Caregivers in the news 2015

Caregivers in the news 2015

Lately it seems as if there is a caregiver-related story in the news almost on a daily basis. Sometimes more than one!

Over the last year there have been quite a few family caregiver-related stories in the news that have caught our eye.

It’s not surprising when you look at the numbers:

  • 8.1 million Canadians are family caregivers, and
  • By 2020 one in three Canadians will be a family caregiver.

You can see that family caregivers represent a significant percentage of our population. It’s increasingly apparent that family caregivers and the need to support them is an issue that warrants increased media coverage. That support can come in many forms and can mean everything from focusing on developing technology to help with daily living needs, raising awareness for a lesser-known cause, or recognizing the amazing work family caregivers provide.

Over the last year there have been quite a few family caregiver-related stories in the news that have caught our eye.

Here are just a few examples of caregivers in the news in 2015:

Ian’s Walk for End of Life Care

From May 21st until October 26th 2015, Ian Bos walked across Canada to raise funds and awareness for hospice palliative care. Ian was inspired to do this walk in memory of his father, who passed away in January 2015. Ian’s father received hospice care in the home provided by the Aberdeen Palliative Care Society in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.

Throughout the trek, Ian made numerous stops in communities along the way where he was greeted by supporters and helped to engage community members in the discussion around end of life care provided in a hospice setting.

Cracked: New light on dementia

Cracked: new light on dementia is a theatre production that offers its audience a new way to look at life with dementia.  Cracked is a research-based play that is intended to enlighten viewers on the possibilities for people living with dementia. It’s an honest, and often humorous, look at life with dementia and the roles each of us play in another’s life. The play encompasses all stages of dementia, starting with diagnosis and moving through to life in a long-term care home. Dementia affects the entire family and challenges families to confront issues head-on.

Cracked was developed by a group of researchers and artists, alongside people living with dementia and their family members.

Boost in compassionate care benefit

Finally some good news for caregivers in Canada: The Economic Action Plan 2015 proposed a change to the compassionate care benefit that would increase the benefit coverage from six weeks to six months. The change will come into effect on January 3, 2016.

Claimants are people who need to take a temporary leave of absence from their jobs in order to care for a family member who has a serious medical condition and has a significant risk of death. To be eligible to receive the compassionate care benefit you are required to obtain a medical certificate signed by a doctor attesting to your family member’s condition.

Read our Elizz article “Are you eligible for caregiver compassionate care benefits” to learn more.

Robots in health care

It almost seems like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the reality is that researchers have already developed a number of robots that are currently being tested in health care settings across Canada. Researchers are looking at ways robots can help provide better care to the elderly by improving quality of life with assistance in social and cognitive skills.

For example, there’s Tangy, who acts as a bingo caller (and occasional comedian) at the O’Neill Centre in Toronto.

Or, take a look at Casper and Brian. Brian was created to act as a robotic meal companion for seniors living in nursing homes. Casper, designed to help more independent elderly people with meal preparations in the home.

Even pets have been robotized. Paro, is a robotic baby seal that responds to touch and talk. Paro is used as a therapeutic tool at long-term care facilities around the world, including in Canada. Hasbro recently launched a collection of life-like companion cats to help lessen the feelings of loneliness and promote relaxation.

It’s strange to think of robots taking the place of human caregivers, but the technology is there to ease some of the stress of being a family caregiver.

DementiaHack

In early November a hackathon was held in Toronto with the focus on developing solutions for dementia. A hackathon can be described as an intensely focused period of time where experts focus their collective knowledge on developing solutions to a common problem – in this case dementia. 

DementiaHack is the partnership between Facebook, and Shaharris Beh who runs a non-profit organization called HackerNest. Tech developers teamed up with patients, caregivers, researchers and health care professionals over a two-day competition in order to design products aimed at improving the lives of people living with dementia. 

This was a huge event, with over 250 competitors anticipated to participate. The hope is that over the course of the two-day event, startup ventures will emerge and afterwards continue to advance developments in dementia care.

Being a family caregiver is a tough job. But it’s a job that more and more Canadians can relate to. It seems as if the media is recognizing the family caregiver and is increasing its coverage of relevant and interesting content. If you come across any interesting caregiver-related news stories please share them with other caregivers in the Elizz forums.

What caregiver news story caught your attention this year?

 

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