Every day, more than 3 million Ontarians provide support to loved ones facing illness, mental health issues, disability or challenges associated with aging. On April 3, CMHA Thunder Bay joins organizations and communities across the province for Family Caregiver Day, an annual event to recognize and celebrate the value of caregivers to Ontario’s families, health care system, and economy.
This year, the Ontario Caregiver Coalition is highlighting three generations of caregivers:
- Young caregivers. Close to 500,000 family caregivers in Ontario who are between 15 and 24 years old. Many are even younger.
- ‘Sandwich’ generation caregivers, who provide care for both their aging parents and their own children.
- Elderly caregivers. Nearly 375,000 caregivers in Ontario are 65 years and older.
Caregivers may support loved ones with domestic care, emotional support, personal care, and other general care such as translation, transportation, and assistance with financial paperwork. Some are not aware that caregiving is distinct from being a good friend, child, parent or spouse.
CMHA recognizes that caregiving is a specific role with unique challenges and solutions. Many caregivers feel socially isolated and may need care and support. CMHA Thunder Bay offers Family Mental Health Series, this education and support series is for family and friends of individuals with lived experience of mental illness. Learn more about mental health recovery and how you can support your relative while taking care of yourself. Trained facilitators provide information and education on the concepts of mental health recovery, barriers to recovery, the power of hope, the role of the family, relationship and communication building, creating a nurturing environment and self-care for the caregiver. This has both an education and support group component. Register early as space is limited at www.thunderbay.cmha.ca/events or contact Joanne Otte at 683-4952. Next session starts April 18, 2018, for 10 weeks.
To raise awareness about the importance of caregivers, members of the public are encouraged to share messages of support on social media using the hashtag #thxcaregivers or sign an online thank you card for caregivers. To help ensure that all Ontarians have access to mental health services and supports when they need it, sign the Erase the Difference petition at erasethedifference.ca.