App to help families plan loved ones’ care launches on National Seniors Day
A mobile app that helps families manage the care of seniors living at home is being unveiled today (Oct. 1), National Seniors Day, at a launch event at Surrey’s Innovation Boulevard.
Created by Christina Chiu, a Simon Fraser University health sciences alumna and current UBC graduate student, the CareCrew app, known as Caren, enables users to share to-do lists and digitally log updates, while viewing and making changes to a plan of care that is personalized to seniors’ needs and preferences.
“Recognizing that every senior and every situation is unique, the idea behind CareCrew is to help families provide personalized care and support to the needs and preferences of families’ loved ones,” says Chiu. “We’re aiming to become a leading seniors care platform.”
Chiu first pitched the idea at Hacking Health Design Challenge in 2016. That year, she won a people’s choice award at the national eHealth conference, and the following January, won the Fraser Health Hackathon. Fraser Health has continued its support of the concept.
“We were pleased to recognize the CareCrew team for their innovative work at our inaugural Fraser Health Hackathon last year,” says Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health vice president of population health and chief medical health officer.
“Seniors in our region have unique care needs, and the CareCrew app will enable care providers and a person’s family to ensure their loved one receives appropriate care.It’s exciting for us to enable and partner with innovators like CareCrew. This is where health care is going.”
Last year Chiu connected with e@UBC’s Lean Launchpad program. She incorporated her company, CareCrew Technologies, the next month and by spring had raised a first round of funding. By summer she moved into Innovation Boulevard’s Surrey office and became a client of SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, which provides mentoring and startup support for new innovators.
Earlier this year CareCrew won the SFU Coast Capital Savings Venture Prize social impact award. "Christina is a living example of SFU's community engagement strategy,” says Janice OBriain, director of Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection, which marks its 10th anniversary this fall. “CareCrew's story is one of collaboration - a company that has grown from the various programs that Vancouver has to offer. We're proud to see how successfully clients like Christina are making a difference and creating solutions that benefit society."
Chiu has since moved the company to UBC’s downtown innovation hub. “Entrepreneurship@UBC has been one of many proud supporters of CareCrew's journey over the past two years,” says Barry Yates, the program’s managing director.
“Founder and CEO Christina Chiu continues to prove that collaboration, community and teamwork are critical ingredients when developing solutions to complex social challenges—such as the challenge of safe and accessible seniors care and caregiver wellness. We look forward to continuing to champion the mission of CareCrew and support the launch of this much needed service for families and caregivers across Canada.”
The United Nations also marks October 1, 2018 as the International Day of Older Persons.