Dave & Suzanne Bortel and children
CareCalendar is a donor supported ministry of the Bortel family. Dave developed the concept and wrote all of the custom programs that make the site work. Suzanne and several of our older children help brainstorm new ideas and test new features as they are developed. They also help with customer support and Gift Shop order fulfillment whenever possible.
CareCalendar was created based on my experiences of coordinating meals and other care that family and friends offered after Suzanne had emergency surgery. She was very weak and was unable to care for herself and our large family for several weeks.
At the time, we had 9 children living at home. The logistics of keeping their needs met AND being available for my wife were too much for me to handle on my own. I needed help!
I called several family members and close friends on the phone, but repeatedly explaining the situation was very draining emotionally. In order to let as many extended family and friends know in the easiest and quickest method, I decided to send an email message explaining things in as much detail as I knew. The responses started pouring in, many with offers to help.
As a specific offer to help was made, I wrote it down. People would call or send an email message asking what and when we needed help. I quickly realized that I was spending quite a bit of time trying to coordinate all the offers to help care for my family. I also realized that I needed to come up with an easier way to communicate our needs to a large group of people. I compiled all of the offers and put it on a simple calendar on a web page (the original "help calendar") along with a list of our most urgent needs. As people offered to help, I could then direct them to the web page so they could see what was already being done and they would then call or send me an email message telling me how and when they could help.
Though it was very plain, I received many positive comments on the "help calendar". After Suzanne's health improved, I decided to expand the concept even more by making it "self-service" so people could sign-up to help without the need to contact the coordinator.
Within a short time, we had a chance to test the new and improved, yet still very primitive, online help calendar concept. Suzanne's 90 year old grandmother needed around the clock care. Her primary caregivers were leaving on vacation and the rest of the family was to provide respite care for three weeks. We setup the list of daily needs, including detailed instructions about administering medications, Grammie's daily routines, laundry instructions, etc. The system worked great and many suggestions were made for enhancements.
Now, after literally thousands of hours of work planning, coding, testing, fixing bugs, etc., we have "CareCalendar".
Please help us make this system even better by sending us your comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.