April 7th is National Family Caregiver Day

Apr  06 2015

Between 40 and 50 per cent of people with schizophrenia live with their families and many times family members become their sole system of support. The Canadian Caregiver Coalition (CCC) designates the first Tuesday of April National Family Caregiver Day. The Schizophrenia Society of Ontario (SSO) recognizes the hard work and dedication of individuals who take on the responsibility of caring for ill family members. “Care and Work: A Balancing Act” is the theme of the day. According to CCC, 6.1 million family caregivers in Canada are balancing care and work.
“Family caregivers are often forgotten in the conversation about mental illness,” said Annalisa Rasmussen, Family Support Worker at SSO. “As an organization we are dedicated to supporting family caregivers by providing them with the tools, resources and support they need. On April 7, SSO will recognize and honour the family members who dedicate their lives to caring for loved ones.”
Family caregivers provide over 80 percent of the care needed by individuals with long-term health conditions. It is estimated that they provide $25–30 billion dollars of unpaid care every year.
SSO works to assist caregivers with our Strengthening Families Together (SFT) program, which is a four week education and support group for family members and friends of individuals living with mental illness that takes place across Ontario. It is a group run by committed volunteers who are family members themselves and is a safe space for people to share experiences, ideas and get valuable support.
SSO also supports caregivers through our Ask the Expert (ATE) line that provides telephone, online and in person support for family members who need assistance, system navigation support or information about local resources.
The health and happiness of caregivers is extremely important in order to provide the best care. SSO has a list of helpful tips for caregivers here. Find out more about the day and how you can get involved on CCC's website
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter on April 7th to join the conversation and celebrate the hard work and dedication of family caregivers.
More facts about family caregivers:
-          6.1 million caregivers are in the workforce, representing 35% of employed Canadians
-          50% of those Canadians are between ages 45 -65, peak earning years
-          It costs the economy $1.3 billion in lost productivity per year