Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 2


Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 2

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 Shawn Bennis and Gael Chiarella Alba.

Meet Shawn

Shawn Bennis, MSN, R.N., is the Family Caregiver Coordinator at Henry Ford Health System. Shawn has been coordinator of the Henry Ford C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Assistance Resources and Education) Program since it began in 2015. Working with many individuals and departments in the health system and the community, she has grown the C.A.R.E. Program into a robust, extensive service. Through phone calls, emails, social media, and her presence in the community, Bennis creates new relationships with caregivers daily, constantly seeking opportunities to develop the program to meet caregiver needs and preferences.

Programming today includes five support groups, an active Facebook group, Facebook Live broadcasts, art therapy, dance therapy and the caregiver college. Bennis leads one of the health system’s largest Employee Resource Groups, iCare4U, for caregivers. iCare4U is open to all employees and meets quarterly at varying locations in the system. Meetings include speakers, support, education, networking and caregiver resource information.

With nine years of experience as a home care nurse, Bennis has unique insight into the diverse backgrounds of patients and their caregivers. Her role is not just a job, but part of who she is every day. She understands that caregiving is not something most people are prepared to do, and finding balance in their lives is difficult. She has designed the C.A.R.E. Program to restore balance and enable caregivers to care for themselves, as well as their loved ones.

Shawn will participate in a panel discussion as part of our Caregiving and the Workplace Summit at our conference. Her panel will discuss workplace resource and affinity groups.

Meet Gael

Drawing from her experience at the bedside of numerous clients over the years as a Yogi, and then Caregiving Consultant while going through the crisis of severe traumatic injury with her son, and the recent death process of both parents, Gael Chiarella Alba consistently learned to lean in on the presence of yoga in her life. This enabled her to use her knowledge within the walls of crisis care institutions no matter the situation, for the best for all concerned. Gael is an author, Certified Caregiving Consultant, Certified Yoga Therapist and a teacher's teacher bringing simple steps to light for everyone.

Gael will present "Simple Steps: Yoga for Caregivers." Creating a calm presence, helping everyone breathe, calling for more mindfullness and encouraging a gentle letting go are the most simple yet elemental steps in encouraging ease. We carry these qualities in body, mind and heart. Family members, medical personnel, the patient, and you yourself will benefit beyond measure through the process of dedicated modeling. We will talk about and practice what that looks and feels like.

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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Gael, I'm so glad to hear that you will teach yoga for caregivers! If there is one group of people that could benefit from yoga, it is caregivers.\r\n\r\nShawn, I'm encouraged to know you are bringing Caregiving resources to the workplace. Keep up the great work - and see you in Chicago!


Enjoyed virtually meeting Gael and Shawn and hearing from Denise. Particularly appreciated Gael's reminder to \"take a breath,\" and Shawn's insight of how important it is for us each to share our stories. Hoping I might be able to make it to the conference this year.


I'm so glad you guys are excited about podcasting during the conference! We'll have easy video tutorials to help before the conference so that when you arrive, you'll be good to go. !! I think it's a great way to collect the caregiving stories from the conference. Every story is important and we want to do what we can to collect as many as possible.


2 million caregivers in Michigan alone, wow. Love the podcast info to peers, if its easy enough.

I liked the comment Cheryl's presentation on perspective (freedom, fears, faith and forgiveness) sounds interesting. I love her comment \"God didn't choose us in spite of our weakness but because of our weaknesses\". \r\n\r\nKeith offering to help Caregivers who don't know where to turn or what to do is dear to my heart. Like him, I want to help bridge the gap.