Recently, Pew Research Center did a study on older Americans and their Internet usage. They discovered that for the first time, over half of older Americans are online; a significant change of growth.

They now have a new study on how Caregivers are online and using the Internet. Here is a summary of key findings:

Who are our Caregivers?

  • Caregivers are more likely to be middle-aged (ages 50-64)
  • 30% of U.S. adults help a loved one with personal needs or household chores, managing finances, arranging for outside services, or visiting regularly to see how they are doing.

What are their online behaviors?

  • Eight in ten caregivers (79%) have access to the internet. Of those, 88% look online for health information, outpacing other internet users on every health topic included in the survey, from looking up certain treatments to hospital ratings to end-of-life decisions.
  • Caregivers are more likely than other internet users to take advantage of social tools related to health:
    • 44% of online caregivers have read someone else’s personal health story online, compared with 29% of non-caregivers.
    • 28% of online caregivers who use sites like Facebook have followed their friends’ personal health experiences or health updates, compared with 21% of non-caregivers who use such sites.
    • 26% of online caregivers have looked online for someone with similar health concerns, compared with 15% of non-caregivers.
  • Caregivers are more likely than other internet users to read online reviews of drugs, clinicians, and medical facilities:
    • 38% of online caregivers have consulted online reviews of particular drugs or medical treatments, compared with 18% of non-caregivers.
    • 21% of online caregivers have consulted online rankings or reviews of doctors or other providers, compared with 13% of non-caregivers.
    • 20% of online caregivers have consulted online rankings or reviews of hospitals or other medical facilities, compared with 12% of non-caregivers.

From what we have learned, we can see that not only are older Americans and seniors online, but the people that care for them are online, as well. Having an online presence is imperative when targeting the 55+ demographic.

Read the complete study by Pew Research Center.