About one in four Canadians aged 15 and older, some 7.8 million people, cared for a family member or friend with a long-term health condition, a physical or mental disability, or problems related to aging, according to Statistics Canada.
Almost half of these individuals, some 47 per cent, cared primarily for their parents or parents-in-law in 2018, spending up to four hours per week on caregiving responsibilities. About 13 per cent cared for their respective spouse or partner, spending about 14 hours a week. Of the 7.8 million caregivers, over 600,000 (some eight per cent) provided care to their child with a long-term health condition, or a physical or mental disability.
“Providing care to children can be a challenge, given that children often require more intense care, but also because many caregiving parents are active in the labour market,” read an accompanying analysis. “Despite the often competing demands of care and working in a paid job, the parents who provided care for their child typically spent just over 14 hours on caregiving activities per week.”
Colleagues or neighbours (13 per cent), extended family members (10 per cent) or grandparents (nine per cent) also received care.
About 70 per cent of caregivers said they received some kind of support or assistance for their caregiving duties in 2018. This figure, however, also means that three out of 10 did not report receiving help. Those caring for children were most likely to go without help, followed by those caring for partners or spouses.
Those with unmet needs identified financial support, government assistance, and tax credits (68 per cent) as their top requirement, followed by home care or support (40 per cent), followed closely by information or advice (39 per cent) and help from medical professionals (36 per cent).
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