It’s The Caregiver’s Voice 20th Anniversary!
Twenty years ago, encouraged by support group members, The Caregiver’s Voice filled a void left by family caregivers and their loved ones who would not share their experiences, publicly. We’ve made progress in reducing the stigma. We are grateful to still be called upon to provide information, inspiration, and humor for caregivers and people with dementia.
A Brief History of The Caregiver’s Voice Website
What began as a caregiver blog on an AOL Member astronomy site in 1998 (thanks to the expertise of a fellow caregiver’s tech-savvy son), grew into a website and newsletter read around the world.
We had the good fortune of taking a major step forward, thanks to former long-distance caregiver, Linda Tucker, who I met at The Gathering Place. She put me in touch with caregiver, Debbie Fisher, whose gifted teenage son agreed to help. Kevin Fisher created a custom site after creating The Ribbon.
Back then, posting blogs with pictures entailed time-consuming and tedious steps. We loaded text and pictures on separate sites and then merged them with a bit of html coding. For the inexperienced (me), the process was cumbersome. But this is what it took to ensure the images appeared in their intended positions.
Our efforts were rewarded when we became the go-to source for family caregivers who sought understanding and compassion from fellow family caregivers walking the same road.
A lot has changed over 20 years.
Off-the-shelf licensed “themes” enable us to easily upload and place content and images. Kevin became a NASA Scholar and Dr. Fisher. Various webmasters have shepherded us to where we are, today.
Three Major Changes in Dementia and Caregiving
- There is greater recognition of and support for the integral role of family caregivers.
- More family caregivers and people with dementia are advocating for themselves by speaking and/or writing.
- There has been a near-300% increase in the number of people with dementia – from 16 to 47 million.
The Next 20 Years
People with dementia who desire to live in their own homes will rely more on artificial intelligence (AI) devices.
Anticipating a shortfall of caregivers as our population ages, robot caregivers are destined to play a greater role. Japan continues developing “carebots.” Caregivers’ lives will be easier with robots programmed to assist with caregiving tasks such as managing medications, making meals, and providing companionship.
Pioneering families and their loved ones will give up a measure of privacy. The data gathered from users’ interactions with assistive devices like Amazon Echo, Google Home, Siri, and others will help advance AI’s capabilities. Assuming the robots perform as programmed, caregivers will feel less stress and have more energy to enjoy time with their loved ones.
One thing’s for sure, the next 20 years will move more quickly. We’ll be witnessing and participating in untold pioneering initiatives. A cure? Hold on tight.
This year, we’re celebrating Our 20th Anniversary! YAAAY!