Recognizing and Managing Caregiver Stress
Caregivers are people who provide physical and emotional support to a family member, partner, friend or neighbour in need. Almost 1 in 4 Canadians age 15 and older are caring for or helping someone with long-term disability, physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging. Some of the tasks provided by caregivers include:
- assisting with personal care such as bathing, grooming, and dressing
- food preparation
- managing health care, such as medications and appointments, and/or communicating with health care providers
- navigating and coordinating social services; and handling financial and legal matters
Most caregivers are caring for parents who are dealing with aging-related health conditions. Many caregivers are part of the sandwich generation – that is, they care for an aging parent and are also parents to young children under 18 years old. Many caregivers are still working and/or provide care and support from another city. The bulk of care for individuals with dementia falls on informal caregivers – the spouse, relative and friends. Most older adults with dementia have a caregiver, and they are unlikely to live alone — only 13% compared with 21% of seniors without dementia. Caregivers of older adults with dementia are primarily children (58%) or spouses (32%). They provide an average of 26 hours of care each week. This is substantially higher than the 17 hours provided by caregivers of those without dementia (CIHI 2018).