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Caregivers need care too.
Caregivers are an essential part of our society. There are more than 8 million caregivers in Canada- more than 1 in 4 adults. If you were to replace all the care they provide it would cost $66 billion per year.
Providing care comes at a cost. Many caregivers face negative consequences because of caregiving.
- Higher rates of stress, anxiety and depression
- Greater risk of burning out
- Difficult emotions like grief, anger, frustration and guilt
- Poor physical health and lack of sleep
- Out-of-pocket expenses
- Employment impacts including absenteeism, reducing hours and exiting the workforce
- Difficulty finding resources and getting necessary support
- Strained family relationships
As a society, we need caregivers. The population is aging, and people are living longer with illness and disability. As care needs grow, we rely on caregivers to fill in the gaps. But caregivers can’t do it without support and recognition from the government, the system and the community.
The Caregiver Well-Being Checklist
Below are some suggestions for improving your well-being. You may want to start with one item and build up to a few. Select the ones that you feel will benefit you the most. Remember– if you don’t get to your goal there is no guilt– just something to strive towards as you are able.
- I am getting out/exercising at least twice a week.
- I am getting at least 7 to 9 hours of restful, sound sleep per night.
- I talk with or visit up to 3 friends or relatives weekly.
- I keep my annual medical and dental appointments.
- I am eating 3 balanced meals a day, or 4 to 5 small nutritious meals per day.
- My legal and financial papers, including Wills are in order and available.
- I have kept up with my hobby or special interest.
- I do something special for myself at least once per week.
- I acknowledge my feelings as they come up.
- I attend a community caregiver group, support group, or speak to a friend or counselor about my feelings if I need to.
Adapted from: Family Caregivers’ Network Society, Resource Guide for Family Caregivers, 2006. Caregivers Alberta (www.caregiversalberta.ca)