605 SOUTH COLLEGE AVENUE, SUITE 101, FORT COLLINS, CO 80524

No Barriers Podcast Episode 153: Helping Caregivers with Bianca Padilla

about the episode

If you provide care for an aging parent, spouse, relative or for an ill or disabled person, according to the AARP you are one of 53 million Americans in that same boat. That’s nearly one in every 5 people. Our guest today is Bianca Padilla. She also found herself in that position, however, it was at a time this Millenial’s life, when most of her peers were starting careers and stepping out on their own. Her grandmother’s health was declining and she needed daily care to recover from a surgery. Bianca had a decision to make.

We all get thrown these curveballs in life. It’s when the unexpected comes hurtling at you and fast… Bianca swung and knocked it out of the park. She turned the lessons and experience she gained by caring for her grandma and used it to start a company with the goal of simplifying the lives of caregivers. Investors thought she had a good idea and put 5 million towards the effort. Now that number is up to 30 million. Let’s face it, as we age we’re gonna need help at some point, could be a little or a lot.

We’ve all got that in common and honestly it’s probably something we avoid talking about. So step out of your zone for a moment and get into this conversation between Erik Weihemanyer and Bianca Padilla.

Episode Transcript

Bianca Padilla:
Aging is a painful process. Arthritis hurts. Going through these surgeries hurts. And so developing a sense of empathy and compassion and patience has been something that I think has helped me be a better personal leader at the company, but also just a better person in general having now understood some of the challenges that I'm going to eventually face. Because, guess what? A hundred percent of us will need care at one point in our lives.

Erik Weihenmayer:
It's easy to talk about the successes. But what doesn't get talked about enough is the struggle. My name is Erik Weihenmayer. I've gotten the chance to ascend Mount Everest, to climb the tallest mountain in every continent, to kayak the Grand Canyon. And I happen to be blind. It's been a struggle to live what I call a no-barriers life, to define it, to push the parameters of what it means. And part of the equation is diving into the learning process and trying to illuminate the universal elements that exist along the way. In that unexplored terrain between those dark places we find ourselves in the summit exists a map. That map, that way forward, is what we call No Barriers.

Didrik Johnck:
If you provide care for an aging parent, spouse, relative, or for an ill or disabled person, according to the AARP, you are one of 53 million Americans in that same boat. That's nearly one in every five people. Our guest today is Bianca Padilla. She also found herself in that position. However, it was at a time in this Millennials life. When most of her peers were starting careers and stepping out on their own. Her grandmother's health was declining and she needed daily care to recover from a surgery. Bianca had a decision to make.

Didrik Johnck:
We all get thrown these curve balls in life. It's when the unexpected comes hurling at you, and fast. Bianca swung and knocked it out of the park. She turned the lessons and experience she gained by caring for her grandma and used it to start a company with the goal of simplifying the lives of caregivers. Investors thought she had a great idea and put five million towards the effort. Now that number is up to 30 million.

Didrik Johnck:
Let's face it. As we age, we're going to need some help at some point. Could be a little or could be a lot. We've all got that in common, and honestly, it's probably something we avoid talking about. So step out of your zone for a moment and get into this conversation between Erik Weihenmayer and Bianca Padilla. I'm producer Didrik Johnck, and this is the No Barriers podcast.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Hey everyone. This is Erik Weihenmayer. Welcome to the No Barriers podcasts. We're so excited because we have Bianca on with us today. Hi, good morning, Bianca. It's cool to meet you and hear your voice. I can't say good to see you, although I guess I could say that tongue in cheek, but great to have you on this morning.

Bianca Padilla:
Well, it's great to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah, I just want to dive in. Because I've been doing my homework and checking out podcasts with you speaking about Carewell and your entrepreneurial experience and so forth. But it sounds like ... I was really interested in your family because you had a really interesting upbringing where I think you were all women in your family, your sister and you and your mom and your grandmother. What was that like growing up in that kind of household? Because I grew up with two older brothers that used to beat me up all the time in a loving way, I guess. But, so I probably had the opposite experience as you.

Bianca Padilla:
That's a great point. You're actually, you're missing ... We had three girl dogs in the house, so even more-

Erik Weihenmayer:
Oh man.

Bianca Padilla:
... than just us. I mean, it was definitely a great experience. My dad lived in Latin America, so he'd fly back and forth. So it was primarily my mom and being helped by my grandmother who raised me. Which was really an interesting thing, I guess. I don't know the difference between anything else other than me and my sister fought a lot over clothes. So ...

