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Caregiver or informal caregiver?

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Do you see yourself as a caregiver or an informal caregiver?

Does the emotional bond between you and the person you are caring for make your support “informal”? What exactly does it mean to be a caregiver?

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Subject Knowing the rights and status of the caregiver

Do you see yourself as a caregiver or an informal caregiver?

In Quebec, there are approximately 1,489,000 caregivers (in French only). Are you one of them? Do you see yourself as a caregiver?

A definition of a caregiver

In October 2020, the Act to Recognize and Support Caregivers went into effect. From this law comes the National policy for caregivers—recognizing and supporting with respect for their wishes and ability to commit. Page 25 includes a definition of a caregiver:

… any person who provides support to one or more members of his or her immediate circle who has or have a temporary or permanent physical, psychological, psychosocial or other incapacity, regardless of their age or living environment, and with whom the person shares an emotional bond as a family member or otherwise. The support is continuous or occasional, and short—or long-term, and is provided on a non-professional basis and in a free, enlightened and revocable manner in order, among other things, to promote the care receiver’s recovery and the preservation and improvement of his or her quality of life at home or in other living environments.

Do you recognize yourself in these words? Do you feel like a caregiver, a natural caregiver or a helper?

Caregiver, or informal caregiver? A mini-glossary

Helper: any person who provides support to one or more members of his or her immediate circle who has or have a temporary or permanent physical, psychological, psychosocial or other incapacity;

  • Informal caregiver: a family member or person who lives in the immediate vicinity of an ill person or person in need of assistance and who assumes responsibility for daily help, support and care;
  • Close: illustrates the affective ties to the person you are caring for;
  • Caregiver: since 2020, caregivers have been recognized by the law. In the law and at l’Appui pour les proches aidants, we tend to use this expression whenever possible, because it is inclusive: women, men, of all ages, of all backgrounds. It puts the emphasis on the person behind the role;
  • Respite: take a break, give yourself a rest, a moment when you can entrust the care of your care receiver to a third party. This is an important word in the caregiving community, as well as a necessity;
  • Accompaniment: the literature emphasizes the crucial importance to Quebec society of the accompaniment you provide to someone, but also the accompaniment you need.

It is you who decides what you want to call yourself, according to your situation, your experience, your knowledge, your willingness and ability in the scope of your commitment. At the end of this lexicon, you can define yourself as you choose:

☐ I am a helper.

☐ I am a family caregiver.

☐ I am a caregiver.

☐ I am an informal caregiver.

Aside from the vocabulary, what is most important is to know that there is support available to you and that you can access it.

Questions and possible solutions

Am I entitled to a salary or wages?

No. But you may be able to receive tax benefits, resources or services tailored to your needs.

We have just learned that our child has cancer. We are his parents, but are we also caregivers?

The law takes this into account. If you define yourself as such, the answer is yes. From that point on, and in view of your child’s illness and the difficulties you are facing, society recognizes the need to support you from a fiscal and administrative point of view and from a societal point of view in order to benefit from in-home assistance, respite care or other local resources.

I believe I am a caregiver. I need to discuss my situation. Who do I contact?

The Caregiver Support Helpline allows caregivers to call one number (or use one email address) to find the answer to their needs. A counsellor is available 7 days a week, from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., to provide counselling, information, and suggest various local resources.

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Need to talk?

Contact our Caregiver Support Helpline for counselling, information et referrals.

Every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Free of charge.

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call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784
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