May 8 COVID-19 Update: Celebrating mothers and caregivers this Mother’s Day
2020-05-08 3:23:06 PM
Our gratitude continues for our tireless front-line workers, many of whom at Women’s College Hospital are visiting and testing at long term care homes with our mobile assessment units or volunteering as nurses or personal support workers in seniors’ homes hit hard by coronavirus. Their courage to care continues to inspire. They, on behalf of all of us, are providing the compassion and care to so many family members and we thank them.
Mother’s Day is on Sunday. A time to celebrate and honour the women in our lives who care for us, guide us and sacrifice for the well-being of our children, families and communities.
During this time of pandemic, the important and essential role of mothers and women caregivers has become even more apparent. Data is proving what we are all feeling and seeing — that the effects of this pandemic are being felt by women the most. Pressures from physical distancing, the significant slow to the economy and disruption to childcare and healthcare services is disproportionately affecting women and this effect will continue beyond the urgent and immediate healthcare threat of COVID-19.
As we reflect this weekend on the important role that mothers and women play in our community, we must also turn our focus towards how we can all work together to keep them — and everyone — healthy and safe.
Women are caregivers in the healthcare system and at home
Across Canada, women represent the majority of healthcare workers on the front-lines — 74%. They represent over 90% of Canadian nursing staff, and are more likely to work as cleaners, administrative staff and food service workers in health facilities. At Women’s College Hospital, over 70% of our physicians and half of our scientists are women — putting themselves between the virus and our community to contain the spread and flatten the curve. We simply couldn’t be fighting this pandemic without them.
Women are also caregivers at home. They carry the brunt of childcare responsibilities and manage the majority of unpaid responsibilities like cooking and cleaning. During this time, we know that the considerable increase in childcare needs is particularly challenging for single mothers who have no access to care and women who have been working from home while also caring for children who are home from school or daycare due to closures.
We know that women often put the care of their families, loved ones and communities before themselves. In a time when we’re all stretched thin and access to healthcare services are being deferred due to COVID-19, it is even more important to take time to care for ourselves and our own health, too.
Combating loneliness to support our health
Mental health has been top-of-mind for everyone as we navigate this new normal. Now more than ever, remaining connected to our families and communities is important for our mental health, but what we often don’t realize is how important it is for our physical health, too. This is especially true for older adults whose social circles may have been affected during this time, but who rely on their close communities to survive and thrive.
Keeping connected doesn’t only make us happier, it also makes us healthier. Research has found that loneliness is as harmful to our health and longevity as smoking 15 cigarettes a day!
Research being conducted at Women’s College Research Institute is offering important insights into the importance of staying connected. As one of the most recognized authorities in women’s health research we are raising awareness of the health effects associated with this complex human emotion, and our research team is working to optimize health and wellness for older adults, specifically women.
This Mother’s Day, I will be taking a little extra time to reach out to the women and mother figures in my life who are working even harder now to take care of their families and communities. As I celebrate their love and dedication, I will also be taking a moment to honour our healthcare heroes on the front-lines who are keeping us all safe and well.
I hope you will join me.
Jennifer Bernard, CFRE
President and CEO
Women's College Hospital Foundation
Honour Mom with Impact
Moms have always been on the front-lines of caring for those they love. This Mother’s Day, celebrate them with a gift that gives back to the healthcare heroes on the frontlines of COVID-19. Make a special gift in Mom’s honour and send a customizable e-card.
To view our update from April 28, please click here.
To view our update from April 9, please click here.
To view our update from March 21, please click here.
To view our update from March 16, please click here.