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5 support resources for caregivers

(NC) You’re raising a young-ish family, working full time and caring for a frail elderly or ill family member or friend. You’re stressed a lot of the time. Fortunately, there are community and government resources that can help. Here are five:

Elizz. This is an offering of Saint Elizabeth Health Care, a national not-for-profit organization that has been caring for Canadians since 1908. Its website, elizz.com, includes information and advice for caregivers on subjects from advocacy for caregivers to work-life balance. One example is fall prevention, described as the STOP method — Scan the home for problems, Talk to a healthcare professional, Organize the home to minimize risks, and Plan for safety.

Ontario Caregiver Coalition. Their website, ontariocaregivercoalition.ca, lists municipal, provincial, and federal resources for caregivers, as well as caregiver advocacy organizations. One example is advising people in Ontario to call “211,” which provides information about services in our region.

Alzheimer Society of Canada. Their website, alzheimer.ca, provides a listing of online and government resources and makes available a number of documents online, including a brochure that dispels myths, like aluminum as a cause of Alzheimer’s.

Ontario Seniors Secretariat. They offer A Guide to Programs and Services for Seniors in Ontario featuring practical resources for caregivers and information on tax credits and benefits. It advises, for example, that tax credits may be available to the “supporting person” under the Disability Tax Credit and the Medical Expense Tax Credit. As non-refundable tax credits, these credits can reduce the amount of federal or provincial tax you owe, but are not a cash benefit. Find the guide on their website, seniors.gov.on.ca.

Telehomecare. Beyond information and advice, there are programs that can help caregivers care for loved ones with chronic health conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or congestive heart failure. One of these is Telehomecare, which provides health coaching by phone and provides simple-to-use equipment for the home to enable the remote monitoring of vital signs by a specially trained clinician. An initiative of the Ontario Telemedicine Network, Telehomecare is available to patients in most of Ontario. To learn more, patients and family caregivers can visit www.ontariotelehomecare.ca or call 1.855.991.8191.