Caregiving coordination by text? It’s full of problems

Caregiving is truly a team sport. It’s nearly impossible for a single person to do it alone, which means there is a lot of back and forth needed to make sure that each meal, ride, and doctor’s appointment is accounted for.

For lots of people that back and forth occurs in a seemingly never-ending group text thread with friends or family or both. 

Most people love texting. It’s easy. It’s generally free. It’s on everyone’s phone. And people of all ages are comfortable enough to make it work.

But using an ongoing text thread to coordinate care over an extended period of time is also full of problems. Here are a few:

1. Text threads are full of distractions. I will fully admit that I am as guilty of this as the next person. A text thread starts about one tangible thing like asking for help with a ride to an upcoming doctor’s appointment. Then it wanders off into another in search of a joke or some snarky unrelated commentary about the fact that Taylor Swift just dropped a new album or a beloved restaurant just closed. Getting these conversations back on track can be difficult and results in more work and more stress for caregivers

2. The stress of asking for help is exacerbated. As we know, asking for help can be really hard emotionally and doing it via text makes the situation even more stressful. Who do I include in my text? Are they comfortable saying no? Do I need a bunch of individual texts or do I just send one to the group? What if more than one person says yes?  What if no one says yes?  What if someone makes an inappropriate comment? Aaagh!!! 

3. There is no home base for information.  Every time someone agrees to help with a caregiving task, there are details that need to be communicated. For meals that could be timing, dietary restrictions and delivery details. For a ride, that could be a pickup location or parking information. For a virtual check-in it could be potential topics for conversation or technology to use. 

No matter what the situation, knowing the details can make a huge difference. But in a text thread, that means a lot of back and forth and searching through your history to find out when, what, and how something needs to be done. 

4. You have to create your own reminders. Once a plan is agreed to in a text thread, it just stays there. Unless you remember to add it to your personal calendar you won’t get a reminder on your phone, making it easy to forget.  And forgetting can create a huge problem. That means someone doesn’t get picked up, or food doesn't arrive, or groceries go un-purchased.

So, what’s the alternative? We built the free ianacare app with all of that in mind so you can easily and comfortably ask your team of supporters for help with the specific types of tasks they are available for, see all of the details in one place, track what has and has not been accepted, and get reminders via text and push notifications. 

While it might make discussing the new Taylor Swift album more difficult, skipping the group text makes asking for and giving help easier for everyone involved.

Ready to get started? Download the ianacare app for free today.

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