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I’m very pleased to introduce my first guest blogger for SandwichINK. Carol Marak:
A recent study by the Pew Internet American Life Project shows that 22% of Americans 65 and older used the Internet in 2004. The number increased again in 2006 to 34%. Seniors are researching topics like health or medical information – 66%; product research – 66%, Government websites -60%; online shopping – 47 %; travel reservations – 41%; and banking – 20% – using the web.
Many seniors (50+) are on social media sites like Eons, ThirdAge and AARP. That number grows each day. ThirdAge claims they have 1 million boomers in their database and 2 million boomers registered for their Newsletter. Online users, family members and seniors, are connecting via the social media sites like the ones mentioned and LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and many others. They form relationships. They ask questions, get answers, and yes, even get referrals! Sounds space aged, right?
Today it’s the “boomers” that is the leading group who are caring for an elder loved one. In my experience of helping my aging parents, I found most “care information” like health, home care, and family caregiving topics on the Internet. Since I lived at a distance from my parents, I did not have easy access to their local phone book so I went online to look for help. For many family members, they are doing the same since they too live at a distance from aging relatives.
That was two years ago when I helped mom and dad. The landscape of the web has changed. More senior services like health websites, support groups, geriatric care, home care, home health, elder law, and long term care insurance are all popping up in cyber space. It’s like we’ve arrived. Family caregivers and aging seniors can find us on the Internet! That’s great news!
How do seniors filter through this abundant information? We’re on information overload, aren’t we?
But the good news is that blogging and social media helps people find the answers they are looking for. They are building relationships online. And getting help, answers and referrals.
Online connections is all about building trusted relationships – that’s why social media will expand and always be credible.
Thank you, Carol, for an interesting article. It’s nice to know we are in the forefront of positive change for our society!
Check out Carol’s website. She’s got a great blog with interesting interviews featuring various elder care providers and other people and sites of interest for caregivers.