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Hope for the Caregiver Conference


Saturday, April 14, 2018
9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Plano Campus

Whether you are caring for an older or disabled adult or seeing to the special needs of children, we are offering help and hope. Mark your calendar and make plans to join us for this special conference.

The conference includes more than 30 breakout sessions in the areas of

  • Caregiving
  • Financial/Legal Issues
  • Memory Care
  • Self-Care
  • Special Needs/Disabilities

The conference also provides opportunities to meet with more than 30 local vendors in these areas.

Cost: $10 per family (includes lunch and refreshments)


For questions, please call 972-820-5325.

Sponsored by Prestonwood Baptist Church and Bent Tree Bible Fellowship


“If Aging Is a Journey, Where Is My Road Map?”
Cheryl Acres
Category: Caregiving

How would you know how to help your aging parents in case of an emergency? How do you know what to look for to keep them safe/independent? What are the options to care for your loved ones? What are the costs; who pays? Ms. Acres reviews some of the answers to these questions as well as reviewing the role of a care manager as a guide for the journey that we are all on!

Cheryl Acres has been an RN for nearly 40 years, and in 1998, she obtained her certification as a case manager (CCM). Her clinical practice area includes acute care and home healthcare. Her case management career has included group health insurance, home healthcare, Workers’ Compensation, disability management and consulting. Cheryl’s areas of expertise include geriatrics, chronic illnesses, complex medical/surgical care, brain injuries, spinal cord injury, wound care, oncology and transplants. As an RN and CCM, she advocates for clients and their families through the healthcare maze, focusing on ethical, timely and quality services.

Cheryl founded her company, Comprehensive Care Management, LLC, in 2007, in order to assist seniors and families to develop a care “road map,” providing education about illness and services for their aging loved ones. With her extensive healthcare background and training, she has a broad knowledge of health and service providers, to aid seniors with their goals of maintaining health, independence and aging with dignity. She is a long-term member of the Case Management Society of America as well as a DFW CMSA chapter leader. She was the recipient of the DFW CMSA Chapter’s Case Manager of the Year award in 2006 and an honorable mention in geriatric care management from Dorland Health People Awards. She is also a current member of the Aging Life Care Association and the Dallas Area Gerontological Society.

“Housing Transition Challenges for Seniors”
Ron Blume
Category: Caregiving

For seniors, the assessment process and challenge in making a housing transition are considerably more complicated and emotional than for young buyers or sellers. Evaluation of financial, social, health, family, security, transportation, service, and timing considerations is required to ensure a move in the right direction is made. This seminar discusses alternative housing choices for seniors: the fears, costs, and logistical concerns to be addressed in making any change.

Ron Blume, a licensed realtor and registered professional engineer in the state of Texas, is also a certified senior real estate specialist. He holds a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and an MBA in finance. He enjoys amateur radio, bridge and family gatherings with his four children and 11 grandchildren. His passion is providing seniors with consultation in identifying their needs, referrals to professionals, home market analysis, tips to prepare the home for aging in place or for sale, and information regarding senior housing options. As appropriate, Ron also provides real estate services for the sale or purchase of property.

“Planning Respite Care for Your Loved Ones”
Tom Brewster
Category: Caregiving

This seminar will cover successful tips and strategies for caregivers to help reduce stress and increase the happiness level of both you as the caregiver and your loved one through the utilization of in-home care. Also included are suggestions for engaging family members in care decisions and how to select a care provider.

In 2009, Tom and Rhesa Brewster, seeing a great need for a Christian in-home care company in the Dallas area, launched Heritage Keepers. The concept was to provide care for the physical needs of senior adults while addressing their emotional and spiritual needs by placing Christian caregivers with clients. Praying with clients and encouraging them in spiritual issues would fill a gap that was desperately needed in the senior community.

Years later, it is obvious that this approach has been successful. Heritage Keepers has worked with many seniors and families of seniors over these years and has been blessed to care for some wonderful people. The caregivers of Heritage Keepers are the lifeblood of the company, and they do a wonderful job completing the “Circle of Care” for their clients.

Recently, Tom decided to go into full-time ministry leading a mission ministry, Engage Hope. He has left the reigns of Heritage Keepers to Mary Kasinger, who has done a fantastic job taking care of our clients.

Tom and Rhesa have been married for 27 years and have three children, Will, Anna and Holly. They are members of Prestonwood Baptist Church.

