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  • Celebrating 10 Years of Caring!

    The CareGiverProject

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    As Managing Director of Elder Caring, I am involved in delivering elder care advice to individuals, families, organizations and corporations and as such, I am frequently looking at ways to reach and engage a larger audience.
    In my research I found that existing YouTube channels dealing with elder care/caregiving issues, were frequently flat, not engaging and unappealing to younger viewers. I wanted to engage this age group as they are our caregivers of tomorrow. What I found, is that many young people were already in this role.
    Speaking with Executive Director Nora Spinks from the Vanier Institute of the Family and learning about their recent research project on the Young Carer, my CareGiverProject partner, Sid Lieberman and I knew that this was the perfect topic for the inaugural video on our CareGiverProject YouTube channel.

    Lucky, The Young Carer Rap is a compelling video designed to shine light on Young Carers. This video highlights the musical talents of Tricky P, a hip hop artist and caregiver. By heightening public awareness, it is hoped that in addition to recognition, funding, support and resources will be made available to young carers from coast to coast.

    ‘Lucky’, The Young Carer Rap

    Executive Producer: Audrey Miller

    Producer/ Creative Director: Sid Lieberman is a Gemini Award winning audio producer, editor, musician and online content producer. Sid has cultivated a vast network of Youtube, Twitter and other social media contacts which allows him the unique ability to reach deep into the online community and across a wide demographic and engage the online audience. His YouTube personae, NoisySid is one of his vehicles to connect with the Youtube audience. His comedic audio tutorials have been viewed by nearly 70,000 viewers in the short time they have been online and his subscriber base is growing at an astronomical rate. His unusually rapid and steady growth in popularity is primarily due to his social media savvy and the amazingly successful friendships and relationships he has developed in the online community.

    Associate Producer: Julian Frank also known as J. Frank is a Music Producer, Photographer, Videographer, Blogger and Media Expert. He is a graduate of the Media, Information and Technoculture B.A. program at the University of Western Ontario. Recent Professional Production Credits includes: London Calling Season IV on RogersTV (Videographer, Editor, Blogger, Writer, Music Producer); King of the Dot (Photographer) and HipHopCanada.com (Photographer). In addition to shooting and editing this video, J. Frank composed, performed and produced the song “Lucky”.

    Performance by: Patrick Stephens, also known as Tricky P, is a gifted song-writer, an evocative rhymer, and a soulful rapper/singer. Studying Film at his 2nd year of U of T by day, he headlines as his battle rap alter-ego by night: YouTube superstar Tricky P. In a sub-culture and artform based essentially on insults and negativity, he uses comedy and a strong musical background to infiltrate the international battle scene with positive vibes. Disguising them in wit and satire, he uses what are supposed to be “disses” as opportunities to combat societal issues such as ageism, homophobia, and racism. He is currently working on a philosophically themed album, aimed at asking people to question their assumptions on world issues and their ideas of right and wrong.

    ‘Lucky’ The Young Carer Rap

    My folks drag me outta bed early on a Saturday,
    and I hope I could just stay home, hungover alone and sleep all of the pain away
    but I know that they would say no, cause we gotta go over to my grandma’s place
    So I groan, and doze off on the road encased in my own zone contained by my headphones till we pull up in her driveway
    I yawn, stretching out my arms
    Hopped right outta my seat and grab our bags out of the car
    Walk to the porch, Knock on the door,
    Wait there for a minute maybe just a little more
    While my grams makes her way down to us from upstairs
    Her thick glasses tucked in her curly white hair
    A grin on her face stretched from ear to ear
    So clearly overjoyed just to see that we’re here
    We sit down to have a chat with her and her sister
    They’re both over 90 still full of vigour
    Me just thirteen with less energy
    These ladies are superhuman at least that’s how it seems
    Always making me laugh They craft their words sharply
    Cook hearty meals, with thyme sage and parsley
    Being a dumb kid I appreciate it hardly
    Still thinking about how I’m missing another party

    Some nights I wish I could rewind
    and go back to those days when I needed to remind
    Myself just how fast these days can fly by
    So I thank my lucky stars we still got some time

