#InternationalDayofCharity- forming partnerships across the pond!

When we first found out about #InternationalDayofCharity, a United Nations initiative to celebrate charities across the world, we thought about how being a family carer isn't just something that relates to a single county, country or even continent - millions upon millions of individuals across the world are unpaid carers for loved ones.

So we thought, to celebrate the day, we'd reach out globally to an organisation similar to ourselves but roughly 4,700 miles away - Family Caregivers of British Columbia!

Below is a blog written for us by Wendy Johnstone, Provincial Program Consultant for Family Caregivers of British Columbia - we hope you enjoy finding out more about their wonderful organisation!

An African proverb says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”

Most of us are able to go fast from time to time. We can push the boundaries of our energy and burn the candle at both ends. Then once the urgency is over, we return to a more balanced way of life; at least until the next sprint is required. But what happens when your sprint turns into a marathon?

We’re at a time in history where most of us will take part in the marathon of caregiving.

It’s not usually something we anticipate or sign up for or train for. Right now, one million people in BC – over a quarter of the population – care for a family member, friend or neighbour. Despite the monumental number, their compassion and commitment largely go unremarked, unrecognized and unsupported.

 

Who We Are

Family Caregivers of BC is a registered charity that serves family caregivers across the province with free emotional support, tools and resources, education, and engagement opportunities. We also liaise with health care organizations to improve recognition of, and services for, family caregivers. We believe in the power of personal networks and that asking for and accepting help is a sign of strength.

Our mission is to improve the quality of life for family caregivers through support, information, and education. We provide leadership to strengthen the voice of family caregivers and the significance of their role.

Our goal is to be the information hub for family caregivers in BC and to have caregivers like you recognized as partners in care in the health care system. We understand the vital role you play—most of our staff have been caregivers too!

We know we aren’t alone in our mission.  Worldwide there is probably well over 60 million people caring for loved ones.  We look to other family caregiver charities, including Suffolk Family Carers, to learn from their experiences and share ideas and initiatives on how to best support family and unpaid caregivers through their personal journeys.

 

Here’s how Family Caregivers of BC supports family caregivers:

Emotional Support: If caregivers want to talk to someone or have questions related to caregiving, our toll-free line (BC) at 1-877-520-3267 is  available Mon-Fri, 8:30am to 4pm. When caregivers call our Support Line, we talk them through whatever is on their mind.

1:1 Coaching: When caregiving situations and needs are more complex or tricky, caregivers can benefit from more one to one support through our 1:1 Caregiver Coaching sessions.

Webinars and Newsletter: Want to learn more about how to be a caregiver? These free educational events cover high-priority questions.  We also provide a monthly e-blast and quarterly newsletter covering provincial updates, tips, inspiring stories and practical information for family caregivers.

Caregiver Group Support: Carers can join one of our family caregiver support groups, providing an opportunity get together with people who “get it” and a space to learn from other family caregivers and share advice to help others.

 

Helping to improve the future for family caregivers

We encourage caregivers to become involved in research, planning and engagement programs.  Their voice is pivotal.  The research tells us:

  • When both family caregivers and patients are included as partners in care, the patient’s health outcomes are better
  • Next to the patient themselves, family caregivers know the person best
  • Family caregivers are providing 10 hours of care for every 1 hour provided by the formal health system – it makes sense to include them in all areas of health

For more information, please call us at 1-877-520-3267 or visit us online at www.familycaregiversbc.ca