“Understanding Hospice”
Dawn Curtis-Thames, RN, MA
Category: Caregiving

Medicare Hospice Benefit – What It Covers
When It’s Time to Consider Hospice – Patient Eligibility
How to Choose Your Hospice Provider

Dawn Curtis-Thames is an admissions nurse with Vitas Healthcare. As a registered nurse with 22 years of experience, Dawn approaches patients and families holistically to guide them in their hospice choices. As a patient advocate, Dawn works with hospitals and households to make a smooth transition to home or hospice in-patient care as appropriate.

Dawn has a master’s degree in theological studies with a focus on human suffering, trauma and resilience with 15 years of experience in pastoral care. She has served in education and healthcare in the African countries of Zambia and South Sudan. She and her husband have two adult children. Her mother has lived with Alzheimer’s for 15 years.

“Decisions with Dignity”
Michael R. Escalante
Category: Caregiving

None of us likes to consider the time of our own or a loved one’s time of passing, but four steps will enable families to prepare for this time and to protect their loved ones. “Decisions with Dignity” provides the tools needed to make the necessary legal, financial and emotional decisions to relieve the burden for those left behind. Those visiting this session will receive a complimentary Personal Planning Guide and, if applicable, a Veteran’s Guide.

As a family service counselor at Sparkman-Hillcrest, Michael R. Escalante has learned what it means to take care of a family during one of life’s most stressful events, and has proven to be a reliable and resourceful supporter of families dealing with the loss of a loved one. He is honored to be one who is called upon to answer tough questions and provide helpful answers when a family doesn’t know what to do next. In his role as a family service counselor, Michael not only helps when death occurs, but also provides information about the four steps necessary to take care of funeral or cremation arrangements ahead of the time they are needed.

Michael found his call to serve at young age. First, in high-end restaurants, he provided the highest level of service in fast-paced environments and helped garner five-star reviews from newspapers such as The Dallas Morning News. After graduating from the University of Texas at Dallas with bachelor of science degrees in psychology and neuroscience, he left the restaurant world to transfer his love of service into something more meaningful, and found his true calling at Sparkman-Hillcrest. With his knowledge of the funeral service industry, he has become a sought-after advisor when families are dealing with the most stressful of times.

Michael and his wife, Nicole, have made their home in Dallas for the past 10 years with their two dogs and a close circle of friends.

“The Caregiver’s Dilemma”
Stephen Hood
Category: Caregiving

Seventy-two percent of all caregivers say they do not visit their doctor as often as they should; 63 percent have poor eating habits; 40–70 percent have clinically significant symptoms of depression; and half of this group can be clinically diagnosed for major depression. On average, 25 percent of caregivers are providing 40+ hours of care per week. Where can a caregiver go for support and experience a respite to recharge their own batteries? This session will focus on local resources available for caregivers to strengthen their own health and manage the challenges of their role and providing the “top tips” for caregivers.

Stephen Hood has always been driven with a passion to serve others and improve the quality of life for everyone. He joined the staff of the Wellness Center for Older Adults as executive director in 2014. In this role, Stephen has focused on building and delivering programs designed to address the unique and growing needs of the senior population but never losing sight of caring for the individual in a holistic approach.

Prior to the Wellness Center, Stephen served in a variety of senior leadership positions in faith-based organizations. With more than 15 years at the Salvation Army, Stephen has served as a local pastor for congregations in Kentucky and in administrative capacities in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and Dallas-Fort Worth. While in Texas, Stephen led the Salvation Army’s DFW Command focusing on 23 service centers with 360 employees, casting vision and bringing a message of hope for the hurting.

Stephen has also provided oversight for the Shelby Kennedy Foundation and the National Bible Bee and served as the executive director for Community Bible Study International, leading the organization to establish culturally relevant Bible Studies in 60 countries and 33 languages. He has served as a consultant for other faith-based organizations in the area of fund development, board development and building strong internal controls with fiscal reporting.

Stephen has a degree in business administration and accounting from Houghton College, a master’s in strategic management from Indiana Wesleyan University, and a diploma and officer’s commission from the Salvation Army’s Officers’ Training College. Stephen has three children, Rebecca, Kathryn and Jonathan.

“The Journey We Never Expected: Techniques to Help Make It the Best Journey Possible”
Alex Nameth
Category: Caregiving

In this session, Alex is going to share the techniques used at the center to make it the best possible day for each member. These same ideas will also help you to be the best caregiver possible.

