The information that underpins the Caregiver Toolkit project is derived from literature about caregiving and from extensive consultation with caregivers and other stakeholders.
Consultations with caregivers focused on caregivers’ diverse roles, challenges and needs. Particular attention was paid to caregivers’ relationships with service providers, their experiences with services, and gaps in having their needs met. Measures were taken to include caregivers from diverse backgrounds and caregivers who are marginalized. We specifically sought out caregivers whose experiences were not well represented in existing research, including: Aboriginal peoples, immigrants, and GBLT (gay, bi-sexual, lesbian and transgendered).
Consultations were also carried out with a wide range of service providers, caregiver advocates, program managers and policy analysts focussing on the needs of caregivers and the challenges in meeting these needs. Workshops were also held with service providers and other stakeholders at provincial and national conferences.
In all, information was gathered from over 250 people from British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, both in rural and urban areas.
The information derived from all of these sources created the foundation for the two primary documents in the Caregiver Toolkit: the Service Provider Resource Guide and the Caregiver Policy Lens. Both of these resources:
- Raise awareness about the challenges facing caregivers
- Raise awareness how caregivers’ experiences are shaped through a systems perspective (the interplay between policy development, service provision and caregivers’ lived experiences)
- Build a shared understanding of caregivers values and concerns, and factors that influence their well-being.
- Provide practical tools and resources for facilitating programs and policies that support caregivers.
In 2011-2012 the caregiver toolkit will be piloted in different types of organizations that provide services to seniors and their caregiver.