What is Family Caregiver Day?
The Ontario Caregiver Coalition is celebrating Ontario’s first annual Family Caregiver Day on April 4th. There are over 3 million unpaid caregivers in the province, providing support to loved ones facing illness, disability or challenges associated with aging. Family Caregiver Day is a chance to recognize, celebrate and bring awareness to the value of caregivers to Ontario’s families, health care system, and economy.
Who are Ontario’s caregivers?
This year, the Ontario Caregiver Coalition is highlighting three generations of caregivers:
- Young carers: Over 500,000 family caregivers in Ontario are between 15 and 24 years old. There are many caregivers who are even younger.
- ‘Sandwich’ generation caregivers, who provide care for both their aging parents and their own children.
- Elderly caregivers: Nearly 375,000 caregivers in Ontario are 65 years or older.
How can the provincial government support caregivers?
Caregiving is not often recognized as separate from being a good friend, child, parent or spouse, but it is a distinct role with unique challenges and solutions.
The Ontario Caregiver Coalition is asking the provincial government for the following supports:
- An investment of $20 million into respite services, over the next two years, which would give approximately 4,000 caregivers much-needed opportunities to rest and recharge, and also reduce pressure on the health care system.
- A fully-funded Ontario Dementia Strategy, recognizing that individuals caring for someone with dementia provide 75% more care hours than other caregivers, and experience 20% more stress.
- Federal-provincial collaboration to ensure that the Compassionate Care Benefit and up to 26 weeks of job-protected and EI-covered time is available to all caregivers.
How can the public participate in Family Caregiver Day?