By Jim Higgins, Solutionreach
In their early years, children rely on parents for everything, especially their healthcare—from medication dosing to appointments and so on. As years go by, children eventually change roles from care-receiver to the primary caretaker of their parents. Being a caregiver is one of the most demanding roles out there—but also a very common one. Eight out of ten Americans say that caregiving is “the new normal” in our country. It is estimated that around 40 million Americans provide regular care for an adult over the age of 50 each year. And as the population continues to age, these numbers will only grow. Currently, 10,000 people turn 65 every single day. And for the first time in U.S. history, there are more than 50 million seniors. These numbers will continue to grow until at least 2029, when older people will outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.
What does this mean for healthcare organizations? It means that it is absolutely imperative to pay attention to what caregivers want. Caregivers are now huge stakeholders in the healthcare world. Meeting their needs now (and into the future) is critical to having a robust, thriving practice.
So, what do caretakers want when it comes to support in their important role? They need more time. The majority of caregivers work full-time while also spending an average of 20 hours each week taking care of a loved one. Obviously, finding ways to cut back on this time-burden would be huge. Fortunately, healthcare organizations can do just that through the use of technology. In this day and age, children of aging parents are at least familiar with, if not experts in, communicating digitally. Using technology is an important way to save caregivers time and energy.
What are some of the most desired digital features?
Being the caretaker of a senior citizen can be hard. The vast majority of caretakers are unpaid family or friends. Finding ways to reduce the burden on them is a great way for healthcare organizations to set themselves apart from their competition (and attract new patients!). One of the easiest ways to do this is by taking advantage of the latest in technology.
About The Author
Jim Higgins is the founder & CEO of Solutionreach. You can follow him on Twitter: @higgs77.