Summits and Training


Summits and Training

Our Friday agenda at the Second Annual National Caregiving Conference includes two special summits and one special training opportunity. Details are below. Register to join us. Your regular registration rate covers attendance at these summits. You incur an additional charge of $49 for materials if you take the respite training program.

Respite Training

8 a.m. to Noon Respite Education and Support Tools (REST) Essentials™ (UPDATE: REST Essentials™ has canceled this training.)
REST Essentials™ training prepares individuals to care for people across the lifespan who have chronic healthcare needs or disabilities. The four-hour Essentials course is appropriate for both paid and unpaid respite workers who provide respite in supervised group settings, such as adult daycare, drop-off ministries or camp programs. The program is interactive and includes the 10 core competencies of the National Respite guidelines.

Learning Objectives:
-Understand caregivers' and care receivers' needs
-Provide meaningful, goal-oriented experiences for people
-Ensure a safe and healthy environment
-Develop professional relationships with the care receiver and their caregiver


  • Kelly Fitzgerald is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, who began her career working with children and adults with physical disabilities in hospital based settings. Additionally, she gained experience working with older adults in long-term care and community settings. Kelly joined the REST (Respite Education & Support Tools) team in 2013, bringing with her experience as a program director for Legacy Corps, an AmeriCorps program affiliated with Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI). While at LSSI, Kelly recruited and trained volunteers to provide respite care to seniors and their caregivers. As the REST Training Development Manager, Kelly equips and prepares trainers to conduct a variety of REST courses. In addition, Kelly carries out a wide range of other duties, including collaborating and assisting in development of trainers, helping to establish partnerships, and assistance in recruiting respite trainers and volunteers.

  • Lois Sheaffer is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist who began her career in respite working with individuals who have special needs. As the coordinator of various in-home community respite programs serving a variety of populations she hired, trained, and matched workers with families. She became active in the Illinois Respite Coalition and served as President of the Coalition for five years. She continues to stay well connected with ARCH, the National Respite Coalition, and has developed a respite training program for paid and unpaid workers named REST (Respite Education and Support Tools). The REST program includes the 10 Core Competencies that are aligned with the national respite guidelines. Lois is currently a registered lobbyist and the National Director and Master Trainer of REST.

Special Summits

8:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. Caregiving and the Workplace Summit
Room: Grand Ballroom
Our Caregiving and the Workplace Summit focuses on how a caregiving experience impacts a workplace and vice versa. How does an employee who cares for a family member with a chronic illness or injury (such as a parent, spouse, grandparent, child) keep his or her career on tract? How does the workplace remain productive and profitable when employees also manage an intensely personal experience like caregiving?

The summit objectives are:

  1. To help attendees understand the issues in the workplace through real-life experiences of working family caregivers as well as through the perspective of employers managing working family caregivers.

  2. To educate attendees about best practices that working family caregivers can embrace to effectively manage caregiving and career responsibilities. In addition, attendees will understand how employers can implement best practices to create cultures which allow both an emotional experience, like caregiving, to co-exist with the practical needs of a business.

  3. To empower attendees to understand the needs of working family caregivers and employers so they can create more effective programs and services that help both working family caregivers and their employers.

Summit Agenda

8:30 a.m. Caregiving and Employment: The Experience and Best Practices of Caregivers Who Work with Matt Beecher
More than 1 in 6 Americans who work full-time or part-time report assisting with the care of a family member, relative, or friend. More than half of these working caregivers work more than 40 hours each week. We will explore these statistics and more as we outline what it's really like to be a working caregiver. We will examine what employers are doing to accommodate caregiving--common practices and best practices. And, we'll talk about the future: what's changing, what gaps need to be filled, who is leading the way, and what working caregivers can do to improve the landscape of caregiving and employment.

About Matt
Anyone even slightly familiar with Matt's background knows his identity as a family caregiver. For more than 15 years, Matt worked as a caregiver for his grandparents who had served as HIS parenting caregivers when he lost his parents at birth. Matt has a tender heart for all seniors and a passion for caregiving and caregivers. A graduate of Harvard Business School, Matt spent the first half of his professional career traveling throughout the world as a business consultant and coach, teaching strategy and people-management concepts to executives of Fortune 500 companies. Across the last several years, Matt has moved into healthcare leadership roles with a special focus on elder care and caregiver support. Last year, Matt acquired an Adult Day Care business in Minneapolis, which operates two centers serving mostly low-income seniors. Among his work responsibilities, Matt finds some of his greatest fulfillment connecting caregivers to resources that are proven to improve the care situation and caregiver life balance. Matt lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Summer, and their four children ages 1 to 8.

9:30 a.m. Coping While Caregiving, the Family Caregiver Perspective
Panelists will share their perspectives on juggling responsibilities, coping with difficult emotions at work and keeping their career moving forward.


  • Carol Zindler, health care consultant (moderator)

  • Randi Belisomo, former working family caregiver

  • Linda Kunicki, working family caregiver

  • Darien Hallagan, former family caregiver

  • Julia Kortrey, Workplace Policy Associate, National Partnership for Women & Families

10:30 a.m. Making it Work: How Family Caregivers and Employers Can Be the Solution Panel Discussion
What can we do as family caregivers to make our experience easier? How can employers make our experience better? Panelists will discuss ideas and possibilities of what could be if we work together.


  • Denise M. Brown, working family caregiver (moderator)

  • Geri Lynn Baumblatt, working family caregiver

  • Barry Kozak, working family caregiver

  • Heather Slutzky, former family caregiver

  • Sarah Fleisch Fink, Director of Workplace Policy and Senior Counsel. the National Partnership for Women & Families

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.: Caregiving and our Houses of Worship
Room: Grand Ballroom

Our second special summit, Caregiving and our Houses of Worship, takes a closer look at the impact of the family caregivers' experience on the impact on our houses of worship. How does a house of worship respond when a caree and a family caregiver can no longer attend regular services? What programs and services can a house of worship implement to help both the caree and the family caregiver?

The summit objectives are:

  1. To help houses of worship understand the issues that affect both the caree and the family caregiver's ability to attend regular services;

  2. To highlight programs and services houses of worship can implement to ensure carees and family caregivers remain connected to their houses of worship and their faith systems.

  3. To inspire houses of worship to reach out to the carees and family caregivers in their communities to better serve their needs.

Summit Agenda

2 p.m. How Family Caregivers Bring Caregiving Solutions to their Houses of Worship
Panelists will share the programs they've created within their houses of worship to help and serve family caregivers and former family caregivers.


  • Deb Kelsey-Davis

  • Beverly Rogers

  • Lisa Riggi (moderator)

3 p.m. How Houses of Worship Respond to Caregiving Needs
A caregiving experience changes the availability of family caregivers and carees to attend services and connect with a house of worship community. Panelists will share how they determine what family caregivers in their congregation need and how they meet their need.


  • Randi Belisomo

  • Bruce McIntyre (moderator)

  • Beth Scibienski

Register to join us

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