Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 8


Virtual Caregiving Summit: Day 8

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 Randa Abdelrahim, Shannon Ferraby, Casandra Porter and Nikisha Ware.

Meet Randa Abdelrahim
Randa is PhD candidate in Disability studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is an immigrant that moved to the United States in 2013. She has a bachelor's degree in occupational therapy and a master's degree in vision rehabilitation. Randa has an experience working with caregivers of children with disabilities. Currently, she works as a research assistant and as a teaching assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focus is on family support across minority groups with a focus on the impact of race, culture, gender, and immigration. Randa's research and work has been inspired by her mother and grandmother. In 2013 Randa used to support her grandmother during doctors' visits and therapy session and in running some errands. Recently her role changed as she provides respite for her mother who became the primary caregiver for her grandmother. Randa considers caregiving as a continuous story entrenched in the lives of women in her family and culture. From caring for children with disabilities to caring for an aging parent or spouse, women are the ones who mostly shape the meaning of caregiving. As such, Randa considers herself as an advocate for women who are caregivers across the life course.

In her presentation, "Family Caregivers Experiences: The Multicultural Perspective," Randa will provide a comprehensive perspective of the diverse experiences of immigrant caregivers who identify as Latino, Asian, or Arab using results from a systematic literature review. A content analysis of relevant articles was conducted to identify emerging themes. These themes provide a comprehensive understanding of the universal experiences of U.S. immigrant caregivers. It also provides means to understand how caregivers may remain their best and cope with the demands of their role.

Meet Shannon Ferraby
When Shannon is not a hundred feet under, scuba diving in caves or with sharks, she’s on a mission! A mission to stop women from listening to and believing lies that are holding them back from who they were created to be! Lies whispering, “You aren’t good enough.” “You don’t have what it takes.” Sometimes shouting, “You are a failure!” Shannon is a contributing author in “Overcoming Mediocrity – Influential Women." “He called me Mommy. He signed his school papers using our last name. He loved me. He trusted me. And then, one day, he decided to confide in me.” As a caregiver for foster children, she learned first hand how difficult caregiving for others can be. Foster and adopted children bring with them caregiving experiences that can be hard to anticipate. Feeling she was called to be adopt her foster son, Shannon also experienced how even when your hearts desire is to be a loving caregiver, things do not always go the way we hope. Shannon's story, Believing in Your Value, is her caregiving journey through heartache and failure to healing and flourishing! Shannon shares her darkest times, deepest hurts and valuable life lessons to help others overcome their caregiving grief, loss, or even just bad days.

In her presentation, "Believing in Your Value," Shannon will six steps that helped her heal, care for herself and her family as well as believe in herself and grown again.

Meet Casandra Porter
Bringing 20 years of experience in the healthcare industry and 15 years of experience as a family caregiver to the table, Casandra seeks to engage with other family caregivers to help them navigate the tough situations that might arise during their caregiving journey as a Certified Caregiving Consultant and Educator. She also serves as an advocate for family caregivers in her community, helping to bring support groups to family caregivers and educate businesses on caregiving sensitivity in the workplace. As a blogger for, Casandra has helped to integrate family caregivers into the online community where they are able to find support. Now, through her own business and blog, Essentials of Caregiving, she serves as a catalyst for changing the healthcare landscape where family caregiver inclusion is essential. Advocating to bring the necessary support for family caregivers of all ages and caregiving situations where they need it most, in the hospitals and healthcare offices they frequent.

In her presentation, "Get Inspired! Stay Motivated: Positive Words of Advice to Keep You Reaching for Your Best Self," Casandra will share how we can incorporate self-care by applying the most popular tools for business success to our own caregiving journey.

Meet Nikisha Ware and The Women of Beauty for Ashes
The Women of Beauty for Ashes are unified as they are diverse. They met online less than a year ago and bonded over their caregiving experiences and shared experiences around brokenness and healing. April Arganbright, a native of Columbus, Ohio, has thrived through her experiences as a domestic abuse survivor, a respite caregiver for autism and a caregiver of cancer patients. With Love, compassion and a bit of humor, her ability to help her clients through a focus on self-care, allows them to become stronger for the day they will be facing. She is an active giver with Matters of the Heart where she helps women overcome the mental obstacles that have chronically cluttered their path. Shakina Cooley from Jackson, Mississippi, is a divorced mother of two who works in customer service for the government. Shakina created a Facebook support group for recently divorced or separated women called In The A.M. (Aftermath). She also assisted her mother in caring for her grandmother who suffered with multiple sicknesses prior to her death less than a decade ago. A probation officer from Colorado, burgeoning author and boy mom of 2, Amy ‘AJ’ Bryant has been both the patient and the caregiver in different seasons. AJ specializes in trauma & domestic violence, & her dream is to see not one person settle for living on “survive mode.” Nikisha Ware, PhD, is a full-time mom and coach for women who are growing their businesses on social media platforms. A former university administrator, Nikisha helped her mother care for her father until 1997 when he passed over from multiple myeloma—a terminal blood cancer. Their collaboration brings together greater than 40 years of experience and a wealth of knowledge and a desire to help others on their journey.

It’s easy to lose yourself when caring for a friend or family member. Sometimes you lose your identity in your role as a family caregiver; you may not attend to ways to show yourself care and your sensitivities to your own desires and happiness may diminish under the weight of your responsibilities and duties. The cure? Developing an awareness to what your wants and needs are with a active lifestyle of self-care habits. Cultivating a positive self-identity and self-love rooted in real awareness isn’t just about inflating people’s sense of self-worth, rather it’s helping you identify the personal characteristics that help you operate at your best, in ways that are also valued by the people who are in your care. In this panel discussion, "Beauty for Ashes: Life-Changing Ways to Cultivate Positive Self-Awareness, Self-Love & Self-Identity," the Women of Beauty for Ashes will share simple, actionable steps that can activate your inner power, so you can recapture and reconnect with your true inner strength in your most rewarding and challenging times of giving.

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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