By Nancy Dahlberg
Family caregiving is not only emotionally and physically demanding work. It’s also expensive, between missed work hours and out-of-pocket costs.
Last year, 53 million Americans provided unpaid care for an aging family member, with nearly eight in 10 reporting the paid out an average of $7,242 annually in out-of-pocket expenses. Combined with the lack of paid family and medical leave in the United States, many family members find themselves choosing between caregiving and a full-time job with income and benefits. This results in many caregivers leaving the workforce and sacrificing financial stability.
A new startup that is now offering services in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties, Aidaly, aims to help family caregivers discover and receive benefits and financial services. Its platform streamlines access to federal, state and private benefits, including Medicare and Medicaid dollars that are not always easily accessed. Aidaly also helps family caregivers discover other resources such as financial planning help, mental health support and caregiver training.
In the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area, early users have already seen a 160% increase in their ability to recover from financial shocks, the startup reports. “Aidaly’s mission is to empower unpaid family caregivers with the compensation, coaching and financial services needed to care for their loved ones,” said founder and CEO Maggie Norris (pictured above).
To grow services beyond the Miami market, Aidaly announced today it has raised $8.5 million in venture capital, led by Alexis Ohanian‘s Seven Seven Six. Participating in the round were Lightspeed Venture Partners, Operator Partners, Precursor Ventures, Primetime Partners, Scribble, Shrug, Polymath, TVC, and founders and executives from Twitter, Facebook, SoulCycle, Flatiron Health, Mainstreet, OnDeck, Commsor, and others.
With the funding, the startup plans to expand to additional markets within the year, including Arizona and then Illinois, Norris said in an interview with Refresh Miami. Aidaly is also seeking to work with insurance plans to offer Aidaly’s service to members.
Norris was a caregiver for both of her fathers during their battles with cancer. “My stepfather was diagnosed my summer after my freshman year of college and so I became a primary caregiver, doing everything from bathing, feeding, administering medication and coordinating care. And what I found was a real lack of solutions to help families navigate the healthcare system and access benefits and resources available,” said Norris, who founded Aidaly about eight months ago. “We built Aidaly for people like me and my family who were looking for help and options.”
Aidaly helps family caregivers who provide on average 15 to 25 hours of care weekly in a home settings by enabling them to manage paperwork and access financial services through its easy-to-navigate portal. Because most people unaware that these programs exist, Aidaly also helps its users determine if they are eligible for benefits in less than 15 minutes. It’s members also can access to a community of fellow caregivers and coaches for caregiving, nutrition and wellness and personal finance support.
Aidaly is a team of 10 now, of which four are in the Miami area. Norris lives in Boston but says she spends about 70% of her time in Miami. The team has been offering Aidaly in South Florida for about three months now. One of the the startup’s first partners is AARP in Florida, and Aidaly is helping AARP members who are caregivers to access financial benefits and resources. Norris said half of Aidaly’s advocates are native Spanish speakers and live in Miami, too. One of the learnings in this market is a family caregiver may be caring for more than one family member at the same time and that has changed the way they were building.
Norris said she was drawn to the Miami market not only because of the aging population and multi-generational family culture in the Latin community, but also because of the tech community that is growing here. “It’s just a wealth of talent and opportunity, it’s just a great city to build in,” she said.
And her lead investor isn’t far away.
“I saw the importance of caregivers firsthand in my mom’s battle with brain cancer,” said Ohanian, who lives in Palm Beach County. “I invested in Aidaly because I can clearly see the impact this technology is going to have for family caregivers and their loved ones.”
Ohanian continued, “Being a family caregiver is a challenging role for many reasons. Aidaly ensures it’s not more difficult than it needs to be and that family caregivers are able to focus on what matters most — their loved one.”
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This article has been updated. Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter and email her at email@example.com
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