April 4th, 2023 is National Caregivers Day, a day which formally recognizes caregivers across Canada. BC Care Providers Association (BCCPA) and EngAge BC acknowledges and celebrates the central role unpaid family caregivers play across the province.
“I speak from experience when I say caregiving for a family member can be rewarding but also challenging,” says Terry Lake, CEO, BCCPA and EngAge BC.
“As my dad grew more frail my siblings and I had the opportunity to support him. Even though our love for our dad was strong, there were days when it was not easy to provide that support and navigate the system of care. I know I am not alone. There are approximately one million unpaid caregivers in the province, most are women, and many are juggling work and other family commitments.”
“As a former Minister of Health, I recognize that without family caregivers our health care system simply would not exist. It is critical that their voices are valued in all areas and that they get the financial and emotional supports they need to continue.”
One way BCCPA has committed to strengthening the role of family caregivers in long-term care is through January’s release of Supporting an Active Partnership: A Service Provider’s Guide to Family & Resident Councils, a new guide which is intended to share learnings and best practices for supporting long-term care operators in the development and continuation of resident and family councils.
“For most caregivers, their journey does not end when the person they are caring for transitions to long-term care. Operators work closely with family and Councils ensure that caregivers are able to offer input and feedback in a meaningful, respectful, and timely way,” says Lake.
Family caregivers looking for support are encouraged to visit Route 65 for resources and support navigating the system. Organizations such as the Family Caregivers of B.C. and the Alzheimer Society of B.C. are also available to help.