AARP: Caregivers a significant market opportunity for HIT innovators

With about 40 million Americans providing unpaid care to family members or loved ones, technology innovators could do more to help alleviate the stress and workload of that role, according to an AARP Project Catalyst report.

Project Catalyst involves research from the Georgia Tech Research Institute HomeLab and pharma giant Pfizer as well as United Healthcare. The report was developed in collaboration with HITLAB, based in New York.

For the study, 1,028 caregivers completed online surveys, with 15 respondents providing in-depth interviews. Among the findings:

  • Seventy-one percent of caregivers are interested in technology, but only 7 percent are currently using it to assist with their caregiving duties.
  • Technologies for scheduling, organizing and medication refill are the most used, while those least-used deal with finding and procuring assisted living facilities or in-home aides, or viewing and sharing motivational content about caregiving.
  • Caregivers have significant trust issues when it comes to hiring help online.
  • As a new generation takes over caregiving, use of technology is likely to increase. Sixty-five percent of caregivers between 18 and 49 years old said they are likely to use available technologies, compared with only 56 percent of those ages 50-64 and only 38 percent of those ages 65 and up.

The report's authors urge innovators to address multiple needs in a single platform, rather than doing one thing well. Caregivers also are looking for a trusted source to help them identify the best apps and digital tools. Providers, therefore, must establish trust and their expertise with caregivers, the report notes.

To learn more:
- here's the study (.pdf)