Statistic Canada last week (January 8, 2020) released some data from the 2018 General Social Survey (GSS)on Caregivers in Canada (Cycle 32). It is based on information obtained from 7664 respondents who provided care to a ‘family member or friend with a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability or problems related to aging.’
The information is fairly similar to the data from the 2012 General Social Survey although previously it was 28% of Canadians were identified as caregivers and today it is approximately 25% or 1 in 4 Canadians with almost 2/3 of caregivers being over 45 years of age. The majority of respondents provide 5 hours or less per week (which is up from the 3 hours reported in the 2012 GSS).
Women continue to provide the majority of care to others and 47% assisted a parent or parent in law. Seventy percent of those interviewed indicated that they did receive support from others which leaves 30% of those carers interviewed who responded that they would have liked more assistance- primarily in the form of financial support, government assistance or tax credit. Other needs that were not met included more home care and better access to information and advice, which within the public sector can be very difficult to access.
Well-being was measured using three related indicators: (1) life dissatisfaction, (2) daily stress and (3) mental health. Among all Canadians aged 15 and older, 15% said that they were dissatisfied with life, 21% said that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful, and 11% said that they had fair or poor mental health.
Caregivers who received insufficient support reported the lowest levels of well-being. In 2018, 32% of caregivers who received insufficient support said that they were dissatisfied with life, 36% reported that most days were quite a bit or extremely stressful, and 23% reported fair or poor mental health.
These numbers are of great concern as it comments on the general public and poor mental health concerns and the increase in concerns and symptomatology for those 7.8 million carers. While this data did not specifically address the needs of employed carers, we know that previously 35% of employed Canadians identified themselves as carers and they continue to face significant issues relating to balancing both work and their caregiving responsibilities.
Benefits Canada published an article last week highlighting this new data and some of the challenges involved. So for this Monday morning, just think about how many of your colleagues and clients are balancing both work and care and hopefully keeping their heads above water……