Al-Anon Family Group help for family caregivers with a family member with alcohol problems

July 5, 2011
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

When a family member has a drinking problem, family caregivers may be unsure where to find help. That’s when Al-Anon comes into the picture. Thomas Anon describes his own involvement with Al-Anon, the history and principles of Al-Anon, and about the Al Anon Family Group. He explains what ‘problem drinker’, ‘alcoholic’ and ‘alcoholism’ mean. He describes the types of people who become problem drinkers. He explains the role and challenges Al-Anon sees for family caregivers when a family member is a problem drinker. He discusses the unique type of help that the Al Anon Family Group provides to family caregivers, and what family caregivers can expect from their first Al Anon Family Group meeting. He tells us how well he thinks healthcare professionals and the public generally understand the problems family caregivers experience with problem drinking in the family, and the help they need. He says what more he’d like to see done to promote public understanding of Al-Anon’s work.

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.

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