Carina, a partner of the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy, authored the below blog to share information about their online platform that helps connect older adults and people with disabilities in King County to the critical caregiving that they need.
Imagine an online platform that connects families and individuals to the care support they need but with a fierce commitment to advocate for care workers so they can provide the best care possible for those who need it. That, essentially is Carina in a nutshell. Carina is funded by the Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy to expand, strengthen and maintain a mobile/web platform to connect seniors (55+) and people with disabilities across King County to qualified caregivers through licensed home care agencies regardless of funding source.
On Carina (carina.org), families, individuals and providers can meet and discuss opportunities for support. It’s an easy, mobile-friendly website where individuals can find verified, trained and available caregivers through licensed home care agencies. To accommodate all sources of funding for home care, Carina’s Medicaid offering was built-out in 2016 and three years later expanded to include funding from VSHSL. This has enabled seniors and people with disabilities, regardless of income, to afford and receive quality home care, whether they receive Medicaid, other subsidy programs, or pay privately.
Care that makes a difference
“It’s a really easy system to figure out and navigate,” said Patrick, a caregiver from Puyallup, WA. “It really helped me put myself out there and it was a lot faster than a referral agency.” For Patrick, Carina is more than a website for job searching. It’s an online platform that enables him to connect with clients he can share interests and foster friendships with, which makes the job more rewarding. He had been looking for a new client for several weeks before he updated his Carina profile. Within one day, he received three interview requests, one of which was from Jeannie. They met and connected immediately. Since then, Patrick has been by Jeannie’s side. He helps her around the house and works with her property manager to keep things on track. They love to garden together and have a few projects lined up for the summer. Often, they simply sit and talk while Jeannie shares stories about her life. They both have the same photo on display in their homes. In it, they are standing close together, with big smiles. In fact, their smiles and laughter extend far beyond a picture frame – this has been an everyday occurrence for the past 15 months.
Reinventing how people connect
It’s stories like Patrick and Jeannie’s that motivates Carina to continue building their platform in a way that makes a difference. Carina believes that providing good care to older adults and people with disabilities is a team effort. By being empathetic to users’ experience, Carina can take action to make life a little easier for those searching for care. The primary users of the site are working families, individuals or older adults looking for care. “After searching for three years, I had great luck finding the perfect match for our situation,” said Linda who heard about Carina via word of mouth. “She’s a great match for my disabled grandson’s needs and his personality. He loves her and trusts her.”
The platform aims to increase access and ease of use for women, people of color, people with disabilities, low-income families and all marginalized communities who are most impacted by difficult–to-navigate care systems in our country. Carina envisions a care economy that strengthens communities by respecting and supporting workers, families and people who need care.
For more information on how to access caregiving or provide caregiving through Carina, visit carina.org.