What will happen to my child after I’m gone?
November 9, 2010
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Kenneth Pope is a lawyer specializing in support for individuals with disabilities and their families. Cynthia Martineau is a registered nurse whose daughter, Rachel, has Rett syndrome. They describe their professional backgrounds and their experience with estate planning for family caregivers with teenaged children with special needs. They highlight the future challenges that concern the family caregivers of such children. They talk about arrangements and questions about future quality of life for maturing children who lack a family caregiver. They explain how estate planning helps answer the question, ‘What will happen to my child when I am gone?’ They say why estate planning is so important for so many family caregivers of children with special needs. They say what’s needed to enhance support for children with special needs who mature as adults and are without family caregivers, and they explain the changes they believe are most needed to improve support for such children.
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.