Being a Caregiver has rewards and Challenges
Being a caregiver for a family member can be a deeply rewarding experience. It can also be very challenging.
Across Canada, people care for spouses, parents and other extended family members who need support because of chronic illness or disability, advancing age or injury.
But being a caregiver can be very stressful, psychologically, physically and financially. It can be particularly difficult to learn how to cope with a loved one’s medical condition.
That’s why it’s important for caregivers to be aware of, and make use of, available resources that can support them in their caregiving efforts. For example, caregivers can be eligible for assistance from the federal and provincial governments and respite services are available, in Ontario, through Community Care Access Centres.
There are also organizations that promote caregiver support like the Canadian Caregiver Coalition, as well as counselling services and support groups to help battle stress and social isolation.
Learning everything possible about a given condition and how to manage it, while helping loved ones to self-manage, is key. Many organizations provide education services and supports for different illnesses, like the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the Alzheimer Society of Ontario.
An innovative new in-home resource, Telehomecare, provides the tools and support to help caregivers look after family members with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and/or Congestive Heart Failure. Offered free by the Ontario Telemedicine Network, Telehomecare provides simple technology to enable health monitoring – of heart rate, weight, blood oxygen and blood pressure – at a distance by a registered clinician, along with health coaching by phone.
Having the confidence and tools to effectively care for loved ones, helping them live safely at home and avoiding unnecessary trips to the emergency room, is both empowering and brings peace of mind. Caregivers and patients can visit www.ontariotelehomecare.ca to learn more about Telehomecare.