The e-Connected Family Caregiver: Bringing Caregiving into the 21st Century study, released January 8, 2011 by the National Alliance for Caregiving and UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, found more than two-thirds of family caregivers who have used some form of technology to help them with caregiving believe web-based and mobile technologies designed to facilitate caregiving would be helpful to them. Family caregivers provide an estimated $375 billion worth of uncompensated care to loved ones annually. Previous studies have shown that many lack support systems and tools that could ease the burden financially and emotionally.
The survey examined family caregivers’ receptivity to technology and assessed how helpful 12 particular technologies would be in supporting caregivers or helping them provide care. It also explored perceived barriers to using technology, factors that influence family caregivers? use of technology and sources of information about technology that caregivers trust. The findings will be presented today at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show’s (CES) Silvers Summit.
“We know that our nation’s caregivers often put the needs of their care recipients ahead of their own, which can compromise their own health and create a stressful lifestyle,” said Dr. Richard Migliori, executive vice president, Business Initiatives and Clinical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group. “It’s encouraging to see that caregivers are open to incorporating technology into their caregiving routine as a way to make their jobs easier. As the technology and health care industries increasingly use these kinds of tools to improve care in hospitals and doctors’ offices, this survey is a reminder that these improvements could be equally helpful where care matters most –in the home. The use of new technologies can be a powerful tool to keep seniors independent as long as possible and support family caregivers.”
Technology to assist seniors and family caregivers in the home is one of the fastest-growing industries –some analysts predict it will be a $20 billion market by 2020. A report published by AARP in 2008 showed that both seniors and family caregivers are seeking new technology products as a way to keep their loved ones living in their home as long as possible.
“Caregivers know that technology can be used to help them understand their loved one’s conditions and find resources and even support,” said Gail Hunt, CEO and president of the National Alliance for Caregiving. “With this survey, we wanted to look at „what’s next? with technologies that can be brought to bear to help caregivers focus not only on the health of their loved one but their own health as well.”