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VICTORIA – April 2nd is National Caregiver Day and an opportunity to recognize the role of family caregivers in supporting the health and well-being of seniors in B.C.

Not only are seniors living longer, but each year, the number of seniors as a proportion of the provincial population is increasing. This also means that more and more loved ones throughout British Columbia are becoming caregivers and helping older people in our communities live happy, healthy lives.

Caregivers provide invaluable support for their loved ones who have increasingly complex needs as they get older. Family caregivers cook, clean, drive to appointments, undertake personal care, help maintain a home and pay bills among other tasks and activities. Often caregivers are working full-time and caring for their own families which puts their mental and physical health at risk.

The ‘labour of love’ provided for seniors by family caregivers is generally unseen and unpaid, and often undertaken by women, for women. As a result, this work can be unnoticed and not receive the recognition it deserves.

We can acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of caregivers by ensuring they have access to adult day programs, respite care, home support services and other resources so they can get the rest they deserve. One commonly overlooked support is the caregiver tax credit which is intended to create additional tax savings for Canadians supporting infirm or dependent loved ones at home. The expansion of the eligibility criteria for this tax credit would go a long way to support caregivers and ensure all their contributions – emotional, physical and financial – are better recognized.

British Columbians have shown again and again that they care about seniors in our province. Let’s take a moment to commend the commitment of family caregivers who give so much of themselves to ensure seniors can age with grace and dignity.

Dan Levitt

BC Seniors Advocate

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