Since Circle of Care’s Caregiver Club program began in November 2020, social worker Faith Robinson has helped numerous family caregivers receive much-needed support and connection to resources.
“This is a program that helps to fill a vital gap within our healthcare system,” says Faith, who works as the Caregiver Navigator for the program. “Family caregivers dedicate their lives to caring for their loved ones. Often, their whole lives begin to revolve around care. And yet, so often they’re receiving very little support themselves. Caregiver burnout is incredibly common.”
Recently, Faith has been working weekly with a family caregiver who joined the Caregiver Club program with extremely high stress levels. Faith was able to secure grant money for her from the Alzheimer Society and help her to navigate long-term care options. Faith also provided her with caregiver-specific webinars and self-care strategies.
“Providing this caregiver with resources helped to reduce her stress levels, but the biggest positive impact that I made was simply the phone call and conversation in and of itself,” Faith says. “This caregiver said to me, ‘Faith, it helps me a lot to talk to you. I feel more relaxed and happy when I talk to you.’ I’m reminded that in these isolating times that the biggest difference is connecting with the program members and helping them feel seen, heard, and valued.”
To be eligible for the Caregiver Club, a person must be providing unpaid support to a family member, friend, or loved one who is a senior living in Toronto or York Region. This support could be long-term, or episodic to address an acute health situation. To participate in the program’s virtual curriculum and events, program participants require access to the internet.
For those registered for the Caregiver Club program, they are able to access the following supports and services, depending on their level of need:
- Caregiver Navigator Support: The Caregiver Navigator will provide social work support to program caregivers by connecting you to local community resources tailored to your needs, and offering regular check-in Care Calls to provide ongoing assistance.
- Caregiver Curriculum: The program offers educational sessions on topics specific to caregiving. Additional online curriculum is provided through access to our e-newsletter and website.
- Peer Support: You may participate in virtual support group events to learn from fellow caregivers and share your own experiences.
- Courageous Caregivers Recognition Program: This recognition program acknowledges the hard work and dedication that family caregivers provide when caring for their loved ones and celebrates them through virtual events.
One of the upcoming peer support events is the Drop-In Caregiver Support Group, set to start on February 25, and will run every other week.
“I’m looking forward to the launch of the support group,” says Faith. “Along with my colleague Cathy, we’ll be hosting the support group virtually through ZOOM, allowing caregivers to share their experiences with each other. It can be so helpful to realize that you’re not alone in your caregiving journey, and that others are walking the same path that you are.”
The Drop-in Caregiver Support Group is also open to caregivers that are not part of the Caregiver Club. To learn about all the upcoming support groups available to the public, visit our Support Groups & Sessions page.
Our program is graciously funded by The Petro Canada CareMakers Foundation™. The Foundation creates awareness and understanding of the issue of family caregiving in Canada and inspires Canadians to help.
The Petro Canada CareMakers Foundation™ raises funds to enable and amplify the work of charitable organizations in Canada that currently support family caregivers. The Caregiver Club at Circle of Care is one of the first programs being funded by The Petro Canada CareMakers Foundation™!