In British Columbia there are over 1 million family caregivers. Are you one?
Family caregivers provide care and support to family members, friends or neighbours who are in poor health, frail, elderly or disabled. The person you are caring for might be an elderly parent, a chronically ill spouse, an adult disabled child or a sibling with mental health issues. The person receiving care may either live in his own home, with the caregiver or in a residential care facility. You can also be a long-distance caregiver when the care recipient lives in another location.
Family caregivers provide care for a variety of reasons. It may be out of love and caring, a sense of duty, obligation, guilt or because there doesn’t seem to be anyone else available. The support you provide can range from simply driving your mom to a doctor’s appointment or picking up groceries to providing one-on-one personal care 24 hours per day 7 days per week.
Self-identifying as a family caregiver is one of the first steps toward recognizing the demands and responsibilities that the role entails, asking for and receiving help and accessing resources that can help alleviate some of your burden. Once you recognize that you are a family caregiver you will realize that you are not alone – one-in-four Canadians are in the same situation as you.
Contact the Family Caregivers’ Network Society (FCNS), and similar organizations in your own community, provide programs and services that can assist you. Call the FCNS at 1-877-520-3267 (Victoria 250-384-0408) for more information, including referral to resources in your own community.