Family Caregivers Turn to Internet For Information and Guidance

Jul 12, 2012

Thirty percent 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. Most are caring for an adult, such as a parent or spouse, but a small group cares for a child living with a disability or long-term health issue. The population breaks down as follows:

  • 24% of U.S. adults care for an adult
  • 3% of U.S. adults care for a child with significant health issues
  • 3% of U.S. adults care for both an adult and a child
  • 70% of U.S. adults do not currently provide care to a loved one

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 our survey, from looking up certain treatments to hospital ratings to end-of-life decisions.

“Caregivers use the internet to navigate the frontier of home health care,” says Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Pew Internet Project and lead author of the study. “Caregivers not only care for their loved one’s physical and emotional needs, but their information needs as well, and the internet is a key resource.”

Read the full report, Family Caregivers Online, on the Pew Internet & American Life Project Web site.

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