Session Descriptions & Speaker Bios

We are thrilled to have many experienced and thoughtful presentations lined up for you as a caregiver. Below is a full session description in addition to the speaker's bio. Each session will be 50 minutes long. For the conference schedule, click here.

Navigating Caregiver, Career, and Community: Challenges, Opportunities, and Purposes

Navigating caregiving responsibilities is always complex and often range from caring for young children, teens, or young adults to providing elder care to keep up with general household responsibilities. Yet, individuals, and particularly women, still yearn to have a meaningful career and contribute in church and community as well. Dr. Susan R Madsen will share research on the differences between Utah and other states on these elements as well as to discuss typically thinking patterns that make this so difficult. She will share some resources that might be helpful as you navigate this landscape toward finding deeper meaning and joy in the complexity that emerges in life.

Dr. Susan R. Madsen is the Inaugural Karen Haight Huntsman Endowed Professor of Leadership in the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University. She is also the Founding Director of the Utah Women; Leadership Project, which focuses on strengthening the impact of Utah girls and women. Through the years, Professor Madsen has written a host of Utah research and policy briefs and snapshots, reports, and op-eds. She is also a well-known global scholar, publishing six books and hundreds of articles, chapters, and reports. Madsen’s research has been featured in the U.S. News and World Report, The Atlantic, The New York Times, Parenting Magazine, Chronicle of Higher Education, The Washington Post, and she is a regular contributor to Forbes. She speaks globally, and in 2019 did keynotes in the United Arab Emirates, the UK, Lithuania, Germany, and Denmark. She serves on or advises many nonprofit, community, and education boards and committees, including Silicon Slopes, Envision Utah, Better Days 2020, Real Women Run, United Way of Utah County, Utah Financial Empowerment Coalition, Women’s Leadership Institute, and more. Madsen received a bachelor’s degree from BYU, masters from Portland State University, and a doctorate from the University of Minnesota.

11 a.m. - Benefits and Expectations of a Caregiver Support Group

Support groups are a safe, friendly place where caregivers can share thoughts and feelings, and give and receive encouragement, support and education from other caregivers and facilitators who know what they're going through. We will discuss a typical support group format, an example of topics and what is shared at the group along with confidentiality requests. The changes in group dynamics since going virtual in the past 7 months and what that looks like.

Geri Lehnardt has a BS in Social Work from BYU. She worked at a Long-Term Care Facility as the Social Work Director. She currently works at MAG where she started the Caregiver Program in 1999 and has been a Case Manager for the aging population. Because she has been a caregiver herself, she has a passion to help caregivers make their journey the best it can be.

11 a.m. - 5 Legal Messes You Can Avoid

This presentation will give a brief overview of some of the more common legal messes you or your neighbors are likely to encounter but could easily avoid. We will address questions such as:

  • How can I help my neighbor handle creditors that keep calling?
  • What are the most common scams to avoid?
  • How do I get a loved one to honor my health directive?
  • What are my rights and their responsibilities after I give a loved one power of attorney?
  • What are the dangers of blind estate planning?

Klea D Harris is an attorney with Angel Advocates, PLLC, where she focuses exclusively on estate planning for young families and the retirement community. She serves as chair of the Utah Valley Caregiver Conference and participates in the Utah Bar's Business and Estate Planning sections as Vice President and legislative committee. Ms. Harris earned her B.A. in History and Gerontology and J.D. degree from BYU. She and her husband, Mike, have six dynamic children.

Noon: The Value of Staying Connected in Challenging Times

Social distancing, Quarantine, Isolation: We’re hearing a lot of powerful messages about staying physically apart, but now, more than ever, we need to stay connected.

As humans we are inherently social beings. Studies have shown us that staying connected to each other helps us remain more physically and emotionally healthy, but connection can be challenging—especially in these times. In this presentation, we will discuss the importance of connection for our health and wellbeing, as well as ideas to help us prioritize and seek out more connection in our lives.

Linda Cole is the program manager for the MAG Area Agency on Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. She is a Licensed Social Services Worker as well as a State-Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman and is currently pursuing a Master of Gerontology degree at the University of Utah. Through working with hundreds of clients over the years, Linda has taken a particular interest in the importance of social connection across the life span. Linda has presented on the protective and healing aspects of connection in professional and educational venues including BYU Education Week.

