Does Web Content Empower Aging Seniors and Family Caregivers?

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by Carol Marak

In a thought provoking discussion on LinkedIn, a question was posed that led to raised brows and some tension among senior care marketers in the group. We were not at a loss for opinions and I admit, most made a lot of sense to me. BUT… we, the senior care providers and marketers, are not the right people to answer the question; the right audience is you, readers and inquirers of senior care topics, products, and information! Are you up for it seniors and family caregivers?

Okay, here goes (but remember, marketers are counting on you to give us the scoop because we’re in the dark):

Are seniors getting the information they need to make the best choices for their healthcare needs?

Yep, I told you it was hot and will likely open Pandora’s Box! But marketers are up for it, so we’re widening the audience in this debate to include you.

When searching for senior and healthcare solutions, are you having difficulty finding answers and solutions to your questions? More specifically, do you think you’re given too few options for your healthcare needs, and do you feel that you are left in the dark about the options available to you?

One of the members in the group, Alex, said, “I’ve seen it from the choice of Hospice, Home health, Durable Medical equipment companies, and even nursing and assisted living centers. In 2011 you would think this would be impossible because of the internet. Marketing our services to the senior population is crucial but how to get "directly" to them is one of the issues. Does anyone else see this in their communities?”

So here’s a question to you, seniors and caregivers, what’s your take on “How to get “directly” to you? Are we accomplishing that on the Internet? My summation is, “we, as marketers, are getting in front of you via the web but the information we publish does not accurately address your concerns or questions! Why? Because we don’t know or don’t understand what your questions are! We assume that we do.

Another group member says it so eloquently and spot on, “NO. Access to information of this nature is typically looked for at the time of crisis and not before. As unfortunate as this is, it is the state of our senior care system. As a result, seniors and their families are reliant upon individuals who would appear to have the knowledge, such as social service workers, doctors and other skilled care providers; however those individuals often lack a thorough understanding of the services or access to services that may be available to their patient. This is of course is no fault of their own as the volume of products, services, and companies is overwhelming even to those of us who work in this industry. Without out question, there is a deep fundamental failure in our "CARE" system and at the root are communication and the dissemination of cohesive, accurate information. The internet is always our friend, especially when we are in a hurry; compound being in a hurry with being in crisis and you have a tremendous recipe for disaster.” This summary was given by Barbara.Doesn’t her answer to the problem hit the nail on the head for you?

But, again, it’s not for me to say! That’s where youcome in. Please tell us and set the record straight.Are you getting the information you need to make the best choices for your healthcare needs?

Carol Marak is founder of Carebuzz.com (http://carebuzz.com), a platform of websites targeting local senior care help for family caregivers and the aging senior they care for.  Carol is a former caregiver for her aging parents. She experienced the frustrations of searching for local elder care help while living at a distance from her loved ones. That’s why she created Carebuzz. She plans to grow the city sites to be a leading local resource for caregivers.

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