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Hope for the Caregiver Conference


Saturday, April 6, 2019
9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m.
Plano Campus

6801 W. Park Blvd., Plano, TX 75093

Are you searching for answers on how to be an effective caregiver? Do you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia? Are you caring for a special-needs child or adult? Are you looking for tips about managing the financial and legal aspects of caregiving? Are you feeling exhausted and in need of understanding how to manage the stress you are experiencing?  Join us at the Hope for the Caregiver Conference, and choose from more than 30 breakout sessions and visit with more than 30 local vendors who can assist you in caring for your loved ones.

Breakout topics include:

  • Managing stress and fatigue, handling guilt and fear, personal health and wellness
  • What you need to know about Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, wills/trusts, long-term care, elder-adult scams and financial abuse
  • Finding care and living options for your loved one, including adult daycare, in-home care, finding the right senior-adult facility, downsizing, hospice care, and making the final plans
  • Caring for loved ones with special needs or disabilities: long-term plans, trusts and government benefits available
  • Understanding Alzheimer’s and dementia: the basics, the latest research, getting the support you need
  • And much more!

A complete list of topics and conference schedule is listed below.

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

Special-needs childcare available (indicate at registration)

The conference is full and registration has closed.

For questions, please call 972-820-5325.

Sponsored by Prestonwood Baptist Church and Bent Tree Bible Fellowship


“How to Handle Caregiver Stress”
Vic Mazmanian
Category: Self-Care

Topics covered include:

  • Tips to relieve caregiver stress
  • What does God say about being a caregiver?
  • How to create more time for yourself daily to relax!
  • Recognizing miracles daily and showing gratitude and joy!

Vic Mazmanian is the senior director of Faith Outreach, Silverado Care and is a longtime Alzheimer’s advocate and educator. He is a dynamic speaker who has presented on this hot topic nationally and internationally. He is a facilitator of several Alzheimer’s support groups for the Alzheimer’s Association and leads The Mind Heart Soul Ministry at Pastor Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church for Alzheimer’s and dementia. Vic shares his personal insights and knowledge about the disease process and caregiving with Alzheimer’s based on experience as a primary caregiver for his mother, Alice. He believes through faith and education, we can all make it through our journey with this dreaded disease.

“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

dmack2Danny 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.

“Caring for a Loved One with Cancer”
Cyndy Cervantes
Category: Self-Care

Family members, spouses, partners and friends who take on a caregiving role have a unique relationship to cancer. Caregivers see and experience firsthand how deep and wide cancer’s emotional impact can be. They learn how quickly life can become complicated and constrained by a cancer diagnosis. They become attuned to a new reality of making appointments, managing treatments and deciphering insurance forms and medical fees.

Yet, all too often, others don’t “see” how much you, the caregiver, are doing. Your loved one is at the center of the orbit of cancer care, and friends and other family members may not recognize the toll it is taking on you to provide the care your loved one needs.

Taking care of someone with cancer can be a challenging experience. As a caregiver, you are likely to experience a wide range of feelings, fluctuating between joy and sadness or from camaraderie to loneliness—maybe even all in one day. In the following slides, you will find information that will help you be as effective as possible in your role as a caregiver, reduce stress and distress, get support and, importantly, help you address your own needs.

ccervantesTopics covered will include:

  • Finding Support
  • Types of Support
  • You, Your Loved One and the Health Care Team
  • Practical Concerns
  • The Financial Burden of Cancer
  • Taking Care of You
  • General Cancer Information, Survivorship and Support

Cyndy Cervantes is a licensed master social worker and currently serves as the Program Director for the Cancer Support Community of North Texas.

“Self-Care for the Caregiver”
Samantha Savage
Category: Self-Care

We can only care for others as well as we care for ourselves. This session will provide you with helpful tips to begin prioritizing your own needs:

  • Healthy Eating
  • Physical Activity
  • Mental Health
  • Personal Boundaries

ssavageSamantha Savage is the director of sales and marketing for the Village at Mapleshade, Assisted Living and is also a group fitness instructor at Body Machine Fitness, Plano.