Erik Weihenmayer:
But that was a multi-generational family. And you're Cuban American.

Bianca Padilla:
Yep.

Erik Weihenmayer:
So was there anything you unique about that that strikes you?

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah. I mean, I guess as a Hispanic family, most people, I would say that I know at least live in a multi-generational household, speaking multiple languages, and kind of understanding the complexities of what that's like. Right? In my case, my grandmother lived with us. It's how I founded the company and how I realized what a massive need there was for caregivers and resources for those caregivers. And without that experience, I wouldn't have been able to build this business. I wouldn't have even understood the need. And so I feel very blessed to have come across the different challenges, to be able to be so close to my family, to be able to help them in ways that I never thought I could or would. And it really changed the course of my life.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. You're kind of reading the direction of my question because a lot of people ... Your grandmother had surgery, and so you ... I think you had just graduated from college and you came back and decided that you wanted to be a caregiver for her. But some families would've put her in a rehab center or something like that, but you took a very personal approach, right?

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah. And in fact, she started off in a rehab center right after she had surgery. But everyone still has to come home eventually. Right? And when you come home, you've only spent one or three days in the rehab center with nurses tending after you and the whole thing. Once you take somebody home, and that's the vast majority of Americans, right? They're not aging in institutional care facilities. It's too expensive. They're actually aging in their homes, where they want to age. Right? That's the other thing. 90% of Americans, they want to age in their own homes in their own communities, not somewhere that they're unfamiliar with, around people that they don't know.

Bianca Padilla:
And so in our case, we bring her home. And we live in a multi-story house. Her room has steps to get into, and now she can't walk. Right? She's got wounds that we have to tend to. She has incontinence problems. We've got to bathe her and feed her. These are all challenges that ... She was relatively okay before, she can do all these things, and now she can. So it's both a loss of ability, and then there comes with that sense of loss of dignity as well, right? When somebody who you helped raise, her daughter and her granddaughter now are in the position to care for you.

Bianca Padilla:
And that's basically what happened. Right? I moved back home from college to study software engineering, because I knew that I wanted to start a business eventually. And part of starting a business, I realized I really needed to hone in a different skill set. I had worked in finance but I really needed to understand how software development worked and all that. So while I'm going to software engineering school, this happens. And I tell my mom, how can I help? When I look around and we need to care for her in our home, we need products. And we don't need just products. We need to know where to go to find these products. They're not available at your local stores.

Bianca Padilla:
And then apart from that, we have no idea even what to look for, how to use these things. So we really needed this guidance and this support. And that's where I realized the advice that the doctors and the nurses were giving us, it only went so far. Caring as a doctor for a patient is very different than caring, as a non-medical background person, caring for your loved one. There are things that a doctor might do or a nurse might do like put rash cream on intimate parts of someone's body that are totally normal in their job. But for us as normal people in everyday society putting diaper, rash cream on somebody that helped raise you, that's very intimate. It's very awkward. It's taboo. How do you ask these questions? Right?

Erik Weihenmayer:
Did your grandmother kind of say, "Hey, no, I don't want you doing that?"? Or, "That's embarrassing." Or was she pretty accepting of your help?

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah, I would say in some things accepting and in some things not. She happened to be very open and actually really funny. I have a lot of great times with my grandmother. But she can also be quite stubborn, like anybody who's lived their full life and has full control of their body. So in certain things like eating and walking around and getting exercise when she needed to, or physical therapy, it was very difficult to convince her to do these things. It still is very difficult. In other things, like allowing us to help bathe her and feed her, she was less combative, I would say. But she still, I would say the word stubborn around that, right? Of getting up and moving.

Bianca Padilla:
And so that's loss ... for example, we just found out she has bed sores. Bed sores can lead to hospitalization, and it could be very hard to heal in an older adult. And so now we're learning how to manage through that and how ... We knew it was coming. We asked her to move around the house and get up, but she's in a lot of pain. And so the other thing that I think we've learned is really to have a lot of empathy. The people that you're caring for, not only is there a large psychological change confronting someone's own demise. And there is this loss of dignity because you're not able to do the things you used to do, and you're relying on people to do them for you. But also it's really painful.

