NCC18 Agenda: November 9


NCC18 Agenda: November 9

Our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference will take place at Chicago Marriott O’Hare, 8535 W. Higgins, Chicago, IL.  For our latest and most up-to-date agenda, please download our NCC18 app.

Register to join us in person or virtually.

We're so grateful to our NCC18 sponsors that make our conference possible.

Friday, November 9, Agenda
Chicago Marriott O’Hare, 8535 W. Higgins, Chicago, IL

7 a.m. – 8: 45 a.m. Continental Breakfast

7:30 to 8:30 a.m. Caregiving Solutions Labs
Connect with other attendees to brainstorm solutions to caregiving challenges.

8:30 a.m. Welcome and Official Conference Open
Opening remarks from Dr. Whitney Bailey, Deputy Administrator for Regional Operations and Partnership Development for the Administration for Community Living (ACL)

9 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Conference Workshops (See below for tracks and session details.)
(Sessions begin at 9 a.m., 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m., 5 p.m.)

11:30 to 5 p.m.: Exhibits open

Noon to 1 p.m. Lunch

6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Entertainment
Join us for a free reception (a drink and nibbles) and art workshop (Our Creative Selves) sponsored by AARP. RSVP during registration required.


Caregiving and the Workplace Summit

9 a.m. - Noon
Chicago Ballroom E

9 a.m. When Employees Become the Solution Panel Discussion
Employees often create their own workplace solutions. Learn from Shawn Bennis, Amy Goyer and Lara Trujillo Webb, who created caregiving affinity groups at their workplaces.

Shawn Bennis has been coordinator of the Henry Ford C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Assistance Resources and Education) Program since it began in 2015. Working with many individuals and departments in the health system and the community, she has grown the C.A.R.E. Program into a robust, extensive service. Through phone calls, emails, social media, and her presence in the community, Bennis creates new relationships with caregivers daily, constantly seeking opportunities to develop the program to meet caregiver needs and preferences. Programming today includes five support groups, an active Facebook group, Facebook Live broadcasts, art therapy, dance therapy and the caregiver college. Bennis leads one of the health system’s largest Employee Resource Groups, iCare4U, for caregivers. iCare4U is open to all employees and meets quarterly at varying locations in the system. Meetings include speakers, support, education, networking and caregiver resource information. With nine years of experience as a home care nurse, Bennis has unique insight into the diverse backgrounds of patients and their caregivers. Her role is not just a job, but part of who she is every day. She understands that caregiving is not something most people are prepared to do, and finding balance in their lives is difficult. She has designed the C.A.R.E. Program to restore balance and enable caregivers to care for themselves, as well as their loved ones.

Amy, author of Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and Color Your Way Content when Caring for a Loved One, is a writer, speaker and consultant specializing in caregiving and family issues. Amy serves as AARP’s national Family and Caregiving Expert, columnist, and spokesperson, and has a Caregiving YouTube series in which she shares her personal caregiving journey and practical, actionable tips for caregivers. She also works with other clients including Johnson & Johnson and Sam’s Club. A recognized media authority, Amy’s numerous interviews include ABC, NBC, CBS, NPR, The New York Times, The Washington Post, People Magazine, The Dr. Phil Show and The Doctors. Ms. Goyer started her career as a music therapist, and has worked in the field of aging for more than 35 years, including adult day services centers and nursing homes, the Ohio Department of Aging and AARP. A passionate champion for family caregivers, Amy has been one her entire adult life, caring for her grandparents, parents and sister. Her current work is the perfect fusion of her professional and personal experiences. Connect with Amy on social media and learn more about her caregiving journey and her work at Get actionable, practical tips via her AARP articles and videos at

10 a.m. Co-creating a Better Work/Life for Family Caregivers & Employers: A Participatory Lab
This interactive 2 hour session would include 1 hour panel session followed by a 1 hour interactive lab for all attendees. Before the summit, we’ll survey nurses and hospitals about the challenges nurses as family caregivers are presenting.

Nurses are the quintessential caregivers. Looking at them as a case study and the challenges this creates for the hospitals and health systems that employ them. What can we learn and extend out to other working caregivers and employers?

Nurses are often the first ones in their families look to and call on, because of their comfort and experience with caregiving and the health system. But nurses still find family caregiving and working extremely challenging. They may not be trained in the specific condition or issues their family member has. They also find it’s shocking how hard it is to be on the other side of the bed and try to navigate the health system daunting. The emotional interactions with the career and other family members are much more personal and salient, the family may heap all the responsibility on them, they often have to take extended FMLA, which strains hospitals and can take a toll on their co-workers or create strained working relationships. They can experience challenges with re-entry after caregiving ends and they may be back to work in the ICU or a setting that is reminiscent of recent loss or trauma in their family. As driven caregivers, they also may neglect their own health, nutrition, and well being.

We’ll bring together nurses, nurse managers, and hospital and healthcare employers of nurses to look at all sides caregiving presents to all the stakeholders. Then we’ll discuss how these challenges resonate for all working caregivers.

Participatory Lab
Everyone in the room will become part of a smaller working group. A facilitator will utilize the information from the pre-summit surveys and initial panels to discuss various challenges and opportunities to address challenges for working family caregivers and employers. Is there anything an employer or manager you work with is currently doing that is alleviating caregiver stress or thrash, improving empathy and awareness, access to resources, or creating redundancy in the workplace? How might we consider caregiving as an opportunity to improve work for everyone?

