SOS: LIFELINE FOR CAREGIVERS!

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One in four Canadians care for loved ones who are ill or disabled -- according to Statscan there were 8 million informal caregivers in 2012. 

They are the parents of young children, mature children of aging parents, elderly parents of mature children, life-long partners or friends. These caregivers are unseen and unsung, often giving themselves 24/7, and to the very end. 

Yet supports for them are inconsistent across Canada and frequently inadequate.  Since organizations serving needy individuals may overlook their family caregivers, they often leave them to fend for themselves.  Many families turn to each other for help, but this becomes another weight on their shoulders as they struggle to keep their heads above water.

That's why we are asking the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos to throw caregivers a lifeline.  As Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, he can ease their physical, emotional and financial loads by making caregiver support a key part of his plan for Canada's future.

Our population is aging and more of us are joining what the CBC calls the "Caregivers Club".  Minister Duclos can help greatly by acting on recommendations like those made by the Canadian Association for Retired Persons in 2014.  He can also establish standards for respite care and managing stress; navigating Canada's medical, legal and educational systems; life planning and social networking.

Federal standards can make provincial programs more consistent for caregivers as well as their loved ones.  They can also help Minister Duclos fulfill Prime Minister Trudeau's mandate to provide "more direct help to those who need it". 

We can afford it.  Studies have shown that the unpaid work of caregivers was worth over $25 billion a year in 2012, and that's not counting the savings from caring for family members at home rather than institutions.  Since caregivers give so much of themselves, the least we can do is pay them more attention.  What we cannot afford is to continue neglecting them as they burn out or drown in despair. 

PM Trudeau asks us to do what is smart as well as right.  Supporting family caregivers is both because it helps them take better care of their loved ones.  It also allows Canada to deserve its reputation as a compassionate society and to fulfill its 2010 commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. 

We need to invite all those we know -- who are giving or receiving care -- to support this campaign by signing this petition.  We must deliver a strong and clear message to Ottawa. 



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