Family caregiving for dementia

January 19, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Dementia is the name for various conditions that cause loss of memory, judgment and reasoning, and changes in mood, behaviour and communication abilities. By far the most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease can affect adult men and women of all ages though it mostly occurs in persons over the age of 65. It’s a disease of the elderly that affects 8 percent of persons over the age of 65 years, and 35 percent of seniors aged 85 years and over. Family caregivers notice that their family member with Alzheimer’s disease is experiencing gradual onset and often unpredictable but continuing decline of memory, changes in judgment and reasoning, and loss of ability to perform familiar tasks. Dr John Sloan and Professional Outreach counselor, Katie Griffiths, share their experience and understanding of the mental, emotional and physical challenges for family caregivers caring for family members with Alzheimer’s disease and or other types of dementia.

Family Caregivers Unite!

Family Caregivers Unite!

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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. They are the people who organize the functioning of the home for the person with special needs, and for the family as a whole. They are the coordinators of care, the managers of appointments, the preventers of loneliness, and the makers of decisions even to the point of Power of Attorney. And they are so often people who themselves are burdened with their own health challenges and who may be in only marginally better health than the persons to whom they are providing family caregiving.

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Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr. Gordon Atherley

Dr Gordon Atherley holds the British equivalent of the Canadian PhD and MD degrees, and LLD, Honoris Causa, from Canada’s Simon Fraser University. His awards include Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, UK. His medical specialties are occupational medicine and public health.
As first President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, the Canadian equivalent of the US National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, he led the creation of Canada’s electronic information service in occupational health and safety, now used in more than 40 countries.
In academia, he held senior, tenured, full-time positions, including departmental chair, in university faculties of physics, engineering, and medicine. He is the author of a textbook and numerous articles and publications.

Since retiring from medical practice, he’s built up Greyhead Associates, which critically researches the safety, effectiveness and fairness of health services for persons with special needs.
Through Virtual Care International, a company of which he’s President, he’s involved in providing sensible technology to family caregivers to help them with their responsibilities, workloads, and concerns.
Now an activist, he urges family caregivers to unite because, more and more, it’s not just their families who depend on them, it’s also the healthcare system as a whole, as it struggles to meet more and more needs of more and more people.

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