People who spend their days caring for loved ones with cognitive impairments, compromised health, or mobility issues, know first-hand how demanding and isolating the experience can be. Unfortunately, the true value of their contributions is often overlooked. Acknowledging the crucial role that family caregivers play in our society was the goal of the City of Toronto’s second annual Caregivers’ Day event, held in recognition of National Carers Day.
Toronto Mayor John Tory spoke to the large crowd of caregivers and professionals who attended the event at Toronto City Hall, expressing his admiration for the resilience of caregivers amid challenging circumstances. “Caregiving is a huge and taxing responsibility. Caregivers can be the last to realize the toll that caregiving takes on their lives. It’s important that we continue to collaborate and work together.”
The event was organized in large part by the ENRICHES Collaborative* – an initiative that builds community capacity through innovative social programs, education, and support services to reduce social isolation among caregivers 55+ living in Toronto.
Attendees also heard from caregivers who shared their unique experiences. Details about caring for a child with a severe eating disorder, to the demands of managing the ever-increasing dependence by a spouse with dementia, were met with nods of understanding and empathy from those who saw their own experiences mirrored in these stories.
“The caregiver struggle is real,” said Revital Shuster, a Circle of Care social worker who was on hand to answer questions and provide guidance to caregivers. “Having this kind of platform for caregivers to access resources and advice – and to feel heard – is vitally important.”
A little bit of caregiver TLC was also on the agenda. Attendees had the chance to have a pampering massage, and enjoy a few laughs courtesy of Broadway comedian and magician Mark Correia.
Support for this event was also provided by the City of Toronto, Family Caregivers Voice and the Toronto Caregiver Collaboration Forum.
ENRICHES is a partnership between Sinai Health System’s Cyril & Dorothy, Joel & Jill Reitman Centre for Alzheimer’s Support and Training (coordinating organization), the Alzheimer Society of Toronto, North York Community House, WoodGreen Community Services, and the Canadian Mental Health Association.