The unpaid, unrecognized family caregiver

June 28, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Carol Stanley is family caregiver for her 92-year-old father. Based on her own experience, she talks about the challenges for family caregivers in Canada. She discusses the help that she finds helpful. She identifies the help that she needs most but doesn’t receive enough of or even any at all. She analyzes the problems that family caregivers experience in getting help they really need. She explains the challenges for family caregivers generally who are expected by the healthcare system to bear more and more of the burden of aging of the population. She explores the reasons for the challenges, which is that people are living longer and longer so more and more of us are likely to develop the types of diseases for which there is no cure, and that the problems of aging are not recognized unless a disability is diagnosed. To cope with this challenge, she tells us what more she thinks needs to be done to support family caregivers with the help they really need.

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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