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Caregivers Relying More on Internet Says New Study

A new Pew Research Center survey found that family caregivers are more likely to use the internet than non-caregivers with similar demographic characteristics. Of those caregivers with internet access, nearly ninety percent relied on the internet to help care for their loved one.

The study found that 30% of U.S. adults are caregivers. These family caregivers are more highly educated and most likely to be in the 50-64 age bracket. According to the survey findings, family caregivers are more technologically savvy than the general population. 90 percent of family caregivers have a cell phone, compared to 82 percent of non-caregivers, and 79 percent of family caregivers have access to the internet, a higher percentage than non-caregivers, even when controlled for age, educational level, and other demographic factors. Caregivers largely use the internet to assist with their caregiving responsibilities through connecting with other caregivers, researching health information, such as data on Alzheimer’s and dementia, and looking up information about long-term care options. 

The survey also found that caregivers are extremely social, both online and off. 26 percent of caregivers who use the internet looked for someone with health concerns similar to themselves, while 15 percent of non-caregivers have looked online for someone like themselves.  Caregivers are also likely to use social networks to follow and share personal health experiences. Offline, 70 percent of caregivers rely on friends and family members for information and support. Only 47 percent of non-caregivers do the same.

Read more about the Pew Research Center study: Family Caregivers Online.

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