Young caregivers put future careers at risk, study shows

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Sisters Elise, left, and Sarah Chamberland looked after their mother, who had dementia, throughout most of their 20s. (David Bajer/CBC)

(Josee St-Onge/ CBC News) — Caring for their mother, who had dementia, forever changed the lives of Edmonton sisters Elise and Sarah Chamberland.

“I wasn’t really focused on my own life because I was thinking about all the work I had to do for her, and also thinking, ‘I don’t have a lot of time left with her,’ ” Elise Chamberland said.

“It impacts every aspect of your life.”

One in four Canadians aged 15 to 19 helps someone with challenges resulting from illness, disability or aging, according to University of Alberta researchers. Most are in school, and 60 per cent of young caregivers also work.

While 47 per cent of young caregivers spend less than two hours per week providing care, four per cent provide care 11 to 20 hours per week and six per cent spend more than 21 hours a week helping someone else. The average is six hours per week. (…)

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