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New Technology Can Be a Tremendous Resource to Senior Caregivers

By Daniel @ LivingSenior - March 24, 2011

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As the nation's population continues to age and Baby Boomers reach their retirement years, the burdens on elderly caregivers are higher than ever.  According to a new study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and UnitedHealthcare, senior caregiving-focused technologies can go a long way to alleviating those burdens.

The NAC and UnitedHealthcare study found that the cost of uncompensated caregiving is approaching $375 billion dollars annually, a testament to how vast an undertaking informal caregiving has become.  The study evaluated 12 technologies and found that three appeared to have the greatest probable impact:  personal health record tracking, a caregiving coordination system and a medication support system.

“Caregivers know that technology can be used to help them understand their loved one’s conditions and find resources and even support,” said Gail Hunt, CEO and President of the National Alliance for Caregiving.  Added Dr. Richard Migliori, Executive Vice President, Business Initiatives and Clinical Affairs, UnitedHealth Group, "This survey is a reminder that these improvements could be equally helpful where care matters most – in the home. The use of new technologies can be a powerful tool to keep seniors independent as long as possible and support family caregivers.”

The study also found that caregivers are largely receptive to the use of new technologies to assist in their caregiving.  Over 70% of those surveys said they use the internet for caregiving information or support and believe that technology use could save them time, would make caregiving easier logistically, could make the care recipient safer, and could help with the reduction of stress.