Noon: Alzheimer's and the Progression of Dementia

Do you think you or a loved one has Alzheimer’s? Come learn the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Everyone is concerned about Alzheimer’s. Do you wonder if your mom or dad, husband or wife is forgetting things more than usual? Is it fatigue, stress or dementia? Come join us as we talk through ‘normal’ aging versus dementia.

Laura M. Wall is the Director of Development at the Alzheimer’s Association of Utah. She received her BS at University of Utah. She has been the heart of the Alzheimer’s Association in Salt Lake County for many years helping the community and professionals provide care to our fragile seniors. For over 25 years, she has been involved in the non-profit sector promoting community development. Over this time, she has achieved and shared a large amount of knowledge and expertise about Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias. In addition to her expertise, her enthusiasm and joyful personality make her an invaluable resource in our community.

1 p.m. - Practical Help in Caring for a Loved one with Dementia

This session will focus on ways caregivers can communicate more effectively with their loved ones who have dementia and potentially de-escalate common “behaviors” that can accompany dementia. 

  1. How dementia changes the brain
  2. General caregiving tips
  3. Communicating with a loved one with dementia
  4. Managing behaviors
  5. Validation

Nancy Madsen holds a MS Degree in Gerontology from the University of Utah and is a licensed Social Service Worker, Certified Public Manager, and Dementia Dialogues Trainer/Specialist. She is the Utah Caregiver Support Program Manager for the State of Utah/Division of Aging & Adult Services. Additionally, Nancy has been an adjunct professor at Brigham Young University where she taught Adult Development & Aging from 2017-2018. A former family caregiver herself spanning almost 25 years, she understands the role of a caregiver well and is passionate about advocating for all older adults as well as family caregivers who selflessly devote their lives and time in caring for their loved ones.

1 p.m. - Music & Medicine: A Wellness and Self-Care Session for Caregivers

Have you ever gotten goosebumps from a powerful piece of music? Have you ever been moved to tears by the words of the song that expressed exactly how you feel? Have you ever had a song magically play on the radio just when you need it most? As humans, we love music. We respond to it powerfully and it has even been described as a human obsession. Music’s medicine is deeper than that, we are music! Come to this presentation to learn and experience more. Participants will be a part of active music making in a group, in a natural and non intimidating way and will come away feeling centered, focused, rejuvenated and re committed to the important work they do as caregivers; all this because they will experience the medicinal benefits of music making for their soul.

Kristi Phillips, MT-BC (music therapist- board certified) has Utah State Certification and has earned her Hospice and Palliative Care Certification. Kristi currently contracts for Encompass Health and has been in this specific population for 14 years. She finds it incredibly fulfilling and sacred to be invited into the home and lives of her terminally ill clients to provide peace and perspective through music as they transition. She loves spreading the magic of music and educating how it can be a tool of peace in our lives.

2 p.m. - Creative Interventions to Reduce Social Isolation for People with Dementia & Their Caregivers

Caregiving these days is even more challenging with all of the issues associated with Covid 19. So many activities and programs have been cancelled and we wonder when life will return to normal. This presentation will show some creative ways to engage people with dementia and their caregivers.

Rosemary Quatrale is the Older Adult Care Manager at Jewish Family Service. Rosemary grew up in the Detroit area and graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. After raising three children she enrolled in graduate school at the University of Utah and earned a master’s degree in human development social policy with a graduate certificate in gerontology. Upon completion of a gerontology practicum with Jewish Family Service in 2015, she was hired by the agency to continue to provide services to older adults.

Rosemary oversees the SNAP assistance program, Music and Memory, Caregiver support groups, memory café, assists with the Gleeful Choir, and has developed new programs to meet the needs of caregivers during the time of COVID-19. Rosemary loves interacting directly with her clients and is passionate about finding creative ways to enhance the lives of people living with dementia.

2 p.m. - Taking Control of Stress and Anxiety Through Breathing and Biofeedback

2020 has brought a lot of new and increased stress in all of our lives. There’s been enormous amounts of difficult change provoking biological illness through stress, unknown futures, fear, isolation, exhaustion, caregiver fatigue, etc. Our normal routines ability to cope with all the increased stressors have been dramatically changed in 2020. Biofeedback is an alternative in healing that takes just a few minutes a day and gives you the power to control your body, mind, and life. No matter what is happening to and around you, it is up to you on how you want to respond. Biofeedback is an evidenced based approach that teaches you how to control your breathing appropriately, which helps control your heart rate, which helps control your blood oxygenation and flow, and will decrease many of the negative symptoms of 2020!

