Why should family caregiving cost so much?
An Action Table has been organized to find ways of reducing the financial burden

In October 2013, four organizations sat down with a select group of invitees to tackle one of the most stressful concerns among family caregivers: the financial hardship that results as a consequence of seeing to the needs of their ill loved one.

The one-day forum, titled Canada, a Caring Society: Action Table on Family Caregivers, was the brainchild of the Canadian Cancer Action Network, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Canadian Caregiver Coalition and the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Their invitees included organizations and individuals in a position to offer insight, influence change and accelerate initiatives to fulfill the forum’s aims.

The event was driven by the recognition that caregiving responsibilities place an inordinately heavy money burden on the families involved, one that ideally should and could be mitigated through changes adopted by the health, social and economic sectors.

First things first

         Four priorities for action were identified at the meeting: increasing awareness of the financial overload caregivers face; improving caregiver access to resources and support services; making workplace environments more flexible; and adopting or adapting government support programs across Canada.

Families providing long-term care, whether for a mental or a physical illness, face a variety of money-related problems in common – a major one being the compromise to their own physical, mental and emotional well-being. Caregivers need help for themselves in order to provide the best life possible for their relatives, something many families are denying themselves at present because of budget worries. The October forum was just the first of such meetings to come. Subsequent events will study ways to improve other trying facets of the caregiving experience.

To view the Action Table, please click HERE.

The October Action Table’s four partners have released several reports containing a series of recommendations for governments and key stakeholders to implement. Click on the links below to view the reports:

National Guidelines for a Comprehensive Service System to Support Family Caregivers of Adults with Mental Health Problems and Illness, MHCC, 2013
A Framework for a Canadian Caregiver Strategy, CCC, 2008
The Financial Hardship of Cancer in Canada: A Call for Action, CCAN/CCS (Manitoba Divisions), 2012

Participants have endorsed the forum’s priorities by their commitment to ensuring that attention will be paid and action will be forthcoming.