Liv, Age 9
I take care of my sister. My sister needs help because she has autism. I help her do her chores, and I teach her things (speech, how to play fair, and more). It makes me feel happy and helpful. Powerhouse makes me feel happy. Now, I feel like I am her hero and that I can do anything! I love my sister. She is smart, talented, funny, and so awesome.
Landon, Age 13
I am 13 years old and I have been a young carer for two years now. Two years ago, my sister was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) I’ve been helping to care for her ever since.
Caring for my sister mostly involves changing her, feeding her, and playing with her. But also helping her when she becomes overwhelmed and has a moment.
When she was diagnosed, I found out I was eligible for Powerhouse and since then, it’s been helping me with stress, and teaching me to be a better young caregiver and have fun along the way.
Chloe, Age 11
I am a young caregiver because my mom has MS—a disease that eats the inside of your body and she does not feel good a lot. Her medicine that she takes causes her hair to fall out and she takes a lot of pills and she gets sick a lot so we help her a lot and clean a lot and make her tea and food and get her stuff from the fridge and the store. I pray that she gets better soon.
Liv, Landon, and Chloe are part of an estimated 1.25 million young caregivers in Canada who must grow up quickly to take on the responsibility of supporting a family member—and that number is just the young carers between the ages of 15 and 24.
Young caregivers are a hidden support system, helping to keep their loved ones at home.
These young heroes, from childhood to young adulthood, provide care for family members with chronic illnesses, disabilities (physical or intellectual), mental health concerns, and much more. These caregivers support their families in many different ways—from providing personal care like grooming, to caring for younger siblings and providing emotional support.
Being a young carer can be stressful at times—when you play such an important role in your home at such a young age, it can lead to a host of mental health problems that you’re not prepared to deal with. The responsibilities that come with taking care of a family member take some getting used to. However, the biggest problem is that these young caregivers are invisible, which means that they don’t have access to the support they need.
When young carers have the right support, the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Studies show that young people can actually benefit from this responsibility if they’re supported. They gain practical skillsets that others their age may not have, they’re self-sufficient, and they show heightened empathy and emotional development.
Help ensure Young Caregivers are no longer hidden. Learn more and donate at youngcaregivers.ca
At the Young Caregivers Association, the vision is to see a Canada where young carers and their families are recognized, supported, and empowered to achieve their full potential