At Hospice PEI we understand that being a caregiver can be challenging and often requires significant physical and emotional energy. Our trained volunteers are here to help.
Volunteers provide compassionate support and care at the bedside while also providing a needed break for caregivers. Volunteers offer emotional and practical support through companionship, conversation, assistance with small tasks, transportation to appointments, and other similar activities. Bedside Volunteers support clients who are living at home, in the hospital, palliative care settings, or in long term care facilities.
If you are currently a caregiver for a loved one with a life-limiting or palliative diagnosis, you are eligible for Hospice PEI respite services. The purpose of respite care is to ensure that you, the caregiver, are given time to rest and relax in order to avoid caregiver burnout. Although caring for a loved one can be a rewarding and cherished experience, the reality is that the caregiver role can easily take an emotional, physical and mental toll on your well-being which can have negative consequences for both you and your loved one. Respite care is about helping you maintain a healthy balance so that you can continue to enjoy your own quality of life. It is okay to need and want to take a break from the caregiving role.
Bedside Services are provided free of charge and you do not need to have prior involvement with Hospice PEI or the Integrated Palliative Care Program to be eligible for our services. To learn more about our Bedside Services, please click here.
Anyone can make a referral on behalf of someone for Hospice PEI Bedside Services, granted the client is in agreement. To refer someone for Bedside Services, please call the Volunteer Coordinator in your area. Click here to see out staff directory.
Finding relevant support can be difficult as a caregiver. It can require a lot of time and effort to find information about what support resources are available to you. Let this short list act as a reference point for accessing the support that you may need.
If you need specific information about a care recipient’s diagnosis or require accurate and informative caregiving help guides, then you may find what you are looking for through online educational resources. Many nonprofits and health organizations across Canada provide a wide selection of educational resources designed to help caregivers.
Alzheimer Society I’m caring for a person living with dementia – The Alzheimer Society has put together a fully comprehensive guide with specific information about caring for someone with dementia at many stages of the journey. This guide contains many individual articles, but follows a clear path to give you the information that you need.
It can be accessed by following the link at: https://alzheimer.ca/en/help-support/im-caring-person-living-dementia
Arthritis Society Caregiver Guide – This guide is meant to be a resource to you while caring for your loved one with arthritis. It includes an overview of many aspects of caregiving and treatment, including self care.
It can be accessed by following the link at: https://arthritis.ca/support-education/online-learning/caregiver-guide
Canadian Cancer Society Caregiving – The Canadian Cancer Society provides an online caregiving guide-like resource with specific information about the challenges of caregiving for someone with cancer. The guide provides a great deal of information about cancer diagnoses and what you may come across as a caregiver for someone with cancer.
This guide is hosted online and can be accessed by following the link at: https://www.cancer.ca/en/cancer-information/living-with-cancer/caregiving/?region=pe
Heart and Stroke Foundation Webinars – The Heart and Stroke foundation began creating educational webinars to continue to offer diverse support throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. The webinars cover a wide range of topics including an entire recorded session dedicated to caregiving challenges during the global health crisis with information on practical support options.
The webinars can be accessed by following the link at: https://www.heartandstroke.ca/what-we-do/webinars
Parkinson Canada Care Partnering: Managing Parkinson’s Disease Together – This large resource contains information on the Parkinson diagnosis, as well as what to expect as a caregiver for someone with Parkinsons. Towards the end of this collection there is a section on resources and how to access them nationwide, including on Prince Edward Island.
It can be accessed by following the link at: https://www.parkinson.ca/gated/care-partnering-managing-parkinsons-disease-together/
Emotional Support Resources
One of the most challenging aspects of being a caregiver is learning to cope with feelings. It is normal to feel a range of emotions, at times you may feel frustrated, upset or sad, angry, guilty, or afraid. These emotions may be personal or they may be a reflection of how the person you are caring for is feeling. If you can accept your feelings, recognize that you are doing your best and understand that there are some things that you cannot change, this can help you to refocus on what you can do. Caregiving can also be very stressful at times, and managing your own stress can be very difficult. By using these resources you can better your own emotional health and stress levels, for the benefit of you and those you are caring for.
Canadian Mental Health Association PEI Division Island Helpline – The CMHA of PEI offers a number of helpful resources for individuals struggling to deal with stress, grief, and other mental health concerns. They are available to be reached for emotional support at any time on any day through the Island Helpline. The Island Helpline provides free, confidential emotional support including support with stress and anxiety, and grief and loss, to Islanders of all ages.
The Island Helpline can be reached by dialing +1 800-218-2885
Alzheimer Society of Prince Edward Island Support Group – ASPEI offers a number of support resources to caregivers affected by dementia including this Caregiver Support Group. This group is for those who are caring for someone with dementia living in the community or in a care facility. This group provides a safe place to share feelings, exchange practical strategies and connect with others supporting someone with dementia.
For more information about the group and how to access please email Laura at: [email protected]
Heart and Stroke Foundation of PEI Cardiac Support Group – The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Prince Edward Island runs a Cardiac Support Group open to survivors of heart issues and caregivers. The group is designed to provide support, encouragement and helpful information to those affected by heart disease.
