Seniors caregiving a growing concern for Albertans

October 21, 2015

As Alberta’s population ages, a growing proportion of the province will be faced with caregiving for their aging relatives and friends according to a recent poll by ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc.

Today, almost one-in-five Albertans participate in providing care for an aging family member or friend, but roughly two-thirds are either caregivers today or believe it is a likely role for them at some point in the future.

Further, the survey finds that caregiver duties are a source of considerable stress in the lives of these individuals. Fully 42% rate their stress levels between 8 and 10 (on a 10-point scale), with another 43% saying the stress on their lives is more moderate (3 – 7 on a 10-point scale).

Caregiving is a considerable time commitment, with a median of 5 hours per week (12.3 hours mean) committed to caring for aging family or friends, and fully 25% of Alberta’s family caregivers today are dedicating more than 12 hours every week.

These family members are predominantly aging parents or parents-in- law (63%), but a sizable proportion are spouses (17%) who are being cared for by family members who are aging themselves. A large segment (64%) of caregivers say their aging family members suffer from chronic conditions that require frequent visits to the doctor.

There is a large spectrum of care involved for aging family members or friends, ranging from running errands (69%), companionship or supervision (60%) and transportation (57%) to more involved stewardship such as medical management (39%), financial management (35%), meal preparation (35%) and personal assistance with basic needs such as dressing or bathing (14%).

Of note, caregivers are…

  • More likely to be women (58%) than men (42%)
  • Heavily skewed to middle-age category: 53% of family caregivers are between the ages of 35 and 54
  • Disproportionately “Sandwich generation” in the sense that they are caring for aging family members while they still have kids living at home (40%)

To view the details of these results and methodology, follow the link: Seniors Caregiving a Growing Concern for Albertans

Survey Methodology

These are findings of a ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. poll conducted on behalf of the Alberta Medical Association. The Study was fielded via random sample of online research panels (Voice of Alberta & Angus Reid Forum) between March 19th and 26th, 2015. Participants are Alberta residents over the age of 18, and the sample has been stratified and weighted to reflect the actual population of Alberta, based upon Stats Canada census data. A total of 2010 interviews were conducted for the survey. The online methodology utilizes a representative but non-random sample therefore margin of error is not applicable. However, a probability sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.2 percentage points.

These findings are drawn from research conducted on behalf of the Alberta Medical Association for its albertapatients initiative – an online community that provides Albertans the opportunity to provide input and feedback into the province’s health care system, and help shape the future of health care in Alberta through regular professionally executed survey research. This initiative also acts as a conduit for Alberta’s doctors to report on findings from the survey research.

ThinkHQ Public Affairs Inc. is a Canadian-based independent public opinion consultancy, and is the Alberta Medical Association’s research partner in the operation of


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