Kinship Caring and Grandparents’ Rights
October 5, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Betty Cornelius is President and Founder of Cangrands National Kinship Support, a Canadian organization. Tammy Brockhaus is 61 years of age, and widowed. She coordinates the Cangrands group in Huntsville, Ontario. They are both grandparent kinship carers. Among many tasks, they are activists for changes in law needed to establish grandparents’ rights relative to kinship caring. The explain kinship caring and why it’s needed, and describe their own family experiences to illustrate the value of kinship caring for grandchildren. They discuss the challenges faced by them and others like them, such as finances, getting support, and having their access to granchildren blocked. They explain the situations that cause grandparents to lose access to their grandchildren. They explore grandchildrens’ health problems like fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and explain why children with severe health problems do best when they are cared for by grandparents. They highlight things they want changed.
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.
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.