Volume 32 | SEPTEMBER 2022
Healthcare Stability and Recovery
Recently, the Ontario government released its “Plan to Stay Open: Health System Stability and Recovery”. The plan refers to alternate level of care (ALC) beds and transitioning patients no longer needing hospital care to a long term care home, while they wait for their preferred home. The plan also looks at expanding adult day programs and supports for caregivers, expanding 911 models of care, funding to increase surgical capacity and funding to grow the workforce delivering front line care.

The OCO is sharing the experience of family caregivers who support a family member, friend or neighbour. As always, we encourage caregivers to share their feedback related to this legislation. The OCO will continue to share your voice and insights with government and collaborate with system partners on solutions. The best way to share your feedback is to join our online caregiver advisory panel. You can also contact us at 1 888 877 1627 or info@ontariocaregiver.ca.
Can you spare 90 seconds for yourself?
Caregivers often say they are too busy to care for themselves. Many provide around-the-clock care, seven days a week. They say there’s not much time left in the day to think about themselves. As a result, many caregivers will experience burn out, depression, isolation, and loneliness.

Caregiver health and wellness is a complex topic. There are different ways to support your physical and mental health. Having easy access to information and practical tips that are relevant to the caregiving experience can help.

This month, the OCO is launching the 90Second Caregiver health letter. A weekly email, delivered to your inbox that takes approximately 90 seconds to read. The evidence-based information can help to improve your overall wellness, self-confidence and increase your ability to manage the stress that often comes with caregiving. Each letter covers a particular health topic, practical tips, and a self-assessment survey that is followed by personalized insights and suggestions that may be helpful to you.

The 90Second Caregiver was created by Dr. Patrick McGrath, a Canadian clinical psychologist who works with a team of health experts dedicated to providing clear, accurate health information for caregivers. The 90Second Letter is free to subscribers and is available in English and French.

Discover the Healing Power of Journal Writing
Burnout is subtle, it happens over time. Caregivers say that when they hit that wall, it can be shocking. Navigating your own emotions may not feel comfortable and taking time for yourself when you care for someone else may not feel natural.

There are hard decisions to make as a caregiver and one of those is deciding to include activities for yourself, in whatever way you can, with whatever time you can find.
Journaling may be one way to support your own health and wellness. In partnership with Donna Fitzgerald, a former caregiver, the OCO recently offered a webinar on the healing power of journaling.

Did you know?
Studies have shown that journaling help to relieve anxiety, stress, and depression. It can:

  1. Calm the mind
  2. Give voice to your loss/grief
  3. Develop self-awareness
  4. Help you to navigate transitions within the caregiver role
  5. Connect you to your own needs

Getting started:
If you’re open to giving it a try, here are a few tips:

  1. Put aside 10 minutes a day.
  2. Find a comfortable place to be still. You may find it hard to be still. Be patient with yourself. Being still is a practice in itself.
  3. Try reflecting on your day or write down words and thoughts that come to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense. Journaling is a practice of releasing.
  4. Use different colour pens to express different emotions.
  5. You may experience fear of releasing emotions, of someone reading your thoughts, or not knowing what to write. Find a safe place to keep your journal. Some caregivers burn their journal as part of this release.

Learn more about how Donna used journaling through her caregiver journey and how it helped her to gain greater clarity and meaning in her life.

Time to Talk: A Podcast for Caregivers
Season 2 of OCO’s Time to Talk Podcast is available now. Join our host Michelle Jobin along with subject matter experts and caregivers who discuss topics that matter most to caregivers, including mental health, wellness and more.
Hosted by Michelle Jobin, a television personality, spokesperson, and caregiver, you’ll dig into some of the most relevant topics impacting caregivers while being entertained with Michelle’s gift of skillful storytelling.

In this episode, our host Michelle is joined by Nicole Waldron, a mental fitness coach and a caregiver for her son. Nicole is an advocate for caregivers within the BIPOC community and is the host of Victory Speaks – a podcast about mental fitness. She discusses her caregiving experience, the cultural differences for caregivers within marginalized communities, and finding support as a caregiver.
Mark Your Calendar
PTSD in Unpaid Caregivers: Risks, Signs, and Support
Thursday, September 15, 2022
7 – 8 p.m. ET

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can impact family caregivers facing chronic strain as well as those exposed to life-threatening events. It is important to learn the signs of caregiver PTSD, so you can take immediate action to prevent things from becoming worse. Join this webinar to learn more about PTSD, its causes and treatment options.

The SCALE Program aims to empower caregivers with practical information and skills to focus on their mental health and well-being needs by offering:
  • Weekly psychoeducational webinars
  • Strategies, tools, and resources to better cope with difficult caregiving emotions
  • Free and confidential online group and/or individual counselling 

September 14 to October 4, 2022 (Wednesdays from 12 - 1 p.m. ET)
  • Week 1: Your caregiving journey 
  • Week 2: How caregiving stress affects you 
  • Week 3: How caregivers can manage anxiety and anger 
  • Week 4: How caregivers can manage sadness and guilt

October 12 to November 2, 2022 (Wednesdays from 12 – 1 p.m. ET)
  • Week 1: Become a mindful caregiver 
  • Week 2: The self-compassionate caregiver 
  • Week 3: Find your caregiver strengths 
  • Week 4: Time for self-care while caregiving

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.