News : New Survey Reveals Struggling Caregivers Across Ontario Need More Support
Toronto, ON, Canada, Nov. 5, 2019 -- The Change Foundation and The Ontario Caregiver Organization (OCO) released the results of a province-wide survey on the experience of family caregivers in this province. The second annual "Spotlight on Caregivers" survey, conducted by Pollara Strategic Insights, builds on the inaugural 2018 report and for the first time demonstrates trends in the caregiver experience in Ontario.
One very important insight from last year's Spotlight report showed that an overwhelming majority of caregivers wanted one point of access for information. The new survey reinforced this with 77 per cent of respondents saying they wanted one place to go for information and support. To address this need, the OCO announced today that it is launching a 24/7 caregiver helpline.
The helpline will enable caregivers to speak to a Community Resource Representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling or by live chat at online between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday – Friday. Whether caregivers are looking for respite care in their area, a support group, information about tax credits or more, there is now a dedicated resource just for them.
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"We know caregivers are experiencing frustration, distress and even depression as a result of their caregiving responsibilities. A third of caregivers are not coping well emotionally and that number increases to more than half for caregivers supporting someone with a mental health issues," said Amy Coupal, CEO, The Ontario Caregiver Organization. "Caregivers have told us how challenging it can be to find information and support so we're excited to launch the Caregiver Helpline that will give caregivers 24/7 access to the information they need."
The survey looks closely at the role of the caregiver within the healthcare system, the type of caregiving tasks they are engaged in, the time and financial commitment required, and the impact of being a caregiver on their mental, physical and emotional state.
In Canada, nearly a third of the population is providing care to a family member at any given time. The expectations of family caregivers are growing to such an extent that their role is one of the most important ones in society. The survey shows that caregivers provide between 11 and 30 hours of care a week, and some provide so much care they can't count the hours. The Change Foundation estimates that these family caregivers contribute the equivalent of between $26 and $72 billion to society every year.
"Our report puts the spotlight squarely where it belongs: on Ontario's family caregivers. It gives us an opportunity to better understand caregiver experiences in the province of Ontario and for the first time, we're able to see how things are changing year-over-year," said Cathy Fooks, President and CEO of The Change Foundation. "The more insight we have into the caregiver experience, the better we're able to improve that experience because it's clear that without the tireless efforts of caregivers our healthcare system would crumble."
The Change Foundation defines caregivers as family members, friends or neighbours who provide care for someone, without pay, due to frailty, palliative care, long-term illness, long-term recovery from accident or surgery, degenerative diseases, physical or mental disability or old age-related disorder.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About The Change Foundation:
The Change Foundation is an independent health policy think-tank that works to inform positive change in Ontario's healthcare system. With a firm commitment to engaging the voices of patients, family caregivers, and health and community care providers, the Foundation explores contemporary healthcare issues through different projects and partnerships to evolve our healthcare system in Ontario and beyond. The Change Foundation was created in 1995.
Published: Wednesday, November 6, 2019