e-patients.net has a great summary of a study done by Pew Internet/California Healthcare Foundation Family Caregivers Online last year. 30% of US adults are currently caring for a loved one. That number will increase due to aging population and changes in health insurance coverage. These caregivers seek out healthcare knowledge and information 20% greater than other users (18% vs. 38%). And caregivers know how to network.
Take a look at the e-patient link and the chart on what caregivers looked for online. If you buy the idea that adults will only learn if they are seeking the solutions to problems they have we can easily see what the problems are. But I am not sure we know the quality of the information they are gathering and how they are using it. A study whose time has come? We need to know more about this group and how to meet their knowledge needs.