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Being LGBTQ+ and a caregiver

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Are you LGBTQ+ and a caregiver?

Here are some tips for helping you cope with caregiving taking into account your life path, gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

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LGBTQ+ caregivers: words and realities

Dignity, solidarity, well-treatment, equality. In your life journey and your path in terms of gender identity and/or sexual orientation, you have certainly sought to make these words your reality. The notions of choice and freedom are important.

These same notions appear in the National policy for caregivers. This policy specifies that caregiving must be freely chosen, informed and revocable. Does this surprise you? Do these words ring a bell?

Caregiving sometimes has an impact on day-to-day life (at work or in social relationships, for example). The law stipulates:

(…) it is essential for caregivers to recognize themselves and be recognized in the diversity of the realities they experience, of their life paths and of the contexts in which they assume their role.

The caregiver is a person. With their own reality, values, choices and life path.

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What you might be going through

At this point in your life when you’re a caregiver, certain aspects surface, or resurface.

Testimonials from LGBTQ+ caregivers

These testimonials show the variety of caregivers’ journeys. What difficulties, responsibilities, challenges or joys do you have in common with these people? Do you recognize yourself as a caregiver? What would your story be? How would you express yourself?

Questions and possible solutions

At work, my colleagues know that I’ve been in a relationship with a man for years, but they don’t understand why I’ve been taking time off to look after him since he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. What can I do?

Your colleagues may find it difficult to understand what caregiving is, and you may too! Here are some practical tips to help you balancing work and caring, find out about short-term absences, employment insurance and compassionate care benefits, and learn about labour standards and leave for caregivers. With your partner’s situation, you need compassion more than ever.

I’m gay “and” a caregiver “and” a senior. Is this a triple whammy?

We might even add: “and” a man! It’s certainly not easy to combine these realities. Aware of this issue, Fondation Émergence drew up the Charter for the fair treatment of LGBT seniors, which l’Appui pour les proches aidants signed in 2019. When you contact our Caregiver Support Helpline or take a free online training, you’re assured of a homophobia- and transphobia-free environment. In fact, the Avec toi sous un autre toit training course could be just what you need.

My support for a long-time friend is limited to doing his shopping once a week and helping him pay his bills at the beginning of each month. Am I a caregiver?

The law states that support can be occasional or continuous, short- or long-term, and that it is not necessary to be connected by family or marital ties, or even to live with the person being cared for. A recent survey shows that 50% of caregivers provide less than 5 hours of support per week, and that 14% of caregivers are not related to the person being cared for. This diagram drawn up by Fondation Émergence and this short checklist will help you clarify the answer to your question.

I’ve heard it said that in LGBTQ+ communities, very few people self-identify as a caregiver. Is this true? Which raises another question: what’s the point in recognizing oneself as a caregiver?

Julien Rougerie, in charge of the seniors and caregivers’ programs at Fondation Émergence, explains that being LGBTQ+ and not self-identifying as a caregiver represents a greater risk of burnout and increased difficulty in accessing available health and social services.

Over the years, my partner and I have “filtered” our entourage a lot. With her progressive illness, we need help at home, but she doesn’t like the idea of someone coming into the house. How can we convince her?

It’s not uncommon for the person you care for to refuse outside services. In LGBTQ+ communities, this reaction may be even more frequent, due to fear of prejudice. We suggest that you and your partner find out about home care assistance and other services that could meet your needs, and discuss them together. A resource directory is available to help you search by postal code and/or type of service. You can also speak to a Caregiver Support counselor by phone, e-mail or live chat.

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Need to talk?

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

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

Free of charge.

call  Caregiver info :  1 855 852-7784