Are you on call 24 hours a day, worried about a loved one? Have you got a dependant eating you out of house and home, hungry 24/7 but another dependant you’re worried might not be eating anything at all? At 50+, many of us experience high levels of stress, anxiety and a roller coaster of emotions because not only are we parents but in many cases, might also be “parenting” our parents. The result is “Caregiver Stress,” an often debilitating condition. Who provides care for the caregiver? Amintro – that’s who! Plus, there are a whole host of other groups, online supports and government tools and resources available to help you plan for, and manage, creating a healthy work, life balance. So, before you throw in the towel, take the time to connect with others on the Amintro platform and make a new friend who might just be in the same boat as you. A listening ear, a friend you can call, someone to share tips, tools and resources with – it’s the kind of caregiver support we all could use a little more of!
The good news about being a caregiver is that while it might be a lonely task, you’re actually not alone. According to both Change Foundation and The Ontario Caregiver Organization, “nearly a third of Canada’s population is providing care to a family member and just over half of them are caring for an aging parent, mostly providing emotional support and transportation as well as doing household tasks and scheduling appointments.” (1) The numbers suggest that caregivers are providing anywhere from 11 to 30 hours of care per week and that “some provide so much care they can’t count the hours.” (2) This means there are a great many others out there, just like you, looking for support and a friendly, listening ear. For Ontarians at least, a new service launched recently will do just that. A helpline now connects caregivers with a community representative 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A live chat site is also available between 7am and 9pm weekdays. The tool is an excellent opportunity for caregivers to get emotional support, even when they can’t leave the house because the reality is, sometimes just talking with someone can significantly lighten the burden. If you find yourself in need right now, need help accessing community resources, a person to talk to and more, that number is 1-833-416-2273.
Another informative source for caregiver information in Ontario can be found online at The Ontario Caregiver Coalition website. For those living elsewhere, we also found a valuable resource in HelpGuide. Providing a variety of tips, they suggest talking to a supportive family member or friend is a great way to help those feeling isolated by caregiving responsibilities and further suggest, “since it’s easier to accept a difficult situation when there are other areas of your life that are rewarding, it’s important not to let caregiving take over your whole existence. Invest in things that give you meaning and purpose whether it’s your family, church, a favorite hobby, or your career.” (3) So there you have it – sounds like even the experts are saying talking to a friend is a good thing!
We all know friends are folks we lean on in tough times and that bonds formed through a common set of shared experiences are often the strongest bonds of all. Amintro can help. We’re in the business of helping adults who are 50+ to find and connect with one another. We encourage people to get more involved and to live a healthier lifestyle. Connecting with others, increasing your circle of friends, experiencing something new and getting more social is just some of what we do and coincidentally – they’re all things that could help to reduce your caregiver stress and anxiety too! We can’t help you with that teenager currently eating you out of house and home or the one constantly asking you for yet more money but finding a friend? That’s a lock. We’ll help you connect with others, maybe even others who are acting as a primary caregiver and could use the same kinds of supports you’re looking for. Friends who care about fellow caregivers – so you can cope with giving care.
Written by Sheralyn Roman