MISSISSAUGA, ON, April 3, 2014 /CNW/ - At some point in their lives, nearly half (46%) of Canadians aged 15 and older have provided care to a family member or friend with aging needs, a disability, or a long-term health condition.1. On April 5th, let's all take time to recognize and say thank-you to these dedicated individuals, whose efforts, understanding and compassion enable care recipients to live with dignity and to participate more fully in society.
The Canadian Caregiver Coalition, a virtual coalition of diverse partner organizations from across Canada, is not only recognizing the vital role of family caregivers, we are championing their interests and ensuring their realities and needs are reflected in our work. "We are encouraged to see the gains and successes that have been achieved across the country to support family caregivers", said Nadine Henningsen, President, Canadian Caregiver Coalition (CCC) and Executive Director, Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA). "All governments have a vital role in raising awareness and supporting caregivers, and we congratulate the federal government on their leadership and commitment to recognizing family caregivers through the designation of April 5th as National Family Caregiver Day,"
The unexpected nature of caregiving can impact individuals of all ages, genders and income strata. Caregivers come from all walks of life, often undertaking caregiving responsibilities due to sudden health crises, or is often the case, the onset of chronic conditions. "Caregiving does not come without a cost", stated Anthony Milonas, Chief Operating Officer - Home Health at CBI Health Group and Signatory Partner of the CCC. "Employed family caregivers often face the challenge of two full-time jobs, spending 36.5 hours per week in their paid employment and another 30 hours per week providing unpaid care to their loved ones. This situation has consequences for both the employee and the employer, including increased work interruptions, reduced productivity, missing work days, reducing work hours or foregoing job opportunities."
"Family caregivers are the invisible backbone of the health care system, often providing the majority of care needed by individuals with long-term conditions" said Nicole Beben, Vice President, Knowledge and Care Exchange Programs, Saint Elizabeth and a Signatory Partner of the CCC. "Caregivers must be recognized, valued and protected from the often adverse consequences of having to care too much."
Across the country, caregivers are calling for recognition and assistance. In response to this clear call for action, the CCC is advocating that the federal, provincial and territorial governments adopt a caregiver strategy to facilitate collaborative action planning, and ensure family caregivers have a voice in this dialogue.
It is time for bold actions, clear policies and all-inclusive legislation to support the 8 million caregivers who have shown a dedication and commitment to providing care that offsets substantial public costs, often at the expense of personal health and financial wellbeing. On April 5th, the CCC encourages all Canadians to reflect on the role and value of family caregivers and make a commitment to become a catalyst to achieve our common vision of "a country that recognizes, respects and supports the integral role of family caregivers in society".
About the Canadian Caregiver Coalition
Established in 2000, the Canadian Caregiver Coalition (CCC) is a virtual coalition of diverse partner organizations that work collectively, and autonomously, to identify and respond to the needs of caregivers in Canada. Through our network of partners we ensure the realities and needs of family caregivers are reflected in our advocacy activities that influence policy and programming across the country.
1 Sinha, M. (2012). Portrait of Caregivers (Catalogue number 89-652-X). Retrieved September 24, 2013 from Statistics Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-652-x/89-652-x2013001-eng.pdf
SOURCE: Canadian Caregiver Coalition
For further information:
Nadine Henningsen, President, Canadian Caregiver Coalition