Bianca Padilla:
Aging is a painful process. Arthritis hurts. Going through these surgeries hurts. And so developing a sense of empathy and compassion and patience has been something that I think has helped me be a better personal leader at the company, but also just a better person in general, having now understood some of the challenges that I'm going to eventually face. Because, guess what? A hundred percent of us will need care at one point in our lives, right? That means a hundred percent of us will need a caregiver. And so when I get to that point of needing a caregiver, I hope that I have a good mentality going into it and I can ask for help and accept help. Because that's part of the challenge, but also part of the opportunity is getting them to achieve it.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Cool. So Bianca, tell me more about the emotional side of your caregiving experience. Because you were a young person, you just graduated from college, you had all these dreams and goals and now you're taking care of your grandmother. I know in certain ways I've heard you say it's a gift, but in certain ways, it must have been surprising, or, I don't know, maybe disappointing. I don't want to put words in your mouth. What was your experience in terms of maybe putting some of your goals on hold?

Bianca Padilla:
For me, I was more angry at the state of caregiving and I was more angry at the lack of resources that existed to help me. And I knew that in doing research, I wasn't alone in this caregiving journey, right? There are actually 53 million Americans who care for over 80 million Americans who need care. And the vast majority of these people, they're not medical professionals. They're not doctors or nurses. They are everyday people who have no experience, just like me. And so I was just kind of in shock and also inspired by the opportunity to create something that really made a difference in so many people's lives.

Bianca Padilla:
And I think I mentioned earlier, but ever since I was a kid, really wanted to be an entrepreneur. It's why I moved back home. It's why I went to go become a software engineer, is to build skillset that ultimately would lead me to building a company. And so when I saw this opportunity, I was more inspired by it. After I got over the part that I was angry, that there was nothing that was available for me, that was available for these 53 million Americans, I thought this, is an incredible opportunity then, right?

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. What was the source of your anger specifically? Just the lack of resources, but what ... Are you talking about like just supplies? Because I listened to one of your podcasts talking about going into a store and you couldn't find the right diapers and things like that. But did it go beyond just not being able to find the right stuff? Or was that pretty much it?

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah, it was a combination of multiple things. One, these local stores, these home health product stores, are local. They have a very poor selection. Their pricing is really expensive. The support, the hours of operation are all over the map because they're typically very small, family-owned retail stores that you maybe have never noticed before in your life until you need one of these products. The alternative is to go online where you have so many products, so many different types of pricing, you have absolutely no guidance and you ... There's just really no place to start.

Bianca Padilla:
That's where I was really angry. Because I was like, how was there ... Oh, and when I spoke to the doctors or nurses, like I mentioned earlier, their advice only went so far. They didn't know about the products. They didn't know which ones I should be using. They didn't necessarily know how to do these things in a home setting. And so I remember just feeling completely lost and alone and afraid that I wasn't going to be able to figure it out. Because here we are, taking my grandma home, and we're just utterly unprepared and we have no one to go to, no place to start.

Bianca Padilla:
So that was the anger and the frustration. And then that's when I realized, after I kind of started figuring it out, there's a massive gap in the market. And by 2034, there's going to be more people over the age of 65 than will be under the age of 18. Driven by this massive aging demographic, this need for caregivers and resources for caregivers will only get larger and larger and larger. And so I took it as an opportunity at that point. I ended up going on a first date with my now husband and he mentioned winning a business competition for an adult diaper subscription service. And that subscription service, I thought-

Erik Weihenmayer:
That's really a sexy first date, by the way.

Bianca Padilla:
I know. He was actually, he always says he was afraid to bring it up, because it's sort of embarrassing. Right? Little did he know I was in this world of buying adult diapers at the time and finding it very challenging. And so we didn't start the company immediately after the first date. It took us a few months-

Erik Weihenmayer:
What was his connection with diapers exactly?

Bianca Padilla:
So his business competition was looking for a subscription service that could meet the needs for a large population. And basically, they'd done some research, some market research about the demographics and the trends. And we were trending like Japan, where there's going to be more adult diapers sold than baby diapers. For the first time [inaudible 00:15:49]. So that's already happened in Japan and that's about to happen here. And that's kind of where the idea started. And it was nothing more than a demographic play. In my case, it was very personal, right? I knew that we don't need just a subscription service. We need actually a lot more than that.

