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The Costs Of Caring: Innovative RBC Planning Tool Helps Canadians Assess Impact of Informal Caregiving

RBC Your CareGiving Planner evaluates emotional, financial considerations

TORONTO, June 7, 2011—  To assist the growing number of Canadians who are providing care for aging relatives and friends, RBC has introduced an innovative online planner that assesses the emotional and financial impacts of informal caregiving. The RBC Your CareGiving Planner, developed by the RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo, is an interactive resource that helps Canadians evaluate their caregiving needs on an ongoing basis, and produces an individualized report to help manage those needs.

The RBC Your CareGiving Planner asks a series of questions to explore what type of care is required now and in the future. The customized report produced by the planner can be shared with family, friends and trusted advisors, to help caregivers - as well as those needing care - be better prepared as changing health conditions affect the level of care required.

"Providing informal care to a loved one is something that many of us will find ourselves doing in our middle or later years in life," said Lee Anne Davies, head, Retirement Strategies, RBC. "Our planner gives Canadians the chance to explore different caregiving scenarios to see what their lives as caregivers could look like - and better prepare for the emotional and practical impact."

The planner asks a range of questions, including:

  • Does the person needing care require assistance with tasks such as walking or eating?
  • Are there any indications of consistent memory problems or increasing inability to make decisions?
  • Does this person have any difficulties managing medications?
  • Will extra money be needed for home modifications, relocation, respite care or assistive devices?
  • Is the informal caregiver employed?
  • Is the informal caregiver feeling depressed or socially isolated?

Based on the responses, the planner ranks the weekly needs of the person requiring care from low (requiring seven hours or less of informal caregiving) to very high (requiring more than 36 hours). The planner then examines some of the financial implications of providing this care. Through a set of more personal questions, the planner also looks for any potential signs of caregiver distress.

The RBC planning tool is based on extensive multi-year research in homes and community-based care settings, led by Dr. John Hirdes of the University of Waterloo.

"Informal caregivers throughout Canada play a vital role in the quality of care that their loved ones receive; they must also be sure to take care of themselves in order to manage the various stressors associated with caregiving," noted Dr. Hirdes. "The challenge for us was to determine how to translate the varied aspects of informal caregiving into information that could be useful in a self-assessment tool. We're very pleased to see our research incorporated into this planner to help Canadians better understand what informal caregiving entails."

The RBC Your CareGiving Planner can be accessed, free of charge, at www.rbc.com/retirementcentre. The customized report produced by this interactive online tool can be printed by users; none of the user information entered through the tool will be retained on the website. A series of caregiving advice articles are also included on this website.

About the RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo
The RBC Retirement Research Centre at the University of Waterloo focuses on research related to areas that influence quality of life in retirement including health, leisure, wellness, lifestyle, finances, economics, science, arts and technology. The Centre's resources - including its newest interactive tool, the RBC Your CareGiving Planner - are available by visiting www.rbc.com/retirementcentre. The Centre complements the distinctive RBC Your Future by Design® approach to help Canadians identify, plan, and realize their goals for retirement. With the guidance of RBC financial planners and investment planners and retirement planners, Your Future by Design helps Canadians create a blueprint for a successful lifestyle and financial plan for retirement based on what is truly important to them in key areas in life, including family, health, home, lifestyle, work/business, mind and spirit, and legacy. To find out more about how RBC can help build a blueprint for the future, visit www.rbc.com/yourfuture or call our toll-free number at 1-866-335-4055.

About RBC's financial advice and interactive tools
Whether Canadians want to get more from their day to day banking, protect what's important, save and invest, borrow with confidence or take care of their businesses, the RBC Advice Centre can help answer their questions. Free interactive tools and calculators provide customized information covering many facets of personal finance and online advice videos are updated regularly to answer questions that are top of mind with Canadians. With the guidance of RBC advisors who are available to chat live, Canadians have access to free, no obligation professional advice about RBC products and services and personalized one-on-one banking service. For more assistance, please visit www.rbcadvicecentre.com.

About the University of Waterloo
In just half a century, the University of Waterloo, located at the heart of Canada's Technology Triangle, has become one of Canada's leading comprehensive universities with 30,000 full- and part-time students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Waterloo, as home to the world's largest post-secondary co-operative education program, embraces its connections to the world and encourages enterprising partnerships in learning, research and discovery. In the next decade, the university is committed to building a better future for Canada and the world by championing innovation and collaboration to create solutions relevant to the needs of today and tomorrow. For further details, visit www.uwaterloo.ca.

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Media contacts::

Kathy Bevan, RBC Corporate Communications,
(416) 974-2727

Michelle Douglas-Mills, University of Waterloo,
(519) 888-4567, ext. 38345