Vision Challenges Turned into Visible Success
March 15, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
Melanie Cooper is a visually impaired teacher. She’s founder and director of the Connect Learning Centre in Toronto, Canada. As a Guest on Family Caregivers Unite in the Episode of July 13, 2010, she explained what she planned for the Centre. Now she brings us up to date with her story of how she got from start-up to the stage at which the Centre delivers all the things it does now. She talks about the people who work with her, about the people who attend the classes, about their stories and experiences, and about the benefits they get from the Centre. She talks about the ways in which she works with family caregivers. She tells us about the challenges she had to overcome. She explains why she wants to encourage people to work with her in various ways and why she would like to help others across North America to do the same thing she’s done. She talks about the future; what she want to do next, how she is going to achieve these things, and the help she is looking for.
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.