Optimism for Family Caregivers

September 21, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Ralph James Savarese authored ‘Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption’. Linda Hurren, President of York Autism Centre, is now starting ‘The Making Small Talk Academy”. They talk about their professional backgrounds and describe their experience with family caregiving for autism. Ralph explains what led him to write his book. Linda describes her work in evolving her programs for children and their families involved with autism. They talk about the challenges for children and their family caregivers. They discuss the positive signals that family caregivers receive and the advice that they believe family caregivers need to interpret these signals. They highlight the importance of inclusion in school, workplace and community. They each point to the things they have found to bring optimism for family caregivers involved with autism. They identify the things that need to be done to improve optimism-building support for family caregivers involved with autism in North America.

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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