Joey Ulrich is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW), a certified in Biofeedback and Neurofeedback through BCIA, and has his palliative care certificate from Eastern Washington University. He has worked as a therapist with adolescents, teenagers, seniors, couples and high risk families in a variety of settings. They include Neurotherapy Northwest, Utah Youth Village, Hearts for Hospice and Home Health. His greatest passion is working with seniors as an advocate to help achieve their personal and family goals. Currently, he operates Alert Utah and Choice Home Medical creating independence for seniors and their families by providing medical supplies to our invaluable seniors.

3 p.m. - A Guided Meditation Experience for Managing Stress

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Elizabeth Jensen has been teaching yoga for over ten years and uses guided meditation in her classes to engender mindfulness. She has found that when one seeks to become more mindful a natural bi-product is emotional and physical healing. With this awareness she attended the Institute of Healing Arts where she learned a process that uses imagery to let go of our beliefs that keep us from fully engaging in life, thus freeing us from unwanted patterns and perceptions.

Jenny Cleveland has 10 years of experience working as a registered nurse and has been a part of MAG’s Aging Services since 2016. She currently is the registered nurse with the New Choices Waiver program, and most recently became certified as a Master Trainer for the Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers, an evidence-based class that MAG has adopted for the benefit of our community members. Jenny is married to great man, and together they have raised five children, four serving in the US Military and one in college. She loves to spend time with her awesome family, traveling with her husband, eating great food, and being a caregiver herself.

3 p.m. Influencing Skills: How to Help Loved ones Make Difficult Choices

We’ve all been there… “No Dad, you can’t drive anymore!!” or “Come on Mom, I promise! You’re really going to love this assisted living place.” Trying to force loved-ones to make difficult changes in their lives can be very difficult, if not impossible. Join us to learn how to use a practical yet powerful research-backed four-step framework which will enable you to improve your ability to influence with love. 4 p.m.This session will be engaging, interactive, and fun! After learning to use the framework, we will give you a chance to practice in small virtual groups where you will share with and learn from others. And beware, you might hear a few punny “dad jokes” along the way!

NOTE: This session is for caregivers whose loved-ones still have capacity. Other presentations will address how to recognize and respond when a loved-one has lost capacity.

Justin Allen is the Managing Director of Ulrich Allen Leadership Capital, a research and consulting firm which provides advisory services and executive coaching for leaders around the world. He is the author of articles published in Harvard Business Review and two books, Talent Accelerator and HR Transformation. Justin has coached and developed 1000s of leaders in many companies, including: Disney, Gap, IBM, IKEA, Intel, McDonald’s, Microsoft, P&G, and Walmart. Justin loves spending time outdoors with his wife and their 8 children.

4 p.m. - Adaptive Movement to Facilitate Memory, Motion & Relaxation

Learn how to help make movement and memory a fun, playful, and relaxing activity at home for every physical, emotional, and cognitive ability. The focus of this session will be on how to use movement to facilitate memory and movement in a fun, playful, and relaxing way. The groups starts with a body scan and relaxation to bring awareness to the body. Then the movement progresses to ways of moving while sitting using imagery and imagination. 

Sara Schmidt, M.Ed., MA, R-DMT, has a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling with an emphasis in Dance Movement Therapy from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is a Registered Dance/Movement Therapist. Sara is the first Dance/Movement Therapist at Primary Children’s Hospital. Sara has experience working with the elderly with Dementia, children with complex medical diagnoses, and children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional dysregulation, anxiety, and depression.

4 p.m. - How to Build a Village

The phrase it takes a village to raise a child promotes the idea that many are involved in the nurturing, learning, problem solving, and role playing in fostering healthy human outcomes. The same is true in caregiving. Caregivers and receivers both benefit from reciprocal interactions that draw from diverse sources. How to Build a Village helps identify resources, discusses strategies for strengthening relationships, and presents tools for engaging people in a mutually beneficial cause.

Rosalind Hilkey is married, a mother to ten children, and works for iCare Home Health and Hospice as their Chaplain and Outreach Director. Rosalind is a clinically trained and licensed healthcare Chaplain that holds certifications in Grief Counseling, Mental Health Facilitation, and Child and Family Human Services with a master’s in Crisis Counseling. Rosalind is an inducted member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Rosalind’s passion is to find holistic approaches that result in joyful living.

