“Counting on the Group” Reconciling Online and Offline Social Support among Older Informal Caregivers
Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '16)
Awareness of the huge amount of work faced by relatives in caring for a person suffering from a loss of autonomy has led to research focusing on ways to ease the burden on informal caregivers. Among them, services and devices aimed at providing social support and fighting the isolation that may be caused by the caregiving tasks appear important. However, little is known about the social support informal caregivers actually value and look for in practice. To fill this gap, we conducted a multi-sited study, focusing on older informal caregivers, because they are numerous and have lower experience with technology. Our study highlights that being part of a group is a key element in helping informal caregivers to feel that they are not alone, continue leisure activities, learn from others and sustain participation in organized activities. Through this understanding, we discuss design opportunities in a sociotechnical approach complementing online and offline social support.