Bianca Padilla:
So we teamed up to build the most trusted source for family caregivers. And it's because caregivers, like I said, they need more than just a retailer. They really need the source for trusted support, for guidance, for emotional support, like you mentioned earlier, as well as incredible shipping times and competitive pricing in a wide selection of products. They need more. And home health is different than buying dog food or buying pantry staples, right? It's something that you need every day if you're caring for anybody.

Bianca Padilla:
And it's really confusing. You're talking about life and death situations here. I mentioned earlier, my grandmother has bed sores for the first time. Well, those bed sores could never heal. We might spend the next five years caring for that bed sore and it can get worse, it can get better, it can hopefully go away. But, I mean, you're talking about something that can end up killing somebody. And so you're a lot more fearful. You don't have this medical training. It's really confusing because all of the words that people use in this industry, they're made for medical doctors. They're not made for lay people like us. And so you really need somebody to break down and make it digestible so you can feel confident. You need to be told the questions you should be asking and you need a consultative type of experience in this particular market. And that's very different from most retailers in how they service customers.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Did anything exist within that market, or was it just a total abyss?

Bianca Padilla:
There was a few things. There was a few competitors, but they were fragmented, or the pricing was too high, or there was always something off that didn't really create this wonderful experience that I've come to know as a Millennial. Right? We expect a lot from our retailers, from the people that we do business with. We need to make sure that they have a vision. We want to make sure that their service is absolutely incredible, that they have a wide selection. That type of service was absolutely missing in this market.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. But why? Bianca, why, though? That's so crazy because people who are entrepreneurs, a lot of people at heart, and they want to fill a niche. And so if there are 50-something million caregivers and tons of people aging, why the heck did it take so long for someone to think of this idea?

Bianca Padilla:
asked myself the same question.

Erik Weihenmayer:
We have pet supplies. We have every niche under the sun that people are trying to fulfill.

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah. It's a great question.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Why? Why do you think that is the case? Do you think people just don't respect the elderly? Or they kind of sweep it under the carpet? or what?

Bianca Padilla
I think it's twofold. The problem is twofold. First and foremost, it's scary to deal with. People don't want to think about it. And really, it isn't until you're older that you're having to care for in aging adult, right? That's that's the vast majority. It's people, typically women between 45 and 65. And at that point in time, they're more worried about caring for their loved one than building a business to solve this problem.

Bianca Padilla:
And two, it's really hard. It requires a lot more than just being a retailer. You can't just list products and sell them. People don't know what they need. They need to be educated. They need to be informed. They need to know, when they get the product, how to even use it, how not to use it incorrectly. Again, it's healthcare, so if you use in the wrong way, you can actually perform more damage than good. And so you really need vetted experts. You need great advice that you can give. You need to be able to stand behind your service and your products. And you need to be able to build a community, in our case, to get people to call in and ask you these questions that are taboo or hard. And so I think the answer is that, one, it's really hard, and two, most people don't identify that this is going to be a big challenge until later in life. And at that point, they're not necessarily thinking about starting their next business.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Right. Yeah. You were young and energized enough to think in that way. Now, Carewell also, I think it's really fascinating that you are building not just a service that sells products, but a real community. And you have specialists that you train, and people, as you said, call in with these taboo questions. So what are the kind of taboo questions that people call in with? What are some of the most helpful things that people ask? And then second to that is, how do you train those specialists?

Bianca Padilla
Yeah, I'll start by answering the last question first, because I think it's important in answering the next part. But we really pride ourselves on this customer service piece. Right? It's absolutely necessary in this market. And so our caregiving specialists receive more than 100 hours of training to help answer these questions about the products and how to use them, and also can answer questions that are related to caregiving specifically. So we partner very closely with the product manufacturers who make these products to train our team. But we also have, at this point, thousands and thousands of hours and data points around which products work best for certain individuals' unique needs when caring for their home.

Bianca Padilla:
And so it's a combination of expert-led research with caregiver-approved or authenticated real world experience. Right? And then basically, that powers our recommendation in our guidance engine. And they're also not just trained on the products. They're also trained on how to provide empathetic service. Because, again, you're dealing with somebody who's at a very ... typically at a low point in their lives, caring for somebody who they love, watching them in decline. Again, we're talking about life and death here. So how do you navigate these conversations, and how do you guide them?

Erik Weihenmayer:
That seems like the weightier side of people's questions, right? Like not just, "Hey, what kind of diaper cream should I use here?", but, "Man, I am go going through hell here and I'm watching this person decline and in pain." And like, so it seems almost like your specialists would almost border on counselors.

