Family Caregivers are Wired for Health - A Pew Research Center Study

Meghana Rao - July 10, 2013 10:09 AM

The Pew Research Center recently releases a new study revealing the impact of technology and the internet on caregivers. The study focused on caregiving tasks prevalent among adults ages 30 to 64, caring for an adult or child with significant medical issues.

75% of U.S. adults age 65 and older are living with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease and the number of informal caregivers such as family members and friends is only going to increase drastically. It is evident that these caregivers are likely to scout for as much information as possible with the help of the internet..

39% of U.S. adults are caregivers and many navigate health care with the help of technology.

Caregivers are using technology to a large extent, for gathering online health information about medical problems, treatments, and drugs. They are also assessing, researching and comparing health conditions and concerns. They are more likely to track weight, diet and exercise routines and online review of medications than other adults.

39% of caregivers manage medications for a loved one.

Medication management such as prescription refills is handled by almost 39% of caregivers with 7% using online or mobile tools, such as websites or apps.

Nine in ten caregivers own a cell phone and one-third have used it to gather health information.

37% of the 87% of US caregivers who own a cell-phone, look for health and medical information online. This is a higher rate than the 27% of the 84% of non-caregivers owning a mobile phone who also utilize the phone for health research.

Most caregivers say the internet is helpful to them.

Caregivers are turning to the internet in a big way to help them in their search.
    
•    59% of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to provide care and support for the person in their care.

•    52% of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to cope with the stress of being a caregiver.

The study reveals that caregivers are very receptive to technology. The internet and mobile tools are offering practical and accessible solutions to help them address the challenges of care.

Click here to read the full summary of The Pew Research Center study findings.

Meghana Rao, Staff Writer and Content Coordinator, eCareDiary.com

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