Caregivers of elderly and disabled individuals increasingly are turning to online communities for health information and social support, the New York Times' "The New Old Age" reports.
Caregivers are among those most willing to use Internet tools, according to "The New Old Age." Data from the Pew Internet Project show that adults ages 50 to 64 -- prime candidates for caregiving -- increased their use of social networking websites by 454% between 2008 and 2012.
In addition, caregivers are more likely than non-caregivers to seek health information from other individuals online, according to the Pew Internet Project.
Susannah Fox, an associate director of the Pew Internet Project, said, "We call it peer-to-peer health care," noting that caregivers "triage with their peers and friends online, rather than going to medical sites."
Two caregiver sites -- Saturing and CareZone -- offer no-cost services allowing caregivers to track medical information that they can share with family members.
Meanwhile, sites such as LotsaHelpingHands seek to help caregivers tap into a larger community where they can obtain emotional support and donate equipment to each other (Seliger, "The New Old Age," New York Times, 5/23).