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Communication Track

Chicago Ballroom E

1 p.m. Good Communication: How to Best Express Yourself
Kathy Koenig, M.S., CCC, CCE is the founder of Caregiver Connection in Urbandale, Iowa. As a therapist and healthy coach she recognizes that when one member of a family has a diagnosis everyone is impacted. Kathy acknowledges and supports family caregivers so they can thrive while caregiving. Co-creating self-care plans is a particular interest. Kathy has experienced caregiving in predictable, planned, local settings. She's also been dropped into crisis, chaos, and unfamiliar environments. Whatever the circumstances self-care, humor, patience, and good communication were essential. Kathy strives to bring compassion and care to her consulting and education work with family caregivers.

2 p.m. Planning for Caregiving: Making Those Difficult Conversations Work for YOU!
Debbie Howard is a former caregiver who served as both a long distance and live-in caregiver and for her mom after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, enabling her to die at home as she wished. Debbie was running a Tokyo-based market research company at the time of her mom’s diagnosis, and spent one year traveling back and forth multiple times to help her with chemotherapy, etc. Her two younger sisters (one who lived nearby and the other who lived several states away) worked together with her to meet their mom’s needs during that first year. Then, as the disease progressed and her needs became greater (and her sisters' comp time ran out!), she moved from Tokyo back to South Carolina live in and provide 24/7 support. She ran her business off the dining table her family had eaten at since she was in the 3rd grade, utilizing time zone maximization, Kinko's, Office Depot, and anything else she could to make it work. Nowadays, Debbie find herself in a support role to many family and friends who are coming to their caregiving years. Her book (The Caregiving Journey: How to Survive and Thrive One Step at a Time) advocates for self-care while caregiving, and for viewing the caregiving journey overall as a transformative experience.

3 p.m. Your Best Responses to Those Buttinskis and Know-It-Alls with Denise M. Brown
In 1996, Denise M. Brown launched, the first website to add online caregiving support groups, daily caregiving chats and blogs written by family caregivers. Through its blogs posts, podcasts and video chats, holds one of the largest online libraries of caregiving stories. In 2016, Denise created and hosted the first National Caregiving Conference, now an annual event for family caregivers, former family caregivers and professionals. Denise's insights have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, US News & World Report, USA Today,, Time magazine and Chicago Tribune. Her books, including "Your Caregiving Lists of Courage, Hope and Resilience " and "Take Comfort, Reflections of Hope for Caregivers," provide insights, inspirations and information to those who care for family members. She currently helps her parents and her aunt.

4 p.m. Advance Care Planning
Helen Bauer has been an RN for over 25 years, and a hospice RN for over 8 years. She holds the distinction of being a Certified Hospice & Palliative Care Nurse. In 2017 she unexpectedly became a personal caregiver & MPOA for a family friend. This experience increased her understanding of the role of the personal caregiver, including the importance of advance care planning, and strengthened her desire to encourage healthy self care for caregivers. In the past 1 ½ years, Helen helped launch The Heart of Hospice project, providing education about end of life issues, caregiving, and self care. She writes the blog for The Heart of Hospice website, and co-hosts the weekly and monthly podcasts. Helen has served as a hospice case manager, providing education for patients and caregivers, and a director of nursing, providing hospice professionals with tools and training to improve the quality of care for their patients. She is a current member of the education committee of the Texas New Mexico Hospice Organization, and has been a presenter at their annual conference for the past 2 years.

5 p.m. If You Ask the Right Questions!
Joan Berger Bachman and Eileen Opatz Berger (a mother-daughter duo) have just published a book called If Only You Would Ask. It is a conversational manual, a resource, for those who care for, who visit the elderly. Comprised of 42 topics, and over 400 questions it is tool to promote meaningful conversation. As daily caregivers or weekly visitors know, visiting a loved one or friend can often be tedious and boring. There is no stimulation or positive anticipation to either the client or the visitor. There seems to be nothing to talk about. This book is a solution for those hours that drag on without joy.

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Practical Track

Chicago Ballroom G, Each Session is 50 Minutes

9 a.m. Managing Digital Overwhelm - "From Exhaustion to Exhilaration: Becoming Your Best with Technology that Cares"
Patrick Egan lives in Boulder, Colo., with his husband and a dog named Molly. He is the caregiver for his parents who live in a Senior Community nearby. He has a passion for using technology in a way that enhances and adds fun to the caregiver experience. As an informal "family tech help" guy, he understands the huge benefits digital tech can provide, while at the same time helping others grapple with the overwhelming number of issues that technology can present. He has a leadership background in Human Resources within the Medical Device field, and has provided training and consulting services for numerous Technology and Start-Up companies both in the US and internationally. As stated on his Twitter account, he is well-versed in "acronym speak" and is a CO-LGBT-HR-BOHO-MBA-HSP-ENFP-MAC kind of guy. Bottom line, he like to use humor and empathy to help others transition from technical overwhelm to using tech that cares - both for the caregiver and the caree.

10 a.m. Visioning Caregiving Solutions
Our Caregiving Visionary Award winners share their views on how we can better serve and support family caregivers.

Sheila Warnock is the Founder & President of ShareTheCaregiving (aka Share The Care) and co-author of Share The Care, How To Organize, A Group To Care For Someone Who Is Seriously Ill.

Bev Foster is the founder and executive director of the Room 217 Foundation, a community health arts organization that uses music to change the care experience. Compelled by her own caregiving journey, Bev and her team deliver music care products, programs, and educational services to healthcare providers, family and volunteer caregivers across Canada.

