In a new feature, we are offering called Expert Interviews, we are reaching out to local individuals that we consider experts in the field of senior care and interviewing them.  Each month we will offer a new interview with a new expert.  We will provide their background and talk about issues that are important to them so that we can learn more about how to best provide and increase awareness of care for our seniors.

This month we are interviewing Julie Fry, who is the CEO of Making Care Easier, a company that offers an app to making family caregiving easier by helping families find, store and share personalized information, actionable how-to lists, caregiving products and professional service providers.  They are located in Quincy, MA.

Let’s get into it!

Expert Interviews Presents: Julie Fry

Tell us about your background and how you became part of the senior care industry?
 
About 15 years ago, I was working in Washington, DC and realized that the growing senior market would change not only government, but business in general.  I first started as an executive team member of the National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) and helped found the Private Duty Home Care Association.  I left NAHC to start my own aging-in-place home remodeling company, but ended up moving to Massachusetts to care for my sister.  We founded Making Care Easier (MCE) based on our personal caregiving experiences and our commitment to caring for seniors.
 
How does Making Care Easier help the community and how does this connect with your passions about senior care?
 
Making Care Easier is an easy-to-use and free tool for families caring for aging parents.  With families spread across the world and more and more people being asked to help care for their loved ones, MCE helps caregivers rally their friends and family and gives them tools to make caring easier.  Our goal is to provide powerful tools that help families not only learn how to be a better caregiver, but also empower them to take action.

I’ve been involved with the senior care industry for more than 15 years and I am committed to providing tools that ease the burden of care and make life more manageable for both seniors and their families.  The industry is starting to get a lot of attention because of the sheer size and money it represents, but unless you know the industry well and the trials and tribulations of those who have lived through helping seniors, companies will have a hard time meeting the needs of the market.

 

What services are your most popular, and why? 

Making Care Easier’s online tools have been very successful with families.  From being able to schedule appointments or ask for help to finding products that make mom’s life easier, MCE’s tools have been used by thousands of families to help share tasks, securely store information, get personalized information and find solutions based on their specific caregiving situation.

 

 

Are there services you offer that you feel more families should be aware of?

 

We’ll be launching our updated mobile app next month, which is also free.  This way, users can access information like emergency, medicine or care plans no matter where they are.  Also, our personalized how-to lists help families not only learn how to be a better caregiver, but also have powerful tools integrated into tasks so that information goes from learning to doing.

 

What do you think needs to be done about the growing population of seniors with dementia that live alone?

Families need to find solutions so they can monitor their loved ones no matter how far apart they live.  From tools like Making Care Easier to remote monitoring and telehealth devices, technology is beginning to play a major role in helping those who live with dementia age in place.  Thankfully, technology is becoming more affordable and more readily available.  But, families need more help identifying what is available and how they can take advantage of new services.

 

What do you feel the most important steps are when families are looking for any type of care for their aging loved ones?

First, they need to identify what their needs are—whether it be home care, private duty care or hospice.  Next, families should carefully vet their care providers, including both privately-hired caregivers as well as agencies.  Be sure to do a background check and have security checks in place (like periodically reviewing bank statements and checking in with doctors).  Finally, families should use a system like Making Care Easier to help them coordinate information and care updates so that everyone knows what needs to be done and can track who is doing what.

 

What changes would you like to occur within the state government to help the growing senior population?

The government should support home care much more than they do now.  Over 90% of people want to age in place and it’s been proven that it’s cheaper and healthier for seniors if we help them do so.

 

julie fry

 

What is the biggest issue or pitfall that you want to warn families about regarding getting care for a senior?
 

First, be sure that you have a plan in place that not only incorporates your loved one’s wishes (living, health, financial), but also addresses what family members will take on what responsibilities.  Be sure to have your legal and medical paperwork and an emergency plan in order before issues start to arise.

 

If families reading this were to remember one thing from this article, what would you want that to be regarding senior care? 

There are tools available, like Making Care Easier, that not only help families share the burden of care, but that empower them to take action.  It takes a village—senior care effects not only the senior, but their family member and their friends as well.  Thankfully, technology is making is easier for families to be an active part of their loved ones lives and provide care no matter how far apart they are.

 

Are there any special events, programs, seminars, or online tools available you want people to specifically know about?
 

Making Care Easier will be launching our new mobile app in March.  Families can go online now to Making Care Easier to get suggestions, find tools and coordinate care.

 

Wrapping It Up

Many thanks to Julie Fry for taking the time to answer the questions we had for him.  If you have a moment, view his website and click on the links in the above paragraphs.  You will be sure to find a lot of great information and tools that will be able to help you find great information to guide you through the process of caregiving for someone.