Congrats to our Certified Caregiving Educators!


Congrats to our Certified Caregiving Educators!

CCE_JulyOver the weekend of July 23 and 24, five Certified Caregiving Consultants gathered to further their training and become Certified Caregiving Educators (CCEs).

Our CCEs are:

  • Vivian Geary is an expert in organization and efficiencies when it comes to caregiving. She helps people find what works for them. A Certified Caregiver Consultant and Certified Caregiving Educator, Vivian coaches family caregivers to turn their chaos into calm. In addition, Vivian conducts workshops and seminars to help family caregivers gain knowledge and be the best they can be for their loved ones. Vivian is a working family caregiver for her mom who suffered a stroke in 2005. She was a long-distance caregiver for the first two years and has been under the same roof with her mom in Orlando, Fla., since 2007. You can learn more about her work on her website, Caring for Family Caregivers. You can also like her page on Facebook, Caring for Family Caregivers. You can send a note of congratulations through Viv's profile page: @vgeary.

  • Penny Goree has been caring for her husband, Tim, since 2000 when he suffered a stroke at the young age of 50. The stroke diminished his speech and the use of the right side of his body. During the past 16 years of caregiving, Penny has accrued extensive knowledge of caregiving, as well as empathy and compassion for other caregivers. Penny currently helps facilitate “Life After Stroke,” a support group for families affect by stroke in Gainesville, Fla. In the past, Penny was involved with “The Stroke of Hope” in South Florida, where she worked with caregiver support and helped launch an “Aphasia Program” which served patients with aphasia, a neurological disorder caused by damage to the portions of the brain that are responsible for language. Primary signs of the disorder include difficulty in expressing oneself when speaking, trouble understanding speech, and difficulty with reading and writing. Penny went back to school after her husband’s stroke and received an AA in Human Services which has helped her on her path of supporting others in their role as family caregivers. Penny is also an International Coach Federation member. Penny moderates our monthly chat for those who care for a family member who had a stroke. You can send a note of congratulations through Penny's profile page: @pgoree.

  • Andrew Koch has been a CNA (Certified Nursing Aide) for five years. He has three years of research, development and course instruction for in-home care organization. During the past five years, he has volunteered for a number of organizations including Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s and Dementia Services of Northern Indiana, Harbor Light Hospice, and Unity Hospice. Andrew earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Indiana University in 2014. Listen to Andrew’s webinar, Mindfulness Based Dementia Care, and read his blog on You can send a note of congratulations through Andrew’s profile page: @alzandrew.

  • Chris MacLellan is affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in many caregiving circles. Faced with his partner’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer in 2011, Chris started a caregiving blog entitled, “The Purple Jacket,” and is an ardent advocate for family caregivers and their carees through his blog and radio show, “Healing Ties™”. Chris’ Masters Degree thesis entitled, “Spiral of Silence: Caregiving, Stress and its Impact in the Workplace” was accepted by the faculty at Gonzaga University, where Chris earned a Masters degree in Leadership and Communication in 2016. Chris is the founder of the Whole Care Network and the South Florida Caregiving Coalition. The author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?,” Chris is a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and a Certified Caregiving Consultant (CCC). Chris presents regularly on topics that impact family caregivers and LGBT seniors. You can send a note of congratulations through Chris's profile page: @thpurplejacket.

  • Heather Slutzky had the honor of walking next to her first husband, John, as Marfan Syndrome prompted heart surgeries, clinical trials of new fangled devices, organ transplant lists, and eventually his death in 2002. She most recently was a long-distance caregiver to her father. Her engagement with the healthcare system eventually became her career. She has worked in healthcare settings since 2003 and writes at, a website dedicated to talking about the U.S. health care system. You can follow her on Twitter at @HeatherSlutzky. You can send a note of congratulations through Heather's profile page: @heathers.

Chris, Vivan and Penny are in the back row of our photo; Heather and Andrew sit on either side of me in the front row.

As CCEs, these students can now offer "The Caregiving Years" presentation as a keynote, a two-part workshop or a three-part series in their communities (including at their library, to local employers and at caregiving events). The students also will become a part of our soon-to-launch Caregiving Speaker's Bureau. In addition, Vivian, Andrew, Chris and Heather will present pre-conference intensives on December 2 before our National Caregiving Conference on December 3. They will also present during our conference.  (I'll announce our conference agenda on Thursday, August 4.)

In preparation for our weekend training, these five students completed four virtual classes and passed a quiz. They arrived for the weekend prepared to present a one-hour presentation -- their take on my concept, "The Caregiving Years." After delivering the presentation, each student received feedback in the form of "What I Like" and "Please Consider." (Thanks so much to Heather for our feedback model.)

Students customized "The Caregiving Years" to their viewpoint and their experiences. Andrew touched us with a beautify song he sang (and created on the spot) based on "The Caregiving Years." Chris reminded us that all family caregivers, regardless of sexual orientation, experience similar emotions. Vivian captivated us with compelling stories of caring for her mom. Penny inspired us with her courage of putting the pieces of her life back together after her husband's stroke. ("You will be okay," she said, "because I am.") And, Heather wowed us with her ability to bring us into the moments -- the moment when life changed for her and her husband and the moments we experience stumbles along the caregiving journey.

We grieved with Andrew, who heard the sad news of his uncle's passing as he drove to our training on Saturday morning. We're thinking of you, Andrew, and sending you our support and prayers.

The work didn't stop for the students at the end of our weekend together. Penny will soon launch a support group in her community through the VA Caregiver Peer Support Mentoring Program. She also wants to reach out to a resource center for persons with aphasia about presenting "The Caregiving Years" to a family caregiver support group.

Vivian reached out to a contact within her employer to schedule a presentation to HR managers. She'll use "The Caregiving Years" as a guide as she shares solutions that HR managers can offer their working family caregivers.

Thanks so much to Vivian, Penny, Andrew, Chris and Heather for making our weekend together such a wonderful experience. I will keep you posted on all they do!

(Want to learn how to become a Certified Caregiving Consultant and a Certified Caregiving Educator? Join me for a free webinar on August 12 at Noon ET (11 a.m. CT, 10 a.m. MT, 9 a.m. PT). Register for the webinar, Become a Certified Caregiving Consultant, to receive a reminder and a link to the archive in case you miss the live event.)

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Chris MacLellan

I know one of the most important aspects of this wonderful weekend was to meet the other CCE educators. Additionally, it was very special and moving, listening, and learning, from their adaptation of The Caregiving Years. What a great weekend!