For more information about meeting times and locations send an email to: [email protected]
Parkinson Canada Virtual Support Group – Parkinson Canada PEI is now hosting their support groups nationally through Zoom. These support groups are designed for both caregivers and those diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. A referral link is required to join these online sessions.
To receive a referral link send an email to: [email protected]
PEI Lung Association COPD Virtual Support Group – The PEI Lung Association offers a virtual support group for those living with COPD and caregivers caring for those with COPD. These support groups offer emotional support, educational resources, and a chance for everyone to ask questions and receive helpful advice from expert guest speakers. There is also a backlog of videos from previous sessions including a session on mental health and coping strategies.
The support groups can be accessed by following the link at: https://pei.lung.ca/copd-virtual-support-group
Financial Support Resources
Being a caregiver can be financially stressful. To alleviate some of this financial stress organizations, including the Government, offer a select number of financial supports available to caregivers and families affected by illness and disease.
AccessAbility Supports – Depending on the nature of your caregiving role you and those you are caring for may be eligible for AccessAbility Supports. AccessAbility Supports are designed to assist those living with disabilities, and their caregivers, through a number of different methods including personal support, housing support, and financial support. To learn more about what the AccessAbility Supports program offers, and to find out if you are eligible, please consult the AccessAbility Supports brochure.
The brochure can be found by following the link at: https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/sites/default/files/publications/accessability_supports_flyer_july_2018_final.pdf
ALS Society of Prince Edward Island Champs Program – The Champs program is designed for children and youth of clients and families living with ALS, and registered with the ALS Society of PEI. This program is designed to assist ALS families in sending their children to a camp, educational program, sports program or program of their choice and alleviate financial strain for the family. Families living with ALS can apply for one of six $500.00 bursaries awarded per year. To apply for the Champs Program bursary please fill out the application form.
The Champs Program application form can be found by following the link at: http://alspei.ca/forms/supportservices/CHAMPS%20PROGRAM%20FORM.pdf
Kidney Foundation Atlantic Canada Branch Bursary – The Atlantic Canada Branch of the Kidney Foundation offers a bursary to to assist kidney patients and their family members to further their education and/or training. There are up to four awards of $500.00 awarded each year, and a bursary may be awarded to an individual a maximum of two times.
For more information about the bursary and to access the application form, please follow the link at: https://kidney.ca/Support/Programs-Services/AC/Programs/Atlantic-Canada-Branch-Bursary#
Give A Mile Flight Assistance – Give a Mile is a non-profit, volunteer driven organization that crowdfunds flight loyalty points and uses them to gift free flights to families who wish to be at the bedside of a palliative or critically ill loved one, but cannot afford the flight. It also flies palliatively ill patients home to be with loved ones for a final visit, or to die among friends and family. Give a Mile asks caregivers and families to submit a profile including the details of your palliative situation, once approved donors can start to donate miles towards the trip. Give a Mile has been able to help over 760 people fly for visits of support.
To become eligible for a Give a Mile donated flight please fill out the Flight Request Form found at: https://giveamile.org/request/
Employment Insurance Compassionate Care Benefits – This program provides up to 26 weeks of Employment Insurance benefits to people who have to be away from work temporarily to provide care to a family member (or someone who considers you a family member such as a close friend or neighbour). The person receiving care must be seriously ill and have a high risk of death within 26 weeks (six months). If you are unemployed or already receiving EI benefits you can also apply for compassionate care benefits.
To learn more about this program or to apply online follow the link at: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/benefits/ei/caregiving.html
Caregiver Tax Credit – If you are the caregiver for an ill or aging spouse, parent, grandparent or other disabled dependent who is over 18 years old, you may be able to claim the Caregiver Tax Credit (Line 315). The amount of the credit depends on how much the caregiver earns.
All necessary forms and information can be found by following the link at: https://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/services/tax/individuals/topics/about-your-tax-return/tax-return/completing-a-tax-return/deductions-credits-expenses/canada-caregiver-amount.html
Additional Support Resources
These resources are meant to support you in a variety of ways. Resources found here may not be directly educational or emotionally supportive; however, you may still find these resources to be helpful along your caregiving journey.
The Gardens of Hope Respite Cottage – Located in New Glasgow PEI, The Gardens of Hope Respite Cottage is a place of rest, hope and renewed spirit. The cottage is made available for individuals, families, or caregivers coping with the effects of a life threatening illness. It is also made available to caregivers and those ministering to others who themselves are experiencing compassion fatigue. The Cottage is wheelchair accessible and is able to sleep 6-7 individuals comfortably. The cottage provides two washrooms; one fully wheelchair accessible, a fireplace, open kitchen, and decks. There is no fee for using the Respite Cottage.
PEI Council of People with Disabilities Designated Parking Permit Program – The Designated Parking Permit Program serves approximately 7,300 Islanders with a mobility impairment and allows them to have easier access to buildings such as stores and offices. Parking permits are for those “unable to walk more than 75 metres without serious difficulty or danger to safety or health” and allow permit holders to park in specially designated parking spots. Temporary permits are available for up to three months for those who will not need them on a permanent basis. Surgical patients or others with short-term disabilities may make use of the temporary permits.
If a Designated Parking Permit would increase the mobility and ease of transport for you or a loved one please access the application form by following the link at: https://www.peicod.pe.ca/programs_parking.php