Informal care givers - The proportion of Canadians who
report they provide care, attention or errands for someone with a
long-term mental or physical disability has increased from 18% of
those 15 and older in 1998 to 25% in 2000. Informal care giving is
common in all age groups. For example:
- 25% of those 15-24 years of age report informal care
- Informal care giving is most common among those 45 to 64 - 32%
of people in this age range report they provide informal
- A quarter of those 65 to 74 provide informal care, as do 14% of those 75+
Looking five years ahead, informal care giving will become more common among the older population, the population increasingly likely to need such care itself.
The strain of care giving is beginning to tell on the
- Between 1998 and 2000, there has been an increase in the
proportion of care givers who report they have had to make cuts in
their budget, dip into their savings or borrow money to pay for the
costs of the informal care giving they provide.
- In all, the proportion of care givers who report some degree of significant financial burden has increased from 49% of all informal care givers to 56%. That represents more than a 10% increase over two years.
More striking is the major increase in the amount of time
informal care givers are spending with the people they help
- In 1998, the average amount of time informal care givers spent
during their last visit was 2.9 hours. This excluded those who
reported spending more than 11 hours during their last
- In 2000, the average amount of time spent during the last visit
had increased to 3.5 hours.
- Among older care givers, the mean time spent is almost 5
- Half of the informal care givers report that they visit the people they help out at least 2- to 3 times a week to once a day or more often than that.
Informal care giving for many Canadians has become almost a full time job, especially for older care givers who are among the least likely to be able to keep up this pace of work.
Over the next 40 years, the 65+ population will more than double and the population of 45-64 year olds will increase by less than 40%. The future holds out the prospect of more and more home-care recipients being looked after by fewer and fewer spouses, relatives and friends. The implications for the healthcare sector are profound.
AcknowledgmentData supplied by The Berger Population Health Monitor, and based on results from the May 2000 survey administered by Environics Research Group among 2,486 Canadians 15 years of age and older.
Topics in The Berger Population Health Monitor, which continues The Canada Health Monitor surveys of health issues in Canada, are prepared in consultation with The Hay Health Care Consulting Group. For more information contact: Earl Berger, Managing Director by telephone at 416 815-6405 or email at Earl_Berger@haygroup.com.
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