Caregiving is an important part of the fabric of Canadian society, supporting families, friends, and communities in need. In Canada, there are currently 8 million caregivers providing care to family members, friends and neighbours. That is approximately one in four Canadians aged 15 and over!
Rosalynn Carter, one of the first tireless public advocates for caregivers, famously said, “There are only four kinds of people in this world: those who have been a caregiver, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need a caregiver.” This is an apt description for Canadians – at some point in our lives, we will all experience caregiving, whether at the giving or receiving end.
However, caregivers and caregiving are rarely given the attention and support they deserve. More often than not, caregivers and caregiving are been invisible – noticed only when it isn’t done; and caregivers have been on their own to figure out how to best provide care, often at the expense of their own well-being and mental health.
What is a caregiver and what do they do?
A caregiver (also referred to as carer, informal caregiver, family caregiver, or care partner) is a person who takes on an unpaid caring role for someone who needs help because of a physical or cognitive condition, an injury or a chronic or disabling condition.
Caregivers can include:
- Children of all ages
- Parents, In-laws and step-parents
- Siblings and step-siblings
- Aunts and uncles
Family caregivers help with a wide range of tasks, including, housekeeping (laundry, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping), personal care (assistance with eating, grooming, bathing, dressing, toileting), health care (medication reminders), transportation (escorts to appointments and outings) and financial management (assistance with bill payments). Caregivers of those with dementia also take on additional responsibilities, such as managing challenging behaviours.
Elizz: Our story
Elizz is an arm of SE Health, a leading social enterprise and one of the largest diversified home health organizations in Canada. We have been at the forefront of making caregiving visible, supporting caregivers and their families for over 112 years.
Today, Elizz is the trusted partner for caregivers and their families to receive private home care support in communities all across Canada. In addition to helping at home, support services, nursing care, care planning & navigation support, Elizz has Canada’s largest caregiver resource library that contains actionable information, tips and tricks, and helpful content about caregiving, free for ALL caregivers. In addition to articles, blogs, and guidebooks, the Elizz Care Channel is a video library (in 5 different languages) that educates caregivers on how to provide concrete, hands-on help to their loved ones.
While there are some common issues many caregivers face, the journey is also a unique one. The caregiving experience varies greatly and can be influenced by factors such as the personality types, where the caregiver lives, who they care for, other responsibilities they have in their life (such as children and employment), the relationship prior to caregiving and the length and intensity of their caregiving experience.
Caregivers can find themselves feeling stressed and isolated and not sure where to turn, or where to start. Because this is often unfamiliar territory, caregivers don’t know what they don’t know. To support caregivers on their journey, we offer individualized caregiver coaching at Elizz. Our Elizz’s caregiver coaches have been there. They have been caregivers themselves for family members and have at least 10 years of experience in health care or social services.
Why you may choose to access a Caregiver Coach
- You want to know about resources and services that can help you
- You want help figuring out a plan on how to juggle caregiving with the rest of your life
- You want to know how to have difficult conversations with brothers, sisters, parents, or other parties
- You want to understand how a system works (healthcare, home care, long-term care) and how to navigate through it
- You want help to prioritize what actions/next steps to take
- You want to check whether you are doing “all you can” as a caregiver
What can you expect with Elizz?
Our supportive Elizz caregiver coaches will discuss your unique caregiving situation via phone or video format and will work with you to develop a personalized action plan. With the support and a concrete action plan, you can move forward in your caregiver journey with more confidence in your decisions and ability to meet the challenges that come with caregiving. Time is a precious commodity when you are a caregiver, and Elizz takes the time to do much of the legwork for families.
Boomerang and Elizz join forces to support caregivers
At Elizz, we are excited about our partnership with Boomerang. Our friends at Boomerang are providing a great platform for semi-retired and retired people. We are drawn to Boomerang for three reasons. First is their positive message about aging. They refer to retirement and semi-retirement as an opportunity to “…begin or continue the process of living life with a purpose.” This counters an ageist perspective that treats aging and getting older as all bad news. Boomerang’s wellness classes also foster social connections, offering a concrete solution to a problem that can develop for both caregivers and those they are caring for – social isolation and loneliness.
Recently, Boomerang and Elizz committed to offering Boomerang members, many of whom are caregivers, access to our caregiver coaches. Two of our Elizz caregiver coaches, Jane and Brenda, will provide live and recorded video conversations about common and challenging experiences many caregivers face, with tips and strategies on how to manage these challenges.
We hope you join us for these important conversations!