Justice for Family Caregivers After Years of Family Caregiving

August 7, 2012
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Episode Description

Kathy Kelly is Executive Director of Family Caregiver Alliance, a national US nonprofit organization providing direct family caregiver support services, public policy development, research and public awareness. Marilyn Pytka found herself in financial, physical, professional and personal ruin after spending over 20 years as her mother’s family caregiver. They highlight their backgrounds and experiences of family caregiving. Kathy explains the Family Caregiver Alliance and its work. Marilyn analyzes how well family caregiving is understood and how much family caregivers are respected. They discuss the challenges of family caregiving that may lead to injustices in things such as finances, health, and services, and within the family. They explain the most important solutions that are needed to prevent the challenges from creating these injustices. They say what more they would like to see done to promote justice for family caregivers. They give their messages to family caregivers.

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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