Priya Soni is the Founder and CEO of The Caregiving Effect LLC, a platform and service launched to create a space for adults who have cared for their family members due to aging, illness and/or disability. She has developed a mission to build a movement of mentors, caregiver visionaries, who are utilizing their stories as a tool to help the many who will or are walking the path of caregiving. As a coach and certified caregiving consultant, she aids adults in turning the unexpected role of being a caregiver into a role of a lifetime—The Caregiving Effect, a term she coined.
Amanda Singleton is the owner of Singleton Legal, a caregiver-centered law firm.  Through her experiences as a family caregiver, she was led to become an advocate for all caregivers.  Her vision is to see her clients plan to care and be cared for, so that they are prepared and supported when the time comes.

Bruce McIntyre serves as the Executive Director of the Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma. As a 14-year caregiver for his wife, Kathy, and as the author of Thrive Anyway, Parkinson Positive, Graceful Transitions, and Resilient Life, Bruce shares his expert guidance and warm humor with thousands of people each year.

11 a.m. Protecting Family with Powers of Attorney
Eric Parker is an elder law attorney practicing at Stotis & Baird, Chartered in Chicago. His work and his public speaking draws from his experiences working to protect clients and his experiences with his own family.

1 p.m. The Enemy of Independence
Tonya Regiro is the marketing director for Slip Proof Safety, the leading business in home modifications for the Chicagoland area. Tonya did not necessarily choose the industry of senior care, it chose her naturally. Tonya is the exact definition of the sandwich generation. While raising two young children she began her personal journey as a caregiver, 3 different times, for different ailing parents. As life works in mysterious ways she was introduced to the world of stair lifts at the best possible time, a time of need. Little did she know, her story would some day come full circle where she could work for the company that helped her when she needed it the most. Now, she can continue to spread her knowledge and help by making sure that everyone understands how to get the help they need when choosing to take care of a loved one. Tonya is often heard saying when she reflects on her 12 year voyage.... "It is not an easy road to choose, but it is a choice. It was the hardest route, but the best gift all at once and I wouldn't have it any other way."

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Track: Culture and Diversity

Chicago Ballroom G, Each Session is 50 Minutes

2 p.m. Diversity Competency for Caregivers
Jerry Fenter has worked in hospice care as a spiritual counselor for the last 8 years. During his time working in hospice, he was a caregiver for his terminally ill mother, experiencing all the aspects of anticipatory grief along with the daily caregiving challenges. Over the last 1 ½ years, Jerry has launched The Heart of Hospice project, designed to provide education about end of life issues, caregiving, and self care. Jerry works diligently to make The Heart of Hospice website, blog, and podcast a source of information and encouragement to personal and professional caregivers. He has a work history of over 30 years in counseling and faith-based ministry. The time Jerry spent his mother’s caregiver gave him unique insight into the mindset and struggles that personal caregivers face every day. His current position as a System Director of Spiritual Counselors allows him to share that knowledge with his hospice colleagues. His work as a spiritual counselor has allowed him the opportunity to come alongside multiple personal caregivers from the beginning of their caregiving journey all the way through bereavement. Jerry was the founder of the Southeast Texas Chaplains Alliance, a community organization for spiritual counselors. He has also spoken at the Texas New Mexico Hospice Organization conference multiple years, speaking on self care, professional boundaries, and diversity.

3 p.m. Diversity & Culture in Caregiving
Penny Patnaude is a National Certified Alzheimer's disease and Dementia Care Trainer, and Dementia Care Practitioner. She is also founder and owner of Caregiver Strategist, the company provides assistance to families caring for loved ones suffering from Dementia. As a former caregiver with over a decade of experiences. Penny understands the need for knowing how to intervene and soothe during ties of difficult behaviors. Penny is a caregiver facilitator for Aging in Montclair, a grassroots outreach organization for the older population. A sage by nature, she shares her techniques with families who need assistance in caring for others. Penny holds an Master of Degree in Education & Training and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.

4 p.m. Our Best Self: Diversity, Social Justice, and Family Caregiving
Andrew Koch talks a lot and smiles often. He listens deeply. He prefers he/him/his, and you can call him Andrew. Andrew has been caregiving professionally for seven years and cares for two of his uncles and one of his grandmas, long-distance from Boulder, Colorado. He pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling. As a freshman family caregiver, Andrew is finding answers within, cultivating loving-kindness for himself so that he may support his carees, spread compassion to the healthcare system and be the change that he wants to see in the world.

5 p.m. Family Caregivers Experiences: The Multicultural Perspective
Randa Abdelrahim is PhD candidate in Disability studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is an immigrant that moved to the United States in 2013. She has a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy and a master's degree in vision rehabilitation. Randa has an experience working with caregivers of children with disabilities. Currently, she works as a research assistant and as a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focus is on family support across minority groups with a focus on the impact of race, culture, gender, and immigration. Randa's research and work has been inspired by her mother and grandmother. In 2013 Randa used to support her grandmother during doctors' visits and therapy session and in running some errands. Recently her role changed as she provides respite for her mother who became the primary caregiver for her grandmother. Randa considers caregiving as a continuous story entrenched in the lives of women in her family and culture. From caring for children with disabilities to caring for an aging parent or spouse, women are the ones who mostly shape the meaning of caregiving. As such, Randa considers herself as an advocate for women who are caregivers across the life course.

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Dementia Care Track

Grand Ballroom 6, Each Session is 50 Minutes

9 a.m. Dementia Caregivers Need HELP!
Sharon Hall is a care partner to her 95-year-old mother who has vascular dementia and lives with her and her husband, Rod, who has frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). Sharon is an active advocate for FTD, she is an AFTD support group facilitator and educator. She holds an FTD chat on every Monday and Saturday at 7:00pm ET, and hosts a monthly podcast on the 4th Thursday of each month at 2 pm ET called “Talking FTD With Geri”, with Dr. Geri Hall from Banner Alzheimer’s on Sharon has participated in Medicare webinars, spoke as a care partner at the NIH Research Summit on Dementia Care and Services, is active in her state Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Plan, and recently launched iCARE (Innovative Caregiving Advocates with Real Experience) along with MaryAnne Sterling, Denise Brown, Julie Fleming and Karen Garner. This is a group of advocates who will leverage the extensive knowledge and experience family caregivers have acquired through caregiving to transform health research, health policy, and healthcare delivery.

