Canadians won't be ready to care for aging relatives

Research shows majority expects to be overwhelmed by providing home care to elderly

TORONTO, February 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - As the old adage goes, life is what happens when you're busy making other plans, and Canadians might just find themselves in a life consumed by caring for ailing loved ones rather than fulfilling those plans. In fact, over 80 per cent of Canadians state that caring for a loved one would change their current and future expectations.

According to a recent Leger survey commissioned by home care provider We Care Home Health Services, almost two out of three (64 per cent) Canadians say caring for an elder would be overwhelming for them, especially when trying to meet the demands of their own lives. The survey also reveals that only 23 per cent of Canadian families have a home care plan in place in the event a loved one needs it.

To make this undertaking easier, Sue Kelly, director of Health and Wellness for We Care Home Health Services, says it has published its new Get Going to Keep Going Guide — a free how-to guide on everything from maintaining dietary and physical health to mental stimulation, medicine awareness and staying safe — to relieve the responsibility on families.

"When we think of those who suffer from chronic conditions, we rarely think about the impact their condition has on their loved ones," said Kelly. "There are currently 7 million Canadians who are taking on the task of tending to a friend or family member in need. Therefore we wanted to show those who live with chronic disease that there are so many everyday things they can do for themselves to improve their quality of life."

The Get Going to Keep Going Guide is available online at or through participating healthcare retailers. It will undoubtedly be welcomed by Canadians, of which only 42 per cent believe there is sufficient information available to families and caregivers in this country. It provides details on how staying physically active, volunteering in the community, discussing feelings of depression, talking to medical professionals about medications, and numerous other simple, non-strenuous activities can help prevent or delay the onset of chronic illness.

As Kelly notes, the public healthcare system has limits on how much it will provide for the needs of the chronically ill, and many families are likely to find themselves in challenging circumstances. In fact, 62 per cent of Canadians do not feel the public healthcare system offers sufficient homecare support to those who require it.

"With the rapid growth of our aging population, more and more Canadians will find themselves suddenly having to care for a loved one and that's going to have a profound impact on the caregivers' time, emotions, finances and energy," said Kelly. "Like anything else in life one must expect the unexpected, but we encourage Canadians to be proactive about their health and that of their loved ones, and have a plan ready to cope with the demands of caregiving should one be needed."

The Leger study surveyed 1,508 Canadian adults through an online forum between January 10 and 12. The study has a margin of error of +/-2.5 per cent.

About We Care

We Care Home Health Services, a leading national provider of in-home care and support services with over 50 locations across Canada, provides professional and compassionate care that allows seniors and others to live independently in the comfort of their own homes. We Care employs over 3,000 homecare staff and provides care in over 800 communities across Canada. For more information, visit