A new survey highlights the challenges caregivers face while trying to support others, most often family, friends or neighbours.

Some of the key findings of the Pollara Strategic Insights survey of 800 Ontario caregivers include:

  • Sixty-one per cent admitted they are doing this because they have no choice, and 41 per cent feel trapped, helpless and frustrated at times.
  • One-third say their financial situation is negatively impacted – out-of-pocket expenses, time off work, turning down career opportunities, not pursuing education.
  • The biggest barriers to getting additional support were cost (45 per cent) and lack of information (32 per cent).

Londoner Don Mahood cared for his wife with dementia for the last six years and says caregiving has been the hardest thing he’s ever done.

"I got depressed. I don't mind admitting it because depression is a hell of a thing to experience, but I experienced it."

At the same time, he says he was tying to educate himself about dementia. He hopes this survey will open the eyes of medical professionals and politicians to provide more more support for caregivers.

The Change Foundation commissioned the study in an effort to "better understand the experience, profile and needs of family caregivers in Ontario," and hopes to use the information to push for better supports.