The 2nd Annual Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers Report

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In partnership with The Ontario Caregiver Organization, The Change Foundation has released the 2019 Spotlight on Ontario’s Caregivers report – the second annual survey of caregivers across Ontario. This year’s report builds on the 2018 report and for the first time shows trends in the caregiver experience in Ontario. 

As the official research partner for this important groundbreaking study, Pollara Strategic Insights designed, executed, analysed, and reported on both waves of research. For the 2019 study, we conducted an online survey of 805 self-reported caregivers in Ontario, aged 16 years of age and older, between June 26th and July 9th. The caregivers surveyed were Ontarians who, in the past 12 months, have cared for someone who needed support due to frailty, palliative care, long-term illness, long-term recovery from accident or surgery, degenerative diseases, physical or mental disability or old age related disorder.

Some of the key insights gleaned from this latest wave of research include the following:

  • More caregivers find the process of organizing care difficult.  While similar numbers of caregivers are involved in organizing care, in 2019 56% of caregivers find the process difficult, compared to only 39% in 2018.
  • The impact on finances is more pronounced in 2019, as 32% said they had faced financial hardships compared to 22% in 2018.
  • There are no differences in who the caregivers are caring for when comparing the results from last year. That is, most caregivers are caring for parents who are dealing with aging-related health conditions.
  • In 2018, we found that just over half of caregivers were part of the sandwich generation – they care for an aging parent and are also parents to young children under 18 years old. That number remained the same in the 2019 survey.
  • Emotional support and help with transportation are still the top tasks performed by caregivers, followed by household tasks and scheduling appointments.
  • Most caregivers continue to have a positive outlook towards caregiving and are generally coping well. But 31% are not coping well emotionally, and the high levels of stress and negative emotions we found in 2018 remain unchanged.

The insights from last year’s report have already made tremendous impact by identifying that caregivers want one point of access for information. To address this need The Ontario Caregiver Organization recently launched the Caregiver Helpline – a 24/7 resource that caregivers can call or engage in a live chat between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m., Monday to Friday, to find local supports, get information about caregiving and get other important knowledge that caregivers have told us they need.

For more insights and information, please download the report via The Change Foundation caregivers web portal.

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