Caregiving is one of our country’s most pressing healthcare and societal issues. By 2025, more than 25 per cent of our population will make up the 65+ demographic, making Canada a super-aging society. As our aging population increases, so does the need for caregiving. Unfortunately, we lack the resources to meet this growing demand as the pool of caregivers in Canada is shrinking.
Dr. Nathan Stall, a research fellow at Women’s College Research Institute (WCRI), reinforces the need to strengthen support for caregiving in Canada. Every day, around 28 per cent of Canadians provide care for a family member, friend or neighbour, and nearly half will do so at some point in their lives. He explains that caregiving has become increasingly taxing as many people that are providing care are not formally trained. They are helping with the often difficult tasks of daily living for older adults and they are navigating our complicated health and long-term care system.
What major challenges do caregivers face?
- The stress of caregiving can give rise to negative mental and physical health effects, which can increase the risk of death.
- More than one-third of the population is working and providing caregiver support simultaneously, with more women juggling both roles.
- Caregivers often provide financial support to their loved ones and may miss out on monetary benefits including full-time employment, raises and/or promotions due to their caregiving duties.
We must do a better job of caring for our caregivers. It is our responsibility to support these caregivers by protecting them from financial and retirement insecurity and ensuring they are set up for success. It is up to us to strengthen the levels of support shown to Canadian caregivers.