Millions of Canadians are caregivers, caring for loved ones with disabilities, age-related conditions, or chronic health conditions. During the current pandemic, the role of caregiver is more challenging than ever. Now more than ever, it is important to recognize and celebrate their vital work, and ensure caregivers have the support they need.
There is a growing awareness that caregivers need support caring for themselves too. Having a strong support network, maintaining balance in life, and making time take care of their own mental and physical health can all help prevent burnout.
Family Caregivers of British Columbia (FCBC) frequently hears from family and friend caregivers who are experiencing stress. FCBC offers support groups, resources and tools to support caregivers on their journey. More recently, the first season of their new podcast, Caregivers Out Loud, focused on caregiver well being. The podcast features stories that highlight the joys, trials, and self-discoveries of caregiving. Guests share their personal experiences as well as advice and things they’ve learned along their journey.
One common theme in these first four episodes about caregiver well being is the importance of good communication and strong relationships. It’s a two-way street—caregivers have to be willing to reach out and ask for help, but people in their community should also feel empowered to offer their support. For example, in episode 3, guest Jim described how he and other friends learned to support a friend in their circle who’d recently transitioned into a caregiver role. It required honest conversations about what their friend needed, what they could offer, and how they could work together to provide support. Whether you’re a caregiver yourself or know someone who is, hearing from others about their experience can help you feel connected to the wider community and help you through the difficult moments.
(FCBC is currently planning the next season of the podcast and they’re looking to hear from listeners! If there is a perspective or theme you’d like to hear explored in a future episode, fill out their survey to share your insight.)
If there’s one thing the stories on Caregivers Out Loud demonstrate, it’s that caregiving takes an enormous amount of energy and dedication, and it makes a big difference in the lives of the people they care for. In the past several years, there has been more public recognition for carers—we celebrate National Caregivers Day and Caregiver Awareness Month. It’s also important for us to recognize the individuals in our own lives who take on this responsibility.
“Now, with the added risks and challenges of COVID-19, we think it’s more important than ever to recognize these outstanding heroes through our national Caregiver Awards program.” –Caroline Tapp-McDougall, Executive Director
Do you know an exceptional caregiver? Canada Cares is asking Canadians to nominate people in their lives who demonstrate dedication, tenacity and commitment to care that’s deserving of recognition.
You can visit the Canadian Abilities Foundation website to nominate your hero for an award. One nominee will be selected to win the Canada Cares One Wish Award of $10,000.
Check out our COVID Care Kit “Care for the Caregiver” to find additional resources to help you—or a caregiver in your life—care for yourself, stay healthy, and find support.