Invest in caregivers or pay more for health care: B.C. senior’s advocate

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s senior’s advocate says increasing numbers of caregivers are reporting distress and that could add costs to the province’s health care system.

Isobel Mackenzie’s office has released a report saying caregiver distress rates are growing across the province, and 31 per cent of clients now have a caregiver in distress, up seven per cent from two years ago.

The report says distress could include anger, depression or feeling like they can’t continue providing care.

Mackenzie says those feelings are a major trigger for people placing their loved ones in residential care, which has significant implications for the health care system.

She says about one in four British Columbians is an unpaid caregiver and replacing their labour would cost the province about $3.5 billion.

Mackenzie’s report recommends that the government increase access to home support, adult day programs, and care funding, and empower caregivers to help their loved ones.

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