Caregivers can be of any age and come from different backgrounds. The profile of these people is very diverse, in particular because of their own situation (for example, age, gender and gender identity, ethnocultural origin) and the situation of the care receivers (for example, age, nature of the disability).
According to the Institut de la statistique du Québec (in French only), 21.1% of the Québec population aged 15 and over are caregivers. The help they provide is an exceptional contribution to society. These people may, however, need support and special services. There are various resources, both in the health and social services network and in the community, available to support them.
Many people are unaware that they are caregivers, in particular because the support they provide is occasional or because they do not have a family tie with the care receiver. However, the government adopts a broad and inclusive definition of caregivers.
According to the Act to recognize and support caregivers , a caregiver is defined as any person who provides support to one or more members of his or her immediate circle who has or have a temporary or permanent physical, psychological, psychosocial or other incapacity, regardless of their age or living environment, and with whom the person shares an emotional bond as a family member or otherwise.
The support is continuous or occasional, and short- or long‑term, and is provided on a non‑professional basis and in a free, enlightened and revocable manner in order, among other things, to promote the care receiver’s recovery and the preservation and improvement of his or her quality of life at home or in other living environments.
It may take various forms, such as transportation, assistance with personal care and housekeeping, emotional support, or coordination of care and services. The support may also entail financial repercussions for caregivers or limit their capacity to take care of their own physical and mental health or fulfil their other social and family responsibilities.
To better understand the definition as well as the issues related to caregiving, consult the infrographic from the Quebec Observatory on Caregiving .
Portrait of caregivers in Québec
To view recent statistics on caregiving in Québec drawn from a compilation by the Institut de la statistique du Québec, go to the Quebec Observatory on Caregiving website.
Type of support
Caregivers provide different types of support to care receivers. In the infographic “What is a caregiver?”, the Quebec Observatory on Caregiving presents several types of support offered by these people:
- Emotional or moral support:
- Regular calls and discussions
- Accompanying the care receiver to appointments, being present during important decisions
- Providing stimulation (for example, to promote mobility, behavioural and language development, memory, etc.)
- Protecting the care receiver’s identity and dignity (for example, by concealing or minimizing the effects of the disability from other family members or friends, by passing off the care receiver’s omissions as one’s own)
- Support for day‑to‑day and domestic activities:
- Help with activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living (ADL/IADL): grocery shopping, preparing and adapting meals (for example, texture, taste), housework (for example, doing the dishes, cleaning, laundry, sewing), exterior or interior work (for example, home maintenance, lawn care, gardening, landscaping, snow removal),
- Assistance with personal care (for example, hygiene, hairdressing, shaving, assistance with dressing), toileting, assistance with getting up / going to bed, assistance with eating
- Cohabitation or shared housing (for example, multigenerational home)
- Health care–related support:
- Assistance with medical procedures and treatments (for example, following treatments and taking medications, changing dressings)
- Logistical support:
- Coordinating care and services, organizing support, communicating with professionals (for example, translation)
- Support for social participation (for example, social, sports and cultural activities, studies, integration into employment)
- Transportation (for example, to medical appointments, the grocery store, the pharmacy)
- Administrative and financial management of the care receiver’s affairs: banking operations, managing finances and administrative procedures
- Other forms of support:
- Supervision on an occasional basis (for example, during a crisis or discharge from hospital) or permanently (for example, for someone with Alzheimer’s)
Consequences and needs
While many caregivers consider their responsibilities rewarding, the role can also have significant repercussions on their lives. It may limit their ability to take care of their own physical and mental health or to fulfil other social and family responsibilities. Caregiving can affect their professional life and their financial health. People can also experience the following consequences:
- anxiety and stress,
- irritability and anger,
- feeling overwhelmed,
- social isolation,
- lateness and absenteeism at work, reduction of hours worked,
- school absenteeism and the risk of postponing or dropping out of school,
- late submission of work, reduction of study hours and difficulty concentrating in class,
- transformation of the relationship with the care receiver.
Given the consequences experienced during the time they provide support, caregivers may have different needs. The main needs are:
- respite services,
- individual and group psychosocial support,
- flexibility at work or school,
- information and training,
- financial and material support,
- support for activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living,
- information and services in their original language.
Support resources and services
Different types of support are available to meet the specific needs of caregivers.
