Volume 33 | OCTOBER 2022
The Undercover Kindness Project
There’s something exciting happening at the OCO. It’s called The Undercover Kindness Project. With the help of spokesperson, Erica Ehm, the OCO is seeking to inspire people to deliver small acts of kindness to a caregiver in their life. If you know a caregiver and want to nominate them for an act of kindness you can submit your story at undercoverkindness.ca. You never know… we might just find ourselves collaborating on something meaningful.

Learn more at undercoverkindnessproject.ca and listen to the Finding Your Bliss Podcast where Amy Coupal, CEO of the Ontario Caregiver Organization and Erica Ehm join host, Judy Librach to talk about what inspired this initiative.
Meet Debbie, an OCO Peer Mentor
We recently had an opportunity to connect with Debbie, a caregiver and OCO peer mentor who volunteers her time to support other family caregivers.

Debbie has been a caregiver for the past 20 years, for both her mother who recently passed away, and her father, 86 who has dementia. As an only child, Debbie has felt the weight of her caregiving role.

“I’ve faced many challenges. It’s hard when you’re alone. I take it one day at a time”

Debbie explains the cultural nuance of being a caregiver in a Portuguese Catholic family and the importance of caring for parents in the home. While Debbie sees it as a privilege to provide care, it hasn’t been easy. She’s had to reduce her hours at work and like many caregivers, there’s little time left in the day for herself. What inspired us about Debbie is that with everything she has on her plate, she volunteers her time to help other caregivers.

“I’ve had a wonderful experience with my caregiver match. We learned from each other. I was her mentor for a year. I encouraged her to care for herself and to ask for help. She was having trouble coping but today, she’s doing great. If I had just a little part of that, then this experience has been as much of a benefit to me as it has been to her. Being a peer mentor reminds me I’m not alone”

Thank you, Debbie, and to all our caregiver peer mentors. If you’re interested in becoming a peer mentor, visit ontariocaregiver.ca
Could I have caregiver PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can can impact family caregivers facing chronic strain, as well as those exposed to life-threatening events. In the recent webinar PTSD in unpaid caregivers: Risks, Signs and Support, Dr. Patrick McGrath explains PTSD. You’ll learn about what may put you at risk and how to recognize if you’re suffering from it. This webinar may be for you if you are:

  • Re-experiencing a traumatic event over and over. (i.e., flashbacks, nightmares)
  • Avoiding people, places, or activities that trigger memories
  • Feeling angry, sad, fearful, hypervigilant, and/or irritable 

If you think you may have PTSD, there are self-assessment tools, including the Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Checklist (PCL-5), a 20-item self-report tool that can help you assess if you should seek professional support. It is important to keep in mind that only a trained mental health professional can determine if you have PTSD.

Learn more about PTSD and watch the full webinar here.
Upcoming Webinars
Wednesday, November 16th – Potential Financial Benefits and Credits for Caregivers (LIVE ONLY – no recording) 12 to 1:30 p.m. Register for this free event: Eventbrite registration page. This is a LIVE ONLY event. A recording will not be available.

Save the Date: Caring at Home: Getting connected in the Home and Community Support Sector” on Thursday, December 8th from 12 to 1 p.m.

Caregiver e-Learning – How can we make it better?

The OCO is looking for your feedback on its e-Learning modules. There are three modules in total and cover these topics:

  • Caregiver 101
  • Caregivers Partnering with Health Professionals, Strategies that Work 
  • Roadmap to Caregiving: The Realities of Mental Illness and Addiction 

We want to hear from caregivers on whether e-Learning is valuable, potential barriers to access and how OCO can better support caregivers through e-Learning. If you haven’t taken the module, that’s ok. We want your feedback anyway. If you would like to take a module and then provide feedback, that’s welcome too. You can view a module here.

The survey takes approximately 5 minutes to complete. If you would like the chance to win a waterbottle, you can provide your email to be entered into a draw. To be eligible you must reside in Ontario. Winners will be contacted via email.

Missed a webinar?
We know caregivers are busy. That's why we record webinars so that you can watch them after the event, at a time that's convenient for you. 
Share on social media
Was this newsletter helpful? Please forward this email to two friends who may benefit from these free programs and resources.

Are you the friend? 
You are receiving this e-newsletter because you are subscribed to the mailing list of the Ontario Caregiver Organization, http://www.ontariocaregiver.ca. You can stop receiving emails from us at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact. More information about Constant Contact can be found here.