Bianca Padilla:
Exactly. And that's what we train them to do, is how to provide that support. Right? Because for some people, that's not natural. For some people, it's not. But you can really create training on how to ask the right questions on how to be supportive. And that's what we've done. Part of the challenge of this market is that people don't even know what it is that they're looking for. So in our training, we use contextual language that gets them to ask the right questions. Right? So are you caring for yourself-

Erik Weihenmayer:
>When you say they, is that the people that call in, or the specialists?

Bianca Padilla:
That's the people who call in. That's the people who-

Erik Weihenmayer:
Right. Okay.

Bianca Padilla:
And so the caregiving specialists will use contextual guidance to help identify what it is that person's struggling with. Some people have different words for certain things, and I'll give you an example. An adult diaper to somebody might mean a pull-up versus a diaper with tabs. Right? You might not know what that means and why. And so we make sure that we ask these questions. Are you looking for ... I understand you're looking for an incontinence product, an adult diaper product, or a brief. Would you like that with tabs, or are you looking for something that pulls up? Okay. And why are you looking for something that pulls up? Because these are the use cases where you should be using them. Here are the use cases where you shouldn't.

Bianca Padilla:
And so again, it's about the guidance and it's about narrowing down the search and guiding somebody to that right product and right product selection for them that is very valuable. And again, you can't find this anywhere else. You can't call the phone on any major marketplace. There's no product experts on that end, right? There's nobody who's going to guide you through this. And so we put a lot of time and effort in scaling that program of our customer care team. And now we're building that experience into the site and all the content and the resources that we have on our blog in order to put all this information and the recommendations that we've received on site through a digital experience.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Now, how about the questions that have been really challenging? Like, anything come to mind in terms of a really challenging question that people had that your specialists struggled to answer or just really tested them, I wonder?

Bianca Padilla:
It's a great question. I don't know if I have anything off the top of my head. But what I can say is that we also partner with nurses that we have who work for us. We have people who are social workers that if we don't know the answer, we'll go out and research it for you. We'll do that work for you. Because we've got a network community of people that we can tap on and we can rely on to get that. And also, too, we have a massive population of caregivers. So if there's ever a question of what works best for the population of caregivers, we'll go out and we'll survey them so that we can get a sense of what works best and we can recommend that to our audience. And so, again, it's this community that powers the recommendation engine and the guidance and the support that's really, really needed in this market.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Have you ever thought of ... and maybe you already do this, but have you ever thought of almost having like a community of people who get together and can support each other in the caregiving process? Or maybe training for people who need to learn about care, they need a crash course real fast?

Bianca Padilla:

Yeah. That's part of what we're building on the content side. So taking all of the learnings, taking all the questions that people are asking, that's where we're starting. What questions do people have? And making sure that's embedded in the resources that we provide on our blog, on our e-commerce pages, on our social media, on Facebook, on email, et cetera. So that, again, it's not just pushing out information, it's really soliciting, what's working for you? What questions do you have? What else would you like to know? And then curating the answers based off of the resource network that we've built and then pushing that out to our audience and in a consumable easy and actionable way so if they can actually do something about it. Right?

Bianca Padilla:
The worst advice, or what I think we see a lot in today's world of content is like, "Okay, here's what Alzheimer's is." But it there's no content that says, "Here's how you prepare for a life with Alzheimer's. Here's how you do this as it relates to somebody caring for somebody with Alzheimer's." There's no actionable how-to guides, and that's where we come in and we fill that gap.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. Amazing. So good. So, I mean, everyone has a caregiver story, but I mean, this is really fresh for me because the last six months I've been caregiving for my dad who actually passed away in early June.

Bianca Padilla:
Oh, I'm sorry about that.

Erik Weihenmayer
But his last ... Yeah, I know, it's been hard several months. But me and my brother would fly in and he was at a rehab center. So, in a way, he was really lucky because he had great insurance. But he couldn't move. He declined so fast that he couldn't move. My brother's like this giant bodybuilder kind of guy that could pick him up and put him in his chair, but it just felt ... one, watching my dad in pain, this guy who was like the confident person who had raised me, now helpless and needing help and in pain and suffering and incapable of really helping himself of even feeding himself, it felt like mission impossible.

