GRIEF'S JOURNEY WITH ME

Care First Family Services

Did you know that a person dies every 12 seconds in the United States? That’s 7,452 people per day. That means that every single day, over 7,000 families lose a loved one and are left to pick up the pieces. These statistics likely aren’t very surprising to those that work in the funeral industry. However, they are still profound. When I lost my father _ years ago, I had no idea that so many others were experiencing the same thing that I was at the exact same moment. Like many others who have lost a loved one, I didn’t know what to do after my father’s passing. I was experiencing so many conflicting emotions that I couldn’t even put my feelings into words. I felt confused and alone. It was these feelings that led me to create the CareFirst Family Services App.

Immediately after my father’s passing, I was thrown into handling funeral arrangements. This is not uncommon for someone who has lost a parent, but it is incredibly overwhelming. The directors at the funeral home were so kind and did their best to offer words of comfort, but it was difficult to absorb. While going through the grieving process, it was hard not to feel alone- and scared. I wanted to understand my feelings and have someone tell me that I wasn’t going crazy, which is how I felt. I began to think that I could do so much on my smartphone, except get the comfort that I craved- so I created an app for grieving families that was exactly what I wish I’d had myself.

CareFirst Family Services is the first OnDemand Video Driven Grief and Education App for Smartphones. The app bridges the gap between funeral homes and grieving families by offering support in a media format. While funeral homes today typically offer aftercare to a single person in the form of informative paper pamphlets, this method isn’t very helpful for grieving families. After I lost my father, I had no interest in reading a novel- I wanted someone to explain to me my specific, rapidly changing emotions in the exact moment that I was feeling them. The CareFirst app does just that.

When grieving individuals and families download the CareFirst Family Services app onto their smartphone, they will be presented with a selection of emotions that they may be feeling, such as “afraid” or “lost.” They can then click on the specific emotion they are feeling in the moment, which will take them to a short two-minute video that explains the emotion, validates their feelings, and gives them an actionable tip on how to navigate that emotion throughout their day. The app will also send a push notification daily at 7am asking the user, “How are you feeling?” to prompt them to address and work on their emotions through the app.

While the CareFirst app helps grieving families navigate their emotions, it also helps funeral homes. The CareFirst app will be provided to grieving families through funeral homes, which allows funeral homes to provide effective, consistent, and intuitive aftercare. The app is personalized for each funeral home, meaning that the funeral home’s name and brand will be featured. While grieving families use the app and feel gratitude for the peace it helps them achieve, they will be reminded of the funeral home that helped them.

Another benefit of the CareFirst app is that it can be accessed by a multitude of people. Instead of providing aftercare services to one affected individual, funeral homes can give grief support to entire communities. In addition to the emotions screen, the app will have a separate education center where users can learn about different funeral and grief-related products and services at their own pace. The education center also doubles as a support center. On the education center, users can converse with different funeral homes who use the app, as well as other users. The CareFirst app will be free for users, as funeral homes will be charged a subscription fee based on the number of funeral calls or families they served the prior year. This way, funeral homes can make one simple payment, but offer the app to their entire community.

The CareFirst Family Services app will completely transform the funeral industry. By distributing access codes to the app, funeral homes will be able to offer comprehensive, intuitive, and consistent aftercare to entire communities. Similarly, grieving families will have access to thorough aftercare that will help them work through their specific and complex emotions at a moment’s notice. The app is both convenient and affordable for funeral homes; it can help them serve clients and market themselves year-round with one simple annual payment. Both funeral homes and grieving families will receive support through the CareFirst Family Services app.

L. SCOT BRADFORD

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