Caregivers play an invaluable part in supporting people living with heart failure. However, this role can be stressful and overwhelming, and it may be difficult for a caregiver to balance their needs with those of their loved one.
The Ontario Caregiver Organization
- The Ontario Caregiver Organization supports Ontario’s 4 million caregivers by providing access to the information they need to be successful in their role. Their website provides access to many resources, such as caregiver toolkits; webinar recordings covering caregiver well-being, skills and development, financial and legal tips, and advance care planning topics; e-Learning courses on caregiving 101 and partnering with health professionals; Podcasts; and other direct service programs like the 24/7 Helpline, peer support, and SCALE (a psychoeducation and counselling program). There are specific resources for working caregivers, young caregivers, Indigenous caregivers, Black caregivers and communities and members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.
- UHN Patients and Families: UHN offers helpful information to patients and caregivers on how to navigate the healthcare system and manage care.
- HealthExperiences.ca: Family Caregiving
Modules and supports on caring for a relative or close friend with a chronic condition like heart failure, based on research by the Canadian Health Experiences Research Group. Through text and videos, explores the themes of being a caregiver, its challenges, impact on caregivers themselves, and offers tips and advice for caregivers, health professionals, friends, and family.
- Elizz CareChannel
- The Elizz CareChannel is an online portal with free resources for family and community caregivers to help them in their caregiving journeys. Developed by the Saint Elizabeth Foundation and funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health, Elizz provides free access to over 100 helpful videos plus other instructional content, supported in five different languages: English, French, Spanish, Mandarin, and Punjabi.
Caregiver Support Groups
Support communities can be beneficial to maintaining and improving caregiver wellbeing.
- Heart and Stroke Care Supporters’ Community
The Care Supporters’ Community Facebook group is a place where you can share experiences and tips for those who care for others living with the effects of stroke, cardiac event, or diagnosis.
- HeartLinks Heart Transplant Support Group
The HeartLinks Heart Transplant Support Group brings together heart transplant recipients, LVAD patients, and those waiting for their Gift of Life being cared for at The Toronto General Hospital. It is open to patients and their caregivers.
The HeartLife Foundation is a patient-driven charity whose mission is to transform the quality of life for people living with heart failure by engaging, educating, and empowering a global community to create lasting solutions and build healthier lives. Patients and caregivers are invited to join their Facebook support group.
Mental Health Supports and Mentorship
This series of stories, videos and advice based on research by the Canadian Health Experiences Research Group covers topics such as:
- Trying to find the right balance
- Caring for yourself
- Impact on professional life and career of the caregiver
- Challenging emotions and feelings
Writing the Heart
Writing has been shown to have emotional and physiological benefits to those dealing with life-threatening or chronic conditions, hardship, or trauma. Facilitated by Sharon Bray, Ed.D., author, educator and heart failure patient, Writing the Heart teach participants why and how writing can be healing, whether you write alone or with others. Check our Events page to see when the next Writing the Heart Introductory or Six-Week Workshop is.
Heart and Stroke – Living with Heart Failure
The “Caring for Someone with Heart Failure” section of this guide identifies signs of caregiver stress and provides tips to deal with it.