Photo of an older woman reaching upwards smiling.

Support for Caregivers: A Report on What’s Available

This report explores existing programming supports for caregivers who enable aging in place and identifies gaps and common practices across Canada.

Download the report (PDF 3MB)

Evidence shows that one in 10 people who enter long-term care could have been cared for at home with formal support. However, lack of information and navigation support, limited mobility and transportation, geographic disparities and other barriers make it difficult for many older adults to be supported to age in place. Encouragingly, many aging in place programs across Canada are successfully helping older adults stay at home safely and have better health and quality of life. 

What’s inside 

This report examines existing programming supports for caregivers who facilitate aging in place, revealing both the breadth of practices and identified gaps. Through an environmental scan and one-on-one interviews with individuals from six organizations, it highlights a variety of supports offered to caregivers, such as: 

  • Information on caregiving, which is widely accessible online, focusing on caregiving techniques and self-care tips. 
  • Accessible support services which include peer support and 24-hour hotlines. 
  • Different levels of support for caregivers, such as respite care, in-person peer support, counselling and financial support with variation in access based on geographic location. 

Despite the variety of supports available there are some areas where additional ones are needed, including: 

  • Increased recognition of caregivers' essential role, necessitating training for healthcare professionals, employers, and colleagues. 
  • Continuous funding to sustain caregiver programs, potentially achieved through advocacy efforts. 
  • Tailored support for caregivers with unique needs, such as youth, Indigenous caregivers, 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals, older adults, dual caregivers and those in remote communities. 
  • Provision of respite care to prevent caregiver burnout. 
  • Financial assistance to alleviate economic strain caused by reduced work hours or additional expenses. 

Download the report (PDF 3MB) 

Why it matters

As part of our work on reimagining excellence in care for older adults living at home, Healthcare Excellence Canada acknowledges that caregivers play an essential role. Knowing what supports currently exist for caregivers and where there are gaps can help scale up best practices and highlight where more work is needed to support aging in place. This ensures that our programming is comprehensive and inclusive and that caregivers receive the necessary recognition and support. 

Publication date

May 2024

Authors

Cathexis Consulting 

Advisors

Stephanie Lagosky, Tanya MacDonald 

Contributors

Baluchon Répit long terme, Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence, Family Services Toronto, McMaster University, Ontario Caregiver Organization, University of Alberta 

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