Grandma with dementia inspires teen to create care app

Posted at 8:30 PM, Jan 10, 2020

LEXINGTON, Mass. — Logan Wells and his grandmother are super close.

“We like to read. We read all the time," Wells said. “We also… if there’s music on, we’ll sing. She’s a big music person.”

However, Logan realizes there will likely come a day when Nanny doesn’t remember Logan as her grandson anymore.

“Eight years ago, my grandmother was first diagnosed with dementia. And it was really challenging seeing the effects it had on her, and then the effects it eventually had on my family,” Wells said.

Wells' family quickly learned the struggles that come with caregiving, like coordinating care between family members and knowing whether or not she’s taken her medication for the day. So Wells started to problem solve.

“I think 14 is when I first came up with it,” Wells said.

Five years ago, Logan came up with the idea to create CareZare. It’s a free app that helps caregivers look after a loved one by giving them a platform to track med reports, visits, moods, calendar events and any other information you’d want family members to know. Once your care team is created, anyone who’s a part of that team will receive notifications whenever somebody adds information.

"My hope is that they can have more time they can spend with their loved one instead of managing their loved one,” Wells said.

Liz O’Donnell is the founder of Working Daughter, a community for women balancing eldercare, career and kids. She’s written a guide for caregivers based her own life experience.

“Both of my parents were diagnosed with terminal illnesses on the same day. My dad was diagnosed with dementia and I left that hospital and got a call from another hospital, and they told me my mother had ovarian cancer,” O'Donnell said.

O’Donnell says she’s always looking for new technology that can make life easier for caregivers.

“Caregivers are living these really busy, modern lives but caregiving happens in a really old-fashioned setting. It’s so focused on paperwork still and phone calls,” O'Donnell said.

CareZare is one option she finds helpful with the unpredictable lifestyle people with chronic illnesses face.

“What I love about the CareZare app is that I could go and visit mom or dad in the morning and say, 'oh they’re having a great day.' Like, 'this would be a good day to come over and take them for a ride' – you know, tell my sisters that. Or 'they’re having a bad day, this is a day I really want you to come over and help me out,' ” O'Donnell said.

When Logan created the app, he thought it’d only be useful for his family, but with 5,000 downloads so far, he’s happy to know it’s making a difference for other families too.