Care givers are the invisible backbone of our health care system and provide over 80 percent of the care needed by individuals with ‘long-term conditions’.
2.3 million care givers are employed and must balance the competing demands of work and caregiving.
Caregivers also need to be cared for.
I witnessed firsthand the devastating effects of dementia on my father and the impact of care giving on my mother. Even though my father was a model patient, it was still a full-time job taking care of him. He needed care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. At one point, my mother had to be hospitalized. That was when she realized that as the caregiver, she couldn’t do it alone.
The caregiver shouldn’t need to feel that she or he has to be a hero, even though caregivers are heroes. Their role in society is both indispensable and invaluable.
The number of Canadian caregivers has increased by over 5 million, from 2.85 million in 1997 to over 8 million in 2012. In 2018, we can expect that this number has grown significantly.
At some point, all of us will be caregivers and will be in need of a caregiver.
If you know someone who is taking care of someone with dementia, please be sensitive, reach out and be kind.
November 4 – 10 is National Caregivers’ Week.
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All statistics are from A Canadian Carer Strategy, published by Carers Canada 2013