Apr 6, 2023
Technology has become an essential part of our lives, so it’s no surprise that it can be incredibly helpful during major life events. In this episode, Aimee sits down with Candice Smith, founder and CEO of Caregiven, to discuss practical ways to use technology during a life-changing event. They also chat about technology’s limits and when a new app or tool may not be the right answer.
Set up a group text.
One easy way to incorporate technology during a major event is to create a group text thread to keep multiple people informed of updates at once. When creating the group, ask the people on the thread to introduce themselves, so everyone can see who they are and not just a string of numbers.
“I hate being on text threads, and there’s just a phone number,” Candice said.
Create an online calendar.
After creating a group text, you will likely start to get an idea of how people might want to help and when they’re free. However, this information can quickly get overwhelming with your other day-to-day responsibilities.
Consider setting up a separate online calendar to organize appointments and information related to the major life event. By creating a distinct calendar that integrates with your personal and work calendars, you can easily access important information but still temporarily hide information that can be emotionally draining when you don’t need it.
“Sometimes these events are draining emotionally and you don’t want to be reminded while you’re at work,” Candice said. “Let’s say that today is the day that hospice is coming in. I don’t necessarily want to see that during the day.”
Turn on alarms and reminders.
When Candice’s Dad was dying from cancer, she turned on audible alarms on his iPad to remind him to drink water. Her Dad would get so annoyed with the noise that he got up to turn off the alarm, but because he was already up, he ended up drinking the water he needed.
“Reminders are a great thing to physically stop somebody from their day-to-day, even if it’s just to turn it off,” Candice said.
There’s an app for that.
Whether you’re going through a pregnancy, breakup, or life-threatening illness, there’s likely an app or technology that can help you navigate that life experience. Types of technologies that might help include:
Baby monitors to hear noise in another room (even if you don’t have an infant)
Light fixtures for non-intrusive motion sensing
Apple Watch or alert button to detect falls
Keep in mind that when it comes to apps and technology, one size doesn’t fit all and what works for you might not work for others. Also, you don’t have to stick with the first app or service you try.
“Nobody’s out there Googling caregiving apps or mental health apps unless there’s a reason -- and it’s usually a dramatic or traumatic reason,” Candice said. “Figure out what you like and what you don’t like. If it continues to work, that’s great, but you don’t have to stick with it and you don’t have to feel guilty breaking up with the tech either.”
Technology is not always the answer.
Technology can be a great tool when it works -- but a nightmare when it doesn’t. Further, new technologies often come with a learning curve, and the peak of a life-changing crisis may not be the best time to experiment with new tools or apps.
If you’re in the middle of a crisis, consider waiting to try new technology until you’ve had some time to settle and identify problems that technology may be able to simplify or solve. Also, Candice reminded listeners that technology doesn’t replace the need for actually caring.
“These instances are often the worst experience to date that somebody’s lived through,” Candice said. “No matter how much easier we make it by using technology … it doesn't take away the fact it’s still the worst experience they’ve gone through to date.”
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About Aimee and WhatFriendsDo
Aimee Kandrac is a speaker, consultant, and the co-founder and CEO of WhatFriendsDo. Her work is instrumental for organizing support during life-changing events, and she speaks to organizations about creative ways to help friends and family during times of crisis. Aimee has been recognized as a Top 50 Mompreneur by Babble.com and is the first female CEO in the state of Indiana to close a $500,000 funding round. She has been featured in Forbes, Time, the LA Times, Oprah.com, the Indianapolis Star, and more.
WhatFriendsDo is a simpler way to create organized and actionable support during a time of crisis. The free, online platform empowers healthcare facilities, HR departments, families, and friends to easily coordinate meals, errands, transportation, childcare, communication, and more for those in the midst of a life-changing event. The women-founded and women-led company started as a solution for a friend with terminal cancer. WhatFriendsDo is based out of Indianapolis.