Community//

Eric Usher of ‘Just Checking In’: “Send a Care Package”

Send a Care Package. Communicate your love for someone and let them know you’re thinking of them by putting together a handmade care package. Gather care packages with some of your family member’s favorite items and ship it off in nice packaging for an added touch. Add-in their favorite candy, a nice item for their […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Send a Care Package. Communicate your love for someone and let them know you’re thinking of them by putting together a handmade care package. Gather care packages with some of your family member’s favorite items and ship it off in nice packaging for an added touch. Add-in their favorite candy, a nice item for their home like a candle, a handwritten note and perhaps a necessity item like socks, or lip balm. With many people still social distancing, especially elders, this is a way for you to show grandparents love and appreciation, without the obligation of attending in-person events.

Staying connected to family members who don’t live with you can sometimes be a challenge. With key tips like scheduling times to talk on the phone, sending care packages and setting family members up with the Just Checking In App, you can improve your relationships, stay more connected over-time and feel at more at-ease.


As a part of my interview series about the ‘5 Things We Can Each Do Help Solve The Loneliness Epidemic’, I had the pleasure to interview Eric Lee Usher.

Eric is the Co-Founder of Just Checking In and President of Heraclius, a member of the NMSDC (National Minority and Development Council). With over 15 years of experience, Eric is one of today’s leading millennial business entrepreneurs.

During his early years as an entrepreneur, Eric experienced many late nights, solo travels and numerous missed family events. His ambition unfortunately pushed him further away from his family than he ever would have imagined. He understands first-hand what isolation can do to your mental health. “Isolation is easily developed in a connected world”, said Usher. “It’s so important now more than ever to consistently stay connected.”

The Just Checking In App allows Eric to share his expertise to help reduce the health risk of depression and suicide triggered by isolation.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share your “backstory” with us? What was it that led you to your eventual career choice?

I’m the guy that can take any situation and attempt to turn it into a positive. Growing up we consistently moved so I was forced to establish new friendships. Which developed into this feeling that no one ever stays in my life. I begin my entrepreneurial pursuit at a very young age walking miles from door to door to provide any kind of lawn service. I spent many days alone, which built my entrepreneurial muscle. I spent so many days alone with my computer working late and missing family events that I started justifying my success with individualism. It wasn’t until this pandemic that I realized I was masking a deeper issue. My being busy was a symptom of my anxiety and depression.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Interesting? That’s a really difficult question because of the many scenarios I’ve been in. But for the sake of the question and staying on topic, I recall my first time having to sleep at the airport so I wouldn’t miss my 5am flight. After waiting all night for a standby confirmation. I was extremely shocked by the number of people who found their corner or chair and created their fort. I first planned on staying awake until I noticed how normal everyone made it look. It was a long night.

Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that?

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Just Checking In Mobile App, an app that helps keep you automatically connect to family and friends, to avoid isolation and loneliness. In midst of the pandemic, we have all felt the loss of direct human interaction and Just Checking In is reducing the health risk of depression and suicide triggered in these trying times. The app notifies your emergency contacts if you don’t check in and allows family and friends to view your daily check in status. With everyone’s busy schedules, it is easy to forget the simple gesture of checking in, and we don’t realize how important close bonds between families and friends across the globe are.

Can you share with our readers a bit why you are an authority about the topic of the Loneliness Epidemic?

I wouldn’t consider myself the authority on the topic but as an individual who experienced and at times continues to experience loneliness it can lead to many destructive behavior. I feel each person experiences loneliness at some point in their lives and there’s no one that can be the judge of how you feel. What we can do is try to support each other in various ways.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the main focus of our interview. According to this story in Forbes, loneliness is becoming an increasing health threat not just in the US , but across the world. Can you articulate for our readers 3 reasons why being lonely and isolated can harm one’s health?

It is truly difficult to measure the effects of loneliness and isolation, however there is strong evidence to support loneliness was associated with depression, anxiety and suicide. CDC reported that, poor social relationships (characterized by social isolation or loneliness) was associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% increased risk of stroke. With over 36+ Millions Americans living alone the feeling of loneliness does happen.

On a broader societal level, in which way is loneliness harming our communities and society?

Focusing on our baby boomer for example, right now older adults are serious public health risk affecting a significant number of elderly. *The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) points out that more than one-third of adults aged 45 and older feel lonely, and nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated.1 Older adults are at increased risk for loneliness and social isolation because they are more likely to face factors such as living alone, the loss of family or friends, chronic illness, and hearing loss.

