Support for Caregivers

Support for Caregivers

What is a caregiver?

Caregivers are the family members and friends who provide care for older adults. They feed and bathe them, manage their medications and medical appointments, and make sure they get exercise and social contact. In some cases, they provide nursing-level care. They are unpaid and often not recognized well enough.

Caregiving ups and downs

Caregiving can be deeply meaningful and satisfying work. It often creates stronger bonds and brings purpose to life. Also, it can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Statistics show that caregivers have higher levels of injury, illness, and stress compared to the rest of the population. As well, caregiving is financially difficult. Caregivers often miss work, and have to manage the costs of medical care.

When caregivers suffer, everyone suffers. Consider that

  • A tired, unwell, or stressed caregiver is less able to provide safe, consistent, appropriate care
  • Caregivers in Canada spend 5.7 billion hours caring for people in their lives, valued at $97.1 billion annually (4.2% of the GDP)
Making Caregiving Easier

Keep reading for tips that caregivers can act on today and links to support. Caregivers need care too!

Advice for Caregivers

Three Signs That a Caregiver Needs Support

  1. Isolation—not going out, not contacting family and friends
  2. Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  3. Suicidal thoughts

If you’re a caregiver and you see yourself having any of these symptoms, or you know a caregiver in this situation, help is available. Talk to your health care provider and/or call the Family Caregivers of British Columbia 24-hour support line at 1-877-520-3267.

Take this quick self-assessment quiz to measure your health as a caregiver

Caregiving by the Numbers

For every hour that someone receives care from the formal healthcare system, they are getting three hours of unpaid care at home
The average unpaid workload for a family caregiver in Canada is 20 hours/ week
Approximately percentage caregivers in Canada need to take time off their paid job to provide care
One in four Canadians is a caregiver
• One in two Canadians will become a caregiver


Family Caregivers of British Columbia

This provincial, not-for-profit organization proudly and compassionately supports over one million people in British Columbia who provide physical and/or emotional care to a family member, friend, or neighbour.

Support includes

  • A 24-hour support line: 1-877-520-3267
  • Support groups
  • Free one-on-one coaching
  • Free courses
  • Help navigating the health care system
  • Webinars given by experts on topics like caregiver health, family dynamics and caregiving, and communication and assertiveness skills

Care Conversations

Infographic, good coverage of all the basics

Caregiver Readiness

One-and-a-half-minute video with tips and tricks to get started in caregiving

Self-Assessment Quiz: Are You a Healthy Caregiver?

A quick quiz to help you figure out if and how you need support.

Caring for Seniors Resources

Lots of good, well-organized resources from the B.C. Government.

Government of Canada Resources

Scroll down to “Caregiving” for a list of resources

Family Caregivers Association of B.C.

A wonderful source of information and support. You can find quick information or spend hours on this site.