Statistics Canada have found that around 28% of the Canadian population aged 15 and over provided care for family or friends battling a long-term health condition or problems related to ageing. Among this group of people, around 39% care for their parents, 8% for their partners, 5% for their child, and the rest to other family members or friends, many of whom are elderly.
Most Canadians aged over 65 live with a spouse or partner during their early senior years, and a significant percentage of those aged 85 and over (almost 22%) continue to live with their spouses or partners. Many need support in order to maintain health and avoid the consequences of caregiver stress.
The Reasons for Caregiver Stress
With only five per cent of Canadian seniors living in nursing care homes, families and friends are an important source of support for the elderly. Statistics indicate that many of those caring for an elderly spouse or relative, may also have health issues. Children of elders living at home, meanwhile, may have to give up full-time employment or even dedicate their entire day to caring for their parents full-time, which can lead to financial and other types of stress.
Research shows that women who are caregivers of spouses are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease than those who provide care for parents or children.
Caring for loved ones who need constant supervision (such as a loved one with Alzheimer’s) can lead to more health problems. Full-time caregivers also find that they have little time for employment, a social life, or stress relief, which is why it is vital that they seek useful support, to enable them to enjoy more free time to exercise, see their doctors if necessary, and maintain their social networks.
Availing of Community Home Care Programs
Programs such as Strive Community Home Care make it possible for seniors to maximize the length of time they can live at home. The program can be personalized so that seniors can enjoy a mix of family and program-based care and staff includes specialists in dementia, Alzheimer’s, palliative care, chronic disease management, mental health, and Acquired Brain Injury (ABI). This expert knowledge can be of great help to family members seeking to help their loved ones enjoy a better quality of life.
Time for Oneself
Relying on a community home care program frees up family and friends so they can take time they need to visit their doctors and care for their own health through sound nutrition, exercise, and specific stress busting systems such as yoga, which have been found to significantly reduce symptoms of anxiety, and depression.
Caregiving for an elder family member or loved one is part of the lives of many Canadians. Dedicating oneself, heart and soul to caring for someone’s health can have serious consequences for one’s own, with women and those caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia facing a stronger risk for specific diseases. Community Home Care Programs are an important solution for those seeking greater balance between their caregiving duties and a better quality of life, for themselves and their loved ones.
For more information about in home care options, contact our Community Home Care Program Manager at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org or 778.373.1237.
By Jane Anthony, Freelance Author and Content Editor