Choosing to act as a caregiver is a true act of generosity and dedication. With love and goodwill, these people devote a significant part of their time and their lives to the well-being of those they care for. Through this beautiful gesture, however, it is equally important to never forget ourselves. In that sense, the mental health of family caregivers is a question that definitely deserves more attention. Ensuring that all these generous caregivers can take proper advantage of the various support resources available to them, whenever they need it !
As we celebrate National Caregivers Week in November, let’s take the time to highlight their exceptional contribution by caring, in turn, for those who provide care to seniors on a regular basis.
Family caregivers : a precious role in the well-being of seniors
For most family caregivers, assuming such a role may seem like a perfectly natural thing to do. In the name of love for an elderly relative, these people choose to devote a part of themselves to help someone who needs it.
At Visavie, we believe it is imperative that such unique acts of devotion are not ignored, as they play a valuable role in the well-being and health of many seniors across the country each day. Thanks to the presence, attention and vigilance of family caregivers, numerous seniors can continue to enjoy their autonomy to the fullest, receive quality fundamental care and be guided, when necessary, to healthcare professionals at the right time.
Taking care of others without forgetting to take care of yourself
Family caregivers undoubtedly play a central role in the lives of seniors. However, we believe that it is equally crucial to ensure that those caregivers also take sufficient time to care for themselves. By aiming for a healthy balance between looking after a loved one in need, and the other spheres of their life, we believe it is possible to solidify the positive impact of caregivers on the daily lives of seniors.
➜ Looking for a way to balance work and caregiving? This article will give you some tips on how to achieve this delicate equilibrium.
Mental health of caregivers: for the good of all
Without even counting the hours, caregivers dedicate an incredible amount of their time to helping others! In the process, however, some family caregivers tend to forget themselves. To be able to continue to give the best to the person you care for, taking time for yourself, accepting help when you need it, and recognizing the importance of your own mental health are all essential.
Burnout, fatigue, feelings of helplessness or even guilt are all natural emotions that caregivers may experience on occasions. Whenever these feelings arise, they should not be ignored. In fact, these signs should serve more as a warning. That is why it is so important to recognize and pay attention to them.
To maintain good mental health for caregivers, it is therefore necessary to:
- understand that you have your own needs;
- listen to your personal emotions;
- know and respect your limits;
- never hesitate to ask for some help or support (for yourself or your relative).
Never forget that your health and well-being are precious! With a well-balanced lifestyle, it will therefore be easier for you to continue to honor the special role you play in caring for your elderly loved one, ensuring their comfort and security.
Support and resources for family caregivers
Knowing how to get the help you need and use it to its full potential is a real strength. Thankfully, various types of resources are available to support family caregivers in this important mission.
Above all, the first step is to recognize the valuable role you occupy as a caregiver. In fact, according to an interesting survey about caregivers in Quebec, just over ⅓ of all caregivers do not identify themselves as such, despite the clear actions they perform to support their loved ones on a regular basis.
1. Financial assistance to support caregivers
To assist family caregivers and encourage them to continue their precious involvement toward seniors who need them, various financial assistance programs have been developed by governments.
In Quebec :
- Tax credit for caregivers : A special part of this credit is intended for family caregivers of seniors aged 70 and over, who have some needs.
- Tax credit for home support services for seniors & Senior assistance tax credit : Available to elderly people aged 70 or over, as well as their spouses, these measures are designed to provide some financial respite, as well as covering costs related to home care and personal assistance services, for example.
- Amount for other dependants : This financial assistance is more general but may also apply to the situation of caregivers. Do not hesitate to discuss this possibility with the professional in charge of your annual tax return.
In Ontario :
- Seniors’ home safety tax credit : If you are assisting an elderly relative in adapting their home to make it safer and more accessible, this financial assistance program is perfectly suited to you. It is designed to cover part of the cost related to improving seniors’ level of independence in their own living environment.
- Tax credit for seniors care at home : Whether to give caregivers a break, or simply to allow seniors to benefit from a complete range of home care services, you may also be eligible for a tax credit for home help.
- Ontario Drug Benefit Program : As a caregiver of a family member (or other close relative) that require specialized medication, it is good to be well-informed about the Ontario Drug Benefit Program, which can reimburse a significant proportion of the cost of prescription drugs that are necessary to ensure the health of your elderly relative.
In addition, all over Canada, family caregivers can benefit from a special Employment Insurance benefit if, for example, they must be absent from work temporarily to provide care or assistance to a relative in need. To find out more about this measure, and the eligibility requirements, visit the Government of Canada website.
2. Access to information and support resources
Being a caregiver means giving the best of yourself. There is absolutely no need to strive for perfection: your personal involvement and presence already count tremendously! However, to avoid finding yourself at the end of your rope or falling into the trap of guilt or powerlessness, it is essential to be well surrounded and enjoy some useful resources.
Looking for concrete advice and relevant information on how to deal with everyday situations in a caregiving context? Groups such as L’Appui Proche Aidant (Quebec), the Ontario Caregiver Organization, as well as numerous community organizations, may provide you the help you need.
3. Visavie’s Home Support Services for seniors: a key resource for any family caregiver
In this spirit of caring for those who are taking care of others, Visavie is committed to offer its services to support family caregivers. We understand that many tasks require a great deal of time and effort, and that it is impossible to be everywhere at the same time. Professional Home Care Services for seniors exist specifically for this purpose. They represent the perfect complement to the existing involvement of family caregivers, helping to achieve a better balance for everyone.
Through our optimal 4-step approach, you will always be able to choose from a variety of home care services fully customized to you and your loved one’s needs. Visavie’s professional caregivers will respectfully listen to your needs and make sure to support you according to your own rhythm.