A recent article, Why health tech startups should care about ‘alpha geek’ caregivers outlines the role technology is playing for today’s elder caregivers. As the article notes, a Pew study concluded that caregivers were more likely than other internet users to search online for health information and use social health tools. In other words, caregivers may be on the forefront of the online health information movement (i.e. “alpha geeks”). Here are a few of the statistics from the study:
- 38 percent of online caregivers have looked at drug reviews online, compared with 18 percent of non-caregivers
- 26 percent of caregivers online have searched the Web for someone with similar health concerns, compared with 15 percent of non-caregivers
- 21 percent of online caregivers have looked at online reviews and rankings of doctors or other providers, compared with 13 percent of non-caregivers
- 24 percent of online caregivers said they tracked health indicators (other than weight/fitness) and symptoms online, compared to 13 percent of non-caregivers
In our experience, caregivers are particularly motivated to use online tools…tools that can really help in elder care management–saving time, stress, money, and solving a real-life concern. As with all technology, there are multitudes of apps and sites available and only the ones that are worth the effort to solve a real concern will be worthwhile. Caregivers are stretched between multiple responsibilities and need to know any efforts and costs will return greater benefits.
Finding quality information online is an obvious priority to caregivers based on the statistics above. Aging Wisely has tried to play a significant role in this area for elder caregivers by providing educational materials and answering questions and concerns we most frequently hear. You might want to check out our eldercare handouts available right on our home page and senior care links (see “resources”) and keep an eye out for our blog articles reviewing useful websites and tools.
In the past, we have provided some advice on eldercare technology tools and personal health records online. Aging Wisely uses a tool called Caregivers Touch for elder care management of our clients. Some of the benefits to such tools include increased efficiency, improved continuity of care and streamlined communication.
What are some types of tools and resources you might find most useful in caregiving?
- Legitimate online reviews and ratings such as Medicare’s facility compare-for hospitals, nursing homes and home health companies and states’ licensing websites such as Florida’s Facility Locator. Client ratings and reviews can also be helpful along with comments from other caregivers, though it is important to look at data as well and consider that your circumstances may be different. An elder care professional can help you understand how ratings and data are determined and understand the background of referral sites and organizations.
- Tools that facilitate communication, allowing you to access your loved one’s information easily (there is a lot to keep track of in managing elder care) and to share information with relevant parties. Any tool that can help alert family and friends of updates can save you a lot of phone time that you can focus on other tasks. These range from programs with apps focused on organizing and storing information such as Caregivers Touch to online communities like Caring Bridge and Lotsa Helping Hands.
As part of our care consultations and geriatric care management assessments, our care managers can recommend a variety of technologies to improve elder care management and your loved one’s safety. Our care managers research tools ranging from personal emergency response systems to medication dispensers and share data with you on facility ratings and success rates. To talk to our Community Liaison about how a consultation or assessment could help you, call us at 727-447-5845 or click below to request a time:
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