We Mean Business

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We Mean Business

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From the left, Dannelle, Beth, Deb, Toni and Andrew


(This is the third article in a series about the trends in caregiving experience that bubbled up during our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference.)

In 1997, I wrote the first iteration of the stages of caregiving, which included four stages. The last stage, the Godspeed Caregiver, reflected the work of former family caregivers to make life easier for today's family caregivers. The following year, I added two more stages (honestly, I can't remember which two off the top of my head) while firmly holding on to the Godspeed Caregiver.

The Godspeed Caregiver is the book author, the volunteer extraordinaire, the entrepreneur. The trend to turn that personal caregiving experience into a career has never been greater than now and was on full display at NCC18.

Consider five of our Certified Caregiving Consultants, pictured above, who shared their success stories at our conference:

  • Danelle LeBlanc, who cared for her father-in-law, received a grant to present paid caregiving presentations in her community. She applied for the grant as soon as she completed our training programs (CCC and CCE). She recently launched a gift registry for family caregivers called Caregivestry.com. She's also a trainer for our CCC program, co-leading her first training sessions at NCC18.

  • Beth Suereth turned her experience of caring for her father into a business, Caregiving Pathways, helping family caregivers better manage their caree's hospitalizations. Beth now consults with AARP and with our CCC students as a Skills Consultant.

  • Debra Hallisey, who cares for her mom and cared for her dad, now works with family caregivers one-on-one to support them with appropriate resources and ideas. Deb's caregiving experience for her dad led to a job loss which is why she formed her own business, Advocate for Mom and Dad. Deb also consults with our CCC students as a Skills Consultant.

  • Toni Gitles, who cared for her mom, now regularly presents caregiving workshops in her community and is a trainer for our CCE program. Through her business, Heart Light Enterprises, Toni also consults with family caregivers to better manage their experience.

  • Andrew Koch completed our CCC and CCE training in 2016 and recently became a CCC trainer, co-leading his first sessions with Dannelle at NCC18. Andrew has been caregiving professionally for seven years and cares for two of his uncles and a grandmother long-distance from Boulder, Colorado. He is pursuing a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Mindfulness-Based Transpersonal Counseling.


These success stories only crack the surface of the entrepreneurs changing the caregiving landscape. Tandy Elisala, who cared for her parents and organized our NCC18 Podcasts, runs a successful coaching practice. Rachel Hiles, who cares for her grandmother, completed our CCC program earlier this year and now runs a media design firm, Nth Degree Media and Designs. She decided to leave her day job and focus solely on her small business after the death of her caree, a dear friend named Calvin.

Managing a caregiving experience is like running a small business, which is why so many decide to start their own after their caregiving experience ends. These entrepreneurs will impact those who currently care while also changing how these family caregivers access support and resources.

Consider Mom's Meals, founded by Barb Anderson. On its website, the company shares that the company began because "we wanted to help folks, like us, struggling to find solutions for lending a hand to their parents and relatives living far away." Mom's Meals is one of several companies which could be considered Meals on Wheels alternatives.

Ten years ago, the idea that Meals on Wheels would have competition would have sounded unrealistic. Our Area Agencies on Aging also may begin to feel the competition from these small businesses which cater to family caregivers. As family caregivers feel the stress of not enough time for all that demands their time, they'll turn to hire professionals, like our CCCs, who can save them time. The reach for help because of a google search to hire a consultant soon may replace the call for help to an Area Agency on Aging.

A caregiving experience changes the individual. Now, we're seeing those individuals change the business of caregiving. Those who have enjoyed little competition for the family caregiver's attention and dollars soon may find themselves jockeying to keep their positions.

Because we mean business.




Miss our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference? We recorded all our sessions so that you don’t miss any of the important conversation that occurred during our sessions.

“I work with families facing very complex, difficult care-giving situations, and very much appreciate the sophistication and depth of all the presentations I attended,” shared a conference attendee. “Thanks so very much for this wonderful conference.”

Purchase your package of NCC18 recordings and save 20% with our coupon code KISS (for Kiss a Caregiver) through November 23. Our package includes my presentation, The Future of Caregiving, a panel discussion on owning our small businesses and our caregiving experiences, and our Caregiving and the Workplace Summit.

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