The Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society is dedicated to improving the quality of life of caregivers. It’s our mission to acknowledge, appreciate and support people in their caregiving role: to alleviate their stress, to improve their quality of life, and to raise awareness of caregiving through education and advocacy for all caregivers.
A family caregiver is anyone who gives care and support to an adult family member or friend. A caregiving family includes the caregiver and the person receiving care.
Family caregivers are a large group of people – one in sixteen people in BC are caregivers, for example – who give service to their family and community. Often giving up their own activities and even jobs to care for their loved one, many caregivers face economic challenges. And yet without them, healthcare costs would become unmanageable.
1 in 16
family & friends
It’s estimated that 80% of eldercare is provided by family and friends. Supporting caregivers is an essential element in our current system of health care delivery. Family caregivers need recognition, appreciation and support in order to continue offering their significant contribution to the quality of life of fragile people in our community.
The Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society has been providing services to communities in the Cowichan Valley for twenty years. In 2000, when the organization registered as a non-profit, there was one staff member; now there are three professionals on staff, providing facilitation, counselling, information and referral, advocacy and community development services.
CFCSS’s founding Executive Director, Ranjana Basu, wrote a book about our service model, “A Guide for Supporting Caregiving Famililes” (2009), with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada. CFCSS has worked in partnership with organizations and services across sectors, including Island Health (Home and Community Care, SORT, and others), CV Hospice Society, St. Ann’s Garden Club, and many other partners from Mill Bay to Ladysmith. CFCSS actively participates in the CV Seniors Network and other community networking initiatives and interagency meetings.
Our organization’s focus on caregivers – someone who provides care and support to an adult family member or friend – has given us a great deal of expertise in this specific area of service and makes our organization unique. We average six new referrals a week, and the caregivers we serve consistently report reduced levels of stress, feelings of connectedness, and meaningful assistance through the many transitions of the caregiving journey.
CFCSS has a proven record of attuning and responding to emergent community needs. In 2010, we recognized that Young Carers, youth caregivers from 13-25 who were caring for sick or disabled parents or other relatives, were underserved and at risk. With multi-year project funding from HRSDC, we established our Young Carers Project, which we are now sustaining as a program. We were successful in our application to New Horizons for Seniors in 2014, and ran a volunteer project called Keeping in Touch with Caregiving Families.
Our organization receives funding from Island Health as a contracted service provider, as well as from LCBC, the Vancouver Foundation, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, United Way of the Cowichan Valley, and other funders, providing a stable base of operating funds from which we can apply for project-based grants.