It’s not as you would suspect – asking their siblings and friends or their doctors for advice on health care, chronic illness or health and wellness. Not anymore!
Nope – Boomers are using the internet as the “power tool” it is and they have learned how to navigate through the marketing sites to find real people, unfiltered conversations and gain true insights to help them make smarter decisions for their own health care.
Want examples? The Traveling4health blog publishes the first-hand accounts of boomers who have found solutions for their health care and wellness through social networking. Connecting with others who have personally experienced health care abroad or medical tourism becomes increasingly important.
Online research is driving Medical tourism
Consumers find alternative destinations for treatments online.
The world gets smaller as the need for better quality and more affordable medical care solutions gets greater. It is predictive that the appeal of traveling for health in the boomer age group will grow in tangent with the aging population.
Interestingly, wellness and elective surgeries are as alluring as “needed surgeries” when considering traveling for medical procedures. And people are traveling for quality over cost; not just of the surgery but of the overall medical experience whether that involves less waiting time, boutique experiences, or other benefits offered by traveling for health like the fun of a vacation in an exotic destination.
Consumers have become more involved in their own health care and are rejecting mass communications in favor of a more personalized approach.
As reported by emarketer.com, social networking has doubled among boomers and seniors as illustrated by this graph indicating 47% of 50-to-64-year-old internet users and 26% of seniors ages 65 and up indicate that they now use social network sites.
Since maintain a healthy lifestyle is one of the top priorities of Boomers and seniors, alike, it’s no surprise that they use the internet to research health questions and solutions for their own health care needs.
Consumers find empowerment online
The Internet has removed all barriers to healthcare information. Knowledge that was historically the sole domain of physicians has found its way into the hands of patients and empowered them as knowledgeable health care consumers.
Healthcare consumers of all agesare going online for an increasing variety of healthcare information and services, including looking for doctors, researching medicines, sharing personal health details and tracking health conditions for themselves and their loved ones. (Source: How Health Info Seekers Harness the Web JULY 21, 2010)
Gender differences in online searches
More women than men go online to search for health care solutions. No surprise there, as that falls within the traditionally accepted role of women being the care givers of the family.
A Boomer who may have long since hung up her “soccer mom” hat never takes off the mantle of “captain of her family’s health care”.
Not your mother’s perspective on health care! What has changed is that the family caregiver is now using the internet as her first source of information when seeking answers to health and medical questions.
Men are searching online for answers to health care related issues for themselves and for the people for whom they are responsible. It falls within the traditional male role to provide financially for their families which includes medical and financial strategies like medical tourism that can meet a family’s needs.
Health care for seniors
According to a report by pewinternt.org, people with chronic diseases are more likely to reach out to others online, and older people are more likely to have a chronic disease. Keep in mind, however, that the people doing the research are not necessarily the “older people” but the family care givers.
About the Author:Ilene Little, CEO of Traveling4health, has written an excellent report on reasons Boomers are embracing medical tourism in this global health era. Her Medical Tourism Report features live interviews of patients, doctors, facilitators, and caregivers. Also see Ilene’s regular Medical Tourism Blog.