As a caregiver, you are probably looking for Canadian government programs and financial support. Most likely, you have a sense that your caregiving role may span over several years and that the level of care, and resources required, may increase over time.
Remember, you are not alone. Reach out to family, friends, co-workers and community associations when you need help.
Not surprisingly, many caregivers in Canada experience financial stress associated with providing care for someone, whether it’s a disabled person, an elderly person, or some other family member or friend with an illness. In fact, lack of funding and financial asssistance is one of the biggest pain points that many Canadian caregivers have identified.
Programs & financial aid to minimize caregiver stress
The following are steps you can take to minimize this type of financial stress for you and most importantly, for the person you’re caring for:
- Speak to your bank about what financial planning programs are available. Or contact an independent financial management firm who can select the most suitable products specific to your needs (e.g., retirement savings plans, high interest accounts, life insurance, employee benefits, and tax services).
- Learn about the federal government's Compassionate Care Benefit (CCB) program. Employment Insurance benefits and job protection are provided to eligible family members for up to six weeks while they take time away from work as a caregiver.
- Claim up to $2,121 through the Family Caregiver Amount (FCA) when you file your income tax.
- Create an emergency fund in case you need to pay for unexpected caregiving costs, reduce your working hours, or take an unpaid leave of absence from work.
- Remember, you are not alone. Reach out to family, friends, co-workers, and community associations when you need help.
Preparing for the future may involve setting money aside for future health care needs.
Whether you’re saving up to provide for your own health care or someone else’s, having a general idea of the potential costs will help you reach your caregiving and retirement goals.
Financial institutions have handy tools that help caregivers calculate potential expenses related to caregiving and/or retirement.
Taking advantage of these free resources will give you a better understanding of your financial situation now and can help you prepare for the future.
TD Canada Trust – Retirement Savings Calculator
RBC Royal Bank – Your Caregiver Planner™
You don’t need to be a customer of either banking institution in order to use these tools, but you may want to check your own bank to see if they offer similar services.
Government programs for caregivers
What are some of the government programs for family caregivers that can provide support?
- The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has a few programs to help caregivers pay for home modifications. Their Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (the RRAP) offers financial assistance for the creation of a secondary or in-law suite, or a garden suite for a low-income senior or adult with a disability. The CMHC also offers financial assistance to allow homeowners to pay for modifications to make their property more accessible to persons with disabilities. Home Adaptations for Seniors Independence offers support up to $3500 to make minor home adaptations.
- The Ontario March of Dimes Home & Vehicle Modification® Program helps individuals whose mobility and daily living activities are substantially restricted by an injury, birth defect or long-term illness.
How can I access equipment and caregiver assistance devices?
- For more than 50 years the Canadian Red Cross has been offering Health Equipment Loan Programs. These programs vary across the country according to types of health and medical equipment provided, plus the length of loan, access procedures, and type of service.
- The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care Assistive Devices Program provides different types of equipment and supplies to help people with physical disabilities live more independently. There are over 8,000 supported devices - some common examples include prostheses, wheelchairs or mobility aids, feeding supplies, insulin pumps, hearing or visual aids, and breathing aids. The costs covered by the Assistive Devices Program depend on each case.
This is a great place to start learning about the government programs and fianancial assistance services for caregivers that could help you financially support the person in your care.
If you have any further questions about how to navigate the system, our Caregiver Coach will be happy to walk you through the process and/or get you set up on one of these programs.
Call 1-855-ASK-ELIZ today!