Canada’s unpaid caregivers are feeling more burned out than ever due to increased pressures and demands stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to a new study, 71 per cent of carers – those looking after a loved one with a disability, illness or frailty – are battling unprecedented fatigue.
Director Manuel Zafra of EMD Serono, the biopharmaceutical company that conducted the study, said the pandemic has taken a toll on the physical, emotional and financial health of carers.
It is estimated eight million people across the country are caregivers. Data in the Carer Well-Being Index accounts for 9,044 across 12 countries, including 755 in Canada.
More than half of Canadian carers surveyed, 55 per cent, say they’re suffering financially as a result of the pandemic. Close to a quarter (23 per cent) have cut back their hours at work to provide care.
There’s been a 12 per cent growth in people taking on caregiver duties including providing emotional support, managing doctor’s appointments and advocating for their loved one.
Time spent providing care increased an average of 4.8 hours per week.
Female carers and those caring for someone with an ongoing cognitive condition were found to be disproportionately affected by the public health crisis. A majority, 65 per cent, said their mental health has worsened.
CEO Nadine Henningsen of Carers Canada has called on the government to expand long-term care services to homes, to allow carers “the support they need from our health-care system.”
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