Statistics Canada Reports Identify Eight Million Family Caregivers in Canada

Categories: Care.

The reports shed new light on family caregiving through examining the type of care provided and the relationship of the caregiver to the care recipient. This offers insight into the variety of critical roles caregivers undertake in providing care to their children, spouses and other loved ones. “Our aging population, increasing life expectancy and the growing prevalence of chronic disease will further multiply the demands on family caregivers”, stated Nadine Henningsen, Executive Director, Canadian Home Care Association and CCC President. “This new report provides vital information to reinforce the pressing need for coordinated action to support caregivers across the country.”

The survey found over eight million Canadians, 28 percent of the population age 15 or older, provided care to a family member or friend with a long-term health condition in 2012. The median number of hours family caregivers spent caring for their child or spouse totalled 10 and 14 hours a week respectively and the length and impact of caregiving depended heavily on the relationship between the caregiver and care recipient.

“Family caregivers are the invisible backbone of the health care system through their contribution of $25 billion of unpaid care1,” said Nicole Beben, Vice President, Knowledge and Care Exchange Programs, Saint Elizabeth, and a Signatory Partner of the CCC.

In order to achieve the CCC vision of “a Canada that recognizes and respects the integral role of family caregivers”, the Coalition is advocating that the federal, provincial and territorial governments adopt a caregiver strategy encompassing five critical actions that have been identified by family caregivers and caregiver support organizations across the country:

  1. Safeeuard the health and wellbeing of caregivers.
  2. Minimize excessive financial burden placed on family caregivers.Enable access to user friendly information and education.
  3. Create flexible workplace environments that respect caregiving obligations.
  4. Invest in research on family caregiving as a foundation for evidence-informed decision making.

The reports released by Statistics Canada are excellent tools for supporting family caregiver research, policy and programs. The CCC will continue to work with stakeholders and governments to advance policy for and advocate on behalf of family caregivers across Canada.

1 Hollander M, et al (2009) Who Cares and How Much? The imputed economic contribution to the Canadian healthcare system of middle-aged and older unpaid caregivers providing care to the elderly

To learn more about the Canadian Caregiver Coalition, please click here.

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