Social Media, Senior Home Care Work Hand-in-Hand

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Businesses that provide social media and networking tools are keeping family caregivers better connected to their loved ones and social networking sites like Facebook are helping family caregivers connect with each other. In fact, women age 55 and older – many of whom are caring for aging parents – are now the fastest-growing Facebook demographic, according to Facebook statistics. But companies that provide the personal touch are booming as well. A source from the Home Instead Senior Care® network says that technology can work hand-in-hand with home care in an industry that is growing bigger to serve an expanding senior population.

Online social networking can work hand-in-hand with the growing in-home senior care industry.

But most caregivers realize that technology alone can’t provide the human contact their elderly loved ones need as well as the respite that a professional caregiver can provide them. The needs of seniors and their families are why our organization continues to grow in spite of the sluggish economy.

Family caregiving is the latest business opportunity to benefit from advances in social media and networking tools that help family members near and far stay connected to senior loved ones.

More companies in the market today are interfacing home care agencies, care providers, family members and others associated with the care process to keep families informed about what’s going on in the lives of an elderly relative or friend. Below are a few, as identified by the National Private Duty Association (NPDA).

Playing off the social network popularity of Facebook, GenerationsUnite provides a secure web-based system that offers a communication platform connecting everyone involved in the circle of care. Those with access to the system can view care plans, the professional caregiver’s schedule, upload documents and review log notes provided by the care provider.

Connect 4 Healthcare is a provider-paid or family subscription-based web service that uses a secure Internet portal, e-mail and text messaging to create and maintain an open line of communication between families and care providers. Family members can select the type of information they want to receive and how they want to receive it.

Elsewhere, family caregivers are connecting with each other on Facebook where the growing demographic is women 55 and older, many of whom are caring for elderly parents. In fact, that demographic group of women 55 and older is up 175 percent since September 2008, according to Facebook statistics reported on InsideFacebook.com.

“This is the same market of family caregivers that are looking for resources to help them manage the care of an aging parent,” said Tim Connelly, director of Franchise Development for Home Instead, Inc., the franchisor for the Home Instead Senior Care® network. “Local Home Instead Senior Care offices reach out to this market as well through Facebook, blogs, YouTube and franchise owner e-mails,” he said.

“We know that these family caregivers are looking for the latest tools to help them make the most of the limited time they have to work, care for their own families and look after elderly loved ones. Home Instead Senior Care sponsored websites like CaregiverStress.com provide tips on how to cope with the many challenges of caregiving.

The Caring for Your Parents: Education for the Family Caregiver(SM) support series, also found on that site, deals with a variety of topics of interest to this market -- including signs that a senior might need help, communicating with an aging loved one and how to select an in-home provider,” he added.

“Family caregivers are hungry to learn more about the various ways they can use technology to make life better for their seniors,” Connelly said. “But most caregivers realize that technology alone can’t provide the human contact their elderly loved ones need as well as the respite that a professional caregiver can provide them. The needs of seniors and their families are why our organization continues to grow in spite of the sluggish economy.”

Anyone interested in learning more about senior care business opportunities, may register for a free Home Instead Senior Care Franchise Opportunities one-hour webinar. The next webinars are scheduled for October 20 at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. Eastern time.

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Erin Albers
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