‘With demand for care doubling and care homes under intense scrutiny, Rachael Crook, CEO of Lifted, addresses the care revolution required to meet the gap.

I was 24 when my life changed forever. It was the Saturday before Christmas, and my mum, 56 at the time, was diagnosed with early onset dementia. In truth, I’d known something was off for a while, but that doesn’t prepare you for when your worst fears become reality.

For the next 6 years we struggled to keep my mum at home, and it became very clear to me very quickly that the care sector was in desperate need of change. There was nowhere we could turn for community or support. When we needed care it could be unreliable, and impossible to keep up with. Paper notes sat in paper files 500 miles from me. How could it be that I could read about my takeaway on my phone but not my mum’s Carer? And the Carers themselves, doing such a difficult and vital job were chronically under-supported and under-rewarded while the service cost four times my parents mortgage on a monthly basis.

And yet I could see the opportunity. The need is huge: the demand for home care will double in the next 15 years, while the number of older people living alone will increase by 50%. The market is fragmented: there are 11,000 home care companies, yet none have more than 3% of market share. And the alternatives are unpopular: The number of beds per person in care homes declined 10% in 2019, and that’s before COVID-19.

We have the tools of change: widespread smartphone adoption has given us the ability to deliver peace of mind in your pocket, while innovations in behavioural science have given us the means to transform the incentives of our care staff. And the moment is now: 58% of parents reported caring for an adult as well as their children during COVID-19.

It was clear to me that there was an opportunity to build a business of unprecedented commercial and social value.

And so, a few years later, I partnered with Zero 1, a Venture Builder, and my co-founder Sam Cohen and we launched Lifted.

Our ambition at Lifted is to lift lives by building the complete companion to anyone looking after a loved one. From the moment of diagnosis to the end of life, we want to make sure that no one cares alone. We do this by delivering support, guidance and community to families before they need care; by delivering care that lifts and empowers families and Carers and by delivering the working conditions Carers deserve.

To deliver this we have built a groundbreaking Care Management Platform that transforms the care experience for everyone involved. For families, we restore joy by keeping them to date with care and delivering 24/7 support; and for Carers, we provide rapid insight into how their clients are feeling and instant reward and recognition. Our platform centralises data from all parts of our care ecosystem to create and automate scheduling and alerts for our operational teams.

We build enduring long lasting relationships with families and we are regulated by the Care Quality Commission who wrote us a glowing review last year.

Unlike other new entrants, we directly employ our Carers and we will use our platform to Carers recruit, train, support and manage them. We are proud to be among the less than 2% of care companies to pay their staff the living wage. Caring for our Carers is as important to us as Caring for families.

And this approach is working. 18 months in we have delivered a workforce churn rate that is half the industry average, and exclusive 5 star Trustpilot reviews. We have raised over £3 million in investment most recently in a round led by Fuel Ventures. Our new community for people caring for a loved one has gained hundreds of members in just 2 weeks. And our revenue is growing rapidly.

But we are just getting started. Next month we will open our app up to deliver the first personalised care guide to help families through the care journey. We are developing our platform to digitally upskill and recognise care workers remotely and build out our AI capabilities to provide automated coaching and assisted decision- making. And we are putting together new tools to help employers support their workforce with caring responsibilities.

It’s not an easy set of problems to solve, but we are so proud to be building a team as passionate about this mission as we are. We would love to hear from anyone looking for care for a loved one or is interested in ways to support their staff with caring responsibilities.

In 5 years time, we aim to have lifted 1 million people either through care directly or through the support we provide through our platform to deliver on that promise to change the sector and provide the support that families and Carers so desperately need and deserve.

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