The first time I hopped on the weekly #carechat on Twitter (which just so happened to be May 23, 2017), I found out about Caregiving.com. Denise Brown, founder of
Caregiving.com, is one of the leaders of the weekly chats. She was so welcoming and friendly, she sucked me in right away.
In the stories and chats with real life humans who are caring for families, I found comfort in knowing I was not alone. In the Caregiving Years, I found tools to prepare for the battled ahead. In Denise’s calming voice, I found peace, knowing I would survive now that I had unlocked the portal to the information and support I had been looking for all along.
Of course, I knew there were other family caregivers out there, but nobody ever seems to want to talk about it openly. And I could never seem to find just exactly what I was looking for when I typed my questions and curiosities into Google. I found all of this and more at Caregiving.com .
Pretty soon, I was stalking Denise all of the time, obsessed with all of the caregiving information I could consume. I signed up for all the mailing lists. Subscribed to all the things. She launched the Certified Caregiving Consultant (CCC) training, which I signed up for as soon as I could (PS – thanks Sheli! I will never forget you for that.)
Then, Denise invited me to the second annual National Caregiving Conference, NCC17. At NCC17, I met so many amazing people. People just like myself, who had become family caregivers and now were out pounding the pavement and leading very successful lives sharing their personal caregiving experiences.
Even though, originally, I scoffed at anyone who would tell me that caregiving might result in a change in employment for one reason or the other… hell, I’ll admit I even scoffed at Denise sometimes when I was taking the CCC training, saying,
It doesn’t have to be that way. People just don’t make the right choices or put in enough work. That would never be me, I had the best job….
but after I saw so many other former and current family caregivers making a life for themselves, converting their caregiving experience into not just a living, but a life, it occurred to me. There were other possibilities for the future I hadn’t considered.
If I hadn’t started running around with these folks, I would never have believed I was capable of anything other than the daily grind I had come to know- working 9-5 and then heading to Grandma’s for a second shift. All of the amazing people I’ve met along my Caregiving.com journey challenged me to think differently about my gifts and abilities and what “work” really looked like. I would never have taken the leap to branch out on my own without the faith and encouragement of the friendships I’ve built there.
Since that time long ago, I have moved on to become a Certified Caregiving Educator and Facilitator. These two certifications, along with my Certified Caregiving Consultant cred elevate my blog, boost my advocacy and awareness work, help me be a better leader at Sandwiched KC, and serve family caregivers better.
Now, I have an entire tribe of people from across the globe who know what it’s like to walk in my shoes, and, like myself, are working as their own bosses to create value and change the lives of family caregivers.
That’s just the beginning!
Denise is always creating new ways and orchestrating partnerships to advance the status and well-being of family caregivers.
This year, she launched the Caregiving Co-op. Through our co-op, we will be able to save on products and services, share equipment and supplies we no longer need, receive support from CCCs and other family caregivers, and receive reimbursement for our expertise.
In our Making a Break project, we meet monthly with family caregivers who want to figure out how they can create space in their lives so they can take a break (or get “respite.”)
From photo projects to contests, she is always finding ways to reward us for thinking creatively. Denise is always encouraging us to tap into our intuitive side. I think she knows that it is key to finding joy and meaning in life.
Denise is a pioneer. Family caregiving was in her crosshairs way before anyone else had it on their radar. She has been working hard for over 20 years to connect us with the resources and supports we need to live our best lives and make an amazing difference while we are caring for a loved one.
So, without further ado, let’s hear it for Denise at Caregiving.com! She is paving the way for the future of family caregiving!