Managing the care of a loved one who has physical, cognitive or mental health challenges is the reality for more than 8.1 million Canadians who are unpaid caregivers. Overwhelmed by the magnitude of the daily decisions they have to make, many feel an enormous burden of providing support while struggling to keep their own lives on track.
According to the Canadian Carers Pulse Survey, 69 per cent of respondents reveal that caregiving has taken a toll on their emotional health, while more than half said it affects their physical health.
If you provide care to a loved one, here are some tips on reducing your stress:
- Ask for help.Caregiving is stressful, and you don’t have to do it alone. Connect with your loved one’s healthcare team and don’t be afraid to ask questions and request information.
- Talk to your pharmacist.New continuing education programs and resources are helping pharmacists provide tailored services to the caregivers in their community. For example, the new Caregiver Friendly Pharmacy Program was specifically developed to support caregivers and is now available to pharmacies across Canada.
- Get organized.Websites like tevacaregivers.com provide tools and checklists to help you organize and update key information about your loved one’s condition.
- Take care of yourself.Take the caregiver self-assessment to determine if you need help from a health care provider.
- Learn what caregiver resources are available.Some of these are national and provincial government resources, support organizations, patient groups and health and social services centres.