Erik Weihenmayer:
I mean, do you ever feel overwhelmed by this whole thing? I mean, it even seemed to me that the system felt broken. You know what I mean? Because if me and my brother hadn't been there, he wouldn't have been getting his medications on time. I mean, and again, people aren't bad. They don't have bad intent. But the nurses are just caring for so many people and they're stretched so far, you know? And so we had to be there like 24/7, feeding him, flipping him over. It was, one, exhausting physically, but it was exhausting emotionally too. And I just got thought, wow, the system seems a little broken to me. What do you think about that?

Bianca Padilla:
I absolutely agree with you. It does seem broken. I think part of what you're alluding to is part of some of the trends that we're saying, that people want to age in place. They want to age around family who is ... not to say more capable, but they'll have better eyes. Right? And they'll pay attention more than a nurse, who's very spread thin. And it's not the nurse's fault. Right? It's just a matter of that's the system that we're in. So I think there are some challenges, and we as a society will all need to become better caregivers. Because we'll all be there. Right? We all, if we're lucky enough, will be able to take care of our parents into older age and eventually we'll need care ourselves.

Bianca Padilla:
And it's a scary thing, right? You're looking down death and it's scary. It's scary and it's emotionally overwhelming, like you just mentioned, to look at the person who raised you and know that this is the end, and also confronting that that means you're part of the next generation. Again, it's why I think nobody really spends a lot of time building this type of company because, who wants this to work on this every day? But as you so clearly have illustrated, it's incredibly needed.

Erik Weihenmayer:
I mean, yeah, back to my story, I mean like that ... and I hate to be so personal, but my brother, like big, strong guy, and he was exhausted within three months of caregiving for my dad. And if he had ever come home, he would've needed 24/7 care. Like, somebody to feed him and make sure he's ... changing his diapers. He's 190 pound man. So just getting him up out of the bed and getting him into his chair was really, really hard. I guess I'm alluding to the fact of like, it doesn't seem like a simple thing to solve.

Bianca Padilla:
It's not, and it's going to take a lot of love, a lot of care from our generation to care for the next generation. And it also is going to take a lot more of us to talk more openly about what's happening and how it impacts us. Because it really is a taboo subject. Even right now you just said, "I'm sorry to be so personal." But the fact is that all of us need care. It's not personal. It's a universal experience, right? And people are just experiencing this at old age. There are people who get sick with cancer, different illnesses throughout their life. There are kids who are born with disabilities. These are people's lives for a long time.

Bianca Padilla
And so I think part of it needs to be that we talk about it more, we talk about our struggles, that we don't view it as something so personal, but we view it as a very universal experience that needs to be solved. Right? And we hope to usher in this cultural change of, "Hey, this is normal. This is part of life. We're all going to go through it. Let's talk about it. Let's figure out how to get better at doing this." Because the demographic shift, there's going to be more people, again, over the age of 65 than under the age of 18 in the next decade. And also, the number of caregivers is staying flat. So that means more people are going to be older and need care with the same number of caregivers.

Bianca Padilla:
So it's going to cause more stress on the lives of caregivers. People are going to be dropping out of the workforce in order to care for them. And that's going to cause a lot of challenges. And we got to start now, because in this decade, between 2020 and 2030, we're going to see the most dramatic shift in demographic that the country's ever seen as it relates to the shifting of the aging demographic. So hopefully stories like this, they impact more people and they can share their stories and share the resources and the advice that they have more freely.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. And you're solving the problem through Carewell and the community that you're building and the expertise that you're building. You talked about the cultural change that has to take place and more openness around this. But also, doesn't it border on some like ... Is there any policy ... Like, are you guys advocating for any kind of policy changes or awareness that's at a bigger level?

Bianca Padilla:
Yes. So I mean, personally, it's not like we have lobbyists or anything in the government, but that's where we aim to go.

Erik Weihenmayer:
But there's lobbies for everything. There should be lobbies for this.