Rebekah Wilson, MSW has reached thousands of family and professional caregivers through teaching at local and regional conferences/professional in-services/community workshops, started and facilitated caregiver support groups for those impacted by dementia, facilitated the first national teleconference on end of life issues in frontotemporal dementia, provided hospice and home health social services, developed and facilitated ongoing trainings for healthcare professionals and family members, and served as a consultant for healthcare providers providing daily care for persons with dementia.

10 a.m. #ICHOOSETHRIVING - Redefining Caregiver Wellness
Heather Oglesby is a 45-year old woman who is currently caring for her mother with Alzheimers. Along with being a caregiver, she works full time for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to becoming a caregiver for her mother, Heather traveled the world serving in multiple voluntary roles in Africa, Romania, and Egypt. Her passion to serve those who suffer began at an early age as she was raised in poverty and in a violent home. Her mother was not highly educated and only held janitorial jobs. Her father was educated and worked for the government, but was abusive, suffered with addiction and eventually abandoned the family. Heather learned the value of hard work and the importance of navigating the many systems to make a life for herself. She obtained a BA in Sociology and a M.Ed in Counseling. At age 40, Heather began noticing something different with her mother. She began asking for money to pay the same bills, over and over again. Her mom would come to visit her and get lost, even though she had visited many times. Her mom appeared disheveled and confused most of the time, but at age 60, Heather just attributed her moms behavior to getting older. Heather moved over 800 miles away from her mother to take a job in Atlanta, Georgia. As the symptoms worsened, Heather's mom could not verbalize over the phone what was happening in her life. The only words her mother could utter was that she was evicted and sleeping in her car. Heather's mom ended up in a women's shelter due to complications associated with Alzheimer's at the age of 64. Heather and her husband rushed to her mothers side and at the age of 42 became a full-time caregiver for her mother with Alzheimer's.

11 a.m. Emotionally Surviving Dementia Caregiving
Sharon Hall is a care partner to her 95-year-old mother who has vascular dementia and lives with her and her husband, Rod, who has frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). Sharon is an active advocate for FTD, she is an AFTD support group facilitator and educator. She holds an FTD chat on every Monday and Saturday at 7:00pm ET, and hosts a monthly podcast on the 4th Thursday of each month at 2:00pm ET called “Talking FTD With Geri”, with Dr. Geri Hall from Banner Alzheimer’s on Sharon has participated in Medicare webinars, spoke as a care partner at the NIH Research Summit on Dementia Care and Services, is active in her state Alzheimer’s and Related Dementia Plan, and recently launched iCARE (Innovative Caregiving Advocates with Real Experience) along with MaryAnne Sterling, Denise Brown, Julie Fleming and Karen Garner. This is a group of advocates who will leverage the extensive knowledge and experience family caregivers have acquired through caregiving to transform health research, health policy, and healthcare delivery.

1 p.m. Personalized Music: A Powerful Form of Therapy for Persons with Dementia
Diane Glittenberg studied vocal music at the University of Illinois and continues to sing in her church choir and at other events. She is a Certified Dementia Practioner, a Certified Caregiving Consultant, and a Certified Caregiving Educator. She cared for her father, who had dementia, and currently cares for her mother who has Lewy Body Dementia. After losing her position as a manager at a jewelry store, she decided to take a different direction for her career. In addition to caring for her mom, she works for Comfort Keepers and help other family members take care of their loved ones so that they can remain in their homes for a long as possible. This past July she got promoted to the Continuing Education Administrator position at Comfort Keepers. She enjoys being able to train and share her experiences with the caregivers. This has been the most rewarding career choice she has ever made. She looked for ways to bring comfort to her mother and began looking into music and how it would help. She shares her vocal talents with the resident's at a local nursing home once a month. She enjoys seeing the residents' faces brighten up when singing their favorite Hymns and songs. Diane hopes to be able to help other caregivers to create personalized music playlists for their carees and for themselves.

Andrew Koch talks a lot and smiles often. He listens deeply. He prefers he/him/his, and you can call him Andrew. Andrew has been caregiving professionally for seven years and cares for two of his uncles and one of his grandmas, long-distance from Boulder, Colorado. He pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling. As a freshman family caregiver, Andrew is finding answers within, cultivating loving-kindness for himself so that he may support his carees, spread compassion to the healthcare system and be the change that he wants to see in the world.

2 p.m. What Sabina Taught Me, Meatballs and All
Laura deBruin has been in the field of geriatrics for over 25 years. She has been involved in home care and currently runs a non-profit in the NW side of Chicago. Her goal always has been to provide quality services to older adults no matter where they live. Laura graduated from Augustana College with a Social Work/Biology degree. Got her MSW at the Jane Adams school of social work. Laura has always been very comfortable with seniors and since she could remember her heart has always been geared to the older population. Laura has had experience in working with families and clients in a dementia specific nursing home. Laura was also certified as Dementia and has trained many staff in dementia/Alzheimer care and techniques. Laura likes to provide humor in her presentations.

