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Who cares for the one who care?

MA 2024
Healthcare, Wellbeing, Care

This project aims to investigate and address the unique needs and dilemmas faced by young adult family caregivers (18-25 years old) who are also engaged in full-time education. Our focus is on understanding their challenges in balancing caregiving responsibilities with their personal and academic lives, adapting to new roles, managing shifting family dynamics, and navigating the complexities of the healthcare system.

We see the role of caregiver as one of the core stakeholders in the healthcare system. With design intervention, we can bring the external view on healthcare system and build a supporting network for them.

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Problem Statement

Hidden Heroes: The Invisible Struggle of Unpaid Carers in the UK

Unpaid carers contribute an estimated £162 billion annually,

nearly matching the NHS budget of £153 billion for 2022/2023.

However, funding for carers remains grossly inadequate, with

only £600 million provided by the NHS and local councils, and an

additional £3.8 million from Carers Trust.

The NHS and local councils manage healthcare and social care

separately, leaving many family carers—especially those not in

immediate need—invisible and unsupported. This system gap

fails to provide adequate support for carers on the verge of

needing urgent assistance.

Young adult carers (18-25) face unique challenges, often losing

access to support systems after turning 18 or during sudden

family crises. They struggle with social isolation and stigma and

are three times more likely to become NEET (not in education,

employment, or training) compared to their peers.

Research & Insight

Fostering Authentic Care: Breaking Isolation and Guilt in the Caregiving Ecosystem

Extensive research identified systemic constraints in the

caregiving ecosystem. Observations and expert interviews

revealed that while routinizing daily tasks helps carers manage,

it traps them in a cycle, preventing respite breaks, with no active

interventions available.

Interviews with senior, sandwich, and young carers highlighted

guilt as a key factor affecting both patients and caregivers. This

dynamic chains their lives to care conditions, leaving them

geographically and mentally tied.

Our research emphasizes mutual understanding and support as

essential for effective caregiving. Our goal is to redesign and

establish shared authenticity among carers, recipients, charities,

councils, and the NHS. Currently, services operate in silos. By

empowering local councils with tools and knowledge, we aim to

foster value exchange across organizations.

We seek to create authentic relationships between all

stakeholders. While authenticity cannot be designed, we can

craft a context that supports deep, sincere bonds for young

adult caregivers. This approach aims to break the cycle of

isolation and guilt, fostering a supportive and integrated

caregiving environment.

How Might We

How might we establish physical and mental boundaries between a carer and the care recipient to help the carer develop a distinct sense of identity and alleviate feelings of guilt?


Carerou: Nurturing Connections and Respite in Daily Life

Our service aims to provide respite to carers seamlessly, fitting

into their already busy schedules. The adventure map offers a

guided route to nearby "carer corners" located in local

businesses like coffee shops. These physical spaces are designed

not only to raise public awareness but also to facilitate natural

connections among carers.

We offer mystery gifts and route recommendations, with

gamification elements encouraging carers to spend an extra five

minutes compared to their usual routine. Reflection prompts are

integrated to help carers make the most of their fragmented

travel time.

Charities can upload their information and event details onto

the platform, further engaging and providing valuable resources

for carers. This approach fosters behavior change naturally and


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