New reports highlight challenges Canadian family caregivers face

Are you an unpaid caregiver to an elderly parent or loved one? You’re not alone. In a recently released 2023 survey, Statistics Canada* reported that in 2018, over one-quarter of Canadians aged 15+ were caregivers, providing 5.7 billion hours of unpaid care. And that number is growing.

Statistics about Canadian caregivers

While the majority (between 56 and 61 per cent) of respondents in the agency’s 2018 General Social Survey on Caregiving and Care Receiving* said they found the experience rewarding, all of them found their duties resulted in a significant loss of time spent with their immediate family and friends, on social activities, and on much-needed relaxion or self care.

What’s more, 54 per cent of caregivers who spent 20+ hours helping their loved ones with medication management, appointments, grocery shopping, physical care, and the myriad of other tasks that they willingly performed, reported that they found their responsibilities “stressful” or “very stressful.”*

The impact of the pandemic on caregivers

The COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to the emotional toll on caregivers. According to “Giving Care,”* a 2021 national report from the Canadian Centre of Caregiving Excellence, 69 per cent of caregivers said their mental health had deteriorated during the pandemic. Some had to reduce their work hours, or quit their jobs entirely, unable to juggle the conflicting challenges.

Recognizing the signs of caregiver burnout or stress

Dr. Amy D’Aprix, a gerontological social worker and host of Essential Conversations with Dr. Amy, says it’s important to recognize the signs of caregiver burnout, asking yourself several questions, including, “Am I getting enough rest, eating healthfully, and exercising?” and “Am I able to have sufficient breaks to enjoy other aspects of my life?” If the answer to these questions is “no,” she suggests, among other strategies, that an honest assessment could lead to the realization that a significant change in your caregiving situation may be needed. That could include retirement residence or other senior care options for your aging loved one.

How retirement living can help caregivers

Understanding that contemplating different care or housing options can be difficult, Dr. Amy asks caregivers to realize that change can allow you to spend more quality time with your loved one. “Now, the time you spend together can be more as mother and daughter, father and son, grandmother and grandchild, than caregiver and care recipient,” Dr. Amy says. “It may actually lead to more time for engaging in fulfilling conversation and activities.”

Learn how the care and lifestyle options in a Chartwell retirement residence, including our Care Assist Program, can positively benefit both you and your senior loved one.

*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:

  1. Statistics Canada. "Caregivers in Canada, 2018"(2020), Online:
  2. Statistics Canada. "Caregiving by the hours, 2018"(2022), Online:
  3. Statistics Canada. "Caregiving by the hours, 2018"(2022), Online:
  4. Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence. "Giving Care"(2022), Online: