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What are services available for caregivers in Canada?

Caregivers need to have supports too. They may wonder- “what are services available for caregivers in Canada?”. Caregivers may not have time to research options. Many support options are depending on the person’s needs.

Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits

Sometimes caregivers are put in the situation when a family member becomes gravely ill. In Canada, if a person needs to take time off of work to become a caregiver, there are employment insurance compassionate care benefits. The benefits can cover a person for up to six months. Also, there are employment insurance special benefits for parents of critically ill children for those parents that need to care for a gravely ill child. These can last for up to 35 weeks. The government of Canada offers these  benefits, so visit their website for more information.

Child Disability Benefit

The Child Disability Benefit is for parents who are caregivers for their children who are under 18. The government of Canada helps these families when the child has been certified to have a severe and prolonged disability by a medical professional.



Employer’s Health Care Plan

Also, for caregivers that are worried about their health benefits, their employer’s health care plan may cover them. This benefit depends on a person’s relationship with the company. Sometimes these jobs can also provide the advantage of giving the caregiver flexibility regarding when they come to work. This flexibility can allow the caregiver to go to the doctor at times that are mutually convenient. The employer might also offer Employee Assistance Program (EAP). This program helps the person to overcome their issues that might impede their performance at work.

The patient might have worked at a place previously that can provide them with a pension or other benefits. These funds can then be used by the patient to help them to support items that make it easier to care for the caregiver, or just give a basic salary. When the patient is not stressed out by financial issues, this will make the caregiver’s job a lot easier.

Canadian Caregivers Services Inc.

If the caregiver wants to go through an agency for greater benefits and support, the Canadian Caregivers Services Inc. can help to connect caregivers with new opportunities at home and overseas. Their website also provides a lot of information for caregivers as well as for families. It can often help caregivers to be a part of one of these organizations so that they know their rights as a caregiver. This group links to a larger network, the Association of Caregiver & Nanny Agencies in Canada.

Aging Parents Canada


Aging Parents Canada is a comprehensive website that helps caregivers to navigate the murky waters of caring for aging parents. The URL is http://agingparentscanada.ca/resource/government-assistance-for-caregivers/.



In Summary

Caregivers can feel like they are alone in the world and shut out from benefits that other Canadian workers have. There are many changes at the governmental level that give caregivers unique advantages. It is important for caregivers to know of these services and benefit from what they have to offer.

Take a Look at the Care Giver Bill of Rights

People might have heard the term but still, wonder- “what is a care giver bill of rights?”. Well, it’s not a formal document fashioned in a court of law. Rather, it is a set of principles that were penned by author Jo Horne. In her book “Caregiving: Helping an Aging Loved One” (1985) she wrote out this list of rights that a care giver has.

It is vital for a caregiver, especially an unpaid one such as a family member, to look this over. Caregivers cannot do everything. In a more clinical setting, there are restrictions on care giving such as shift work. This means the person can have a life outside of their job.

Facing a Loved One’s Illness

However, for others, they fell into care giving seemingly over night. These people were faced with the illness of a loved one, whether a parent or a child and they were the ones that needed to step in. In the case of the elderly, the person might have wanted their parent to have some time at home before they went into a nursing home full time. Some parents who are ill even die at their homes. But even in this case, the person who is caring needs to remember that they are not expected to give up their own lives.


Keep the Balance

A caregiver does have a fulfilling job to do that, but they are also still a human who needs balance. They also have the right to find this balance. They can do this even if their efforts to do so are thwarted by the person with the illness. Because while they need to keep their loved ones safe, they are not required to become emotional wrecks who are shells of their former selves in the process.

Don’t Put Off Dreams

The bill of rights reminds the caregiver that it is alright if they have dreams after this stint is over. They do not need to put off their plans for a future, such as planning to study or online classes. The care giver is allowed to save their money to do what they want in the future too. They don’t need to spend it entirely on the ill person.


Find Support

There are limits in all professions, and caregivers have theirs. They will be human and have bad days. They need the support that comes from this literature to uphold their value as a human and as an employee. Because often those who are ill are not capable of giving a lot back. Sometimes they are, and those times should be relished and celebrated. But if they are only giving back guilt and depression, then the care giver should not take on those emotions. They do have to stay intact and healthy as an individual, and taking on negative ways of coping and relating are not in the mandate of every caregiver.


The summary of the bill of rights is never a substitute for the real thing. So take a moment as a caregiver to lap in the wisdom that has been passed on from this author to millions of care givers since then.

Challenges of Caring for Ill Family Members

People might wonder- “what are the challenges for people caring for ill family members?”. There is an abundance of issues that arise. Least of all, people wonder how they are going to survive the experience. It can be draining in a plethora of different aspects.

Financial Support


Those who care for ill family members might not get the support that they need financially. They might have been denied medical benefits or been in a job before where they didn’t contribute to the insurance system directly, such as being a homemaker. That means that they are giving up their income to care for family members to some degree. They might be caring full or part time, but they will lose the money that would be coming in from a job in the time that they are caring.



Push-back from the Patient

Also, the person might face extreme animosity from the family member who is ill. The patient might have had a position of power over the individual before, such as a parent or a grandparent. Therefore, the person who is ill might feel like they get to call the shots. This can pose stress on the caretaker, who might need to get outside parties to step in to tell the patient that they cannot do activities they once did before, such as drive. The family member might not want to listen to these outside people.


Emotionally Challengingemotional challenge

It can be emotionally difficult for a family member who is caring for someone else who is ill. That person does not want to watch a loved one go through pain. They might start to feel guilty that the patient is going through so much. They might be tempted to over accommodate and in doing so, they will isolate themselves from the outside world. That means the caregiver is not getting the support that they need to do their job properly.

It can be hard to a person when they are the only one caregiver and never get a break from that person. The health provider needs to reach out to medical resources in the community, so they get the break they require. It is important for them to insist that other people take over for a few hours. Even if they are the only person who can care for the patient, they need to make phone calls when the patient sleeps to find outlets, groups, and medical professionals who can help.

Find a Support Network


Caring is not a solitary activity. There is no way that one person can do it all without severely burning out. Carers that look after family members must remember that there is a community out there that is waiting to help them on their journey.

Some agencies offer home care, whether it be full nursing staff or bed side sitters. Alberta, Canada offers a broad range of services.