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Caregiver Strategy driving change and empowerment across East Ontario 


We believe caregivers need care too. Without respite from their duties, many caregivers experience burnout and distress—leading to a cycle of poor health and quality of care for seniors. 

That’s why United Way East Ontario, in partnership with the Champlain Dementia Network and Champlain Community Support Network, embarked on a proactive journey, back in 2020, to create the Eastern Ontario Caregiver Strategy. 

We know that Ontario has more seniors than ever before, and nationally, over a third of seniors reported feeling lonely due to the pandemic. Meanwhile, 67% of Ontario caregivers said they hit their breaking point during that time but knew they had no choice but to keep going.  

Our joint strategy is designed as a comprehensive roadmap for planning, programs, and action that will better support caregivers and their families living in our communities. 

We’re now looking back to gauge the progress made since our strategy’s launch. 

Making progress

Collaborative dialogue and input from community partners has helped us conduct an in-depth review of our ongoing Caregiver Strategy, giving valuable insights into the strides made, persisting gaps, and priority areas that need our attention.  

Through the current strategy, local community sector partners are:  

  • Raising awareness of caregivers’ vital role and the issues they face.  
  • Advocating for Working Caregivers. 
  • Improving referrals from hospital stays/emergency room visits to community. supports for seniors and caregivers.  
  • Providing more resources and training for caregivers.  
  • Strengthening circles of support for caregivers. 
  • Increasing efforts to reach diverse groups of caregivers. 

Wellbeing of caregivers is vital in our communities

In the wake of the pandemic, the need to support the health and wellbeing of seniors and their dedicated caregivers has become even more visible. 

Research shows that unpaid, distressed caregivers are providing the equivalent care of a full-time job: 38 hours per week. And that was before COVID-19 reached our communities.   

The caregiver strategy remains relevant as the thinly stretched health and social service sectors continue to rely heavily on caregivers to fill gaps in programs, services, and human resources. Going forward, key areas needing attention include:   

  • Providing respite for caregivers.  
  • Improving system navigation for seniors and caregivers.  
  • Ensuring increased, stable, and flexible funding for community services.  
  • Enhancing financial supports for caregivers.   
  • Improving volunteer recruitment and retention.   
  • Evaluating best practices. 

Looking ahead

The journey continues and our work isn’t over yet. There are still challenges to overcome, barriers to break down, and lives to touch. But with unwavering commitment and the support of our community, we know that the lives of caregivers and those they care for can be improved.   

Together, we will continue to write the story of care, compassion, and empowerment in Eastern Ontario – one chapter at a time. 




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