July 22, 2024
Finance

Landmark study finds financial and mental health supports among most pressing needs for caregivers in Canada


National public consultations on caregiving seek policy solutions to address challenges surfaced in the Caring in Canada study

TORONTO, May 1, 2024 /CNW/ – Demand for care is growing, the number of senior caregivers is on the rise, fewer people providing care, and care needs are becoming more complex with an aging population and rising rates of disability and mental health conditions. These are findings from Caring in Canada, a new study released by the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence (CCCE). The study provides an analysis of results from a survey completed more than 3,000 caregivers and care providers from across Canada.

A senior white woman smiles as she leans into the shoulder of a Black woman wearing glasses. (CNW Group/Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence))A senior white woman smiles as she leans into the shoulder of a Black woman wearing glasses. (CNW Group/Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence))

A senior white woman smiles as she leans into the shoulder of a Black woman wearing glasses. (CNW Group/Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence))

Caring in Canada highlights:

  • Caregiving takes a toll on a caregiver’s wellbeing. One in four caregivers report fair or poor mental health. Caregivers are feeling tired (47%), worried or anxious (44%), or overwhelmed (37%) because of caregiving responsibilities.

  • Caregivers are working an “extra-shift.” Caregivers provide an average of 5.1 hours of care a day, adding up to over 30 hours of unpaid care, or almost the equivalent of a full-time job.

  • Many caregivers are 65+ and may also need care. Nearly one in five caregivers are over the age of 65. Senior caregivers are least likely to access any services or supports to help with their responsibilities – from home modifications, to respite or transportation services.

  • Caregiving can have a significant financial toll. Half of caregivers have experienced financial stress in the past year due to caregiving. One in five (22%) caregivers has provided financial support to their care recipient, with 22% also reporting having spent at least $1,000 per month on out-of-pocket expenses.

  • Care provider shortage linked to poor working conditions. 80% of paid care providers, such as Personal Support Workers or Direct Support Professionals for people with disabilities, have considered changing careers, citing low compensation, inadequate staffing, discrimination and lack of safe working conditions.

  • Diverse communities face additional barriers and gaps in supports. Racialized, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S+ caregivers are more likely to experience negative impacts of care. For example, almost half of racialized caregivers have experienced financial hardship due to caregiving, compared to 34% of non-racialized caregivers.

Diving into Caring in Canada

Caring in Canada reveals that financial supports are the most important priority for caregivers in the country. Four of five (80%) caregivers noted that free counselling and mental health supports would be important, with women and caregivers aged 25-44 significantly more likely to find this helpful.

The study indicated that senior caregivers have the lowest levels of awareness and uptake of the supports and services available to them. As this population may also be managing their own age-related challenges, increased knowledge and engagement are needed to outweigh the potential risk of extending the current crisis. Including the voices of diverse caregivers, such as Indigenous, LGBTQ2S+, young and racialized caregivers in policy and program discussions is also critical to designing effective solutions.

Creating a brighter future of care

In addition to providing an up-to-date look at the state of care, Caring in Canada points to areas of policy development that would address some of the most pressing issues experienced by caregivers. Reforms to workplace policies and employment protections, like caregiver-specific leaves for those juggling work and care responsibilities, and access to a caregiver allowance are just some examples. Care providers also voiced a need for benefits, better working conditions, unionization, and training, as well as increased compensation, support and safety at work.

Caring in Canada will inform the development of a National Caregiving Strategy, which CCCE plans to unveil in fall 2024. CCCE has been advocating for such a strategy since their launch in May 2022 To support this work, CCCE has assembled a Care Champions Table, which includes a team of leaders across the ageing, disability and illness communities, as well as researchers and people with lived experience to advise on innovative policy solutions. In the 2024 Federal Budget, Minister Chrystia Freeland committed the government to developing a National Caregiving Strategy.

CCCE has also launched public consultations to ensure that the strategy includes the voices of all those who give care. Throughout the month of May –  National Caregiver Month – the public is invited to complete an online engagement form or attend one of four online sessions held weekly throughout the month. Registration for the online sessions is open on the CCCE website.

Quotes:

Caring in Canada confirms an urgent need for policy solutions that can make life easier for caregivers, care providers, and people receiving care. These include implementing direct compensation for caregivers, easier access to supports like home care, respite, and mental health care, workplace policies to support caregivers juggling work and care, and reforms in the care provider sector.” Liv Mendelsohn, Executive Director, CCCE

“Caring for my son for his entire life was an immense privilege, but toggling between my son’s 24/7 care, caring for his younger brother and managing freelance work as a single mom, made me put my own needs on the sidelines. Every caregiver should have options that allow them to flourish,” Jennifer Johannesen, caregiver in Guelph Ontario.

About CCCE

CCCE is an initiative of the Azrieli Foundation created to support and empower family caregivers and care providers across Canada. We bring together stakeholders from across the country, translate knowledge to practice, scale what works and fill gaps through innovation. Guided by four focus areas: support networks and knowledge sharing; education and leadership development; advocacy and policy development; and inclusion and underserved communities, CCCE works closely with partners and grantees towards shared goals and better experiences for all those who provide care. Our expertise and insight, drawn from lived experiences, help us campaign for better systems and lasting change.

Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence Logo (CNW Group/Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence))Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence Logo (CNW Group/Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence))

Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence Logo (CNW Group/Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence))

SOURCE Azrieli Foundation (The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence)

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View original content to download multimedia: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/May2024/01/c6311.html



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