According to a report from Pew Internet four in ten adults in the U.S. are caring for an adult or child with significant health issues, up from 30% in 2010. Caring for a loved one is an activity that cuts across most demographic groups, but is especially prevalent among adults ages 30 to 64, a group traditionally still in the workforce. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] When asked about the specific impact of the internet 59% of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to provide care and support for the person in their care and 52% of caregivers with internet access say that online resources have been helpful to their ability to cope with the stress of being a caregiver.[/inlinetweet] So why isn’t there more content on drug websites targeted at caregivers ?
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]47% of U.S. adults say it is likely that, at some point in their life, they will be responsible for caring for an aging parent[/inlinetweet] or another elderly family member.Demographic patterns bear out this prediction: People ages 65 and older represented 12.4% of the U.S. population in the year 2000 but are expected to be 19% of the population by 2030.2 This survey finds that fully[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] 75% of U.S. adults age 65 and older are living with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease[/inlinetweet]
Nine in ten caregivers own a cell phone and one-third have used it to gather health information Eighty-seven percent of caregivers in the U.S. own a cell phone and, of those, [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]37% say they have used their phone to look for health or medical information online[/inlinetweet]. This is a significantly higher than the rate of mobile health search among non-caregivers at the time of the survey: 84% of non-caregivers own a cell phone and 27% have used their phone to look online for health information.
In short, there is a huge opportunity to help caregivers manage the stress of caring for a loved one. It starts with the basic need to know medical information, but it also should include a community tool where others can learn from caregivers’ experiences. Why pharma companies have not embraced this approach is puzzling, but I am sure it has to do with lack of resources along with regulatory and legal concerns.
From personal experience I can honestly say that being a caregiver was extremely stressful. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Caregivers often are in conflict at how to both have a personal or family life with trying to take care of a loved one. [/inlinetweet] The overlap can make them feel guilty and lead to a lot of questions without answers.
Pew’s survey finds that fully 75% of U.S. adults age 65 and older are living with a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease. Numerous studies have shown that the day to day management of these complex medical cases falls squarely on family members and friends who may not be trained. It’s time for marketers to acknowledge that they need to address the needs of these people even without having to prove ROI and have months of meetings and Power Points.