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“Carefluencers”, when care becomes social

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“Carefluencers”, when care becomes social

Carefluencers: The Rise of Caregivers Sharing Their Stories on Social Media

A new trend has emerged on social media platforms, where caregivers are sharing their daily experiences of caring for elderly parents, grandparents, spouses, and sick or disabled children. These caregivers, known as “carefluencers,” have thousands of followers who tune in to hear their advice, see their photos and videos, and even purchase merchandise related to caregiving.

Researchers at the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology have coined the term “carefluencers” to describe these influencers who are using social media to normalize the experience of caregiving. Many caregivers turn to social media as a way to seek support, combat isolation, and exchange information with others going through similar experiences.

However, experts warn that while carefluencers are raising awareness about the challenges of caregiving, there is a risk of presenting caregiving as a competition and promoting emotional resilience in an unrealistic way. There is also concern that some carefluencers may be influenced by sponsorships from pharmaceutical companies, potentially leading to the spread of misinformation.

Loredana Ligabue, Secretary of the CARER APS Association, highlights the importance of face-to-face interactions for caregivers, as social media may not fully address the support and resources needed to care for loved ones. The focus on self-promotion and exaggerated experiences on social media could overshadow the systemic issues faced by caregivers, such as lack of support and access to resources.

Marina Petrini, scientific director of the ISSN research project, emphasizes that each caregiver’s ability to manage the challenges of caregiving varies and cannot be judged based on social media portrayals. Female caregivers, in particular, are at a higher risk of experiencing depression, which can impact their overall well-being.

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As the trend of carefluencers continues to grow, it is important for caregivers to seek support from trusted sources and prioritize their own well-being. Caregiving is a demanding role that requires real-life connections and access to resources, beyond what social media can offer.

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