Community Initiatives in Caring for Children, Adolescents and Adults with Special Needs

January 28, 2014
Hosted by Dr. Gordon Atherley

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Guest Information

Episode Description

Kerry Duncan [T: @Kerry_Duncan] has long been involved in disability advocacy and support work. Her older brother Todd lives with developmental disabilities. She talks about her life, career and experience with family caregiving. She explains her work with Recreational Respite Inc,, which developed the RecreACTIVE program, and discusses the needs for care and support that arise for children, adolescents and adults with disabilities, and for their family caregivers. She explains the idea of the RecreACTIVE program, and describes the response to the idea at the public discussion at the Blue Mountains Town Hall Council Chambers on January 24, 2014. She explains the program’s “leisure and learn model” and how this benefits children, adolescents and adults. She summarizes the next steps at the end of January 2014 for the RecreACTIVE program, and the benefits she would like to see flowing from the program by the end of January 2015.

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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