Are you someone who offers either occasional help or regular support to a senior in need of assistance in their daily activities, without pay? In Quebec, 1.13 million men and women are facing that challenging reality.

Being a caregiver is a progressive an unpredictable process. It may start slowly; wondering about his or her health, or if it is safe to leave your loved one at home alone. Later, may come the difficult reality that your loved one will need a lot more supervision and care.

It is common to underestimate the risks of how it may affect your own health and wellbeing.  However, statistics are clear; the life of a caregiver may be shortened by four to eight years due to the overwhelming responsibility of taking care of someone else (Glaser 2007).  

Caregivers do not see themselves as such; most of them do not even know the meaning of this term. They are so busy with various tasks, they may not ask for help or receive support from family or friends. Caregivers can also be too tired to take the time to look for assistance provided by various health and community services.  

The Guide to Practical Support for Caregivers (GPS) was created to help caregivers find out about the resources and services available in the Laval area. Created by a collective project involving many Laval partners, you will find tips, tools and advice to help you reach the specialized professionals with the appropriate services you may need. The guide covers such topics as home support, tax information, legal advice, nutrition, care for seniors and other issues you may encounter as part of your responsibilities as a caregiver.  To get a copy, contact Caregiver Support.

There are many resources in Laval, including new respite services at Centre de services communautaires et d'aide au maintien de l'autonomie (SCAMA). They offer an inclusive respite service for members of Laval’s cultural communities. In the event a senior does not speak English or French, they can still access the service since the centre employs several employees from different cultural backgrounds.

For more information on their respite service, call; 450-681-4240. Also, if you are looking for information or support for caregivers, the Services Sociaux Helléniques du Québec (SSHQ) offers services for the English communities of Laval, such as conferences and individual support. You can reach them at; 450-688-2088.

You may also wish to subscribe to our monthly Caregiver Newsletter. You will find practical advice and relevant information on available resources in your area. Subscription is free and can be made through the Caregiver Support service advertised below.

Being a caregiver requires a lot of energy and may generate mixed emotions, like stress or fatigue, while increasing the risk of exhaustion. Remember, you need to take care of yourself to be able to take care of others.