For several years I cared for my elderly parents at home. At times I found the challenge of juggling my own life and demanding job with their complex and growing needs overwhelming. I consider myself fortunate in having a brother and sister who were willing to help, but sharing tasks, when my brother worked shifts and my sister lived over 50 miles away and didn’t drive, wasn’t always easy to organise.
There are currently over 2 million people caring for elderly relatives in the UK. With an ageing population and rising life expectancies for those with illness or disability, caring for our elderly loved ones presents a huge and growing challenge.
Something I would have found helpful myself is a new tool that has been developed by Carers UK called Jointly, to help families manage care for loved ones alongside their increasingly complex lives
What is Jointly?
Jointly is a simple solution to sharing care for a loved one. It is a mobile and online application (often called an app) that is available for mobile phones, tablets and computers. It offers a simple, practical way to share information and co-ordinate tasks amongst an invited circle who are helping look after a loved one.
Jointly is designed to make caring a little easier, less stressful and a lot more organised. It combines group messaging with other useful features including to-do and medication lists, a calendar and more.
You can create a circle of care around the person you are looking after and invite people to join you and share the caring. Alternatively, you can use Jointly on your own to organise the care around someone.
Creating a circle
The Circle will comprise of people who have accepted an invitation to join your Jointly circle (sent by you or another member of your circle). All members of your Jointly circle can view the content posted on Jointly, so make sure to take this into account when you post.
The Profile enables you to keep all the information about the person in one place. Use it to store information about the person you are looking after and be able to access it at any time at a click of a button! Make a note of their date of birth, disability, illness or condition, their caring needs, the things that are important to them, likes and dislikes, how they like to be cared for and anything else you may think is relevant.
Communicate with everyone in your Jointly circle at a touch of a button! Simply post a message or upload an image. Members of your circle will receive a notification and can respond.
Keep organised and on top of things by using tasks and task lists. Simply create a task and assign it to any member of your Jointly circle, including yourself, and monitor its status.
The Tasks page gives you a summary of all tasks. They are divided into Tasks (for stand alone tasks, such as: Pick up Mum’s medication) and Task lists (for tasks that belong to a list, such as: Mum’s weekly groceries list -under which you can store more items such as Buy milk, dog food, etc.).
Use the calendar to create date/time specific events and invite anyone in your circle. You can also use the field provided to invite people outside your Jointly circle. You can keep tabs of all planned events in Jointly’s calendar while at the same time sending and accepting invitations in your personal calendar.
Use the medications feature to keep track of current and past medication of the person you are caring for. You can see today’s medication with an indication of the time it should be taken as well as the dose (Today view) and see all current and past medication in a list (All medications view)
You can also upload an image to quickly recognise a medicine.
Nothing helps more than having the right contact details at the right time! Jointly stores the contact details of the members of your circle and also allows you to store other useful contacts e.g. their GP, chiropodist and a local plumber and you can access their details anytime, anywhere! You just have to click on someone’s phone number to place a call or on their email address to send an email.
Here you can store longer text notes or images and assign them categories so that they can be easily found later.
How to order Jointly
Jointly is available to download as a mobile app from Apple and at Google Play stores for a one-off payment of £2.99. A PC/Laptop version is also available from jointlyapp.com
Once you have purchased Jointly you can invite as many people as you want to share the care with you. There is no additional cost for the people you invite to join you.