Reference Link- https://www.cdc.gov/aging/publications/features/lonely-older-adults.html

The irony of having a loneliness epidemic is glaring. We are living in a time where more people are connected to each other than ever before in history. Our technology has the power to connect billions of people in one network, in a way that was never possible. Yet despite this, so many people are lonely. Why is this? Can you share 3 of the main reasons why we are facing a loneliness epidemic today? Please give a story or an example for each.

Think of it this way, right now if you were to step outside for work, a meal, or drinks. The one constant thing you will witness are individuals with their head downs, on their phones. Now the reality is, we are all guilty of this regardless of how much research is done to prove this as a harmful thing. While technology was used to keep us connected, it also morphed into our primary connection point. I still experience misinterpretation via text. I have worked with individuals for years and only spoke with them via email. I am a believer that 80% of communication is none verbal. If all we are doing daily is sending edited text messages, when is the real communication happening. This is a contributor to the loneliness epidemic. When the pandemic formed, with governmental demands to isolate, millions of people were left alone with no one to talk with or interact.

Ok. it is not enough to talk about problems without offering possible solutions. In your experience, what are the 5 things each of us can do to help solve the Loneliness Epidemic. Please give a story or an example for each.

Schedule Time to Chat

This tip works at different capacities for different family members and relationships. For you, this may look like setting up 10 minutes to talk with your family every other day. On the other hand, it could be setting up time once a week, on Sunday nights at 7:00 p.m. for one hour. Scheduling time to chat makes both people feel like there is a committed time to talk and check-in. This works well for kids who may be off to their first year of college and are focused on their studies versus talking on the phone with their parents every day.

Start a Facebook Family Group

Private family Facebook groups are a great place for the group to stay connected and share anecdotes throughout their day. Posting and commenting can be done on everyone’s individual time and it acts as an open format to communicate with multiple family members without taking the time to individually reach out to each person. You can share pictures and updates throughout your day, comment on other’s posts and reminisce about old memories. Who knows, you may learn some new things about Uncle Dave!

Check-In Daily with One-Button Check-Ins On Your Smartphone

Check-in with family members without spending hours going down your contact list or overwhelming loved ones with needy calls and texts. You can check-in with select family members with one-touch check-ins from the Just Checking In App. This mobile app built for iOS and Android allows loved ones to check-in on a daily basis with a push of one simple button. The app even sends notification reminders if that person hasn’t checked-in for the day yet. Whether you have a parent who lives on their own, an aunt across the country, or a college kid in another state, the Just Checking In App provides a tangible, hassle-free solution to checking-in with family members and friends. Try it out here for a free 2-week trial.

Schedule In-Person Face Time

No we don’t mean on your iPhone…although this is a great option too! Plan fun things to do with friends and family who you care about most. This keeps excitement going in your family relationships and gives you something to plan for and look forward to. Real-life experiences can add appreciation for the relationship and give you all something out of the norm to do. This can be as simple as planning monthly dinners, planning a trip, making plans to tend to a parent’s garden and more.

Send a Care Package

Communicate your love for someone and let them know you’re thinking of them by putting together a handmade care package. Gather care packages with some of your family member’s favorite items and ship it off in nice packaging for an added touch. Add-in their favorite candy, a nice item for their home like a candle, a handwritten note and perhaps a necessity item like socks, or lip balm. With many people still social distancing, especially elders, this is a way for you to show grandparents love and appreciation, without the obligation of attending in-person events.

Staying connected to family members who don’t live with you can sometimes be a challenge. With key tips like scheduling times to talk on the phone, sending care packages and setting family members up with the Just Checking In App, you can improve your relationships, stay more connected over-time and feel at more at-ease.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Thank you, The movement I want to inspire is simple, Just Check In. I for one am very guilty of having a busy scheduling and meaning to call my loved ones, then weeks go by and I justify it with some excuse. With Just Checking In, we want to eliminate that guilt and provide a simple solution for family and friends with the peace of mind that a check in can mean the world.

We are blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

I actually want to challenge all the readers, to stop what you’re doing right now and go ahead and Just Check In on that family or friend you’ve been meaning to.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

Our Instagram is @JustCheckingInApp & Facebook is /JustCheckingInFB

Thank you so much for these insights. This was so inspiring, and so important!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Catherine Hinz of Beyond Words: “Connection to Those You Serve”

by Ben Ari
Community//

Lane Michel of Unified Caring Association: “Be directionally right, roughly correct”

by Ben Ari
Teach Your Family the Meaning of Giving with these Tips by Richard Abbe
Community//

Teach Your Family The Meaning Of Giving With These Tips by Richard Abbe

by Richard Abbe
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.