Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 11


Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 11

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 Geri Lynn Baumblatt and Olga Masevich (first video) and Tandy Elisala, Debbie Howard and Andrew Koch (second video).

About Caregiving and the Workplace Summit
Geri Lynn Baumblatt and Olga Masevich are organizing a two-hour event, "Co-creating a Better Work/Life for Family Caregivers & Employers: A Participatory Lab," as part of our Caregiving and the Workplace Summit, which is special event that's part of our National Caregiving Conference.

This interactive 2 hour session would include a panel session followed by an 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 shocking how hard it is to be on the other side of the bed and try to navigate the health system. 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 (Family Medical Leave Act), 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?

Meet Tandy Elisala
Tandy 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.

Tandy will present two sessions, "5 Ways to Be An Empowered Caregiver," and "3 Ways to Reclaim Your Life After Caregiving Ends."

Meet Debbie Howard
Debbie 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 to 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.

Debbie will present three sessions: "Long Distance Caregiving: Strategies for Success, Whether You Live Three States Away, or Even as Far Away as Japan!" and "Relaunching: Picking Up the Pieces when Caregiving is Done" and "There May be a Book in You: Writing about Your Caregiving Experience as a Way of Healing."

Meet Andrew Koch
Andrew 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.

Andrew will present "Our Best Self: Diversity, Social Justice, and Family Caregiving" and "Our Best Self: Self-Care Now, Not Later!" and "Loving-Kindness: A Practical Guide to Self-Care During The Caregiving Years."

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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CoachTandy -- I haven't been active online over the summer, but I made it to the conference and attended your session yesterday. Thank you for all your positive energy.


Our pleasure, Auntie Annie - I look forward to meeting you in Chicago in November!