Honour caregivers on National Family Caregiver Day 2017

Honour caregivers on National Family Caregiver Day 2017

This year, Canada celebrates National Family Caregiver Day on Tuesday, April 4th, 2017. Take a moment to appreciate the 8.1 million family caregivers across Canada.

On this special day you have a chance to recognize the work family caregivers do each and every day of the year.

National Family Caregiver Day, which falls annually on the first Tuesday in April, is an important day to acknowledge the significant role family caregivers fill, and to take some time to really understand the challenges caregivers face every day.

On this special day you have a chance to recognize the work family caregivers do each and every day of the year.

These dedicated caregivers take on the responsibility of looking after their family, friends, and sometimes even neighbours who may have limiting physical or cognitive conditions, or who are living with illnesses that require the need for constant care.

Often unpaid, family caregiving duties are generally in addition to maintaining regular paid jobs, raising children, and keeping up with other aspects of the caregivers’ daily lives.

Being a family caregiver is a full-time responsibility. It’s a responsibility that can bring joy to a lot of people, but it’s also one that comes with constant worry, stress, and fatigue. Finding a good caregiver “work life balance” can often be difficult.

National Family Caregiver Day 2017 is an opportunity to draw attention to the immediate and future needs of family caregivers in Canada, many of whom you probably know.

Did you know that one in four of these Canadian family caregivers are also raising children (see our Sandwich Generation article), and 35 per cent of Canada’s workforce is made up of “employed” family caregivers? These are some pretty big numbers, and chances are you also know someone who is a family caregiver.

Caregivers fill many roles and providing care to a family member or friend takes a lot of time and commitment. The family caregiver needs to be prepared to take on the duties of a nurse, personal support worker, cleaning service, cook, chauffeur, health care advocate, and companion.

Taking on these roles is often done with little time to prepare, and the requirement that you just learn as you go. There can often be a sense of isolation when tasked with these overwhelming responsibilities so caregiver stress management is crucial. See also, our Elizz article on Caregiver Isolation.

As you can see from the infographic below, which paints a picture of family caregiving in Canada, the numbers don’t lie. Family caregivers in Canada are feeling the strain of balancing the many other roles they fill in addition to their caregiving role.

National Caregiver Day infographic

Elizz provides care for caregivers

Elizz was created to help family caregivers in the areas they need it most. Elizz provides services to family caregivers such as:

  • Online counselling
  • Nurse advisory services
  • Caregiver coach

As well, to help to care for the person being looked after by the caregiver, Elizz provides the following home care services:

  • Personal Care to perform daily living activities and hands-on caregiving tasks
  • Help at Home, which includes light housekeeping duties, companion care, and meal preparation
  • Nursing and Rehabilitation to help individuals at all stages of life deal with almost all medical needs at home

Sometimes, just getting a bit of outside help can really improve the situation for a family caregiver.

The stress of being a family caregiver can take a physical and emotional toll. It’s so important for family caregivers to prioritize their own health and well-being.

The problem is that being a family caregiver can be all-encompassing and leave you with very little personal time or resources to handle the stress. Read our Elizz articles on relieving stress, and creative ways to take a break, for tips on how to de-stress when caregiving.

Suggestions for honouring your family caregivers

So how can you show your appreciation for the family caregivers you know on National Family Caregivers Day?

It’s often the small things that can mean the most.

  • Simply asking, “How are you feeling today?” is a great place to start.
  • You may also be able to treat a family caregiver you know to a coffee break.
  • Or, you may even be able to provide some respite care, and let the family caregiver take a well-deserved break.

Some family caregivers have a hard time asking for help, or might not even recognize they could use a little help.

Offer to help a caregiver you know with a task you can take on. This could be anything from preparing a meal, driving to appointments, or maybe cutting the grass.

There’s a lot we can do to support the family caregivers we know and care about. Let’s start by recognizing them on National Family Caregiver Day by showing your appreciation and support.

At Elizz, we provide caregiver support for you and home care services for those who depend on you. Elizz is a Canadian company powered by Saint Elizabeth, a national not-for-profit health care organization that has been caring for Canadians since 1908.

 

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