Survey of the Impacts of COVID-19 on Alberta Family Caregivers

Sharon Anderson
Description / Summary

Family Caregiving 18 months into the COVID-19 Pandemic: “We need to be truly valued.”

Alberta’s family caregivers and the people they care for have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health protocols to control it. The pandemic exacerbated already challenged support systems for children and adults with disabilities and the continuing care system for adults and older adults. Informal support (family, friends) and formal supports (community organizations, healthcare systems) had to close, reduce, or change. Alberta’s caregivers stepped up to care and to coordinate the services and supports that were available. COVID-19 made determining the best course of action, accessing, and coordinating services, and finding solutions to problems even more onerous. It is important to recognize that every caregiver faced unique challenges in trying to balance their caregiving, work, and life roles.

Our goals in this 2021 survey were to

  1. understand the impacts of 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic and
  2. ask family caregivers what they thought Alberta family caregivers need in the future.

A total of 556 current family caregivers responded to the survey. The survey results highlight the diversity of caregivers’ lives and their caregiving experiences. Family caregivers, the people they care for, the illnesses, disabilities, and frailties for which they need care, and their socioeconomic status, age, relationships to care-receivers, roles beyond caregiving, care locations, and care trajectories are heterogeneous.