Survey Results — Family Caregivers Provide Technology Insights

Survey Results — Family Caregivers Provide Technology Insights

The results of our technology survey are complete.

That 474 of you who took the time to let us know what you think is truly appreciated!

We are going to spend some time digging into your responses in order to figure out just what we can learn and apply to the future of technology reporting at Senior Care Corner®.

In future articles we will discuss some of the detailed insights from the survey responses and how we’ll apply them. In the meantime, we want to present a summary of responses to each of our questions.

But first a little background discussion . . .

What the Survey Is — and Isn’t

Senior Care Corner has put a focus on technology for seniors and their family caregivers from the beginning. Of course, several years ago there was not nearly as much to cover as there is today.

As we have been reporting for some time, especially after covering CES® 2019, there is a great deal of technology in place and in the pipeline that can and will benefit older adults and their caregivers.

With so much technology available today and more on the way, we know we can’t fully cover all of it in the depth family caregivers need. The survey is our attempt to learn where we should focus our coverage to best meet your needs. We will let you know the specifics of what we learned.

We realize this survey is not a statistically valid sampling of family caregivers or even of those who visit Senior Care Corner. It is, though, an indication of the opinions of those in our audience who were kind enough to take the time to tell us what you think. That is important to us.

We also understand and will take into account that those who responded to the survey — and those who visit Senior Care Corner overall — are already, at a minimum, using the technology needed to connect to the web and may be more attuned to technology than other older adults and family caregivers.

Now onto the results of the survey.

Question 1: Age of Survey Respondents

Responses to the first survey question are consistent with our understanding of the Senior Care Corner audience based on comments and communications we’ve received over time.

While we are pleased to receive the confirmation, we were hoping to get more feedback from those who are younger in order to understand their needs as well. After all, there are already many younger family caregivers, many of whom may not see themselves as such, and a lot more who will at some point find themselves in that role, supporting parents, grandparents, and other loved ones.

 

Question 2: Caregiving Role of Respondents

This question is part of our effort to better understand the caregiving role, and thus the needs, of our audience. As expected, a large majority of respondents are caregivers to older adults.

Not lost on us are the responses of those who have older family members but don’t consider themselves caregivers. As we know and frequently discuss, those respondents might still be family caregivers without realizing they fill that role for a loved one. They may also have a role in the selection and implementation of technology solutions for senior loved ones.

We also appreciate that we have readers who are receiving care themselves and keep their needs in mind.

 

Question 3: Respondents Level of Tech Use

We weren’t sure what to expect in response to this question and were a little surprised that half of respondents said they are avid users of technology devices. Maybe we should not have been, since tech users may have been more likely to respond, though a significant share are already seniors.

This is consistent with research we have seen from others and our own anecdotal evidence indicating technology use by older adults is growing.

 

Question 4: Respondents Role with Technology

As the chart below reflects, respondents to the survey reflect a broad range of experience and roles with technology in their homes.

We find it interesting that half of the respondents to the survey have very significant roles with technology while a significant number are tech users but rely on others to set up and maintain it. We will continue to strive to meet the needs of both with our reporting.

 

Question 5: Areas of Concern with Technology

We find it interesting that, while respondents report a broad range of concerns with digital technology in their homes, one in four reported having no concerns.

Not surprisingly, the most commonly reported concern was data privacy, which has gotten a lot of discussion over the last year, with significant coverage of what companies such as Facebook and Google do with what they learn about us from our internet activities.

We hope tech companies take note that one in three respondents share concern about the cost of technology.

 

Question 6: Respondents Technology Interest Areas

We were pleased to learn respondents have interest in a broad range of technologies, though that will continue to challenge us in our coverage.

It is not surprising to see the greatest interest in the areas of mobile devices (smartphones and tablets) and home health devices, as we expect those to be areas providing the greatest benefit to independent-living seniors.

While there is clearly less interest right now in caregiving robots and digital companions, we will likely continue to follow those technology areas, which are still relatively immature and their benefits not yet well developed or publicized. We believe these technologies will take some of the load off family caregivers while improving life for seniors.

 

Question 7: Respondents Learning Preferences

This question was very important to us in planning our future delivery of information on Senior Care Corner.

It does not surprise us that almost two-thirds of our readers prefer their information via written articles and will continue to provide those.

Because half of respondents stated a preference for video delivery of information, we will be moving more in that direction in the future.

We have been evaluating the future of our podcast, so the interest expressed in podcasts by just one in five respondents is valuable to us in that evaluation.

 

Other Feedback We Received

It means a lot to us that 474 of you took the time to respond to our survey. That number is as meaningful to us as any of the survey responses themselves.

Still, not all of the valuable feedback we received was in the form of survey responses.

We received a number of comments, both directly and through social media, indicating there are some who do not see technology as being related to caring for seniors.

While we clearly disagree, we appreciate those comments, as they let us know there is still a need for basic communication of the roles technology can play in the lives of both seniors and their family caregivers.

It is comments such as those that help keep us grounded. We are, after all, not advocates of technology per se, but advocates for the family caregivers of senior loved ones. To the extent technology can help family caregivers make the lives of loved ones safer, healthier, and/or happier, we want to report on that technology.

It is for that reporting we conducted our technology survey and will learn from what you told us to improve our reporting for YOU, the family caregivers.

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