Financial Assistance for Canada's Army of Unpaid Caregivers Strongly Supported

OTTAWA, July 28, 2016 /CNW/ - Canadians are calling for governments to provide financial support for caregivers who have to reduce their work hours or leave the workforce, according to a survey of more than 4,000 Canadians, the results of which are published in a new Conference Board of Canada report, Feeling At Home: A Survey of Canadians on Senior Care.

"Canadians who provide unpaid care to family are under pressure to balance employment with their caregiving responsibilities," said Louis Thériault, Vice-President, Public Policy. "The results from this survey show that Canadians say that governments should provide financial compensation for those who have to reduce their work hours. Providing caregivers with the support they need should be part of strategies to care for Canada's growing senior population."

Highlights

  • Sixty per cent of Canadians surveyed said that governments should provide financial assistance to those who have to reduce work hours or leave the workforce to care for seniors.
  • No province or territory in Canada has mastered provision of senior care—all have strengths and weaknesses, and all can learn from each other.
  • "Unaffordable costs" is the number-one reason respondents with unmet needs gave for not receiving home and community care service.

When surveyed, 60 per cent of respondents agreed that governments should provide financial assistance to those who have to reduce work or leave the workforce altogether. In contrast, 28 per cent of respondents supported an obligatory private insurance plan; and 25 per cent said care should be provided by close relatives of the dependent person.

In addition to the results about supporting caregivers, other key findings from the report include:

  • No single province or territory in Canada has mastered senior care—all have strengths and weaknesses, and all can learn from each other.
  • Home and community care services are affordable for those who obtain them, but costs are a barrier to access. "Unaffordable costs" is the number-one reason respondents with unmet needs gave for not receiving service.
  • Transportation is the home and community care service most likely to require Canadians to incur out-of-pocket expenses, but transportation is also seen as one of the most affordable services.

EKOS Research Associates conducted the survey of 4,127 Canadians in 2014. The margin of error for a sample of 4,127 Canadians is +/−1.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error increases for the population subgroups. Respondents were frequently responding on behalf of individuals who were recipients of care. Respondents 55 years of age and over were oversampled to reach those who were more likely to have interaction with home, community, and long-term care services. Therefore, the sample contains a greater share of older, wealthier, and more-highly educated respondents than in the general population.

This briefing is part of a broader research program by the Conference Board's Canadian Alliance for Sustainable Health Care (CASHC) on future care for seniors. The series takes a broader look at the needs of today's and tomorrow's seniors, as well as the services that respond to those needs.

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SOURCE Conference Board of Canada

For further information: Sean Burgess, Media Relations, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 294, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca; or, Juline Ranger, Director of Communications, The Conference Board of Canada, Tel.: 613- 526-3090 ext. 431, E-mail: corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

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