Alex Nameth was thrust into the role of caregiver when his dad and step-mom were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Even though Alex had earned a degree in social work many years before that, he was not prepared for the challenges associated with caring for a loved one with dementia. After the passing of both parents, Alex opened Friends Place of McKinney in 2010, a day center for adults with early dementia/Alzheimer’s. Throughout more than five years of ownership, the center has served the needs of more than 300 members, providing respite for the caregivers and meaningful activities for their loved ones. And Alex has continued his mission of helping both caregivers and their loved ones as business manager for Encore Memory Care Day Center in Plano.

“Senior Living Options: Top Five Things to Consider”
Patty Williams and Joyce Logan
Category: Caregiving

This session will focus on the top five things for families to consider when selecting a senior living community for their loved one. The presenters will share their experiences in working with hundreds of families across the Metroplex, and will provide important questions to ask when evaluating and touring communities. Attendees will leave with the important aspects of the different types of communities and information vital to making the perfect selection.

Patty Williams is a senior living advisor and co-owner of Ruby Care. She has worked more than 20 years in healthcare with hospitals and large medical practices. She is very active in her community serving as a volunteer with several organizations: Junior League of Collin County, Silver Sunday, Alzheimer’s Association and her homeowner’s association. Patty’s goal is to find the perfect senior living community for her clients and their families. She enjoys spending time with her family and her two dogs, Sugar Rae and Jolie Penelope.

Joyce Logan is a senior living advisor and co-owner of Ruby Care. Joyce spent several years in social work and business development before Ruby Care became her vision, inspired during the time she spent caring for her mother in-law, Ruby, beginning in 2011. She is actively involved in her community: Junior League of Collin County; Women’s Auxiliary to Children’s Medical Center, Plano; Alzheimer’s Association; and she is also a Leadership Plano graduate. In her free time, Joyce enjoys tennis, walking, spending time with her friends, family and her dog, Sully.

“Top Questions to Ask When Touring a Senior Living Option”
Paul Markowitz
Category: Caregiving

Paul Markowitz will provide a high-level overview of important questions for families to ask when touring a senior living facility as he relates the story of his mother and how he came to found his company. Paul will discuss in depth the importance of asking questions related to the following topics: experience of the community, staffing ratios, activity level and affordability.

Paul Markowitz is the founder of Senior Living Specialists. Paul provides a free service to help families facing the stressful situation of finding the appropriate long-term senior living option. Senior Living Specialists has been featured on CBS News and in the Dallas Morning News, both of which have reported about how his experience can help families through this stressful and tough process.

“Senior Home Care 101”
Brian Partin
Category: Caregiving

We will discuss the aging process, injury prevention, and long-term care decision making. We will identify options that allow seniors to live independently at home, including home modifications, home healthcare services, and healthcare technology products.

Brian Partin has served in various leadership roles in his more than 25-year career with Outreach Health Services, including CFO and COO. Brian has served as the CEO of Outreach Health Services for the last five years. Outreach Health Services is a multistate healthcare provider that provides home healthcare, personal emergency response services, financial management services, pediatric home healthcare, and W.I.C. services. Brian served on the board of directors for the Texas Association for Home Healthcare and became the president-elect of the association in 2006. Brian was also the chairman of the Government Affairs Committee and the vice chairman for the Community Care Committee for several terms. He has worked with legislative leaders on a state and national level to advance the cause of home healthcare. Brian was a founding member of the Texas Association for Home Care Political Action Committee. In addition, Brian has served on advisory boards related to national healthcare reform and Texas Medicaid reform. Brian also participated on the Wye River Group on Healthcare Texas Leadership Roundtable for a two-year term. Brian holds a bachelor of science in human resources and business from Amber University in Dallas, Texas. He is passionate about helping those with physical needs receive all required assistance in the setting of their choice.

“The Conversation Project”
Abigail Wright
Category: Caregiving

The Conversation Project is dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life care. Too many people are dying in a way they wouldn’t choose, and too many of their loved ones are left feeling bereaved, guilty and uncertain. We believe that the place for this to begin is at the kitchen table—not in the intensive care unit—with the people we love, before it’s too late. Together we can make these difficult conversations easier. We can make sure that our own wishes and those of our loved ones are expressed and respected.

Every attendee will receive a Conversation Starter kit.

