A research group from Carleton University is hoping to identify the needs of these caregivers while exploring how they access resources that are available to assist them.
Caregivers who receive no financial compensation are a vulnerable group. “Often female and of advanced age themselves, these individuals provide necessary support for an aging loved one, whether that means driving to appointments, helping dole out medications, or assisting with tasks of daily life.” says grad student Deepika Sriram.
She continues: “There are often insufficient support systems to care for those who provide assistance (i.e. avoid burnout, deal with stress). But without these informal caregivers, the strain on an already burdened health care system increases.”
In a rural setting, greater travel distances and fewer resources make caregiving even more challenging. There are fewer specialized resources to assist with types of age-related conditions such as mobility limitations, dementia, or palliative care.
The group is currently working with administrative staff and volunteers from the Almonte General Hospital and The Mills Community Support Center. They have created a survey designed to help understand the experiences of informal caregivers in rural communities, as well as to understand what kinds of support services would ease some of the burden of caregiving.
If you are an informal caregiver and would like to participate in this survey, please visit: http://fluidsurveys.com/s/informalcaregiversupport. Those who participate are eligible to enter a draw to win a $50 gift card to PC/Independent grocery stores.