In Alberta, caregivers are the foundation of community care, providing an average of 70% of care outside of healthcare or assisted living residences. When loved ones do end up leaving the community to get more support, caregivers still provide 35% or more of the care they receive.
Who are our caregivers?
Nearly two in five Albertans (38%) have been a caregiver at some point in their lives already
One in four Albertans are currently caregivers
Albertan caregivers are all ages:
- 20% are aged 15 to 29
- 32% are aged 30 to 49
- 31% are aged 50 to 64
- 17% are aged 65+
Who are our caregivers helping?
84% of Alberta’s caregivers care for a family member such as parents, grandparents, a spouse/partner, siblings and children
One in six (16%) care for a friend, neighbour or co-worker
Most caregivers in Alberta support people living with:
- Physical disability (39%)
- Age-related needs (23%)
- Cognitive disability (16%)
- Mental illness/addiction (13%)
- Cancer (9%)
What are our caregivers contributing?
Caregivers in Alberta spend an average of 15.1 hours per week helping others
This amounts to about 647 million hours of unpaid care per year
Their contribution has an economic value of $12-billion annually
How does caregiving impact people?
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.
Caregiving can have ripple effects over other areas of a caregiver’s life too. As a result of less free time, caregivers often experience strained relationships with family and friends, and less free time to spend enjoying hobbies or social activities—all of which are necessary outlets for positive well-being.
How are caregivers feeling?
- 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
How caregiving impacts relationships?
- 44% of caregivers say caregiving has strengthened their relationship with their care recipient
- 52% spend less time with their spouse/partner
- 54% spend less time on social activities or hobbies
- 35% feel that caregiving strains relationships with family members or friends
- 19% feel lonely or isolated because of their caregiving
What support are caregivers missing?
- 65% of caregivers need financial support or government assistance
- 34% of caregivers need home care or additional support provided to their care receiver
- 43% of caregivers need information, advice and help from health care professionals
How does caregiving affect people’s finances?
- 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
How are caregivers’ careers impacted?
In 2012, Canada experienced a loss of 559,000 employees from their paid labour force due to caregiving responsibilities
63% of Alberta caregivers are between the ages of 30 and 64: prime employment years and caregivers consist of roughly 30-35% of the workforce. 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)