CareYaya expands new home care opportunity to Cape Fear

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY)– CareYaya is a new program that fills the gap in caregiver shortages, and gives students in the medical field an opportunity for experience and extra cash.   

“It’s the best kept secret in the caregiver workforce. It’s all college students who are going into healthcare professions coming in to help take care of your elderly loved ones,” said Neal Shah, CEO of CareYaya. 

“We have the time to make some money and get the hours in that we need, so that if we end up going to PA school, we don’t have to take a gap year or two, we can go ahead and go into that and jumpstart our careers,” said Lillian Hewitt & Sophie Kosterman, Student Caregivers from UNC Chapel Hill.  

Patients typically have Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, sometimes accompanied by an injury.  

These student caregivers help with things like companionship, technology, grooming, meals, and pets, to give spouses and other loved ones a break.  

“I’ve done things like sing with the people I’ve gone to be with, I’ve watched Bridgerton with them, just simple things like that that make a difference that bring them joy, and I’m happy to do it with them,” said Hewitt.  

Not only is this beneficial to students, but also to the patients and their families, as it is a much more affordable option for help.   

“Bringing in help that is affordable and flexible, and thinking outside the box is something that we really need to do as a state, and really a whole country,” said Heather Hooper, Executive Director of Dementia Alliance of NC.  

Since the service does rely on students, it provides flexibility with their busy schedules as an incentive to gain hands-on experience.   

“It’s really flexible which is really nice with being a student. I can schedule in when I know I’m going to be free, and I can put in the time and effort that these people deserve,” said Hewitt.  

Care Yaya began in the Triangle Region, and is hoping its expansion into Wilmington will be a win-win for students and families in need of a caregiver.    

“They don’t only need the help from you, but you learn a lot from them. So, it’s a really great experience,” said Kosterman. 

Students typically make $15 an hour with CareYaya.  

The name “CareYaya” comes from the Greek language. “Yaya” means grandmother in Greek, and in other languages can mean caregiver.

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