The Change Foundation ‘is an independent health policy think tank that works to inform positive change in Ontario’s health care system.’ They completed an in depth review based on the 2012 General Social Survey of Ontario’s family caregivers. A few of their key findings include:
- “An estimated 3.3 million Ontarians, 29% of the provincial population, are family caregivers.
- 53% (1.8 million) of caregivers are women and 47% (1.5 million) are men.
- 5 million Ontario caregivers are balancing caregiving duties with paid employment and of these caregivers:
- 30% (741,000 people) were late for work or had to leave early;
- 29% (735,000 people) missed an average of six days of work because of caregiving duties; and
- 1% (33,000 caregivers) left their employment voluntarily or involuntarily.
- One million caregivers said they felt they had no choice in taking on their caregiving responsibilities.”
I have blogged extensively on issues facing employed carers. Most recently I completed a podcast for an EAP provider on caring issues. However the focus of this blog is on the last point, those family members who felt they had no choice.
I recently met with two siblings who were providing care for their aunt and uncle. The aunt and uncle were childless and had named their nieces as their POA for care. Now the mother of these two sisters was in need of care. The sisters were exhausted, the aunt and uncle continued to be demanding and now their mother was added to their worry list. The sister’s load was heavy.
Juggling competing demands of care, work and family is a challenge, even for the most organized and accomplished individuals. Most of us don’t choose to be caregivers; yet here we are. The message today is about seeking out assistance, wherever you can, in order to access resources that can assist and relieve some of the load. These sisters are lucky that they have each other and have now reached out for guidance and help for themselves. It is possible to share the care.