Family caregivers are the people who provide care to partners, parents, children, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, neighbors and even co-workers. They are the people who provide care when everyone else has gone home. Family Caregivers Unite! empowers family caregivers by engaging them with each other, by sharing with them other family caregivers’ inspiring experiences, exciting ideas, and world-leading innovations in business and activism. Family Caregivers Unite! connects them with sources of trustworthy, understandable and useful information. Family caregivers united, empowered and informed get listened to!
Dr. Gordon Atherley
In January 2010, Dr. Gordon Atherley started Family Caregivers Unite! with VoiceAmerica. With his background as a practicing physician, he knew that, for children and elderly adults with incurable health conditions, family caregiving is essential. With his background in medical research, he knew that medical care is insufficient for incurable health conditions, necessary though it is. With his background as an elected politician, he knew that incurable health conditions are challenging healthcare systems. With his background as an advocate for people struggling with incurable health conditions, he knew that family caregivers aren’t sufficiently recognized, respected and supported. But what he didn’t then understand were their needs. As host of Family Caregivers Unite!, he listened to them and their family members telling their stories of care, compassion and courage. Their stories taught him to understand their needs. Their needs to feel that they are not alone. Their needs to communicate with other family caregivers in circumstances such as theirs. Their needs to hear from family caregivers who, having travelled the road of family caregiving, are holding out a helping hand to those just starting out. Their needs to hear from family caregivers and others who have messages of hope. Their needs for trustworthy information. By explaining their needs, they taught him that Family Caregivers Unite! is social media that uses things like social networks to enable family caregivers speak for themselves. Retired from medical practice, he holds the British equivalents of the North American PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University.