3 p.m. Dementia Care: I Wasn't Trained for This!
Suzanne Hicks is a high school English and ESL teacher and instructional coach from Texas. She is married with four children. She lives and works in the same town in which she grew up, which enabled her to be with her parents everyday as their health began to decline. After losing her brother in 2005, her mother soon began to show symptoms of Alzheimer's and was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 65. As her mother's condition deteriorated, her father's health began to decline as he became more depressed over the gradual loss of his wife. As her parents began to need her more and more, Suzanne soon found herself in charge of all bills, business/legal issues, meals, medications, doctor appointments and safety, as well as dealing with her mom's rapidly changing personality and behavior. Although her mother has five younger siblings who live nearby, they provided little to no support or help with her mom's care, so Suzanne was grateful for the friends who stepped in to pick up her daughter from school, filled in for her in her classes at work when she had to leave at a moment's notice and offered encouragement when she was feeling that she could not go on. Suzanne is also blessed with a supportive husband who constantly reminded her that she could do it and helped out by tag-teaming with her in the care of her parents. Today Suzanne is able to speak openly about her mother's Alzheimer's, something she could not do with even her closest friends for the first few years, and she works to help others who might be just beginning their journey as a caregiver to one or both parents. She hopes her story might help you to know that like her, you can do it too.

4 p.m. Bringing Oral Care to Dementia Care
Mary Jensen RDH, MS has over 35 years experience as a Registered Dental Hygienist. Currently, she is the Lead Oral Care Specialist for the Hylife Oral Health Alliance--a network of dental hygienists that provide weekly oral hygiene care to residents in memory care/ assisted living communities. She is passionate about caring for the oral health of seniors. Her Aunt is 95 years young and has resided in memory care for over seven years. She has her teeth! Through dedication and proper oral hygiene care, this can be achieved for all seniors. The links between oral health and systemic health are clear. Oral hygiene care is infection control! Mary focuses on her clients in memory care communities as well as presenting educational oral health seminars to staff and families. She wants everyone to be aware of the importance of oral health. Mary is the lead dental hygienist for Alliance for Smiles and participates yearly in international medical mission trips that focus on cleft lip/palate surgery. She is married to her college sweetheart and their daughter is a Registered Dietician. Mary loves running 5K races and yoga and reading. She and her husband recently started ballroom dancing lessons--a great way to keep the brain and body active!!

5 p.m. Alzheimer’s Caregiving in the Digital Age
Steve Popovich brings a wealth of experience in data communications and has been involved in three successful high-tech startups that were later sold to publicly traded NASDAQ companies like Digi International in Minneapolis. Steve was an executive staff member for over 15 years with a publicly traded company, which is a global leader and pioneer in the Internet of Things (IoT) business segment. Steve was recently appointed as Faculty Affiliate for the Texas A&M Center for Population Health and Aging, and Clairvoyant technology has been recruited for numerous research studies from multiple government and academic institutions.

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Family Track

Chicago Ballroom F, Each Session is 50 Minutes

9 a.m. Can This Marriage Be Saved???
Lynette Whiteman wears 2 hats. She is the Executive Director of Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey and also the caregiver for her mother who has dementia and lives with her. She began her career as a Physician Assistant and has a Masters in Geriatric Medicine. As Executive Director, she oversees the management of a nonprofit agency which is dedicated to providing free support to older adults and caregivers who are striving to remain independent. Through a network of over 1200 volunteers, their programs include medical transportation, grocery shopping, friendly visits, friendly phone calls and an Alzheimer's Respite Care Program. Lynette is also the founder of Caregiver Canines - a unique therapy dog program that provides free visits to the homebound and individuals with dementia in their own homes on a weekly basis for great tail-wagging joy. Lynette's caregiving journey began as her parents aged and her dad gave up driving. After her dad's passing in Nov. 2011, her mother became unable to manage day to day life and the decision was made that she would move into Lynette's home. In May 2012, a new chapter began in Lynette's caregiving life - working with older adults and caregivers and then coming home and caring for her own mom. Lynette is blessed to have a very supportive and understanding husband, 3 boys who give her great joy, 2 female dogs (needed some estrogen in the house) who don't judge and are great cuddlers, a terrific staff and loyal friends. Her personal mission in life is to share the lessons she has learned both professionally and personally and to make sure that every caregiver feels validated, supported and they know they are not alone in their feelings.

10 a.m. Our Best Self: Self-Care Now, Not Later!
Gael Alba brings an extensive background in both psychology and holistic healthcare to her mission of Caring for the Caregiver. With over 30 years as a mindfullness guide, author, continuing education provider and founder of The Yokibics Institute, Gael Chiarella Alba brings her training and experience to support the physical, mental and emotional structures you can lean on

Andrew Koch talks a lot and smiles often. He listens deeply. He prefers he/him/his, and you can call him Andrew. Andrew has been caregiving professionally for seven years and cares for two of his uncles and one of his grandmas, long-distance from Boulder, Colorado. He pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling. As a freshman family caregiver, Andrew is asking questions and finding answers within, cultivating loving-kindness for himself so that he may support his carees, spread compassion to the healthcare system and be the change that he wants to see in the world.

11 a.m. Sharing the Care – How one Family Has Approached Caregiving
Elizabeth Miller is a wife, mother, full-time employee, family caregiver and Certified Caregiving Consultant. She obtained in B.A. in Journalism from Penn State University and has worked in IT software development for over 17 years. Elizabeth’s personal experiences caring for aging parents with chronic and terminal illnesses as well as caring for a sibling with developmental disabilities inspired her to create Happy Healthy Caregiver in 2015. Through her consulting services, resources and online community, Elizabeth helps family caregivers integrate caregiving with their busy lives. Elizabeth has been a presenter at the 2016 and 2017 National Caregiving Conferences. Her story has also been featured in Woman’s Day and the Marietta Daily Journal. She is also the host of the Happy Healthy Caregiver podcast on the Whole Care Network, a freelance writer, and facilitates an Atlanta support group for family caregivers called the Atlanta Daughterhood Circle.

