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Study: Receiving care at home, 2012

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Released: 2014-06-13

In 2012, about 2.2 million Canadians with a long-term illness, disability or aging needs had received care in their own home in the last 12 months. This represented 8% of all Canadians aged 15 years or older.

A new study using data from the 2012 General Social Survey found that the proportion of Canadians receiving care was similar across the country. The only exceptions were Newfoundland and Labrador, where the proportion was higher at 9%, and Alberta, where it was lower at 5%.

Overall, seniors aged 75 and older were the most common care receivers, accounting for one in four Canadians receiving help at home. Younger seniors, aged 65 to 74, represented 13% of care receivers, a proportion similar to that of Canadians aged 55 to 64.

Young adults under the age of 25 accounted for about 10% of all care recipients. Unlike seniors, who were most often coping with aging needs, young care recipients were most often dealing with mental illness, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia.

A slight majority (56%) of care receivers were women, partly reflecting their longer life expectancies and corresponding greater representation as seniors. Their reasons for care paralleled those of men, though they were more often receiving care for aging needs and arthritis.

Overall, the vast majority (88%) of care receivers relied on help from family and friends. About half combined this help with professional services. Relying on professional services alone was reported by 12%.

In general, care from family members or friends differed from professional care, in terms of intensity and type of assistance. Care receivers typically had about seven hours of weekly assistance from family and friends and about two hours of weekly help from professional services.

The most common form of help received from family and friends was transportation, identified by 83% of care recipients. Next was help with cooking and cleaning, at 67%, followed by home maintenance or outdoor work, at 53%.

The types of help received from professional services were more often medical. Half of care recipients with professional help had assistance with, for example, changing bandages, measuring blood pressure and performing heart monitor tests or other medical tests or treatments.

  Note to readers

This release is based on the analytical paper "Receiving care at home," available today in the publication Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey.

The report uses data from the 2012 General Social Survey on Caregiving and Care Receiving to examine Canadians who rely on care in the home, including the reason for care, the types of people providing help and the nature and intensity of care. It also looks at the satisfaction with the care received.

The article "Receiving care at home," part of the publication Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, no. 2 (Catalogue number89-652-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

Contact information

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