    Fast forward a year, now I’m fourteen
    My other Grandma’s eighty living healthy as the queen
    Barely ever drinks, never ever smokes
    Still one night outta nowhere in her bed she has a stroke
    And so she has to hire a live in care giver
    To help her with her everyday chores and prepare dinner
    But every Sunday, its now my job
    To stay and take over while she takes the night off
    Being I’m a young fool, I think its uncool
    To have responsibilities like that in High School
    Still every single week, I stay without fail
    And as they go by I’m maturing as a male
    And I start to realize, Its kind of a nice break
    From all of the silly drama that teenagers gotta make
    My grandma’s never judged me, never pushed or shoved me
    Never called me ugly, not dissin me once
    She’s always bigging me up, the compliments never wane
    We chill on her old couch watching Singin’ In The Rain
    Years went by and none of it ever changed,
    I’m 22 now the relationship’s still the same
    My other grandma’s well, still got it all upstairs
    She fell and broke her knee and is a stuck in a wheelchair
    But every time we meet that smile is still there
    Cause she’s fortunately able to pay for her healthcare
    For Some, a full-time nurse isn’t in the conversation
    Man we’re lucky that it even exists as an occupation
    How silly I was for making such cynical obervations
    on the implications of familial obligations
    When people forego their own to do somebody elses
    We can be so selfish, maybe we can’t help it
    On the subject of elders, a wiseman once told
    “We’re so busy growing up, we forget they’re growing old”

    Some nights I wish I could rewind
    and go back to those days when I needed to remind
    Myself just how fast these days can fly by
    So I thank my lucky stars we still got some time.

    All Rights Reserved Copyright 2012 Pat Stephens (Tricky P) and the CareGiverProject

    Les jeunes aidants, épisode 1, projet CareGiver
    ‘Lucky’

    Tôt samedi, on me tire du lit.
    Je veux rester seul, et endormir toute cette douleur/
    mais on doit se rendre chez grand-maman.
    Je fais la moue, somnole un peu, enfermé dans ma bulle,
    écouteurs vissés, jusque chez elle.
    Je bâille en m’étirant.
    J’agrippe nos sacs/
    en allant frapper à la porte.
    L’attente : une minute, peut-être plus/
    avant que grand-maman descende l’escalier/
    ses épaisses lunettes posées sur ses boucles blanches/
    le sourire fendu jusqu’aux oreilles/
    si heureuse que nous soyons tout simplement là.
    Nous discutons avec elle et sa sœur/
    à plus de 90 ans, si pleines d’entrain.
    Moi, j’en ai moins qu’elles, à 13 ans.
    Ces femmes sont surhumaines; elles en ont l’air.
    Elles me font rire, choisissent bien leurs mots.
    Leurs petits plats sentent le thym, la sauge et le persil.
    Tel un enfant sans dessein, je ne les apprécie guère/
    pensant toujours à quel point l’autre me manque.
    Un an de plus : quatorze ans.
    Mon autre grand-mère de 80 ans, aussi pimpante que la Reine/
    boit à peine et n’a jamais fumé.
    Mais ce soir-là, l’infarctus a frappé/
    si bien que son aidante devient un besoin.
    C’est Milah qui l’aide et lui prépare les repas.
    Chaque dimanche, c’est moi qui est là/
    en relève pendant son congé.
    Jeune écervelé, je n’y vois rien de cool/
    qu’une simple tâche, comme à l’école.
    J’y suis pourtant sans faute chaque semaine/
    et avec le temps, je deviens un homme.
    Bientôt, ça me semble une douce pause/
    loin des drames impossibles des ados.
    Ma grand-mère ne m’a jamais jugé, jamais dit de méchancetés/
    jamais traité de perdant ou tenté de me frapper.
    Toujours des encouragements, des compliments.
    Sur le divan devant Singin’in the Rain,
    les années passent, mais les liens restent.
    Voilà mes 22 ans et rien n’a changé.
    Mon autre grand-mère, toujours à l’étage/
    s’est blessée au genou en tombant : la voilà en fauteuil roulant/
    mais toujours ce sourire, chaque fois.
    Je remercie le ciel qu’elle puisse se payer des soins/
    parce que pour certains, il n’en est pas question.
    Quelle chance que ce travail existe!
    Quel idiot j’étais/
    par mon cynisme pour ces obligations familiales.
    Des gens s’oublient pour les autres/
    et on peut être si égoïste, mais que peut-on y faire?
    Un sage disait un jour des aînés :
    « On est si occupé à grandir qu’on oublie qu’ils vieillissent. »
    Maintenant je sais, mais j’aimerais revenir en arrière/
    revivre ces jours où j’aurais dû savoir/
    combien le temps s’écoule rapidement/
    mais je bénis le ciel qu’il nous reste encore un peu de temps.

