Family caregivers who provide care to seniors at no cost to the healthcare system are an integral part of the healthcare system. Caregiving, however, can cause significant emotional, physical and financial burden. We held a one-day symposium on how to best involve and support family caregivers in the healthcare system. The symposium brought together caregivers, healthcare providers, administrators and policy-makers to identify needs and make recommendations to address these issues. Methods Participants engaged in conversation circles which were audio-recorded and transcribed. Data were qualitatively analyzed alongside written notes provided by participants. Results Symposium participants identified a lack of both orientation and education for healthcare providers about family caregivers and standardized processes for assessing caregiver burden. They highlighted a need to ensure that the family experience is captured and included as an essential component of care, foster a culture of collaboration, expand the notion of the healthcare team to include family caregivers, provide more integrated palliative care, and enhance policies and programs to acknowledge family caregivers. Conclusion There is a need to recognize the essential role of family caregivers in seniors' health and well-being, and to take on a more comprehensive approach to patient care.