Alzheimer’s Disease, Mountains, and Family Caregiving

February 15, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

   

Episode Description

Colorado-based Alan Arnette retired early to care for his mom who later died from Alzheimer’s disease. Sue Kelly is a registered nurse experienced in public health nursing. She’s Director of Health & Wellness with Canada’s We Care Health Services. They share experiences with family caregiving. Alan explains why the tragedy of his mom’s death transformed him into a champion for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Sue explains how her family’s experience with family caregiving inspires her work with family caregivers caring for Alzheimer’s disease. Alan says what family caregiving for Alzheimer’s disease and mountain climbing have in common, and how he wants the funds he raises with mountain climbing to be spent. Sue talks about her work. They talk about the family caregiving experience as the disease progresses from its earliest stages to the end of life. They say what more they want to see done to help family caregivers with their challenges throughout the progress of the disease.

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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