Parents are Hard to Raise

A podcast series on the caregiver experience in Ontario


By: Jocelyn Healey, Communications Associate

After being approached earlier this year by the makers of the Parents Are Hard To Raise podcast, a U.S. radio talk show targeted primarily towards family caregivers – more specifically, adult children of aging parents – we jumped on the opportunity to profile the innovative and locally-developed caregiver work taking place in Ontario, and in our Changing CARE projects, to a larger audience.

Today, we are pleased to announce the launch of the resulting seven podcast episodes of Parents Are Hard to Raise, in which we dive deep on specific aspects of The Change Foundation’s work, the resources developed by the Changing CARE teams, and share the Ontario caregiver perspective to podcast listeners.

Links to the episodes are below. Tune in to hear directly from those working on the front lines of improving the family caregiver experience in Ontario.

The Change Foundations role (episode 111)

Carole Ann Alloway, Caregiver & Caregiver Advisory Panel Moderator
Christa Haanstra, Executive Lead, Strategic Communications & Young Carers, The Change Foundation

In our first episode of the Parents are Hard to Raise podcast, Christa Haanstra describes who The Change Foundation is, our role in Ontario’s healthcare system, and what we mean when we refer to family caregivers. She also provides an overview of the caregiver population in Ontario. Carole Ann Alloway shares her personal experience as a caregiver, and discusses the Caregiver Wishlist and how the project came to be. Listen now.

Connecting the Dots – What we’re doing to make life easier for caregivers (episode 117)

Dr. Erin Heisz, Star Family Health Team

Hear from Dr. Erin Heisz as she shares her experience as family doctor and caregiver, and how this created a strong personal desire for her to join the Connecting the Dots for Caregivers Changing CARE team. Erin discusses what co-design is and how the model was used in the creation of the Time to Talk Toolkit – a tool which equips both caregivers and physicians to better facilitate stronger and more meaningful conversations.

Connecting the Dots – Giving family caregivers a critical voice (episode 119)

Catherine Walsh, RN Huron Perth Healthcare Alliance and Co-Design Lead/Education Connecting the Dots for Caregivers Changing CARE

Coming together as six health care organizations across Huron and Perth counties, Catherine Walsh shares with listeners the model of community-based collaboration which the Connecting the Dots for Caregivers Changing CARE team adopted for working with caregivers and healthcare professionals. Catherine dives into the Time to Talk Toolkit focusing on how it was developed and its aim to facilitate awareness of caregivers.

Embrace – Caring for those with mental illness and addiction (episode 121)

Joanne Sidorchuk, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Community Programs, at Cornwall Hospital, and Embrace Changing CARE Project Co-Lead
Marilyn Macaulay, Caregiver, and the Embrace Project Co-Lead

In this episode, Joanne Sidorchuk and Marilyn Macaulay describe how and why the experience of caregivers to those with mental health illness is different than other caregivers. They share what makes the population and the location unique for the Embrace Changing CARE project. Marilyn speaks to her experience as a co-lead and a family caregiver and Joanne closes the interview with the plans for the Embrace project.

Cultivating Change – New help for family caregivers (episode 124)

Dr. Leslie Nickell, Sinai Health System

In this episode, Dr. Leslie Nickell discusses why it is important for health providers to engage caregivers and further unpacks why we unfortunately don’t see health care providers always including caregivers in their practice. She shares practical suggestions for improvement specifically by completing the Caregivers As Partners eLearning series. She outlines the benefit it brings in providing practical tips that can be applied to improve the experience of family caregivers and providers.

Cultivating Change – “I am a caregiver” The power of a simple idea to bring welcome change for caregivers (episode 125)

Jennifer Ridgway, Program Lead Cultivating Change Changing CARE, Sinai Health System

Recognizing that families and caregivers are an integral part of the collaborative care team, Jennifer Ridgway explains what a Caregiver ID initiative is and how it was implemented at Bridgepoint Active Healthcare within Sinai Health System. Jennifer gives practical tips to adapting organizational practices as healthcare facilities move towards adopting family presence practices and policies.

Youth caregivers… The Shocking Truth (episode 127)

Christa Haanstra Executive Lead, Strategic Communications & Young Carers, The Change Foundation
Dr. Connie Siskowski, Founder and President of the American Association of Caregiving Youth

In this episode Dr. Connie Siskowski discusses what her journey was to founding the American Association of Caregiving Youth based in Boca Raton, Florida, while Christa shares the trends we see in Ontario with young carers and their role within the healthcare system. Both Connie and Christa provide insights into the cross-border similarities and differences, and highlight other initiatives taking place across the U.S. and Canada for young carers.