Families Count 2024: new resource on family structure now available


Families Count 2024 is now available

May 13, 2021

International Day of Families 2021: Connections, Care and Technology

A look at the relationships between families, technology and well-being over the past year.

May 13, 2021

The 2021 observance of International Day of Families takes place Saturday, May 15, a time to recognize and celebrate the role family plays in the lives of individuals, communities and society at large. This year’s theme focuses on the impacts of new technologies on family well-being, which have become increasingly intertwined during the pandemic.

The pandemic has not changed what families do, but physical distancing and stay-at-home orders have transformed how families stay connected and continue to provide love, care and support. Whether it is having meaningful conversations over Zoom, ordering delivery for family dinner, arranging for care for a loved one or gathering virtually for weddings and funerals, many families’ use of technology has intensified over the past year.

Recent data from the Global Carer Well-Being Index show that technology has played an important role in facilitating care over the past year. Among caregivers surveyed during the pandemic…

  • 90% used technology to access information for themselves or their care recipient
  • 65% used digital technology to integrate their care responsibilities with the rest of their lives
  • 52% reported an increase in managing technology as part of the care they provide
  • 68% said they need additional guidance and training on how to use telehealth/online tools/mobile apps for their caregiving

As discussed in Experiences in Caregiving During COVID-19, a recent public webinar co-hosted by AGE-WELL and the Canadian Home Care Association and moderated by Vanier Institute of the Family CEO Nora Spinks, not all people have access to these tools, nor do all have the technological literacy to leverage them – and this literacy can be impacted by a variety of factors, such as education, employment status, affordability and infrastructure, which are key factors in technological literacy.

Family therapy during a global pandemic

Technology has also impacted how mental health care has been provided over the past year, as physical distancing measures and lockdowns have disrupted how providers and practitioners provide this care to families. This shift toward virtual care will be explored in the COVID-19 IMPACTS: Family Therapists Survey, which launches on May 17, 2021.

A collaboration between the Vanier Institute, the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (CCPA) and the Canadian Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (CAMFT), this survey will explore gather insights on how therapists who work with couples, families, children, adolescents and/or adults and their families are doing, how their clients are doing and how the pandemic has affected the profession and practice of family therapy in Canada.