Abigail Wright is an account executive with Seniors Blue Book Greater Dallas. Originally from Charlotte, N.C., she relocated to Carrollton, Texas, after graduating from the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Abigail joined the Seniors Blue Book team in May of 2017. She loves being a part of Seniors Blue Book and being an active member in the community. Abigail and her husband attend Prestonwood Baptist Church.

“Frauds, Scams and Financial Abuse”
Steve Benton
Category: Financial/Legal

Topics covered include:

  • Financial Safety and Security As We Age
  • Why Seniors Are So Vulnerable to Financial Fraud and Exploitation
  • Caregiver Checklist

Steve Benton helps older adults avoid the dangers of financial uncertainty and exploitation as an Elder Financial Safety Center financial coach and counselor at The Senior Source. He has been active in the financial services industry for more than 40 years, including participation on industry boards, business conduct committees, and as a securities industry arbitrator. Steve began his career as an investigator for the National Association of Securities Dealers (now FINRA) and retired as senior vice president of ING’s flagship broker/dealer, Financial Network Investment Corporation, an organization of certified financial planners and other investment professionals.

A native of Dallas, Steve is a Texas Christian University graduate, and was a volunteer in The Senior Source Money Management/Guardianship Program from 2010 until he joined the Elder Financial Safety Center (EFSC) at its inception in 2014. The EFSC is a collaboration of probate courts, the district attorney, and The Senior Source to tackle elder financial abuse. The Senior Source has served greater Dallas as the go-to nonprofit for aging services since 1961, assisting older adults at all income levels from the most active to the very frail.

“Preparing for the Future with Confidence”
Lori Leu
Category: Financial/Legal

Planning for the future can be intimidating and difficult, but it’s something everyone should do, regardless of the amount of your assets or income. What documents do you need and how can you ensure your wishes are carried out if you’re no longer able to act for yourself? Even with the establishment of proper powers of attorney, it may be necessary for a court to appoint a guardian to oversee a ward’s personal affairs or finances, particularly if necessary to protect from exploitation. What happens during the guardianship process? And, after a loved one passes away, the legalities involved in wrapping up the estate and transferring title to assets can seem overwhelming. Is probate always necessary? Are there other options? Lori will address these issues and others that arise in exploring how to gain peace of mind as you prepare for the future with confidence.

Lori Leu is a certified elder law attorney based in Plano and serving the North Texas area. Lori graduated summa cum laude from Kansas State University with an honors degree in interdisciplinary social sciences. She then graduated from Harvard Law School in 1987, and has more than 30 years of legal experience. She is one of the few attorneys in Texas who has earned the title of certified elder law attorney by the National Elder Law Foundation. Lori provides legal guidance and representation primarily to senior adults and their families. Lori focuses her practice on all legal issues affecting seniors and long-term care planning, including financing of long-term care, Medicaid planning, Veterans Administration benefits, estate planning, guardianships and probate.

“The ABC’s and D’s of Medicare”
Mona Odom
Category: Financial/Legal

This presentation can also be thought of as Medicare 101. Mona will explain Medicare eligibility and enrollment periods, late enrollment penalties and exceptions, and income-related Medicare premium adjustments. She will also give an overview of Medicare A, B, C and D, including prescription drug coverage changes for 2017 to 2020.

Additionally, she will compare Medicare Advantage Plans (PPOs, HMOs) to Medicare Supplement Plans (Medigap). She will present information on choosing the best plan for your healthcare needs and preventive care benefits.

Mona Odom is an independent insurance broker, agency owner and certified senior advisor with offices in Frisco and Tyler. She has been involved with seniors and senior wellbeing for more than 20 years. For the past 10 years, she has been educating seniors about their rights and choices for original Medicare, Medicare supplement plans and end-of-life planning. Mona’s expertise can help you make sense of health plans for ages 65 and over and the Affordable Care Act health insurance plans for individuals and families. Odom Insurance Solutions, LLC, offers insurance plan choices from more than 30 A-rated companies.

Mona is a board member for the Board of Pension and Health Benefits for North Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church; she is a member of the First United Methodist Church of Frisco, and a member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors.

“Essential Planning for Long-Term Care Needs”
Mark Pruitt
Category: Financial/Legal

This workshop will cover documents needed to navigate on behalf of someone plus creative ideas and tools to pay for long-term care so that the money does not run out. The purpose is to avoid mistakes that are made on behalf of a loved one when planning and paying for his or her care. Proactive planning vs. reactive planning is crucial for families taking on the role of caregiver.

