A woman in glasses showing surprise at what's on a mobile phone.

A major source of stress for family carers is the fear that they might make a mistake. Curi™, Semafores’ social mobile family caregiving application, was born of that fear. When our founder, Julie Tittler, made a mistake with her son’s medication which nearly landed him in the hospital, she searched for a mobile tool to keep that from happening again. Finding nothing she thought would work for her, she started creating her own.

With its comprehensive scheduling tools to help carers keep track of their caregiving responsibilities and hand-off tools to take the guess work out of sharing them, we at Semafores are confident that Curi™ will help to reduce the chance that carers will make serious errors. Because we know that no tool, no matter how well designed, can completely eliminate all sources of error, we’ve added still another tool that carers can use to prevent them—the “minder”.

A minder is a person who knows the carer and the the cared-for and who can monitor things from a distance. This puts another human in the loop, who may be harder to ignore than an application running on your phone. Minders aren’t responsible for routine care, but when something goes wrong they are notified so they can follow up with them personally by making a phone call, sending a text, or stopping by, as the circumstances require. This provides a backup to carers, and helps keep things from being forgotten in the first place, as carers want to avoid receiving an uncomfortable phone call. When the minder follows up, they may simply be checking in to provide a personal reminder, or they may be offering practical or emotional support.

Besides providing a backup to current carers, being able to set a minder provides peace of mind on those occasions when you have to leave care in someone else’s hands. By making yourself a minder you can leave those you care for with a babysitter, or a less experienced family member, and be sure that you will be notified if essential care tasks aren’t completed. You won’t be bothered if there are no problems needing your immediate attention, but will know to call when something does.

When we talked about the minder feature of Curi™ with potential customers, we found another significant use for it. While Curi™ was first conceived as a tool for family carers looking after others, it can also be used to help organize and motivate self-care. For people who generally see to their own needs, but who need occasional supervision, Curi™’s minder feature would be useful. By allowing for supervision from a respectful distance, Curi™, for example, could foster independence in adolescents transitioning to adulthood, and could help maintain independence for adults with mild cognitive or memory issues. A carer would be able to step in to help only when needed.

Another possibility is that a minder might be notified when an action is completed successfully, not when there has been a failure. This allows the minder to offer positive reinforcement to help keep someone on track, either for self-care or in their caregiving for others. The recognition of a job well done, or a difficult task completed can be a powerful motivator, especially when it comes from a real person.

With its minder function, Curi™ reduces worry and helps you be a better carer by bringing another human being into the mix to provide assurance and support.