Goals vs. Needs: What Caregivers Want, a Recent Study


Doctor Myles Leslie and Doctor Janet Fast come on the podcast to share the findings of their most recent study and collaboration on caregiver goals. Tune in for an enlightening episode on the need to sometimes shift focus to gain a better perspective.

We’re all aging, and everyone’s talking about it!

Key Takeaways

[:39] Jenna introduces today’s guests, Dr. Myles Leslie from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and Dr. Janet Fast from the Center for Research on Aging Policy and Practices at the University of Alberta.

[1:29] Dr. Fast explains the interactive and relationship focus of the Human Ecology field of study, she dives into how this focus has shifted how she approaches caregiving.

[4:20] Jenna gives context for the listeners in terms of the proportions of Canadians acting as unpaid caregivers.

[5:55] Twelve years ago, the data available estimated that unpaid caregiving among 45 years olds and older amounted to about 24 to 31 billion dollars in savings on the healthcare system, Dr. Fast shares the updated numbers.

[8:02] Dr. Leslie and Dr. Fast are the leads on a research project that aims at understanding caregiver’s goals as opposed to their needs. Dr. Leslie unpacks the origins of this research idea starting with the dual aspects of what caregivers do: caregiving and relationship and the realization that the entire body of research on caregiving was done on one of those aspects only.

[13:05] Dr. Fast invites Dr. Leslie to touch on the difficulties caregivers seem to have talking about their own needs, as opposed to those of the person cared for.

[17:00] Dr. Fast digs deeper into the two primary goals of caregivers that the research survey has found: enhancing capacity to provide care as well as resiliency and sustainability.

[19:15] Dr. Leslie underscores the different understandings of what sustainability means, whether from the policymaker’s or the caregiver’s perspective.

[21:57] Where does technology fit into all of this and what barriers exist for caregivers to adopt a new technology? Dr. Fast shares what 3 broad categories the survey findings highlighted in this respect: awareness, confidence and resource constraints.

[25:15] Dr. Leslie breaks down the 3 broad categories that were expressed in his focus groups and how they intersect with Dr. Fast’s findings: cost, time, and social isolation.

[27:19] To combat social isolation and promote connectedness, they have partnered with the Huddol online platform. Dr. Fast explains how this partnership works and what services Huddol offers as well as their incentive initiative to try to tackle some of the cost issues related to caregiving.

[31:50] Drs. Fast and Leslie agree that online communities like Huddol are the biggest and best change we are seeing in the caregiving field today as well as the innovative way they are tackling the definitions of sustainability.

[38:02] Dr. Leslie shares his thoughts on the warped understanding we’ve developed around the word innovate.

[40:14] Dr. Fast shares other work that has been done with AgeWell that relate to this idea of innovation as a new way to do something that’s been done before.

[41:32] Drs. Leslie and Fast answer the question as to what their aspirations are for the future, following this research project.

[47:27] We thank Dr. Lesile and Dr. Fast for coming on the podcast. Until next time, subscribe, rate, and share!

If you enjoyed today’s episode, make sure to subscribe, rate us and visit our website at agewell-nih-appta.ca/mileage-podcast for more information.

Mentioned in this episode

The MileAge Podcast

School of Public Policy

Center for Research on Aging Policy and Practices (RAPP)


Senior Center Without Walls

About our host!

Jenna Roddick at APPTA

Jenna Roddick on Twitter

Jenna Roddick on LinkedIn

More about today’s guest

Dr. Myles Leslie at the University of Calgary

Dr. Janet Fast at the University of Alberta