Every day, more than 3 million Ontarians provide support to loved ones facing illnesses, mental health issues, disabilities or challenges associated with aging. On April 3, CMHA [BRANCH] 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 care giving is a specific role with unique challenges and solutions. Many caregivers feel socially isolated and may need care and support. CMHA Thunder Bay offers education and support services for family and friends of individuals with lived experience of mental illness. The 10-week workshop is designed for you to learn more about mental health recovery and how you can support your relative while taking care of yourself. Our next Family Mental Health Series starts on April 17 and pre-registration is required. If interested, please call JoAnne Books at 683-4952.
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.