1 p.m. Prevent and Alleviate Burnout
Virginia Sampson is passionate about disseminating the science based message of the power of compassion to create success in all areas of our lives. She received her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. She has been a practicing litigation attorney for since 1982 (almost 35 years). Virginia started in the legal field when few women were litigators. She served as a judge for three and one half years. She currently practices elder law helping seniors with their legal issues. Virginia has had a full and challenging life. She has been a full-time caregiver to her husband who died from ALS, a victim of domestic violence, a single parent to four children, a widow, a divorcee, a step-parent and more. Her professional and personal challenges inspired her to study and learn about the science of compassion, self-compassion and happiness. She has completed courses of study offered through UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center and Stanford Center for Care and Altruism. She has attended conferences and read extensively on the subject. She has written a book for adults, ‘Compassion Magic” and started a children’s series about compassion with “Superhero Sam Saves His Family”. Virginia writes for – the publication of Arianna Huffington. She travels nationally and internationally to speak about the power of compassion. She offers programs for individuals and small groups to assist them in developing compassion. Virginia provides information about the latest findings and research on compassion and happiness. She shares simple and scientifically proven practices for discovering the power of compassion to create success and happiness in businesses, schools, communities, families and even with our health and well-being.

2 p.m. Harnessing Negative Emotions
Jolyon Hallows was the primary caregiver for his wife, Sandra, who had Parkinson's disease. For over twenty years, he cared for her as the disease progressed. In the last few years of her life, she remained at home and she needed total care. In those years, Jolyon learned how to be a caregiver. How to do the physical tasks such as dressing or feeding. How to modify the home environment to make his and Sandra’s life easier, and how to deal with the inevitable negative emotions that accompany caregiving. He has recently published a book on Sandra's and his life together. The book, A Parkinson's Life: And a Caregiver's Roadmap, is part memoir and part "how-to” guide for caregivers. Jolyon is a published author of two management books, Information Systems Project Management, first and second edition, and The Project Management Office Toolkit, both published by AMACOM in New York. An accomplished speaker and seminar leader, he is on the faculty of a university certificate program in project management and regularly makes presentations for the local Parkinson's disease society on the disease and on caregiving.

3 p.m. When Life Falls Apart, Start Changing Your Life!
Florrie Munat married her husband Chuck in Middletown, Conn., in 1969. In 2003, Chuck suffered a debilitating stroke. Although he received timely treatment that neurologists said would restore him to his previous life, over the next two months he regressed physically and cognitively until he was barely able to care for himself. After six weeks of rehab, Chuck came home. But his needs were greater than Florrie could handle, so regretfully she admitted him to a nursing facility. Two months later, Chuck was diagnosed with Lewy body dementia. Florrie spent the next six years visiting him every day while taking an active role in his caregiving (bathing, dressing, toileting). Chuck died in 2009 from complications of Lewy body dementia.

4 p.m. Caring for Mommy with Ben Carter
Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey, Ben Carter is a professionally trained Life Coach, Speaker and Corporate Instructor who believes that all experiences, whether opposition or opportunity are life lessons. Ben incorporates his personal and professional experience to inspire individuals to acknowledge “life problems” by solving them with the “life purpose”. Ben’s personal story involves him rebuilding a relationship with his mom and sharing the responsibility of caring for her in the last months of her life. Ben used the experience of her untimely death as motivation to inspire others. Ben believes in the power of motivating and inspiring everyone to achieve excellence in their lives beyond the challenges that they may face by using their inherent skills, gifts and talents.

5 p.m. Loving-Kindness: A Practical Guide to Self-Care During The Caregiving Years
Andrew Koch talks a lot and smiles often. He listens deeply. He prefers he/him/his, and you can call him Andrew. Andrew has been caregiving professionally for seven years and cares for two of his uncles and one of his grandmas, long-distance from Boulder, Colorado. He pursues a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling. As a freshman family caregiver, Andrew is finding answers within, cultivating loving-kindness for himself so that he may support his carees, spread compassion to the healthcare system and be the change that he wants to see in the world.

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Coping Track

Grand Ballroom 5, Each Session is 50 Minutes

7:30 a.m. Simple Steps: Yoga for Caregivers
Drawing from her experience at the bedside of numerous clients over the years as a Yogi, and then Caregiving Consultant while going through the crisis of severe traumatic injury with her son, and the recent death process of both parents, Gael consistently learned to lean in on the presence of yoga in her life. This enabled her to use her knowledge within the walls of crisis care institutions no matter the situation, for the best for all concerned. Gael is an author, Certified Caregiving Consultant, Certified Yoga Therapist and a teacher's teacher bringing simple steps to light for everyone.

9 a.m. Session details coming.

10 a.m. Creating Personal Resilience
Jane Felczak is a Principal Quality Consultant for Henry Ford Health System in Detroit. With over 37 years of experience in all aspects of healthcare, Ms. Felczak has a wide ranging perspective on resilience and stress management, and its effects of caregivers. Ms. Felczak received her BSN from Mercy College of Detroit and her MSN from the University of Detroit Mercy. She is a Certified Professional in Patient Safety, and has experience in clinical practice, healthcare administration, quality improvement and patient safety, and nursing education at both the university and community level. Ms Felczak has also been a certified elementary educator. Most recently, she has led initiatives to improve access to communication services for foreign language and Deaf/HOH patient populations. Ms. Felczak is also deeply involved in the Patient and Family Caregiver programming at Henry Ford Health System. The program provides resources and support services for both patients, staff and caregivers. Ms. Felczak continues to be deeply personally involved in the caregiving experience. As a young adult, she helped to care for both sets of grandparents, both in home and as a patient advocate for institutional care. Ms. Felczak also provided guidance to her parents when her father was diagnosed with lung cancer at age 58. This led to her providing in home hospice care until his death at age 60, all while pregnant, caring for a toddler, and continuing to work full time as an RN. Currently, Ms. Felczak is the primary caregiver for her 89-year-old mother. Additionally, she assists with childcare for her grandson, and recently became guardian for her orphaned 17-year-old nephew.

