Family Caregiver Week in BC is being celebrated May 5–11, 2017. The week celebrates family caregivers and recognizes the essential role they play as part of the healthcare team. In British Columbia, over one million family and friend caregivers devote their time and energy to help someone else live a more comfortable, safe life. If you are not a family caregiver, you probably know someone who is – a family member, a friend, a co-worker, a neighbour. Or perhaps you have someone providing care and support to you. If you know a family caregiver, thank them for all they are doing and consider doing something like providing a few hours of respite, do an errand for them like grocery shopping or send a thank you card or a bouquet of flowers to show your appreciation. If you’re a caregiver of a senior, the 2016 United Way of the Lower Mainland Family & Friend Caregivers Information and Resource Handbook is an indispensable resource. This free handbook is a first of its kind supplying key information about the topics caregivers struggle with the most, including housing, health care and the law. The 120-page handbook includes information on:
- Housing, including information on getting into assisted living and residential care, and a check-list of things to do when a senior has to move
- Caregiver support such as counselling and financial support
- Information on disease-specific programs and websites related to health concerns such as dementia and depression
- Legal resources including how to prepare a representation agreement
- The full range of community services that help seniors to age-in-place in their own homes including United Way’s Better at Home, a program that provides non-medical support services to seniors across B.C., and
- End-of-life issues and care.
Many of the agencies and organizations listed in the handbook are funded by United Way. Information for caregivers is also always available at bc211, a free, 24/7, multilingual information and referral service funded by United Way. There is also the BC Family Caregiver Support Line (BC) at 1-877-520-3267 that provides one-on-one support, information about community resources or help navigating the healthcare system.