Ever since we started Room2Care.com, I’ve been asked “Who are these people?” “Who would want to take care of another human being?” “Is it safe?”
We seem to worry about safety all the time. I’m not saying that being safe is bad, but in our concern about “safety” we often cause more harm.
I am criticized by other parents because my kids ride their bicycles around the neighborhood. “It’s not safe.”
I reply “I did it when I was a kid.”
“But these times are different. You can’t do that now.”
So, because of parents’ concerns for violent crime and kidnapping, their children grow up as caged birds. But, here’s the thing. They’re right. Today is not like it was when I was a kid. It’s much less dangerous. You read that correctly. Contrary to the perception of suburban parents, our children’s world is far less violent than ours was.
How is that possible? Didn’t Fox news show me another little white girl kidnapped last week? Haven’t I seen buildings set on fire? You don’t need me to tell you about the effects of the 24 hour news cycle and the need for total sensationalism.
So what does this have to do with people’s concerns about the Room2Care.com caregivers. Let’s start with a change in perception. These are people who are largely caregivers, but are unemployed or under employed or people who truly feel that helping another is doing God’s work. They are special, special people. Can I promise that there are no bad people?
Look, we put everybody through the same screening that every facility put their people through. The same background checks. We even put the senior through a background check. Yes, Nana and PopPop have to have a clean background before they can take part in Room2Care shared senior living. It may seem extreme, but I don’t think anybody should be living with a retired rapist.
OK, so everybody’s background is clean. That puts us at the same level as hospitals and nursing homes. What was the experience of the last seven patients that a particular nurse saw? You don’t have any idea. You don’t have a choice. If they do a poor job does anybody know? Probably not.
Like every other entity in the sharing economy, EVERYBODY gets reviewed at all contact points. If you didn’t like a home, tell us why. If a caregiver felt that a senior was rude or needed more care than they claimed, we want to know. Everybody gains from this transparency.
We have devised several additional methods to make for a successful experience. Care-Escrow is an escrow account that allows a senior to end the relationship by the midpoint of their care. Caregivers are not paid until you are satisfied. Our hosts cannot take long term assignments until they have successfully navigated short term stays.
I think it’s important that each of these individuals becomes a small business owner. You are dealing with the owner, not an employee. We all know how much more accountability exists when someone owns something.
If you add in our social worker support and the optional use of surveillance cameras, I don’t think the questions is whether Room2Care is “safe.” The question becomes “when will facilities catch up to us?”
But please remember, you may like one host/caregiver more than another, but each of these small business owners is a special, special person.