Tax credit for caregivers
Some caregivers may be eligible for a refundable tax credit or non‑refundable deductions. To find out more, go to the following pages:
- Tax Credit for Caregivers (refundable)
- Amount for Other Dependants (non‑refundable)
- Supplement for Handicapped Children
- Supplement for Handicapped Children Requiring Exceptional Care
- Tax Credit for Medical Expenses (refundable)
- Senior Assistance Tax Credit (refundable)
- Solidarity Tax Credit – Individuals (refundable)
- Tax Credit for Home‑Support Services for Seniors (refundable)
The Curateur public’s assistance measure
Offered by the Curateur public, the assistance measure allows a person who is experiencing difficulty to be assisted free of charge by one or two people of their choice. They can help the assisted person in everyday situations, for example to obtain or provide information to facilitate the medical follow‑up of the assisted person or to verify the details of an invoice with a service provider (internet, electricity, etc.), banking transactions with financial institutions or the status of a claim for benefits with government agencies.
Contact the Curateur public
Caregiver Support Helpline
L’Appui’s Caregiver Support Helpline is a professional, confidential and free telephone service, available every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., for caregivers and their families, health professionals and care providers.
Contact the Caregiver Support Helpline
Directory of resources available by region
L’Appui has a resource directory . Search by postal code or by type of service to find resources throughout Québec, namely:
- Information and documentation
- Training activities
- Self‑help and support
- Legal and tax
- Home support
Online training program
L’Appui offers free online training programs .
- Learning to Become a Caregiver is a program designed for people caring for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or a related disease in the last 24 months.
- MeSSAGES is a training program designed to allow caregivers of seniors to learn and apply various stress management strategies.
- You and Me as Life Goes on is intended for caregivers caring for an elderly person living with Alzheimer’s disease or another major neurocognitive disorder and who has been living in a residential facility for more than two months.
The Caregiver Newsletter
The monthly Web subscription (free of charge) to The Caregiver Newsletter includes testimonials, interviews, podcasts, thematic topics or practical advice that can make caregivers’ day-to-day life easier.
Proche aidance Québec
Proche aidance Québec brings together 124 community organizations, listed by region, that support caregivers. The mission of these organizations is to improve the living conditions of caregivers by alleviating the impoverishment and exhaustion they experience. Information tools are developed based on various realities of the lives of caregivers:
- Employers (in French only)
- Counselling, respite and psychosocial support are provided by community organizations (in French only) that are members of the group
- Information (in French only) is available on work‑caregiving balance
- A toolbox has been developed to promote the proper treatment of caregivers
- Tools are presented to support young caregivers
Contact Proche aidance Québec
Confédération des associations de proches en santé mentale du Québec
The Confédération des associations de proches en santé mentale du Québec (CAP santé mentale) helps people support a loved one of any age living with mental health disorders. Tools are available for caregivers, whether in an emergency situation or to address a need for information or support. An interactive map can be used to identify the member organizations of the network.
Référence aidance Québec
Référence aidance Québec is a tool that can be used to refer a caregiver to professionals who will propose solutions based on their situation. The tool can be used to refer caregivers to L’Appui’s Caregiver Support Helpline and to refer caregivers of people living with a neurocognitive disorder to the Alzheimer Society in their region. It is a simple and effective way to promote the well‑being of these people.
Complete the Référence aidance Québec tool
A practical guide has been developed by Éditions Protégez‑vous in collaboration with the gouvernement du Québec. It contains resources to support and guide you in your journey. The guide is available for free online: Proche aidant : Un guide pour vous (in French only).
Quebec Observatory on Caregiving
The mission of the Quebec Observatory on Caregiving, established in 2020 by the Act to recognize and support caregivers, is to provide reliable, objective and accessible information on caregiving, to inform government decision making and to fuel research in order to improve the quality of life of caregivers. The information on the website is accessible and is presented in French and English: observatoireprocheaidance.ca .
Éducaloi helps the Québec population to understand the law and their rights and responsibilities better. The Web Guide Caregivers: Practical Legal Tools is a clear and accessible source of legal information presented in plain language for any caregiver who wants to make informed decisions in their day‑to‑day life.
Au fil du temps
The interactive web platform Au fil du temps , developed by the Ordre des psychologues du Québec, makes psychological information available to caregivers.
Fondation Émergence/Chosen Family
Chosen Family’s mission is to support and inform caregivers of LGBTQ+ seniors about existing services and help them develop knowledge to assist them in their role.
