Caregivers On Line

Apparently, caregivers love the web and knowing what I know about the Internet as well as providing support, that makes sense to me. If you provide care, you’re busy, right? You are more than likely interested in helping the person or people you care for and interested in finding things out on their behalf and for yourself. That level of interest is what makes good care better.  The Internet is a one-stop-shop for information and advice and once you dive in, you wonder how we ever got by without surfing. It is like having a whole library at your finger tips and doubles up as a convenient way to shop, bank, chat and do so many other things without leaving your keyboard.

Navigating the Care System

Surfer
Surfing for Information
photo credit: Sunova Surfboards

Being a carer might have been sprung upon you.  If you are a paid carer, you have no doubt undertaken some training and have structures in place through your employer to help you keep improving.  If you are an informal carer, then you might be on your own in what you do and have little training other than what you pick up along the way.  These days, we are encouraged to do as much as we can for ourselves and for each other and this can include a whole host of things from arranging care and support packages, managing a direct payment, self assessment, arranging meetings and appointments, finding direct care and so on.  Professional care givers are not so freely available in modern care services and people who provide or need support are doing much more for themselves and each other.

People are increasingly expected to take on more of their own care and support or at least, have greater choice and control over their care. This is great if you have the skills to do so but it may leave you feeling out of your depth. The Internet can be a great place to get technical advice about all kinds of things. You can get definitions and diagnoses learn about medication or other treatments and much, much more. Don’t forget too, that the Internet is a cracking place to learn more about the Internet!

The Caregiver Market

The article that inspired this post identifies caregivers as a potential or untapped market for on line advertisers and sellers. Whilst I can easily become cynical about all this it also means that as others look to tap in to those market opportunities they will do so in part, by generating more helpful resources for carers and people who need support. I’m all for that if it gets more high quality, information out there. How about these ideas from that post:

  • Seventy-two percent of caregivers say they’ve gone online to look for health information, compared with 50 percent of non-caregivers;
  • Fifty-two percent of caregivers indicate that they’ve taken part in a health-related social activity online, compared with 33 percent of non-caregivers; and
  • Thirty-seven percent of caregivers with a cell phone say they have used it to look for health information, compared with 27 percent of cell-phone-owning non-caregivers

Keep Looking and Asking

Now none of that should surprise: if you provide care, you are going to be asking questions and if you have access to the Internet, you’ll ask those questions on line. The more that people with disabilities and those who support them are on line, the greater the likelihood of better resources being made available for those people. Of course, I understand that many of those people’s needs are similar to everyone else’s: shopping, socialising, banking and other business and so on. Equally, carers and people who need support services of some kind have specialist interests or a need for specialised information. Keep looking for it, ask questions and make it known to people what you are interested in.

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