11 a.m. Finding Our Best During the Days That Feel the Worst: Diagnosis Day, Hospital Admission, End of Life Panel Discussion
Panelists will share their insights and tips to help you cope when those difficult days hit. 

1 p.m. The Path to Your Best Self is Through Your Darkest Self
Geoffrey Grant earned a B.A. in Comunications from Curry College in Milton, MA. He’s been a caregiver for twenty years. Geoffrey cared for his mother who suffered a debilitating stroke and cares for his wife who is a 14-year cancer survivor. Geoffrey is the author of a forthcoming book on caregiving. Geoffrey provides support, consulting and leads workshops for other caregivers, both in person and virtually.

2 p.m. Finding My Best Self During Caregiving Panel Discussion
Panelists will share how they find their best during their caregiving experience.

3 p.m. Feel Your Fear and Do It Anyway
Shirley Riga, author, teacher and speaker, knows fear having survived the life and death stress of coping with a daughter with chronic illness for over 30 years. As a sought-after speaker, she brings a warmth of truth into a room. She is a licensed trainer for Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway and offers individual and group classes in the Boston area.

4 p.m. Resting in Chaos Stephanie Antoine
Stephanie Antoine came to the US from the UK as a Fulbright Scholar, and is the founder of YnspyrTM, a Wellness Company that offers stress resilience and self- care programs. Stephanie has developed self- care strategies for over twenty-five years to cope with her own chronic pain, asthma, compulsive eating, grief and burnout. She uses Experiential Anatomy, Awareness Training and Directed Meditation in her work as a stress resilience and self- care coach. As a professional violinist, and later as a mother, far from family, the primary caregiver for her two children with special needs and a busy traveling husband she has learned that self- care becomes exponentially more important as the stress and chaos of life increases. Stephanie believes that making space for self- care, rest and rejuvenation builds resiliency, efficacy and the capacity for happiness even in the most extreme life circumstances.

5 p.m. 5 Ways to Be An Empowered Caregiver with Tandy Elisala
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her 23 year corporate executive career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths almost four months to the day of each other. She shares her caregiving journey in her first book, Healing Through the Chaos: Practical Caregiving, and gives other family caregivers a guide to navigate the often challenging journey. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

Viewing and Experience Room
Grand Ballroom 7, Each Session is 50 Minutes

1 p.m. Woody's Order! Documentary Screening and shortnsolo play performance.
Ann Talman will screen her 16 minute award winning short documentary, Woody's Order! and have a short Q&A and then do a portion of her solo play Woody's Order! for the audience as well. Cerebral palsy is the most common physical disability in childhood, yet widely misunderstood. CP can be mild—weakness in one hand—to severe, in which people have little control over movement or speech. Even the most well-meaning passersby may stare curiously at someone with severe CP. Or, thinking it more polite, they may choose to avoid eye contact altogether. People with CP experience desires and dreams, love and loss—the same as people without it. Woody’s Order! takes us on a journey with a man who has CP, 1948 to present day. From a life tenderly and comprehensively documented in photographs and home movies, we cannot and really don’t want to turn away. Our tour guide is his adoring sister. In a stirring, lyrical recitation, she describes experiencing life’s milestones as a sibling of someone with CP and inevitably, his caregiver. The end result humanizes not only the severely disabled, but also the legions of unsung family members responsible for their care. Bonded by a strong, organized network, they share best practices and emotional support online and in meetings. Their lifetimes of altruism often silence a deep, nagging concern: What’s left for me? Woody’s Order! both asks and answers the question, loud and clear.

3 p.m. Too Soon to Forget
Living with Alzheimer’s disease is a challenge, changing life for both the person with the disease and their family. But what if someone diagnosed with this disease was in their early 60s, 50s, or even as young as in their 30s? Younger onset Alzheimer’s disease affects people 65 years old or younger. Though the exact number of people with younger onset is unknown, the impact of living with Alzheimer’s in midlife is great. Although there are many resources for those coping with Alzheimer’s, very little information is available specifically for those facing younger onset. This lack of information and support leaves many families feeling misunderstood and often disregarded. Too Soon to Forget aims to change that. Through a collaborative effort between the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, recognized around the world as a leader in Alzheimer’s research and treatment, together with TMK Productions, an Emmy award-winning producer of programs broadcast on public television, this inspirational documentary gives a voice to those affected by younger onset Alzheimer’s. The distinguished hosts of Too Soon to Forget are B. Smith and Dan Gasby, who personally understand the challenges this disease can present. At age 62, B. Smith, model, celebrity chef, and lifestyle maven, was diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s. Since then, the husband and wife pair have become ambassadors for younger onset. They have shared their story and co-authored Before I Forget, a New York Times Bestseller which details their journey. With their ongoing efforts and participation in Too Soon to Forget, B. Smith and Dan Gasby continue to work as agents of change to increase awareness and understanding of younger onset Alzheimer’s. We are extremely fortunate to have nine families join us in the creation of this program. They have bravely shared their stories, knowing that speaking about the difficulties that accompany living with this diagnosis can be tremendously challenging. These families recount their own personal journey, while sharing common struggles. They must strike a balance between maintaining normality and making lifestyle adjustments to accommodate the disease’s effects. In personal moments shared throughout the program, those living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family members describe the hardships of shifting relationships, preserving faith, separating the disease from the individual, and learning how to handle their situation with dignity. To complement the words of the families, this documentary incorporates four paintings by the Reverend Shawna Bowman. Created from conversation with the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center’s younger onset support group Without Warning, her work visually expresses what it feels like to experience the disease. The images dynamically explore the loneliness, isolation, life adjustments, and healing power of community often felt by those living with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease—ideas that can be difficult to explain with just words. No one should have to go through this experience alone. With the stories of these nine families, we trust this documentary will begin a national conversation that encourages awareness, understanding, and acceptance.