Mark Pruitt is the founder and owner of Strategic Estate Planning Services in Dallas, Texas, a comprehensive planning firm that coordinates and provides resources in all areas of estate and financial planning. He is licensed with the department of insurance and is an investment adviser representative. Mark was chosen 2012 Adviser of the Year, a national award given by Senior Market magazine. He serves on the National Advisory Board of Retirement Advisers. His firm has been one of seven companies promoted by Forbes magazine in Dallas, Texas, and voted best in client satisfaction by Texas Monthly magazine.

“Social Security Basics and Options”
Mike Reppert
Category: Financial/Legal

The presentation will include:

  • Coordinating Income Sources in Retirement
  • Maximizing Social Security Benefits
  • Avoiding Taxes on Social Security Benefits
  • Getting More Income with New Tax Strategies
  • Methods of Providing Secure Income for Life

Mike Reppert is the Senior Partner of Spectrum Advisors. He is a tax smart Elite Advisor with Ed Slott and Company, LLC, and has specialized in working with pre-retirees and retirees in comprehensive wealth management for more than 30 years. Mike is a CFP®—Certified Financial Planner™—and a CSA®—Certified Senior Advisor. He has been featured in Who’s Who, D Magazine’s “Best of the Best,” Forbes and as a “Top Wealth Manager” in Texas Monthly.

Mike has been married to Amy for more than 30 years, and they have three children (two are married) and one grandchild. Mike is a member of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and is very active in his church and community.

“The Basics of Alzheimer’s”
Jim Colbert
Category: Memory Care

What are the differences between Alzheimer’s, other dementia, and normal memory loss due to aging? This educational presentation provides an overview for those who have concerns about memory loss or have had a diagnosis of dementia. Information will include the disease process, the 10 warning signs that would prompt further assessment, and typical issues facing those in the early stages. A question and answer session is included.

Jim Colbert served his country as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Air Force. He holds a master’s certificate in aging from Chapman College. After retirement from the USAF, Jim held positions as a nursing facility administrator and an assisted living/memory care communities executive director for more than 20 years.

Jim currently volunteers with the Speaker’s Bureau of the Alzheimer’s Association and hosts three support groups. He also serves on staff with The Oasis Program at First Baptist Church Lewisville, a weekly program for early onset dementia participants.

“When Is Memory Loss Not Just a Part of Getting Old?”
Micah Grace
Category: Memory Care

This session will focus on what is “normal” memory loss and what is a concern. It is built to both alert people of possible challenges, as well as help them not to overreact when they “walk into a room and can’t find their keys.”

Micah Grace is senior administrator for Silverado in Plano. Blessed to be a part of the Silverado team for almost five years, Micah brings a sincere passion for working with seniors and their families. Prior to Silverado, she was a consultant in the senior living industry, building and sharing knowledge and experience of independent and assisted living, as well as memory care. She is extremely excited for the daily opportunity to share the Silverado philosophy with everyone. Micah enjoys helping families transition, and watching their transformation through the loving and dignified environment at all of our communities.

“Alzheimer’s Research Update”
Angela Thomas
Category: Memory Care

Learn about how clinical trials work, advancements in Alzheimer's research and current trials.

Angela Thomas, MSN, RN, CMC, is President and founder of Caring with Grace, a care management company that has been serving the North Texas area for 10 years. She has been a nurse for over 40 years, practicing in various specialties, including hospice care. She is a Care Manager, Certified (CMC) and a certified trainer for the End of Life Nursing Education Consortium (ELNEC). She is an Advanced Professional member of the Aging Life Care Association (formerly the National association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers), the Case Managers Society of America, the Hospice and Palliative Care Nurses Association and the Dallas Area Gerontological Society. She is passionate about quality senor care and helping seniors age well.

Married to her husband, Bill, for 40 years, she is the mother of 5 grown children and grandmother of 4. Angela has lived in several different states and overseas and currently resides in University Park, TX. She enjoys gardening and reading about politics and history in her spare time.

“Grace for the Unexpected Journey”
Della Pruitt
Category: Memory Care

The journey of caring for a loved one with a dementia diagnosis is full of the unexpected. Each caregiver’s journey is different and unique, yet holds commonalities with others. It can be daunting but also have special moments of joy. Practical advice will be discussed as well as encouragement and resources for each step along this journey. Together let’s make this journey become rewarding, fulfilling and filled with grace.