5 p.m. - Community Connections: Free and Low-cost Supportive Services You Never Knew Existed

There are so many no-cost and low-cost services and support in the community for caregivers and aging adults. You just need to know where to look! In-home case management, education, dementia services, support groups, durable medical equipment providers, nutrition, insurance counseling, utility assistance, home weatherization options and more will be discussed. Some services have income criteria, but many are available to the general public. Programs at the local Area Agency on Aging, as well as other government and nonprofit agencies will be discussed.

Samantha Collier graduated from BYU, where she studied social work and sociology. She has been a social service worker for twenty-eight years, with experience in child welfare, adoptions, and domestic violence. After acting as a caregiver for multiple family members, she made a conscious decision to move her career focus from children and families to aging services. She currently works as the Quality Assurance Manager at MAG, coordinating in-home services. Samantha is a certified Dementia Dialogues trainer.

Geri Lehnardt has a BS in Social Work from BYU, She worked at a Long Term Care Facility as the Social Work Director. She currently works at MAG where she started the Caregiver Program in 1999 and has been a Case Manager for the Aging population. Because she has been a caregiver herself, she has a passion to help caregivers make their journey the best it can be.

5 p.m. - Navigating the Options and Challenges of Placing a Loved one in Long-Term Care

In this presentation we will discuss what comes next when an aging loved one can no longer be cared for at home. Sometimes the best next step is long-term care in a facility that offers around-the-clock care. We will include a discussion of the challenges facing a loved one who feels they are losing their independence. We will also talk about the difference between skilled nursing and assisted living facilities, the pros and cons of large vs. small facilities, and the difficulties associated with long-term care during COVID-19.

Susie Yorgason is a State-Certified Long-Term Care Ombudsman for the MAG Area Agency on Aging. For six years, Susie has been actively championing the rights of elderly and vulnerable adults in assisted living facilities and nursing homes. Susie has spent countless hours advocating for seniors and understands the particular challenges and obstacles of placing loved ones in long-term care. Susie received her bachelor’s degree in Communications from BYU in 2011, has spoken at Generations Conference in SLC, BYU Women’s Conference, the Provo Rotary Club, and has trained staff at dozens of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

6 p.m. - Guardianship vs Power of Attorney: Your Rights, Their Responsibilities

Attorney Klea Harris will address the major areas of confusion older adults have with the power of attorney form. We will focus on:

  • How do I choose the right person and what would their responsibilities be?
  • How do I prevent financial abuse and exploitation?
  • What should I write in the special instruction section?
  • How do I determine if a power of attorney isn’t enough and I need a guardianship instead?

Klea D Harris is an attorney with Angel Advocates, PLLC, where she focuses exclusively on estate planning for young families and the retirement community. She serves as chair of the Utah Valley Caregiver Conference and participates in the Utah Bar's Business and Estate Planning sections as Vice President and legislative committee. Ms. Harris earned her B.A. in History and Gerontology and J.D. degree from BYU. She and her husband, Mike, have six dynamic children.

6 p.m. - Secrets to Successful Caregiving

Come and learn some tips to improve your relationship with the person you provide care for.

*This session will be pre-recorded.

Jeremy Yorgason is a Professor in the School of Family Life and Director of the Gerontology Program at Brigham Young University. He teaches a class on adult development and aging, and his research interests focus on later life family relationships, with an emphasis on couples coping with chronic illness.

7 p.m. - Healthy Grieving During COVID: Challenges and Opportunities

How do we handle the grief that is naturally part of our role as a caregiver in the midst of current COVID restrictions – can’t visit loved ones in care facilities, can’t hold suitable memorials/funerals that honor them after their passing, and likely not receive the physical support and presence of loved ones we so desperately need during our own grieving? This session will discuss these challenges and will present some creative and effective ways to get the support we need as caregivers both before and after the passing of our loved one.

Mark de St. Aubin, LCSW, FT is currently the Director of Community Education for Serenity Funeral Home and works closely with families for funeral arrangements as well as providing bereavement follow up care. Mark has previously worked in both home health/hospice and nursing home care, and has taught for 25 years as a faculty member at the University of Utah instructing in the areas of supporting the needs of the chronically ill and the dying, and how to grieve our losses in healthy ways. A resident of East Millcreek, Utah for the past 32 years, Mark lives with his wife, Lorene, his dog, Leo, and enjoys hiking, gardening and musical performance.

*Schedule is subject to change. For any questions, call 801-229-3808.

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