Caregivers play an invaluable role in the lives of those they care for and Ontario’s health care system. Providing almost ¾ of all patient care, caregivers enable their family members, partners, friends and neighbours to remain in their home, which is where most people want to be.
Caregivers take on many different tasks. Providing emotional support and transportation are the most common. They are also involved in activities inside and outside the home, including providing personal care, physical support, basic medical procedures, scheduling appointments, translating information, and managing financial and legal responsibilities.
Caregiving can be a time-consuming job. A third of caregivers spend 10 or more hours a week providing care, with most traveling 30-60 minutes to reach their care recipient.
While most caregivers have a positive outlook on their experience and a sense of fulfillment, two-thirds admit they had no choice but to assume the work of caregiving. They are unsure of what is expected of them and find it difficult to get the resources and support they need. As well, many take on the financial burden of additional care costs.
With these extra responsibilities, caregivers are experiencing increased stress and deterioration of their own health, even burnout and depression. Tired, frustrated, anxious and overwhelmed, caregivers need support themselves.