There’s an App for That – Caring Village

Caring Village is a mobile app and online dashboard which allows cargivers to coordinate and schedule activities for their loved ones and enlist volunteer support.

In 1996, Hillary Clinton published a book called, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. If you were alive then, you know that the book was about how it takes an entire community to raise children, not just the parents or grandparents, guardians, teachers, caregivers, etc. I would also argue that it takes a village to manage a chronic or serious illness. While the primary responsibilities always seem to fall on one person, the journey wasn’t meant to be traveled alone. It includes doctors, nurses, aides, therapists of all kinds, family members, friends, clergy and many others you may never meet.

I think that many people are so willing to help but (a) either don’t know what to do; or (b) are too busy to do it. Caregivers are also sometimes reluctant to ask for help or cannot give much notice about a request. I know I had the sweetest friend offer to bring food to my house – but not for three weeks! I had no idea what would happen a month from that moment. Things were just so unpredictable at that time. I politely declined.

Things have changed in the past few years, and technological advances give caregivers options to communicate and coordinate with family and friends about care needs. Although there really doesn’t appear to be a one-size-fits-all app out there, we’ll profile several that you can use in tandem or alone to fit your needs.

The first app I wanted to mention is Caring Village. It is free and available for both Apple and Android phones. It also has an online dashboard if you prefer working from a computer.

The application allows you to set up a community, or “village,” for your loved one that includes calendars, to-do lists, a journal, a medication list, a secure messaging feature and a place for documents. As the administrator, you can assign different roles for people you allow to join, which determines their level of access to the information.

Here are some things I thought that were interesting about the app:

  • Members – You can ask members to add a photo to their profile so you know who they are. You may not know what your father’s colleague at work looks like. The first time he offers to drive him to the doctor, you can take a quick pic or ask him to upload his photo.
  • Wellness Journal – This allows you or others to add a few notes each day (or whenever) about how your loved one is doing. It also allows photographs. When your loved one’s health changes constantly, this could be a helpful tool to keep things accurate.
  • Medication List – This would be especially useful when medications are changing or your loved one moves between care facilities. You need to keep track of inventory and expiration dates. Photos are allowed here as well.
  • Calendar and To Do Lists. The calendar is nice for the “village” to know of upcoming doctor appointments or procedures or if volunteer items are needed. The To Do Lists have reminder alerts for you and can be delegated to others (ask for a volunteer) for assistance.

It would be a good idea to consider overall how you intend to use the dashboard/app. Even with the most restricted level of membership (“Friends”), there is a great deal of access to the app’s information. For example, if you plan to load sensitive documents to the site (e.g., doctor’s notes from a recent appointment, Durable Power of Attorney, etc.), you may not want a neighbor who offered to drive your husband to the pharmacy to see that information. You either have to choose not to use the document feature or restrict who becomes a member. There is helpful chart in the Help Center about Role Access.

Have you used the Caring Village app? If so, what was your experience?


Caring Village, LLC does not sponsor You Don’t Have to Join the Circus (to my knowledge) and was not aware of this post prior to today.

(Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash)

A Free App for Caregivers – Caring Village

Caring Village is a mobile app and online dashboard which allows caregivers to coordinate and schedule activities for their loved ones and enlist volunteer support.

In 1996, Hillary Clinton published a book called, It Takes a Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us. If you were alive then, you know that the book was about how it takes an entire community to raise children, not just the parents or grandparents, guardians, teachers, caregivers, etc. I would also argue that it takes a village to manage a chronic or serious illness. While the primary responsibilities seem to fall on one person, the journey wasn’t meant to be traveled alone. It includes doctors, nurses, aides, therapists of all kinds, family members, friends, clergy and many others you may never meet.

Technological advances give caregivers options to communicate and coordinate with family and friends about care needs. Although there really doesn’t appear to be a one-size-fits-all app out there, in the coming months, I’ll profile several that you can use in tandem or alone to fit your needs.

The first app I wanted to mention is Caring Village. It is free and available for both Apple and Android phones. It also has an online dashboard if you prefer working from a computer.

The application allows you to set up a community, or “village,” for your loved one that includes calendars, to-do lists, a journal, a medication list, a secure messaging feature and a place for documents. As the administrator, you can assign different roles for people you allow to join, which determines their level of access to the information.

Here are some things I thought that were interesting about the app:

  • Members – Members can add a photo to their profile, so you know who they are. You may not know what your father’s colleague at work looks like. The first time he offers to drive him to the doctor, you can take a quick pic or ask him to upload his photo.
  • Wellness Journal – The journal section allows you or others to add a few notes each day (or whenever) about how your loved one is doing. It also allows photographs. When your loved one’s health changes constantly, the journal could be a helpful tool to keep things accurate.
  • Medication List – The list would be especially useful when medications are changing or your loved one moves between care facilities. You need to keep track of inventory and expiration dates. Photos are allowed here as well.
  • Calendar and To Do Lists. The calendar is nice for the “village” to know of upcoming doctor appointments or procedures or if volunteer items are needed. The To Do Lists have reminder alerts for you and can be delegated to others (ask for a volunteer) for assistance.

Before using the app, you should consider overall how you intend to use the dashboard/app. Even with the most restricted level of membership (“Friends”), there is a great deal of access to the app’s information. For example, if you plan to load sensitive documents to the site (e.g., doctor’s notes from a recent appointment, Durable Power of Attorney, etc.), you may not want a neighbor who offered to drive your husband to the pharmacy to see that information. You either have to choose not to use the document feature or restrict who becomes a member. There is helpful chart in the Help Center about Role Access.

Have you used the Caring Village app? If so, what was your experience?


Caring Village, LLC does not sponsor You Don’t Have to Join the Circus and was not aware of this post prior to today.

Welcome to the You Don’t Have to Join the Circus Blog!

You Don’t Have to Join the Circus is a weekly lifestyle blog for the modern caregiver. Today’s post gives some of the background for creating the blog and what is to come.

Welcome to the You Don’t Have to Join the Circus blog! I’m Lisa Adams, and I have developed this blog to help caregivers find ideas, encouragement and inspiration – in one convenient location!

According to Pew Research, there are currently as many as 40 million caregivers in the United States, and there are countless resources on the Internet with information for caregivers to sift through – if you have the time. This blog will curate the best-of-the-best information out there, as well as to provide new material, and put it in one location for you to access at your convenience.

Beyond that, the blog is meant to be inspirational and uplifting (or as uplifting as some of the topics can be without being offensive or disrespectful). The colors are bright. The layout is clean and modern, and the posts will be relatively brief and to-the-point.


During the latter part of my mother’s illness, a family member sent me an article that appeared in Guidepost, written by a celebrity who was caring for her parents. In the article, she said (I’m paraphrasing), “This illness didn’t come with a playbook or instructions. Once we got something figured out, things would change, and we had to start all over again.” That was my experience, too. The author was raw and authentic and inspirational. How unbelievable that one simple article gave me so much comfort and hope.

I don’t tend to live vicariously through celebrities, but, as I thought at the time, if she can make it, I can, too. What I really needed was to know that someone else out there was walking the same path as me. Perhaps you can find inspiration and encouragement from this blog to fuel your journey as I did from that article. You are not alone.

The first post appears this week.

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

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