Siblings who become caretakers often lack adequate support

Individuals with developmental disabilities live longer than ever and that means the responsibility for care is shifting to siblings

Siblings who become caretakers often lack adequate supportA combination of better medical care and good lives in the community mean longer life expectancies for individuals with a developmental disability. That’s good news. But many are outliving their parents, who have taken care of them over their lifetimes. Once parents are no longer able to provide the same level of support or care,…

The real costs of informal caregiving in Canada

National strategy needed for unpaid caregivers in the workplace

The real costs of informal caregiving in CanadaOne in every three workers in Canada is assisting a chronically disabled person – many of them seniors – with transportation, household maintenance or day-to-day tasks, according to one report. The 6.1 million employed workers who are providing such care, free of charge, to a family member or friend are more likely to experience interruptions…

Families are key members of patients’ hospital care teams

Wards are staffed based on caring for a sick but otherwise self-sufficient patient population. The reality is patients need family caregivers in the hospital

Families are key members of patients’ hospital care teamsFamily care is a key part of hospital care, so let's start talking about it that way. When a loved one is admitted to hospital, family caregivers want to offer comfort and support at the bedside. But in order to perform their healing role, they need to be recognized as key members of the hospital…

Facing frailty head-on

A national seniors strategy needs to account for complexity in the aging process, including risk and vulnerability

Facing frailty head-onBy Russell Williams and John Muscedere Canadian Frailty Network Canadians 65 years and older now outnumber children 14 years and under, which means our needs as a society are changing. We’re succeeding in shifting the aging curve through preventive interventions and better public health – that’s good news. But the changing demographic is causing strains…

Canada a warmth of caring in the frozen north

Canadians tend to see caring as just the stuff of everyday life – ordinary people doing what comes naturally

Canada a warmth of caring in the frozen northThere’s much to celebrate in Canada. Our country’s natural beauty and abundant resources give us many reasons for gratitude and celebration. But there’s an invisible resource that underpins our collective prosperity that deserves special mention: the caring people of Canada. Every day, their natural caring actions touch almost every one of us. According to the…

Coping with the family burdens related to caregiving

Our Family Ties column examines the issues of caregiving in Canadian society, and what we can do to alleviate some of the burden

Coping with the family burdens related to caregivingAn aging Canadian population and smaller families, combined with reduced health and social care budgets, mean the challenges of providing care to seniors will only worsen. Legions of families are buckling under the emotional, physical and fiscal burdens of caregiving. These pressures will be exacerbated by growing numbers of people living with demanding health challenges such…

More community care means less time in nursing homes

But a study shows that residents in those regions are entering nursing homes with more complex care needs

More community care means less time in nursing homesBy Matthias Hoben and Carole Estabrooks The most recent census, in 2016, showed that almost 17 per cent of Canadians are over age 65. In fact, those older than 85 have increased by almost 20 per cent since 2011, making it the fastest growing age group in Canada. We’re an aging populace, there’s no getting…

Improving the lives of seniors – and their families

Robyn Pearson of A Friend Indeed talks about how her service fills a vital gap for multi-generational families

Improving the lives of seniors – and their familiesRobyn Pearson is owner of A Friend Indeed. What is A Friend Indeed and what does it do? Pearson: A Friend Indeed is an invaluable resource to the family caregiver that specializes in uplifting the social and emotional quality of life for their elderly loved one through activities and outings. Too often the bulk of…

Small acts of kindness turn the myth of self-care into reality

Building self-care into natural caregiving requires a mind shift. Natural caring relationships are reciprocal. Our job is both to give and to receive care

Small acts of kindness turn the myth of self-care into realityThe refrain of “care for the caregiver” rings loud and hollow for many natural caregivers. A Google search turns up hundreds if not thousands of links to finger-wagging articles full of instructions to “take a bath” or “just take a break.” Natural carers are told that once they have taken care of their loved ones’…

Caregivers play a central role in their loved one’s health

Family caregivers and professional providers must work together to achieve well-being for people with chronic and complex diseases

Caregivers play a central role in their loved one’s healthAchieving health and well-being is never a solo act. Throughout our lifetime, the people who are closest to us – our family and friends – are the greatest influence on our health. As we are on theirs. This is interdependence. Far too often when the professional care system is involved, recognition of interdependence falls by the wayside.…

A caregiver’s perspective: Do you see what I see?

No professional care provider can see what we see – what was, what is and what can be for our family members and friends

A caregiver’s perspective: Do you see what I see?The term visionary is rarely used to describe natural caregivers. Yet vision is indispensable when we take care. No professional care provider, no matter how trained or prepared, can see what we see – what was, what is and what can be for our family members and friends. Visionaries make the truth visible. Caregiving requires…

When a caregiver becomes a care receiver

Lesson learned: We need to apply child-friendly practices to adult care because when you are ill or injured, you feel like a child again

When a caregiver becomes a care receiverPaid or unpaid, caregivers are never supposed to get sick, right? But sometimes they do. Sue Robins owns a health-care communications company and is the mother of a young man with Down syndrome. Robins used to blog about caring for her son and his encounters with the health-care system. But that all changed the day she received…

The challenge of talking about caregiving at work

Developing a language that meaningfully resonates with our experiences is an essential step toward creating and leveraging social support

The challenge of talking about caregiving at workTalking about caregiving at work can be difficult and stressful. And that’s important because 35 per cent of all employed Canadians have caring responsibilities at home. Dr. Zachary White is an expert in the barriers that natural caregivers face in explaining their responsibilities at home to others, including employers. White is an associate professor at Queens…

It’s time to change the culture of living with a disability in Canada

The disability family has been an afterthought for governments, service agencies and organizations for far too long

It’s time to change the culture of living with a disability in CanadaCan you imagine this? It's just a few years from today and there have been a lot of positive changes for persons living with disabilities and their families in Canada. We have a new Canadians With Disabilities Act. Our government has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Across the country, there…

Six places to find local caregiver support

Here are some community resources where help might be found in your neighbourhood. There may be more caregiver support than you imagined

Six places to find local caregiver supportNatural caregiving at home can be isolating. Alone with your loved one, it’s easy to lose connection to the neighbourhood and the supports in it. Here are some community resources where help might be found: Schools Elementary schools may have a volunteer program for reading to children. Participating as a reader can provide a valuable…