Seniors in need, caregivers in distress
April 24, 2012
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley
John G. Abbott is the Health Council of Canada’s Chief Executive Officer. He describes the Council’s work. He highlights the Council’s report, ‘Seniors in need, caregivers in distress’. He discusses the roles of caregivers, family caregivers, informal caregivers, and personal service workers. He compares the current state of family caregiving in Canada with that elsewhere. He instances the benefits that family caregivers bring to seniors and to the healthcare system faced with an aging population. He analyzes the challenges that family caregivers face in caring for their aging family members, especially those who are living with Alzheimer’s disease and the like. He identifies the needs of family caregivers caring for seniors and explores how well healthcare and social systems are helping family caregivers with these needs. He gives examples of success stories, summarize the report’s recommendations for its messages for the healthcare system, for governments and for family caregivers.
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.