    Tous droits réservés – copyright 2012 Pat Stephens (Tricky P) et le projetCareGiver

    • Les choses se corsent parfois, mais rentrent dans l’ordre. Je m’occupe de ses transactions bancaires, de ses emplettes, de ses prescriptions. Alors, pourquoi faire tout ça? C’est bien simple : parce que c’est ma maman. – Tony
    • Je ne pourrais même pas dire pendant combien de temps j’ai pris soin de ma mère. C’est comme si j’étais devenue sa propre mère. Quelle chance qu’elle ait besoin de main, mais je dois aussi parfois m’occuper de moi-même… Je dois maintenant être plus forte que ma mère, mais je ne m’en savais pas capable.- Sarah
    • Il y a des hauts et des bas associés au fait d’aider ma mère à prendre soin de ma grand-mère. Un bon jour, je repenserai cependant à tout ça en me disant que j’ai eu la chance et le privilège de passer autant de temps en sa compagnie. – AJ
    • Je l’aide à combattre la dépression et le sentiment d’être inutile. Voilà notre combat quotidien. C’est très exigeant, mais en même temps très gratifiant. Je ne saurais vous dire combien il m’est difficile de la voir souffrir. En fait, c’est là quelque chose de plus difficile et de plus pénible que tout ce que j’ai pu connaître. – Gordon

    Les responsables du projetCareGiver tiennent à témoigner leurs remerciements à Joan Barsvary et à Carolyn Stephens pour leur participation à cet importante initiative.
    Remerciements tout particuliers à l’Institut Vanier de la famille pour son généreux soutien.

    Some terms:
    Definition of a carer:
    A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help. This could be caring for a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.
    Anyone can become a carer; carers come from all walks of life, all cultures and can be of any age. Many feel they are doing what anyone else would in the same situation; looking after their mother, son, or best friend and just getting on with it.
    Carers don’t choose to become carers: it just happens and they have to get on with it; if they did not do it, who would and what would happen to the person they care for?
    What is a young carer?
    Young carers are children and young people who look after someone in their family who has an illness, a disability, or is affected by mental ill-health or substance misuse.
    Young carers often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. The tasks undertaken can vary according to the nature of the illness or disability, the level and frequency of need for care and the structure of the family as a whole.
    A young carer may do some or all of the following:
    • Practical tasks, such as cooking, housework and shopping.
    • Physical care, such as lifting, helping a parent on stairs or with physiotherapy.
    • Personal care, such as dressing, washing, helping with toileting needs.
    • Managing the family budget, collecting benefits and prescriptions.
    • Administering medication.
    • Looking after or “parenting” younger siblings.
    • Emotional support.
    • Interpreting, due to a hearing or speech impairment or because English is not the family’s first language.
    Some young carers may undertake high levels of care, whereas for others it may be frequent low levels of care. Either can impact heavily on a child or young person. They have been called the ‘invisible population.’

    There are a number of organizations that have already taken leadership and have developed support networks for this group. They are not enough, especially with the aging demographics anticipated. Please consider getting involved and supporting these young carers. It is our hope that ‘Lucky’ The Young Carer Rap video will bring a new surge of interest into this overlooked group that requires and deserves our attention, recognition, assistance and support.

    Some Resources:
    The Young Carers Initiative (YCI) and Hospice Toronto have joined forces to establish Young Carers Canada, a national organization to promote the well being of young carers and their families.

    Powerhouse Project-Young Carers Initiative
    Tel: 905-397-4201
    Haldimand-Norfolk Office
    www.powerhouseproject.ca

    Hospice Toronto
    larisa.macsween@hospicetoronto.ca
    416-364-1666 ext. 225 | fax 416-364-2231 |
    www.hospicetoronto.ca/youngcarers

    Director, Caregiving
    Practice, Quality, and Risk Team
    VON Canada
    Direct Line: 613-288-4264
    www.von.ca
    www.caregiver-connect.ca

    Daniel Vaillancourt
    Youth Caregivers Project Facilitator
    Cowichan Family Caregivers Support Society
    (250) 732-4502
    Email: djv91919@hotmail.com