Info-Santé and Info-Social 811
The 811 telephone service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide advice on any concerns you might have about your health or a loved one’s health or for a psychosocial consultation. If you, as a caregiver, are experiencing or have questions about social and psychological problems such as exhaustion, isolation or difficulty managing emotions, you can get answers and help. To find out more, go to the Info-Santé 811 and Info-Social 811 pages.
Integrated health and social services centres (CISSSs) and integrated university health and social services centres (CIUSSSs)
To find out about the services offered by the CISSS or CIUSSS in your region for you or your loved one, you can contact the professionals in reception, assessment and orientation, free of charge and confidentially. They will refer you to the appropriate resources, in particular home support services, based on your needs.
To find the contact information for your CISSS or CIUSSS, go to the Finding Your CISSS or CIUSSS page.
Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies
Quebec Alzheimer Societies, listed by region, provide information, advice and support to people with Alzheimer’s disease and caregivers, from the time of diagnosis, to help them have a better quality of life with this disease and with other types of neurocognitive disorders.
Contact the Federation of Quebec Alzheimer Societies
Baluchon répit long terme
Baluchon répit long terme provides respite, support and assistance to caregivers who want to keep a loved one who is experiencing a loss of autonomy at home. It offers long‑term home respite (4 to 14 days), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Its services are available throughout Québec.
Contact Baluchon répit long terme
Fondation Maison Gilles‑Carle
The Fondation Maison Gilles‑Carle’s mission is to provide support and respite to caregivers by offering their loved ones high‑quality temporary accommodation.
Contact the Fondation Maison Gilles-Carle
Monastère des Augustines
The Monastère supports caregivers by offering individual and group respite and wellness stays. These services contribute to the overall health and life balance of people such as caregivers of seniors, adults or children and the bereaved.
Contact the Monastère des Augustines
Réseau pour un Québec Famille
Réseau pour un Québec famille brings together national organizations from the community, municipal, union, education and health and social services sectors that are concerned about the situation of families in Quebec. A directory of family support organizations (in French only) is available by region.
Contact Réseau pour un Québec famille
The Équijustice network is made up of twenty‑three members throughout Québec that offer expertise in restorative justice and mediation. The network offers assistance and support with the interpersonal difficulties and conflicts that people experience on a daily basis with a loved one, an organization or a professional.
Government actions to support caregiving
The adoption of the Act to recognize and support caregivers , the National policy for caregivers (in French only) and the Government action plan for caregivers 2021‑2026 (in French only) shows the gouvernement du Québec’s desire to recognize the importance of the role of caregivers and to offer them support.
Act to recognize and support caregivers
In Québec, under the Act to recognize and support caregivers , adopted in October 2020, the government commits to a number of obligations toward caregivers.
National policy for caregivers — Recognize and support caregivers while respecting their wishes and their capacity for commitment
The National policy for caregivers — Recognize and support caregivers while respecting their wishes and their capacity for commitment (in French only), adopted in April 2021, aims to improve the quality of life, health and well‑being of caregivers. Seven guiding principles are set out in the Policy, namely:
- Recognize that every caregiver is a person in their own right, who must be treated with dignity and care, and whose well‑being must be promoted.
- Recognize the considerable contribution of caregivers to Québec society and the importance of supporting them.
- Promote the preservation of the health and well‑being of caregivers, particularly in terms of financial insecurity, as well as the maintenance of their life balance.
- Consider the diversity of the realities of caregivers and their relationships with care receivers in their efforts to meet the specific needs of care receivers, at all stages of their support trajectory, from their self‑recognition to their grieving process, both for the care receiver and for their role with the care receiver.
- Acknowledge the experience and knowledge of caregivers as well as those of the care receiver, and consider them part of a partnership‑based approach.
- Respect the wishes and capacities of caregivers as to the nature and extent of their commitment.
- Strengthen partnerships between ministries, government organizations and non‑governmental organizations at the national, regional and local levels, while including the participation of caregivers to foster responses tailored to their specific needs.
Government action plan for caregivers (2021‑2026) — Improve support through recognition
The first Government action plan for caregivers (2021‑2026) — Improve support through recognition (in French only) was adopted in October 2021. It presents 61 concrete actions that mainly focus on the recognition of caregivers, the development of training or awareness and the addition of psychosocial support and respite services.
Last update: November 9, 2023