Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 1


Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 1

Our Virtual Caregiving Summit introduces you to our presenters and panelists at our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference (NCC18). Our conference will take place on Friday, November 9, and Saturday, November 10, at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare, conveniently located minutes from O’Hare and a subway ride from downtown Chicago. Our agenda features family caregivers and former family caregivers sharing their experiences, insights and solutions.

Today we introduce you to Kathy Koenig (our first video) and Keith Piscitello and Cheryl Crofoot Knapp (our second video).

Meet Kathy Koenig

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.

Kathy's will lead a session called "Good Communication: How to Best Express Yourself." This workshop will offer 3 takeaway tools that can be put into practice immediately. Come and learn more about "I" messages, the 4 Steps of Assertiveness (DESC), and Aikido communication techniques. We will have a chance to practice in the workshop and witness the empowerment that occurs when we adjust our approach. These techniques are useful in all communication but particularly helpful in stressful situations, with medical personnel, and within family systems.

Meet Cheryl Crofoot Knapp and Keith Piscitello

Cheryl Crofoot Knapp is passionate about using life experiences to encourage others. She is a devoted wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, speaker, author, blogger, and Mrs. Minnesota-America 1996. With grace and humor, she was a primary caregiver and life manager for her parents through their battles with Alzheimer’s. She is an intentional speaker and blogger -- sharing God’s grace in the storms, and affirming caregivers for those with a terminal disease that they aren’t alone in wondering if life can return to a place of peace. Caregiving taught her about gains and losses, to discover courage within herself, and the importance of having love and support from those around her. She lost her dad to Alzheimer’s in 2010 and her mom to it in 2016. She says, “The dust continues to settle, and the plumb line is set to a new normal.” Her book, Undefeated Innocence: How God Helped My Parents and Me Navigate the Alzheimer’s Journey, combines personal and humorous anecdotes with Biblical truths to share His hope and encouragement to caregivers, and includes factual information and research about dementia and caregiving.

Cheryl will present "Freedom, Faith AND Forgiveness in Caregiving." Cheryl's family wanted to ignore the signs of Alzheimer’s in her dad. Her mom tried to hide them from us, which wasn’t tough considering they lived 800 miles away. Eventually, she couldn’t hide it anymore -- her depression was back, her husband fought with her to take the car keys, and he couldn’t remember the woman who was his wife for 56 years. Thus began Cheryl's family caregiving journey. In 2009, weeks before my wedding, Cheryl located and moved her dad into a nursing facility twenty miles from their home. She assisted her mom in the legal and financial struggles, and then with funeral arrangements when he passed in 2010. Even before his death, Cheryl's broken heart began to see the familiar signs manifest in her. Three years later, Cheryl and her husband sold their house in Minnesota, consoled their four adult children as to why we needed to leave, and moved to Arkansas to caregive for Cheryl's mom. She was first in a senior independent apartment, then to assisted living, and ultimately to memory care lock-up. Cheryl held her mom's hand for the final time on June 30, 2016. During caregiving, Cheryl's book helped her to understand where to find the collateral beauty in caregiving.

Keith Piscitello will present "Four Keys to Making a Difference in a Family Caregiving Challenge." Every 11 seconds in the US an older American suffers a fall which often puts into motion a string of events that the family is unready for and often ill-prepared to address. Besides medical, there are financial, legal and caregiving concerns that must be addressed -- often with a window to act that is closing quickly. Keith's presentation tackles the critical legal, financial and health decisions that must be planned when families find themselves thrust into a caregiving crisis. We will cover prioritizing what should be done and in what order to make sure the wishes of the caree are taken into consideration when developing the plan for care, as well as cover disability and end-of-life issues. Our goal is to provide the tools necessary to help reduce stress on all parties involved while making sure that the medical, financial, and legal issues are properly addressed.

Keith is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor who has over a decade of experience helping seniors and their adult children navigate the financial and legal transition from full independence to a higher level of care. Keith is the lead financial planner for of The Ceffalio Wealth Management Group, an ensemble advisory team providing objective and timely financial advice and guidance - with the highest level of professional service - in building and preserving wealth for their clients. The team collaborates with our client's other professional advisors –including your CPA and attorney–to develop an estate planning strategy that is appropriate for their circumstances.

Conference Details

We are so very grateful for the support of the following sponsors of our National Caregiving Conference, especially AARP, this year's title sponsor:

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Kathy Koenig

Thank you for the many kind comments_mysql. I am looking forward to being part of the conference and being inspired, as always, by the caregivers among us.


Communication is vital in this work. I spend everyday trying to keep in touch with mother and what she can expect from me.


Denise, appreciated your reminder that we gather with people to engage in thinking together and feeling together. Keith reminds me of my own financial planner in the perspective that it's about \"more than money\" and that he sees the whole situation and walks with people through it. Loved his comments_mysql on \"bandwidth\" and Steve Jobs/Mark Zuckerberg simple wardrobe decisions. Appreciated Kathy's comments_mysql on \"collateral beauty\" to be found in this experience.


P.S. to Denise - there is a small typo in the intro paragraph for these videos --- Conference dates say the 9th and 19th rather than 9th and 10th. :)


Was intrigued by Kathy's description of communication techniques. But I didn't know I would also be inspired by her story of time with her father. It took me back to wonderful opportunities I had with my parents during their final seasons of life. Thank you for reminding us that there can be joys in our \"full catastrophe living.\" It is also a good reminder as I am presently an entrenched caregiver for my husband with FTD dementia, to appreciate those profound moments that arise in the midst of the mundane.

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