Alzheimer’s Disease and Family Caregiving at Home

April 20, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Ruth Drew and Joan O’Callaghan are both highly qualified professionals in their fields. Both have experience of Alzheimer’s disease. Ruth is Director of Client and Information Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, where she works with people with Alzheimer’s disease and with their family members. Joan is a faculty member at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. Her experience of Alzheimer’s disease is as a family caregiver at home for her late mother, who suffered from it. Ruth and Joan talk about their experiences from the perspectives of a professional providing help to family caregivers and of a person who became a family caregiver. They discuss the challenges. They explore ways for coping. They offer advice for who people who are just starting down the path of family caregiving. And they explain what they want to see done to bring more help for family caregivers caring at home for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease, a heavy burden.

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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