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Family Caregiving in Canada

Family Caregiving in Canada

More than eight million Canadians are providing informal caregiving to family members. This might include helping out an elderly parent who is still living independently, or providing assistance and care on a 24-hour basis for a spouse or child with a medical condition. The kinds of tasks performed include meal preparation, housework, providing transportation, doing yard work or maintenance, scheduling appointments, managing finances, providing medical care, and/or providing personal care such as bathing or grooming. The estimated value of these unpaid caregiving services to our economy is a whopping $24 – 31 billion! Caregiving can also take a toll on personal finances; about 1.6 million caregivers take time off work to provide family care.

 

Are you a family caregiver? Are you feeling stressed, emotionally and financially? Some caregivers are caught in the “sandwich generation” that is looking after their parents and their children; others are seniors with medical conditions themselves, struggling to look after a senior spouse. If you are acting as a caregiver, you should know that there are programs available to you that can help to ease the financial burdens on your family. The Ontario government, for example, allows employees to take eight weeks of paid family medical leave in order to take care of a family member. The federal government also provides EI payments of up to 55% of your wage for up to 15 – 35 weeks if you leave your job to care for a family member.

 

Accidents and Caregiving

If the family member you care for was injured in an accident, you may also be able to access funding through insurance or the legal system. If you’re caring for someone who had a slip-and-fall accident on ice in a subway station in Toronto, for example, you can file a claim against the TTC. If your family member was a federal employee who was injured after falling off a ladder at work, you can apply to the Federal Workers’ Compensation Service. And if your family member was injured in a motor vehicle accident or MVA, you may be able to file an insurance claim, or pursue the case in court.

 

This can be possible even if some time has passed since the accident, depending on the circumstances. For example, there are cases where an elderly person is involved in a fender-bender accident and doesn’t seem to suffer any ill effects at first. But over the next few weeks and months, it becomes obvious that the senior has persistent back pain, dizziness, and anxiety that began shortly after the accident occurred. In a case like this, it may be possible for the family to file an insurance claim or even bring a lawsuit against the other driver that can help to pay for caregiving.

 

Compensation in MVA cases varies according to the victim’s situation, circumstances of the accident, and the injuries sustained, but according to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, damages recovered can include:[WU1] 

  • Income Replacement: This benefit compensates you for lost income.
  • Non-earner: This benefit provides compensation if you are completely unable to carry on a normal life and do not qualify for an Income Replacement or Caregiver benefit.
  • Caregiver: If you qualify for this benefit, it provides compensation for some expenses incurred when you cannot continue as the main caregiver for a member of your home who is in need of care.
  • Medical: This benefit pays for medical expenses incurred when you are injured.
  • Rehabilitation: This benefit pays for rehabilitation expenses incurred when you are injured.
  • Attendant Care: This benefit compensates you for some of the expense of an aide or attendant.
  • Compensation for Other Expenses: These benefits pay for some other expenses such as the cost of family visiting you during treatment or recovery. It may also pay for some housekeeping and home maintenance, the repair or replacement of some items lost or damaged in the accident, and some lost educational expenses.

 

Personal Injury Lawyers

If your family member suffered an accidental injury, you may be able to receive benefits or compensation that can help to lift your financial burden, and to get help with caregiving. There are time constraints on some of these options, however, so it’s important to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.

 

A personal injury lawyer and can inform you of any options that may be available to you. The initial consultation with a personal injury lawyer is usually free. Search for a firm that has plenty of experience with these types of cases and that meets your needs. If you are unable to travel due to your caregiving duties, some lawyers will come to your home. If you (or your family member) prefer to communicate in a language other than English, look for a law firm that offers services in various languages. Most personal injury lawyers work on a contingency basis, which means that they receive a percentage of any settlement, instead of payment up front or by the hour.

 

If you are caring for a loved one, you can make your life more manageable. Consult a personal injury lawyer today and find out more about your options for family care giving in Canada.

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