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 Ontario 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 Ontario Division is part of the ENRICHES Collaborative, which brings together local health and community leaders to address the complex challenges facing isolated caregivers 55+ living in Toronto. As part of ENRICHES, the Division offers an 8-week Living Life to the Full program for free to caregivers aged 55+ living in Toronto. Visit ontario.cmha.ca/caregivers-toronto for more details.
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.