Duty, responsibility and obligation are three words often associated with the term caregiver. However, more often than not, burnout, financial stress and leave of absence help portray a more realistic perception of what is associated with being a caregiver.
Caregivers can be formal (paid) or informal. For many it is a full time job, whether they are paid or not. For the informal caregiver, they are often volunteering their time, money and resources to help a family member, friend or neighbour.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Ontario, informal caregivers of people with dementia in Canada provided 231 million hours of care in 2008 alone. If you were to take this number and factor in other health concerns, ailments, and diseases – the number would be even greater.
With this in mind ask yourself what the government is doing to help support people who fall into this category. The answer is –not enough. Ask your politicians what they are proposing. Likely not enough. Is there a need national action plan, caregiver allowance programs, increased tax benefits, specific caregiving unemployment insurance, elder care employee assistance programs, 24 hour and overnight programming as well as funds for further scientific trials etc. – absolutely! On Sept 22 at 7:00 pm, the ROM hosts a panel discussion on the impact of aging on Canada- ‘The Elderly will Bankrupt Canada’
Please ask the questions!- Audrey Miller