Della Pruitt has been a member of Prestonwood for 17 years. Her dementia journey began several decades ago with several family members’ having Alzheimer’s. Her mother passed away in 2015 after living with the disease for 20 years. She is the primary caregiver for her sister Nola, who has early onset Alzheimer’s. She started and facilitates the Memory Care Support Group at Prestonwood. She enjoys connecting with other caregivers to give encouragement and share practical advice. She co-owns Strategic Estate Planning Services, Inc., with her husband, Mark Pruitt. She loves to sing and worship and is in the choir as well as part of the praise team. She has two daughters, Melody, 25, who is in a master’s program at Dallas Baptist University; and Morgan, 23, who graduated from the University of North Texas with a business degree and is now working full-time alongside her parents at Strategic Estate Planning Services, Inc.

“The Virtual Dementia Tour”
Silverado Care Representatives
Category: Memory Care

Trained dementia care specialists will lead you through a series of tasks in a way that will help you “walk in the footsteps” of your loved ones. The journey includes equipment that will limit hearing, vision, gait and hand-eye coordination. Not only will you hear things that are not there, this experience will simulate hallucinations. You will try to complete simple tasks with these impairments and gain a greater understanding of what your loved ones are going through.

“Effective Communication Strategies”
Edwin Villarreal
Category: Memory Care

Communication is more than just talking and listening – it is also about sending and receiving messages through attitude, tone of voice, facial expressions and body language. The Effective Communications Strategies program is designed to provide practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers learn to decode verbal and behavioral messages from people with dementia. Topics that will be addressed include adult emotions; communication challenges during early, middle and late stages; and redirection strategies.

Edwin Villarreal is the owner of ComForCare Home Care in Dallas County, specializing in caring for people with dementia. His application of ComForCare’s DementiaWise program has become a case study for other ComForCare agencies nationwide. He has been touched by different types of dementia both personally and professionally for the last 20 years.

Edwin has been a speaker for the Alzheimer’s Association for two years, speaking in family settings as well as in groups of caregivers and in professional environments. He lives in Irving, Texas, with his wife and four children.

“Don’t Forget Yourself: Balancing Getting and Giving Care”
Nicole Huff
Category: Self-Care

Those diagnosed with serious illness often feel (quite rightly) that their lives have been completely overturned. Caregivers experience very similar emotions. All too often, both the patient and the caregiver are quite unprepared for the challenges of managing illness and managing ourselves. Caregivers often assume great additional responsibility for the person who is ill, and for all that goes on daily to keep their family functioning. It’s not that easy to “keep calm and carry on.” We’ll discuss what we can do to manage the challenges (and enjoy the rewards) of finding the proper balance when there is serious illness in the family.

Nicole Huff is the program director of Cancer Support Community North Texas (CSCNT) is the premier provider of psycho-social and emotional support for everyone living with cancer. She has been with the organization since 2016 and is responsible for the current program offerings at CSCNT’s three current locations in Dallas, Tarrant and Collin Counties, as well as business and strategic development of direct services. Nicole received her Masters of Social Work in 1997 and is a licensed clinical social worker. Her previous experience includes working with children and families in crisis.

Nicole believes in the vision that no one should have to go through cancer alone, and that there should be a program of support that is accessible to everyone impacted by cancer. “Many women, men and children living with cancer come through our doors every day who are experiencing the devastating effects a cancer diagnosis can bring to everyone in the family. However, through their experiences in our community, we witness how lives can be transformed through psycho-social and emotional support, and how important providing that support in a warm, caring and even fun environment can be—for everyone impacted by the disease.”

When she is not working, Nicole enjoys spending time with her husband and two stepsons, volunteering and fostering with a local animal rescue group, reading, and traveling/SCUBA diving.

“Compassion Fatigue: Managing Caregiver Stress”
Danny Mack
Category: Self-Care

• The warning signs of caregiver stress.
• The do’s and don’ts of managing caregiver stress.
• The elements of stress and how to manage them.
• Six proven strategies for managing caregiver stress.

