In Alberta, caregivers contribute 619 million hours of unpaid care every year. Caregivers’ time and contribution saves the Alberta health care system billions – the amount is conservatively estimated at $11.5 billion a year.

Statistics

  • Nearly two in five Albertans (38%) have been a caregiver at some point in their lives already – that’s 1.3 million people
  • Albertan caregivers are all ages:
    • 20% are ages 15 to 29
    • 32% are ages 30 to 49
    • 31% are ages 50 to 64
    • 17% are ages 65+
  • Four in five (84%) of Alberta caregivers’ care for a family member, like parents, grandparents, spouse/partner, siblings and children
  • One in six (16%) care for a friend, neighbour or co-worker
  • Caregivers in Alberta spend an average of 15.1 hours per week helping others This amounts to about 619-million hours of unpaid care per year
  • Most caregivers in Alberta support people living with:
    • Physical disability (39%)
    • Age related needs (23%)
    • Cognitive disability (16%)
    • Mental illness/addiction (13%)
    • Cancer (9%)

While the act of caregiving itself can be a positive experience, bolstering a person’s self-esteem and strengthening the relationship they have with the person receiving care, it can also be an incredibly taxing experience for the caregiver. The risk of burnout and the rates of stress, anxiety and depression are high among caregivers.

In Alberta:

  • 55% of caregivers are tired and 40% report sleep disturbances
  • 39% of caregivers feel overwhelmed
  • 42% are short-tempered or irritable
  • 26% of caregivers report their health has suffered because of their caring

Caregiving can have ripple effects over other areas of a caregivers’ life too. As a result of less free-time, caregivers often experience strained relationships with family and friends, and they don’t have free-time to spend enjoying hobbies or social activities—all of which are necessary outlets for positive well-being.

  • Two in five (44%) caregivers say caregiving has strengthened their relationship with their care recipient
  • One in two (52%) spend less time with their spouse/partner
  • One in two (54%) spend less time on social activities or hobbies
  • One in three (35%) feel that caregiving strains relationships with family members or friends
  • One in five (19%) feel lonely or isolated because of their caregiving

Impacts on employment and financial stability:

Two in three (63%) Alberta caregivers are between the ages of 30 and 64: prime employment years. As a result, many experience negative impacts on their ability to maintain gainful employment and good finances:

  • 51% of caregivers miss paid workdays
  • 14% of caregivers reduce paid work hours
  • 5% of caregivers exit the paid workforce (often not by choice)
  • 66% of caregivers incur extra expenses
  • 18% of caregivers who incur extra expenses report financial hardship, putting their current/future financial security at risk
  • 85% of caregivers who incur extra expenses use or defer savings to pay for them, limiting their ability to save for retirement

The bottom line – caregivers need more support to sustain their caregiving efforts:

  • Two in three (65%) of caregivers need financial support or government assistance
  • One in three (34%) of caregivers need home care or additional support provided to their care receiver
  • Two in five (43%) of caregivers need information, advice and help from health care professionals

Do you know someone who is a caregiver and needs access to support and resources? Refer them today.

Are you a caregiver in need of support? Reach out today.

*Statistics by University of Alberta, Research on Aging Policies and practice (rapp), Department of Human Ecology