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Government Offers Respite Care to Aid Burden Placed on Canadian Caregivers

Kimberly Fowler
By Kimberly FowlerNovember 4, 2015

Caring for a senior family member is a privilege as well as a great responsibility.

Learn more about how the government is offering respite care to aid the burden placed on Canadian caregivers.

How Family Caregiving Affects Canada

Studies show that family caregivers in Canada experience great emotional, psychological, physical and financial stress.

Statistics Canada reports that:

  • 8.1 million Canadians, or 27% of the Canadian population are family caregivers
  • 6.1 million employed Canadians, or 35% of Canada’s workforce are family caregivers
  • 50% of family caregivers are between the ages of 45-65 years old — their peak earning years
  • 1 in 4 Canadian caregivers are sandwiched between child rearing, caregiving and paid work

The consequences of caregiving can take their toll on individuals and families:

  • Many caregivers, especially those in the sandwich generation find it difficult to balance work and family responsibilities
  • Caregivers report an increased rate of emotional and physical stress
  • Many caregivers experience increased health problems, which can interfere with their ability to care for their loved ones
  • Caregivers experience greater financial strain
  • Caregivers have little time for themselves

Government Offers Respite Care to Aid Canadian Caregivers

If you’re caring for someone else, it’s important to take care of yourself first. Respite care services allow caregivers to take a break from the demands of caring for their loved one so that they can focus on caring for themselves. An occasional break can help ensure caregivers remain emotionally and physically healthy, which is good for everyone.

In order to respond to the burden of care, the Ontario government offers two types of temporary respite care to family caregivers who look after a senior:

  • In-home respite care
  • Short-stay respite care in a long-term care home.

In-Home Respite Care

In-home respite care is designed to give caregivers a break of a day or less. A licensed personal care worker comes into the home to care for a senior while the caregiver is away. This type of care is ideal for caregivers who need to attend a family or work function, go to a doctor’s appointment, or complete medical tests.

Costs of In-Home Respite Care

If the senior qualifies through their Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) then all the costs are paid for by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

If the senior is not eligible it is possible to arrange for in-home respite care services for a fee.

Short-Stay Respite Care

Short-stay respite care allows the senior to stay in a long-term care home for a short period of time (up to 60 days at a time for a maximum of 90 days a year). This type of care is ideal for caregivers who are planning a vacation or need to stay in hospital or recover after a surgery.

Short-stay respite care is also ideal for seniors who may need 24-hour nursing care or help with daily living on a short term basis (recovering after a surgery or illness).

Costs of Short-Stay Respite Care

The personal and nursing care provided in long-term care homes is funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, however caregivers must pay for the accommodation (room and board), which costs $36.34 a day.

To arrange for temporary respite care contact your local CCAC for more information.

Have you arranged for respite care while caring for a senior loved one? What was your experience like? Share your story with us in the comments below.

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Kimberly Fowler
Kimberly Fowler
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