How much would you be willing to pay for technology to help with the caregiving of an older adult in your life? Researchers recently sought to answer this question. Specifically, a team of researchers carried out a nationwide online study of adult caregivers in order to assess a variety of perceptions these caregivers had related to caregiving itself, technology, and the intersection of the two. Beyond that, the study focused on elucidating the monetary value caregivers attach to technology aimed at providing assistance and/or a safer environment for the older adults in question.
As we know, not everyone embraces—or can afford—new technology. As such, this study is both timely and useful for Life Plan Communities and tech companies, in addition to the utility for understanding caregivers—and caregivers seeing where they fall in the spectrum of technophile with respect to their own caregiving style compared to the masses.
In order to shed light on these questions, researchers surveyed 512 caregivers ; survey questions fell into roughly six categories: (a) the participant’s particular caregiving situation, (b) their current use of everyday technologies (e.g., smartphones), (c) how much they already used technology related to caregiving at the time of the study, (d) their overall attitude toward technology, (e) their personal health status aside from that of the older adult, and (f), their perceptions of monitoring devices, kitchen tech, and personal care-related tech that focused on lessening the burden of these tasks for the caregiver.
What the researchers found was that 20 percent of caregivers were not willing to pay for any assistive technology in the kitchen or for self-care. However, among those willing (and able) to pay, the average amount participants said they would pay for these technologies ranged between $50 and $70 per month. In sum, the authors concluded that most caregivers are open to incorporating technology into their care routine. However, they may not be able to afford more than a moderate amount to put toward such assistive agents without government subsidies or something of the like.
Schulz R, et al. Caregivers’ willingness to pay for technologies to support caregiving. The Gerontologist (2016); 56: 817–829.