Danny Mack is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is currently a hospice Chaplain of Christian Care Hospice. Danny regularly speaks to audiences on a variety of issues. He has been a speaker for the Richard J. Price Caregiver Conference of the Alzheimer’s Association, the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and Cancer Center of North Texas. He is a facilitator of caregiver support groups for the Alzheimer’s Association. Danny has been a presenter for the End of Life Nursing Consortium and was a presenter at the 2008 Texas & New Mexico Hospice Organization Convention and key note speaker of the Ohio Home Health and Hospice Association. Danny was named the 2008 Hospice Bereavement Coordinator of the Year by the Texas & New Mexico Hospice Organization. He is also the president of the Bereavement Coordinators Association. Danny has served on the board of Mesquite Social Services and Sharing Life Community Outreach; both agencies help people in need of food and clothing. He has started two non-profit organizations. Danny currently serves on the board of the Texas & New Mexico Hospice Association.

“Finding Peace on the Journey”
Steve Roland
Category: Self-Care

The caregiving journey can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Not only are you faced with the physical, financial, and emotional stress, but also some can truly wrestle with God’s plan for their lives. Come and hear a message that addresses the caregiving journey with hope and a strong statement of God’s presence in your life.

Steve Roland came to faith in college and from that point on, has had a desire to help people know about Jesus and how much He loves them. Steve received a communications degree from Dallas Baptist University. He has served in college ministry, singles ministry, married ministry, and was both an associate pastor and a lead pastor. For more than 10 years, Steve has worked in senior care. He has worked as a hospice chaplain for the past six and a half years and has been a part of The Mind Heart and Soul Ministry of Silverado. In this time, he has been honored to walk with family members and caregivers in some of their most intimate times. He has been witness to Christians living out their faith and the beauty in the ministry that is caregiving. It is his strong passion to equip caregivers for the journey they are on with a knowledge that God will hold them close and never let them go even in the most difficult times.

“Balancing Caregiving and Work Life”
Hollie Glover
Category: Self-Care

Upon completion of this session, the participant will be able to:

  • Identify the warning signs of caregiver stress
  • Discuss tips to decrease stress
  • List the tools available to cope with caregiver stress

Hollie Glover is a licensed professional counselor with more than 25 years of experience in education and counseling those of all ages. She holds undergraduate degrees in education and English from Sam Houston State University and a master’s degree in counseling from Dallas Baptist University.

She is passionate about supporting and educating families affected by dementia and end-of-life concerns. She is currently the senior director of Resident and Family Services for Silverado Memory Care Assisted Living in Fort Worth.

“Positive Tips for Caring for the Long Haul”
Mary Klentzman
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

Learn practical and spiritual tips to support, strengthen, and sustain—long-term—the life and marriage of the caregiver of a child with special needs.

Mary Klentzman has been in leadership positions for more than 17 years in non-profits serving people with disabilities and their families. Most recently, she was executive director of Cornerstone Ranch, a home and day program for adults with disabilities in McKinney. She served as director of the Joni and Friends Texas office, an organization that serves families affected by disabilities. And for 10 years, she served as executive director of the Children’s Special Needs Network, a nonprofit in central Texas that provides support services for children with chronic illnesses and disabilities. For 12 years she has been a member (two years as chair) of the Texas Children’s Policy Council (now Policy Council for Children and Families) that is legislatively directed to work with the Texas legislature and Health and Human Services agency leadership to impact state policies related to children with disabilities. She is also the mother and primary caregiver of a 29-year-old son with multiple disabilities.

“Life Planning for Families with Special Needs”
(Two Consecutive Sessions)
TJ Kroehle
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

Session 1: “Life Planning for Families with Special Needs: Building a Life Plan” Learn the basics of the benefits systems available to your special needs loved ones, including but not limited to: federal/state systems, and waiver programs. In this session, we will also review how you can plan your estate to protect access to these benefits for a lifetime of care.

Session 2: “Life Planning for Families with Special Needs: Putting a Life Plan into Action” Knowing what needs to go into your plan is important; knowing how to communicate your plan to others is just as important. Learn the ways that you can communicate and put your plan into motion, to ensure that a lifetime of care is available to your special needs loved one.

Life planning is a partnership built on trust and integrity. Although this is always important, it is especially vital to families with special needs. Thomas P. Kroehle, Jr., known as “TJ,” is an independent life planner who has worked with families of special needs since he was age 16. He understands the importance of developing a strategic, long-term life plan that takes into consideration their very unique circumstances. His philosophy centers on the cornerstone of the strength of the family unit.

