THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: National Caregiver Day in Canada: All the News!

 The first Tuesday in April is National Caregiver Day in Canada and this year, there is lots of news to share! 

Although it doesn’t formally launch till May, activities at the newly minted Canadian Centre of Caregiving Excellence have begun! I am so honoured to serve on the advisory board. I don’t know if there’s a word in english for a potent mixture of delight and optimism, but that’s what I feel about this new centre. I know that a new era of support is dawning for Canadian caregivers. Here’s a snippet from the centre’s webpage: 

Our Mission

The Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence supports and empowers family caregivers and care providers, advances the knowledge and capacity of the caregiving field, advocates for effective and visionary social policy, with a disability-informed approach.

If you are regular reader of the Caregivers’ Living Room, you’ll know that I facilitate a free online course at McMaster Continuing Education called Caregiving Essentials. The course has rave reviews from a wide range of caregivers (both paid carers and family caregivers) who want to enrich their understanding of both the family caregiver experience for their own families and for families they may be serving in a paid role. All are welcome! The big news is that the Caregiving Essentials course is now available in FRENCH! Check it out here: Les Soins Essentials. And finally, if you’re not already a listener, Caregiving Essentials offers a monthly free webinar with yours truly interviewing the most interesting guests. I always try to pry open topics that matter deeply to us, but many of us rarely discuss. You can find the link to register for webinars HERE and you can have a look at past webinars HERE. 
I am a champion of caregiver training and support. One important way that we can contribute AND be supported is by partnering in health research. Because I’m the Mom of a young man with cerebral palsy, I am a family partner in disability research. I’m part of a small team that co-developed and co-instruct a course at McMaster University called Family Engagement in Research. The course is completely unique in that we train researchers and parents of children with disabilities in both the theory and practice of working together. The parents’ lived experience of raising children with disabilities informs both what is researched and how it is researched. The course has been so popular that we are now developing a new Leadership Academy for graduates of the Family Engagement course who wish to take their skills to the next level in order to partner at an organizational or regional level. The Leadership Academy launches in the fall of 2022 – I’ll keep you posted as it develops! Oh, and by the way, we are planning to scale the Family Engagement in research course to other areas of health research in longer term. Wouldn’t a similar course for Alzheimer’s or dementia researchers learning together with caregivers be fantastic? 

Happy National Caregiver Day to all my fellow Canadian caregivers and families! 

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