Congrats to Our CCC Scholarship Winners!

Denise
chrysanthemums-bouquet-74949_640In October, I launched our eight-week Certified Caregiving Consultant training program.

I’m happy to announce the following scholarship winners for our third session, which begins March 4:

1. Gael Chiarella Alba


In her application, Gael describes her background, her goals and her caregiving experiences:

"I am a trained holistic therapist in private practice, and have found that by hook or by crook, when people learn of my experience with caregiving, they eventually look to me for guidance around the subject. As a result, over the last several years I created a schedule for new initiatives through which I can better serve care teams and individuals. The CCC dovetails wonderfully and synchronistically with my outreach, and will clearly be beneficial for all concerned.

"I am a sandwich generation Boomer who raised two children and buried two parents while being a solopreneur.

"In 2001, my 21-year-old son was a college graduate living cross country, successfully navigating an exciting new job. In the blink of an eye, he suffered a severe traumatic closed-head brain injury while skiing, and I was suddenly catapulted into a whole new life of urgency and care. The experience I had with my son was medical and institutional: life support, trauma centers, multiple tiers of
hospitalization, in-patient rehab, out-patient rehab and finally the after effects. Today, my son has an amazing recovery story and he carries on an independent life, yet as his parent I am keenly aware of the need to keep an eye on the symptoms that remain. My experience has been an ever expanding study of what a caregiver can do to support themselves and their loved one within various medical levels of care, what to do when change is needed, how to empower oneself to question, and when and where to let go.

"Subsequent to my return back East, first one and then the other of my parents entered the long, slow process of eldercare which needed recognition, intervention, communication with siblings, and the eventual sale of their home with a move to assisted living. Engagement with hospice was the final choice our family made as we kept an intimate and close personal relationship with each parent. My father died three years ago, and my mother died one year ago.

"At this time I am at a new milestone of my own -- regenerative freedom that must give voice and structure to what I wish to offer others."

2. Laurie Boone

In her application, Laurie describes her background, her goals and her caregiving experiences:

"My experience in caring for family members and helping family as they became primary caregivers showed me that these people (especially seniors) are often ignored at a time when they need support the most. I also saw that these caregivers were so tired and defeated that it didn’t usually occur to them to ask for help. When they did, they didn’t know what resources were available, making it difficult to find the right assistance. I could be a great help in these situations by becoming a Certified Caregiving Consultant. I am also intrigued by the idea of applying for grants to get funds to help caregivers at little or no cost to them – whether for group programs or individual assistance.

"Becoming a Certified Caregiving Consultant would enhance my wellness coach training. It would help me to better understand and assist caregivers with some of the practical tasks that go along with caregiving. In addition to this training, I would have a launching point to reach caregivers who need assistance. Additionally, I will be able to form relationships with other consultants in order to share ideas and experiences, learning from each other.

"My main goal is to start a business as a Certified Wellness Coach (through NWI) and Certified Caregiving Consultant. Through this business, I plan to offer individual coaching and consulting services to caregivers and others going through life transitions. Additionally, I will offer group workshops along with community outreach events and possibly wellness getaways. Recognizing that cost will be an issue for some caregivers, I will make it a policy to help some caregiver clients at no cost and reduced cost every year.

"Eventually, I would like to serve as a mentor to other certified wellness coaches and caregiving consultants as they work towards starting their own businesses. As our country’s population ages, I see the caregiving scenario becoming more common with an even greater demand for the support we can provide.

"My first caregiving experience was in high school; trying to help my best friend as she cared for her mother who was wheelchair bound and suffering from MS. She needed help with everything she did, but I mostly came to visit her and make meals when my friend needed a break. It was sad, but at the same time, her mother was an inspiration to me. She almost always had a smile on her face and laughed easily, even when she was having a really hard time.

"My next experience was with my father when he had early onset Alzheimer's. I would spend a day or two with him every week to give my stepmom a break. I would feel guilty because I had to get there and back while my kids were at school, always concerned that I wouldn’t be able to get back in time. It was hard to see him suffer as he couldn’t remember his words and he developed a terrible paranoia of almost everyone around him. His gentle spirit turned pretty mean sometimes. It was also a little hurtful when he couldn’t remember who I was. I really didn’t like watching him to make sure he wouldn’t wander off – as I switched from the child to the adult role. Eventually we had to put him in a nursing home – that was unbelievably hard and we saw him take a real downturn at that point. Then I realized that it must have been taking all of his energy trying to keep up with us when he couldn’t remember things – at least he was able to relax more in the nursing home. I continued to visit him there, eventually feeding him, until he passed away.

"Currently, I try to help care for my stepfather, even though he lives in Arkansas. He had a series of strokes a couple of years ago and now he is in a wheelchair and unable to speak clearly. My mother is his primary caregiver and she is struggling – physically and with depression. When I get to visit them, I give her breaks as much as possible. I’ve worked with him to find more things he can do on his own – the last thing I did was get him on the computer to pick up his love of writing. He isn’t able to write, but we discovered he can use the keyboard and it helps him get his thoughts out since he can’t speak very well. My main concern is that my mother won’t let anyone else help and she doesn’t talk to anyone about how she’s feeling. I’m trying to coax her to join Caregiving.com – we just need to get past her hurdle of hating the computer :).

"I’ve learned that caregiving is really about learning how to live with a less than ideal 'new normal'. At a time when these caregivers probably need the most support, they often get the least. Even when other people care and want to help, it seems like the caregivers often have trouble asking. It is such a critical time for caregivers to stay on top of their wellness and remember that their lives aren’t over – a hard thing to do when you’re busy taking care of someone else. That’s where I want to be able to help."

You can connect with Laurie on her profile page: @laurieelsa.

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Congratulations to these scholarship winners, who will make a wonderful difference in the lives of family caregivers. Through our scholarship program, these students will take our program and receive our training materials at no cost to them. After becoming certified, they will give back by helping out on Caregiving.com and offering their services at no charge to a certain number of clients.

If you’re interested in becoming a Certified Caregiving Consultant, please join me for a free webinar on February 25 to learn more about our training program. If you're ready, you can purchase our Certified Caregiving Consultant training in our store.

We begin a session for our training program on the first Monday of every month beginning in January. We’ll offer scholarships for each of those sessions. Look for details on how to apply for a scholarship for our April session on February 22.

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