NCC19 Presenter: Susan Swetnam

Rachel Hiles

NCC19 Presenter: Susan Swetnam

Rachel Hiles
Photo: Susan Swetnam, 2019 National Caregiving Conference PresenterDr. Susan Swetnam is a former family caregiver and forty-year university English professor whose husband's death from cancer in 2002 inspired her to become in retirement a licensed massage therapist specializing in work with those nearing the end of life (including the ill, the elderly, and people with dementia) and their caregivers. In 2014 she became owner-therapist of Balsamroot Massage in Pocatello, Idaho, and an independent contractor for Heritage Health Services; she has performed approximately three-dozen hospice and caregiver massages each month since then.

Susan is dedicated to providing the comfort and knowledge to others that she wishes she had during her husband's illness and her first years of widowhood, when she struggled with a myriad of stress- and guilt-induced psychological and physical challenges. Susan is the author of a book about this second-act practice ("In the Mystery's Shadow: Reflections on Caring for the Elderly and the Dying"; Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minnesota, May 2019), along with seven other books and dozens of articles on a variety of topics, and a new podcast, "A Hands-On Retirement." She's given hundreds of workshops and lectures around the country and internationally over the years and was recognized with both her university's Distinguished Teacher award and the Idaho Humanities Council's Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with the general public.

Join Susan for her presentation at our Fourth Annual National Caregiving Conference:

Touch 101 for Caregivers
Friday 9:30 a.m.
Extensive research over the past several decades has documented the benefits of gentle massage tailored to the gravely ill, the elderly, people with dementia, and those in hospice care. Touch has been shown not just to ease muscle tension and relieve physical pain, but also to comfort and to reduce anxiety. It has been demonstrated to suppress stress hormones and promote the release of feel-good hormones like Beta-endorphins, and even to promote healthy blood pressure and improve immune function and sleep. Condition-specific touch has been shown to reduce wandering and acting out in people with memory disorders and improve their cognition and communication. Caregivers also benefit from both giving gentle massage and receiving even self-administered therapeutic touch, reporting fewer feelings of anxiety and burnout and an enhanced sense of usefulness and connection. In this workshop caregivers will first briefly learn the essential background in basic anatomy and research-based findings, then practice the fundamental physical skills they need to minister to their loved ones and themselves with gentle therapeutic massage. No previous experience in touch therapy is necessary, just a willingness to try something new that will make difficult days a little easier. The skills are simple, and ample hands-on time with instructor feedback will be provided. Participants will work with each other while fully-clothed and seated in chairs; no special equipment is necessary.

We are so very grateful for the support of the following sponsors of our National Caregiving Conference,
especially Embracing Carers™, this year's supporting sponsor:

~ NCC19 Agenda ~ Meet Our Presenters ~
NCC19 Virtual Registration ~ NCC19 In-Person Registration (Chicago) ~
~ Hotel Reservations ~ NCC19 Volunteer Registration ~ Sponsor or Exhibit ~
~ Testimonials ~ Virtual Caregiving Summit ~