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General Track and Virtual Broadcast

Grand Ballroom Session Length is 50 minutes unless otherwise indicated
These sessions also will be broadcast live.

9 a.m. How to Navigate Work While You're Caregiving with Vicki Salemi
Vicki Salemi is a nationally recognized career expert and spokesperson, columnist, speaker and author of Big Career in the Big City. This dynamic entrepreneur lives in New York City and is the founder of for today's caregivers taking care of family in an UNintended situation (short or long-term), UNwavering about truth and UNselfish about taking care of ourselves. Thrust overnight into the role when she got the first call about her mother's hospitalization in 2015, she saw first-hand how overwhelming taking care of a loved one can be (on top of their finances, taxes, everything). Your entire life, your everything, your identity, perspective, purpose--shifts. And nothing prepares you for the role, you just jump in. An advocate for the caregiver, being one herself (nearly three years and counting...), she knows how important it is to take care of yourself while you're immersed in your entire world getting flipped upside down with countless additional responsibilities. Looking at the bright side of things, realizing yes, things will slide, yes priorities will completely alter, you'll have to say NO to a ton of things, but there are ways to make it less bad, less dark, less alone and cope the best we can, mustering up strength and resiliency like nobody's business.

It's like that Super Man quote: Lois Lane looks at him and says, "You've got me. But who's got you?"

10 a.m. Caregiving Women: Bold Steps in Being Confident Change Leaders
Lisa B Capp is a dementia caregiving survivor who shared a journey of transformation as dementia consumed her mothers life over 18 years. Professionally Lisa's been a Transformation & Organizational Change Consultant, now she's a dedicated blogger and activist focused on Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers.

11 a.m. Finding Peace at the End
How do we give our carees (and ourselves) peace at end of life? Dr. Samuel Harrington, author of a new book, At Peace: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life, will offer guidance toward a peaceful end for our carees and ourselves. Most people say they would like to die quietly at home. But overly aggressive medical advice, coupled with an unrealistic sense of invincibility, results in the majority of elderly patients misguidedly dying in institutions while undergoing painful procedures, instead of having a better and more peaceful death they desired. At Peace outlines specific active and passive steps that older patients and their health care proxies can take to insure loved ones pass their last days comfortably at home and/or in hospice, when further aggressive care is inappropriate. Dr. Harrington, a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Wisconsin Medical School, concentrated his practice at Sibley Memorial Hospital. His work as Sibley's patient safety officer representative to the Johns Hopkins Medicine Board of Trustees and his service on the board of a nonprofit hospice in Washington D.C. informed his passion for helping aged patients make appropriate end-of-life decisions.

1 p.m. Prepare to Care: A Train the Trainer to Help You Use Free AARP Resource

Research indicates that two out of five family caregivers feel they were not prepared to take on the role. And feeling unprepared makes them more likely to express negative emotions about the experience, such as feeling ill equipped, overwhelmed, guilty, stressed, sad, resentful and worried. Those who feel more prepared to assume the responsibilities are much more likely to report positive emotions, like feeling grateful, brave and lucky. How can we help family caregivers be more prepared throughout their caregiving journeys? AARP has created a powerful free resource and training package called “Prepare to Care” to help. Join us for this train-the-trainer session in which we will present the “Prepare to Care” materials and train you use them with current and future family caregivers in support groups, employee groups, community centers, places of worship and other local community gathering places

2 p.m. How Caregiving Inspired My Career Panel Discussion with Meagan Bates, Jenn Chan, who cared for her grandmother, and Tonya Regiro, who cared for her parents and in-laws

3 p.m. Finding Faith Through Fury
Christene Jackson is a mom, an entrepreneur, an author, an educator and follower of Christ, not necessarily in that order. Becoming a parent changed her life, 21 years ago. However, when her second child was born, she had  no idea what God had in store. Her world was turned upside down when she added the title of lifetime caregiver. Everything changed and nothing was as planned.

She shares a message of responsibility to live the best life possible,  regardless of the current situation. Her transition back to her faith  was a journey of a thousand miles. And her path led her to an enlightenment of faith, perseverance and determination. The desire to  share her message was planted long ago.

4 p.m. Caring for More than One Panel Discussion with Sharon Hall, who cares for her husband and her mom, Jane Felczak, who cares for her mother, grandson and nephew, and Amy Goyer, AARP Caregiving Expert

5 p.m. I Didn't Think I Could but I Did Panel Discussion
Can we date during caregiving? Can we start a business? Accept a promotion? Family caregivers share how they did what seemed implausible during a caregiving experience.

Evening Entertainment

Location: Grand Ballroom
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Join us for a free reception (a drink and nibbles) and art workshop (Our Creative Selves) sponsored by AARP. RSVP during registration required.

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