Home Caregiver Support Program

The caregiving experience is unique and special for everyone. In order to be prepared for this new role, it is important to reflect early on a number of questions: What does being a caregiver mean for you and your loved one? What help do you hope to provide? What help are you able to provide? What support and training would be beneficial? It is also worthwhile to clarify expectations at the beginning of your caregiving journey, as they can be much harder to alter as your loved one’s illness progresses and your role has already been assumed.

Your loved one may say they want to die at home. This is a big decision and commitment for everyone involved. While the first instinct of many caregivers is to automatically say yes, it is important to make a measured decision. Take into account your own needs, those of your loved ones and the advice of the healthcare team. In so doing, you will be more prepared as your loved one’s illness progress and their care needs evolve. Taking the time to explore these issues will give you an accurate picture of the time commitment involved, the energy required, and the extra supports you will need to manage the emotional, physical and financial aspects of caregiving. This guide will help you organize a present and future plan of care that can help to reduce stress. When you plan for care, especially at home, be sure to explore A Caregiver’s Guide ahead of time.

Also, consider the following questions, which have been provided by previous family caregivers:

  • Do you have all the necessary information from a hospital and/or home care team about ongoing physical and practical needs that will help you to provide your loved one’s total care at home?
  • Do you feel you can meet care needs on a short and/or long-term basis?
  • Have you considered the impact of your new role on all of your relationships, not just with the loved one who is receiving care?
  • What about your social life, coping strategies, and your physical and emotional health?
  • How might this role affect your work?
  • Would your work grant you a leave of absence? Have you considered applying for the Compassionate Care Benefit through Service Canada?
  • Have you developed contingency plans that would allow for extra home care, admittance to a hospice or palliative care program should the need arise?