Organizer: (n) The one who helps the care recipient or caregiver coordinate support by rallying the team.
Caregiving is complicated. Having a team of people looking for ways to help can actually add to the burden caregivers already feel. While it’s great to have people looking to support you, sometimes the offers can just feel like another task on your to-do list. You know you need the help, but just can’t find the time to respond, arrange, and confirm with every person.
This is where having an organizer on your support team can be helpful. An organizer is the point person that helps you navigate your community of supporters, send updates, invites more people to the team, and manages the things you may not have the time to do yourself.
We’ve heard from supporters that they are sometimes hesitant to offer help. They worry about overwhelming the caregiver with another message to read, question to answer, or request to respond to. When your team has an appointed organizer, supporters can direct questions about schedules, health updates, meal preferences and more to them instead of the caregiver. This makes it easier for supporters to know exactly how they can show up for the caregiver without feeling like they are intruding or overwhelming them.
We know the value this role can offer, because we modeled it after a real user story.
When Jim and Emily’s daughter got sick, COVID was just beginning. When they shared the news with family and friends, everyone wanted to help out. But with COVID restrictions and many supporters located across the country, their support system wasn’t sure how to best offer help.
Their close friend Abby felt there was something she could do. “I felt like, man, I bet people would really benefit from having a structured way to volunteer their services. And so I actually talked to them about setting [ianacare up on] their behalf so that they wouldn't have to figure out how these people could help them.”
Once Abby started the team, she managed everything from meal requests and drop-offs, communication of health updates, visiting hours, address changes, and more. Jim and Emily were able to solely focus on their daughter’s care while receiving an outpouring of support from friends and family, all without having to take on extra coordination or communication themselves.
And the impact was monumental. Through Abby’s efforts, Jim & Emily’s team grew to over 100 supporters. They received 540 meals and their team handled grocery shopping, errands, and visited them in the hospital. They used the private feed to keep everyone updated on their journey and to let them know how much they appreciated the outpouring of love. All without having to manage unwieldy group texts or spreadsheets!
This perspective truly inspired us to figure out how to make it easier for supporters to #JustShowUp for caregivers. Ultimately, help and support should reduce the burden and strain on caregivers, not add to it.
So how do you find the organizer in your group?
Caregivers, when you think about your own personal circle, who is the person that always steps up and goes above and beyond? We often relate this role to the best man or maid of honor of caregiving! Once you’ve identified them, you can add them to your team as an organizer, or if they’re already on the team - simply change their role from supporter to organizer.
And as a supporter, if there is a caregiver in your life that you really want to rally support for, let them know you’d love to start a team on their behalf as an organizer. Once you get their permission, you’ll be able to download the app and invite them onto the team as a caregiver. From there, you’ll both be able to invite new team members, manage requests and offers, and navigate the caregiver support journey together.