In Canada, 8.1 million1 individuals are caregivers, meaning they have taken on the responsibility for looking after a loved one. In fact, 70-80%2 of the care provided to a senior is through their own family members and friends. In B.C., the number of seniors over the age of 65 is expected to increase 24% by 20363, meaning that there are potentially more caregivers’ time to be devoted to these seniors. These silent caregivers do some of the most amazing work behind the scenes every single day, and they too, need support.
April 2nd (also first Tuesday of April every year) is known as Family Caregiver Day. In recognition of this day, we wanted to provide you with some resources that you might find handy if you are a caregiver providing support to a loved one.
1. Get the latest updates and tips for senior resources from support groups in British Columbia.
- Seniors First BC is formerly known as the BC Centre for Elder Advocacy & Support and provides a vast range of resources and educational materials from helping you understand the rights of a senior to providing legal resources.
- The Family Caregivers of BC is a non-for-profit registered charity that aims to provide new caregivers with resources to navigate through the health care system and 1:1 emotional support.
- United Way of the Lower Mainland in Vancouver has compiled many resources into a handbook that is downloadable for caregivers to conveniently access up-to-date information to provide proper care for their loved ones.
2. Join a strong network of Carers across Canada.
- Canada has a strong caregiver network through the numerous partners that strive to make a positive change for carers. From numerous national non-governmental organizations, such as Alzheimer Society of Canada to the Federal Government, learn about the initiatives that are taking place around Canada at Carers Canada.
3. Research and determine your eligibility for Federal Caregiving Support.
- As a caregiver supporting one who is critically ill, injured or needing end-of-life care, you may be eligible for up to 55% of your earnings, to a maximum of $562.00 a week, of financial assistance from the government. This financial assistance is available to help you take time away from work to care for your loved one. Find out more here.
4. If you need, reach out and speak to someone who will listen and provide positive support.
- The Crisis Center is a resource where seniors, their caregivers or anyone concerned about a senior, can get confidential and free emotional support, 24/7, 7 days a week by conversing with a trained volunteer. You can also call the seniors’ distress line: 604-872-1234, where you can speak to trained volunteers in over 140 languages if you are feeling distressed.
We often ask how those cared for are doing, but forget to recognize the amount of time and effort that the “invisible” caregivers provide behind the scene. Villa Cathay plans to host a seminar for caregivers. If you are interested, please email your inquiries or seminar ideas to [email protected].