Bianca Padilla:
Well, I mean, we see it in Biden's Care Act, right? You know, how do we get more people trained up? How do we get more caregivers into the workforce? How do we get caregivers to be paid for all of the unpaid work that they do? Because the vast majority of this care is unpaid. It's family and friends. Are there tax credits that we can receive? Because again, we're going to have to do something about it. This is a massive, massive shift. It's a massive market. It's a lot of unpaid labor. I think it's like over $780 billion in unpaid labor that goes towards caregiving. And the need's going to get bigger. It's going to get worse. We're going to need to a advocate. And that's part of the cultural shift that I'm talking about. Right? It's not just opening up and being ... Part of it is, we have to not talk about it like it's taboo so that we can actually create change, we can talk about it, and we can advocate for it at a bigger level.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. Well, I think you alluded to the idea that caring for your grandmother was kind of a strange gift. My brother told me the same thing, like caring for my dad the last several months was kind of a strange gift. It gave a chance to have this intimate relationship in a totally different way to see him off as he passed. And you alluded to that as well. What did you learn personally from your experience with your grandmother and the others that you've cared for?

Bianca Padilla:
I think what I see is really a trend, where once you become a caregiver, you understand what it is to be a caregiver that it sticks with ... you are a caregiver for the rest of your life. And what we see, and even my experience, I wanted to go and help more caregivers or I wanted to go and help care for somebody else. And we see that, right? A lot of caregivers, once their caregiving journey is up with that particular individual that they were providing care for, they actually go and they volunteer or they offer their help because now they have, one, a newfound confidence, but also a sort of calling, an emotional portion or spiritual portion of their lives that has been unlocked in caring for another person.

Bianca Padilla:
It's kind of like when a mom or a dad becomes a mom or a dad for the first time, right? It's like, you didn't know what you were missing until you had that experience, and you want to make sure that that part doesn't go away. And so I think we'll continue to see in more people providing care, more people talking openly about it, more advocacy, a greater shift towards a more caring and a more empathetic world.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Gosh. That is so poignant. That is so right on. I mean, because I can attest that just personally. Like, it awakened for me like a new kind of empathy, an awareness that I didn't really understand at all. And after my dad's passing, I called up a lot of elderly people that I ... like my kids' babysitters that were in retirement homes and things like that. And it just awakened me to this whole community of people who really need care.

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah. Yeah.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Right? Yeah.

Bianca Padilla:
It's really powerful stuff, what we do every day.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah.

Bianca Padilla
So ...

Erik Weihenmayer:
So if people want to learn more, somebody's a caregiver, they feel overwhelmed, can you give us some resources? I mean, obviously, Carewell, number one.

Bianca Padilla:
Yeah. So we actually partner with a ton of people in the community on social media. We'll do events. We'll do yoga events for caregivers and things like that. If you, if you follow us on Instagram, for example, it's @carewellfamily, or if you visit us online at carewell.com, you'll find a ton of resources as well as some massive product selection. And you can also give us a call. Our care team is trained on more things than just products. So give us a call. It's (855) 855-1666, and they're available 24/7, English and Spanish. So they're always there when you need them. And like I said, we always share out what's happening in the community because it's our responsibility to drive it and to help ensure that it thrives.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Yeah. And shameless plug for No Barriers. We offer caregiver retreats that have been really successful and we're really proud of this new program that we've been doing for the last couple years. So yeah, there are resources out there, but people have to reach out and find them. So Bianca, thank you so much for your time and all that you're doing in this world. It's kind of like this invisible world that you're bringing into focus with, as you said, more empathy and more love and more expertise. And so it's, I mean, I can't think of a more tremendous thing that people could devote their lives to. So, awesome job.

Bianca Padilla:
Thank you so much. And I so admire what it is that you guys do. So I'm really thankful to be on the podcast and have a really great conversation with you today.

Erik Weihenmayer:
Great. Thank you. No Barriers to everyone.

Didrik Johnck:
The production team behind this podcast includes producer Didrik Johnck, that's me, sound design, editing, and mixing by Tyler Cottman, marketing and graphic support from Stone Ward, and web support by Jamlo. Special thanks to the Dan Ryan Band for our intro song, Guidance. And thanks to all of you for listening. We know that you've got a lot of choices about how you can spend your time, and we appreciate you spending it with us. If you enjoy this podcast, we encourage you to subscribe to it, share it, and give us a review. Show notes can be found at nobarrierspodcast.com. That's nobarrierspodcast.com. There's also a link to shoot me an email with any suggestions for this show or any ideas you've got it all. Thanks so much and have a great day.

do you like this episode?
share it!

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Telegram
Email

it's up to you

Whichever podcast platform you enjoy, we’re already there.

Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of this free, educational and uplifting podcast.  

don't miss an episode

Stay up-to-date on new opportunities & community stories.

Get involved. Be forever changed.

Stay up-to-date on new opportunities & community stories.