Carole Ann Alloway was one of the speakers on April 4 – Caregiver Day to over 300 caregivers, councillors, the mayor and health care organizations, an event that was held at City Hall. The first Tuesday in April has been proclaimed Caregiver Day in Toronto by Mayor Tory. The province is in the process of passing legislation to make it provincial wide.
Carole Ann talked about the issues she encountered while taking care of her husband (who recently had his 10th surgery on his ankle). Caregiver stories are all different, but the themes are the same – frustration, loneliness, isolation, exhaustion, and managing a steep learning curve while navigating our health care system. She also called for action in the following areas; policy makers to recognize the important role caregivers play and to formally include them in the health care team; employers to appreciate the strain that caregivers are suffering in juggling their work and caregiver roles and allow them more flexibility, and; the general public to support the caregiver by offering to help in specific ways – make a meal, walk a dog, sit with the patient while the caregiver goes to a movie, etc.
Carole Ann closed with the statement that “supporting the caregiver helps the patient achieve their best health outcome and if you are not a caregiver today you will be some day”.