TJ helps clients understand their need to develop the appropriate wills and trusts. He helps them see the need for a “Letter of Intent” which defines their special needs person’s hopes, dreams and desires through a lifetime strategy. He is knowledgeable in government programs that aid special needs families, and he coaches families in how to obtain government aid, such as SSI. More importantly he helps the family understand how to maintain those government programs throughout their loved one’s lifetime.

Life Planning for Families of Special Needs is a non-profit group created by TJ to specialize in assisting individuals with disabilities and their families. TJ frequently speaks to state and local groups such as ARC, Life Path, Down Syndrome Guilds, Autism Societies, Region X and XI, various ISD’s and other similar organizations. TJ and his wife, Tracey, are parents of Lauren, a person of special needs.

“Managing Meltdowns”
Sherri Rapp
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

Can you identify the difference between temper tantrums and meltdowns? What can you do to help in the midst of a meltdown? It is most beneficial to first understand some basic information about how the brain learns. Then you can better understand why meltdowns happen. Come join us for a fun and informative session to learn simple, but effective, tools you can use to help manage the meltdowns in your life.

Sherri has 22 years’ experience as a teacher in the public and private sectors, serving in both classroom and administration roles. She received her bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences from Baylor University and also holds a special education certification. She has additional training in sign language interpreting. While in college, she served as a personal care attendant for another student with muscular dystrophy and continued to assist her regularly in Plano for the next 11 years.

During a mission trip to Ghana, her heart was captured by a teenage girl she met who is deaf and IDD (intellectually or developmentally disabled). Sherri and her husband adopted Naomi and brought her to live with them at age 14. Sherri has also served for many summers at Joni and Friends Family Retreat as the H.E.A.R.T. Support—a leadership role managing meltdowns. She taught multiple disabled students in Plano ISD for two and a half years. She is currently the Program Director at The Coventry Reserve, a life enrichment program for adults with disabilities near Wylie, Texas.

“Special Needs Planning and Trusts”
Tresi Weeks
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

Regular estate planning is not sufficient for families who have a loved one with special needs. A special needs trust should be part of their plan. At this presentation we will discuss:

  • Special needs trusts basics
  • Government benefits and how an inheritance affects them
  • Other advantages of a special needs trust
  • Practice case studies on possible scenarios
  • Creating a letter of intent
  • Choosing the trustee
  • Trust administration
  • Funding the special needs trust with life insurance and other assets
  • Funding the special needs trust with retirement accounts

Tresi Weeks is an attorney and founder of The Weeks Law Firm, PLLC, in Plano, Texas, where she assists clients with estate planning, special needs planning, special needs trusts, probate and guardianship. After 11 years as a trial attorney, she opened her own estate planning law firm 17 years ago. As an advocate for her own child’s special needs, she is passionate about helping families with loved ones with special needs.

Tresi is a lifelong learner through her memberships in the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Probate Trust and Estates section of the Dallas Bar Association, the Dallas Estate Planning Council, and the State Bar College. She was voted Best Lawyer in Plano in the Plano Star Courier Reader’s Choice Awards in 2015.

Tresi is a frequent speaker on special needs trusts for attorneys, advisors, educators and parents of children with special needs. She is also a frequent speaker for women’s and church groups about basic estate planning and godly stewardship. She lives with her husband, Kevin, and they are active members of Watermark Community Church in Dallas.


Acapella In Home Care
Alzheimer’s Association
Area Agency on Aging of North Central Texas
Autumn Woods Hospice
Bent Tree Memory Care Support Group
Cancer Support Community North Texas
Caring Transitions
Christian Care Senior Living Communities
Collin County Wellness Center
Comprehensive Care Management
Cornerstone Ranch
Coventry Reserve
Encore Memory Day Care Center
Fathom Realty
Heritage Keepers
Leu & Peirce, PLLC
Life Planning for Families of Special Needs
Local Cremation & Funerals
Odom Insurance Solutions
Outreach Health Services
Prestonwood Special Needs Ministry
Prestonwood Caregiver Support Group
Prestonwood Memory Care Support Group
Ruby Care, LLC, Senior Living Advisors
Senior Helpers
Senior Living Specialists
Seniors Blue Book
Silverado Communities, At Home Senior Care, Hospice & Memory Care Communities
Song of Solomon
Sonoma House Assisted Living & Alzheimer’s Care
Sparkman/Hillcrest Funeral Home
Spectrum Advisors
Strategic Estate Planning Services
The Senior Source
The Village at Mapleshade
VITAS Inpatient Hospice Unit
Weeks Law Firm
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