Care options, choosing the best plan for you and the person you care for

On this page

Alternate formats

Care options, choosing the best plan for you and the person you care for [PDF - 866KB]

Request other formats online or call 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232). If you use a teletypewriter (TTY), call 1-800-926-9105. Large print, braille, audio cassette, audio CD, e-text diskette, e-text CD and DAISY are available on demand.

Introduction

At some point in your life, you may need to provide support to someone you know.

Over 8 million Canadians currently care for someone they know and this number is expected to increase as a result of Canada’s aging population. You will likely need to support someone you know who has a physical disability, a mental health challenge, a long-term illness or a degenerative disease. Caring for someone else often means juggling personal commitments, work, family time and care responsibilities.

It is never too early to start planning for your role as a caregiver.

You may need to help a parent, child, partner, sibling, friend, neighbour or co-worker. This person will count on your presence and support as they face health and living challenges.

Learn about your options, plan your actions and get ready! Here is what you need to think about.

Learn how to support their health care

  • Understand their health condition and care options. Help the person choose the best care plan to meet their needs by learning as much as you can about their physical and mental health, medical and treatment options and support needs.
  • Provide encouragement. Living with a chronic or long-term condition can be a daily challenge. Help the person you care for eat healthy, be physically active, stay socially connected and follow their treatment plan.
  • Know their care providers. Make a list of all care providers—name, contact information and caring role. Communicate and work with them.
    • Note that there may be multiple health care professionals involved in the person’s care.
    • Don’t forget the personalized services provided by home and community care providers.
  • Manage medications. Make a medication list and review it with a pharmacist to learn about each drug, their side effects and any counter-indications, how to store them and when to take them.
  • Plan for care transitions. Care transitions from home to hospital, to a rehabilitation facility, a nursing home or long-term care home are critical to the person’s recovery and quality of life. Know the discharge plan and care options.
    • Is the person’s home safe? If not, contact home care for an in-home assessment.
  • Be prepared for emergencies. Know who to contact and what to do in case of medical emergencies or unplanned events.
  • Stay healthy. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, keep in contact with friends and family, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and make time for activities you enjoy

Learn how to improve their quality of life

Learn how to maintain your own health and well-being

  • Stay healthy. Eat a healthy and balanced diet, keep in contact with friends and family, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and make time for activities you enjoy.
  • Learn the signs of caregiver stress. Be aware of times when you are feeling anxious, having trouble sleeping, not eating properly or feeling unwell.
  • Ask for help. Reach out to friends, family and support services when you need them.
  • Resources. Get information on federal, provincial and territorial resources for caregivers by visiting the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Ministers Responsible for Seniors Forum, by calling 1 800 O-Canada or TTY 1-800-926-9105, or by contacting your provincial or territorial government.

Caregiving can be a positive experience. Being prepared helps!

Many caregivers find caring for someone to be rewarding and empowering. Positive experiences include a sense of pride for being able to give back, building deeper relationships, discovering new skills and finding increased meaning and purpose in your life.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Remember, you’re not alone.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Privacy statement

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: