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Based on data from the 2008/2009 Canadian Community Health Survey–Healthy Aging, this study examines the characteristics of people aged 45 or older who reported caring for a senior. It also describes the nature of the care provided and the positive and negative aspects of caregiving. More than one-third (35%) of Canadians aged 45 or older reported caring for a senior with a short- or long-term health condition or limitation. Compared with non-caregivers, those providing care to a senior were more likely to be women. They tended to be younger and more likely to live in higher-income households and to be postsecondary graduates. More than half the people receiving care were parents or parents-in-law, and they usually did not live with the caregiver. The most common form of care provided was transportation. A third of caregivers had been providing assistance for at least five years. Virtually all (95%) of them reported positive aspects of caregiving, but more than half (56%) experienced challenges and difficulties.
Aged, caregiving, elderly, geriatrics, social support
As Canadians age, informal caregiving becomes increasingly important to the well-being of seniors. According to the 2008/2009 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS)–Healthy Aging, an estimated 3.8 million Canadians who were aged 45 or older (35%) were providing informal care to a senior with a short- or long-term health condition. Informal caregivers—family and friends who provide unpaid assistance with tasks such as transportation and personal care—help seniors remain in their homes, thereby reducing demands on the health care system. Moreover, remaining in one's home is usually the preference of seniors themselves. [Full Text]
Annie Turner (1-613-951-4365; email@example.com) is with the Social and Aboriginal Statistics Division and Leanne Findlay is with the Health Analysis Division at Statistics Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0T6.
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