It’s been nearly four years since Russ Kellogg’s wife, Frances, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Since then he’s been caring for her on a full-time basis at their home in Estey’s Bridge, a rural community 18 kilometres north of Fredericton. 

His experience is similar to the growing numbers of seniors across the country who are full-time caregivers of a spouse or partner. According to Statistics Canada, just over a third of seniors aged 65 and older provide care for a spouse or partner. The number jumps to half for those 85 and older.

According to James Janeiro, director of policy and government relations with the Canadian Centre for Caregiving Excellence, the number of seniors who will find themselves as full-time caregivers to a spouse or loved one is expected to rise dramatically in the coming decade. 

He says if we expect unpaid caregivers to do the job that the health-care system cannot sustain, the attitude of policy makers needs to change.