges of juggling work and care. We found that:
Many carers are facing serious difficulties in getting NHS treatment, with a third (34%) of those waiting for specialist treatment or assessment waiting for over a year.
Two-thirds of those (67%) waiting for treatment said that waiting is having a negative impact on their physical or mental health.
41% of carers haven’t taken a break from their caring role in the last year.
Half of all carers (51%) took over a year to recognize their caring role, with over a third (36%) taking over three years to recognize themselves as a carer.
75% of carers worry about continuing to juggle work and care going forward.
With many services being reduced or cut completely, carers are extremely worried about the future: 61% said they were uncertain about what practical support they might be able to access in the next 12 months.”
Kevin asserts that with an increase in global layoffs, the mental health of existing employees is the crucial cog in the wheel for productivity. Employers can also take advantage of what Mind for Care has to offer when it receives funding to execute the improved version. Besides those impacted by the uncertainty of layoffs, the primary benefit of remote caregiving is always an advantage for caregivers as they continue their employment without having to go on unpaid leaves.
While progress has been made, Kevin talks about difficulties in bringing Mind for Care to fruition. He says, “My team of devoted, time-donating programmers struggles to juggle multiple responsibilities, impeding the app’s development into a sophisticated technology that can redefine caregiving Additionally, it remains difficult to convince investors of the app’s potential to generate revenue. If we are going to ignore the opportunity now, it would be a pity to miss an ideal opportunity of impact, which is not only going to help those in the grip of cognitive issues, the primary caregivers, but also ourselves in the grip of cognitive issues when we wouldn’t like to lose our authonomy while expecting to be cared for.”
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