As our population ages, the role of family members in caring for the elderly becomes increasingly important. Unfortunately, family caregivers often face significant challenges in providing care, including limited access to family doctors and the risk of caregiver burnout.
In British Columbia, there are currently over 500,000 seniors who are in need of care, and this number is expected to grow in the coming years. However, access to family doctors in the province is limited, with only 63% of seniors having a family physician. Even among those with a family doctor, seeing them remains difficult, as a recent poll by the Angus Reid Institute suggests. Just 7% of B.C. adults said they have easy access to their physician and another 36% described access as “difficult.” This means that many seniors are not receiving the care they need, and their family caregivers are left to navigate the healthcare system on their own.
This lack of access to healthcare can have a significant impact on both the elderly and their family caregivers. For seniors, it can lead to delays in diagnosis and treatment, which can have serious consequences for their health. For family members, it can mean increased stress and burden as they try to navigate the healthcare system and access the care their loved one needs.
In addition to the challenges of accessing healthcare, family caregivers also face the risk of burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion that can occur as a result of providing care to a loved one. According to the Caregiver Action Network, approximately 66% of caregivers experience burnout, and this can lead to a range of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, and even physical illness.
To support family caregivers of the elderly, it is important that we work to increase access to family doctors in British Columbia and provide support for caregivers to prevent burnout. This can include reaching out to other family members for help, utilizing technology solutions to assist with caregiving, and accessing support groups and other resources for caregivers.
As a society, we must recognize the vital role that family caregivers play in caring for the elderly and work to support them in their efforts. By providing access to healthcare and support for caregivers, we can help to ensure that seniors receive the care they need and that family caregivers are able to maintain their own health and well-being. So, caregivers don't hesitate to reach out for support and take care of yourself.
At ElderPRIME, we're working on secure solutions to help seniors and their family caregivers improve communication with physicians and better navigate the healthcare system. Find out more at www.elderprime.com.
- Rob Parker, CEO & Founder of ElderPRIME