Caregivers Need Care Too
A “caregiver” is anyone who provides unpaid care and support at home, in the community or in a care facility to an adult friend or family member who is living with a disability, chronically ill, elderly or palliative.
About 85% of people provide care for loved ones at some point in their lives. Some people take care of a relative for a few weeks or months following an acute illness or surgery, while others provide care on a daily-basis for someone with a chronic condition. Family and friend caregivers offer a range of support, from physical care to personal care, emotional and social support, meal planning, transportation, and linking with health and community services.
In Canada, unpaid caregivers’ contributions would cost the health care system billions annually if delivered by a paid workforce. In addition, many caregivers are employed, and the challenges of caregiving can lead to greater stress, absenteeism, and decreased concentration on the job. Family and friend caregivers, often women, sometimes must leave jobs, reduce the amount of time they work, or pass up career opportunities.
(Source: Vancouver Coastal Health Caregivers Support Program)
It is very important that as a caregiver you find ways to take care of yourself. There are many suggestions in “Getting on with your life” that might be helpful to you.
"You can write in it daily or just occasionally. Record ideas, tips and quotes that help you feel more rested, relaxed, energized and positive overall.Then read through your booklet each day to remind yourself of ways to support your own health and well-being".
If your loved one has trouble making decisions about their personal affairs then Nidus, Personal Planning Resource Centre and Registry, gives information and help about representation agreements and other personal planning tools.
VCH Take Care Handbook (PDF)
10 Tips for Caregivers (PDF)
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