“Care, for me, is so much more than a four-letter word! I was only 4 years old when my grandpa and namesake had a brain-stem stroke. My mother and I became his primary caregivers. For the next eight years, I learned and grew to understand what it meant to love and care for someone else. I gained so much from that experience. It has truly shaped me into the person I am today.

“Watching my mother give so much of herself as a caregiver instilled a great sense of empathy in me. But seeing the challenges she faced with finding time to take care of herself also taught me the importance of self-care. A lot of my childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, skilled nursing offices and doctor’s offices with my grandpa. That’s where I developed my love for healthcare and a compassion for seniors.

“Entering adulthood, I knew I wanted to nurture both of these aspects of myself. Today I get the honor of living out my passions. At the Village at Mapleshade, I have an endless supply of amazing surrogate grandparents along with wonderful, compassionate colleagues who help to create my extended family. But those long days at work can take a toll. So to make sure I create a healthy outlet for myself, I began a second career in fitness. I train at a local gym as a group fitness coach where I’m able to help myself and others achieve our health and wellness goals! I’m very blessed and thankful to be able to use what I’ve learned and my experiences to help those who help others!”

“Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?””
Pamela Lathers
Category: Self-Care

Humor is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any other cough, sniffle or sneeze. When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy. Laughter also triggers healthy physical changes in the body. Humor and laughter strengthen your immune system, boost your energy, diminish pain, and protect you from the damaging effects of stress. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free and easy to use.

plathersPamela Lathers is the Agency Administrator and Director of Client Services with Senior Helpers of Greater Dallas. Pamela brings to Senior Helpers more than 25 years of experience, working in key management and leadership roles within healthcare and senior living. For the past 12 years, she has managed multi-state sales and operations staffs within the assisted living and memory care arena. She has spent the entirety of her career in healthcare and brings with her a broad knowledge of the ever-evolving and changing needs of senior adults and an ability to translate those needs and desires into a unique and personalized experience for those senior adults she serves.

She began her association with Senior Helpers in 2018, and a significant portion of her time is spent building partnerships with healthcare executives, as well as with individuals, in an effort to encourage a mentality of quality of life, safety and dignity for those who want to age in their homes with independence and with grace. After spending over a decade working in the senior-related industry with multi-million dollar brands and startups, Pamela knows what truly makes a difference in creating safety and dignity for our aging population, and will tell you that the key is passion; a passion to make a difference, a passion to celebrate aging, and a passion to listen and really connect with the heart of those she meets.

Pamela is a Certified Dementia Practitioner and holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Texas Tech University and Stephen F. Austin University.

“Caregiver Stress? Caregiving Resources!”
Kathleen Warshawsky
Category: Caregiving

Caregiving is stressful! Understand how caregiving can impact your health, and leave armed with tools to help you. There are hundreds of local resources that can help you care for your loved one. Learn about some of these resources and how to find them.

kwarshawskyKathleen Warshawsky is a registered nurse, owner and publisher of Seniors Blue Book Greater Dallas, and president of the Dallas Area Gerontological Society. She began her nursing career in 1992 as a registered nurse, and obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona in 2013.

Kathleen and her husband, Keith, live in Plano. They have one daughter, Vanessa, who lives nearby in Dallas.

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

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 that are out there 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, obtained her certification as a case manager (CCM). Her clinical practice area includes acute care and home health care. Her case management career has included group health insurance, home health care, 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.

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

Paul Markowitz will relate the touching story of his 59-year-old mom and how he came to found his company, and will provide a high-level overview of some important questions for families to ask when touring a senior living facility. 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.

“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 saw a great need for a Christian in-home care company in the Dallas area and launched Heritage Keepers. The concept was to provide care for the physical needs of senior adults while addressing the 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.

Tom has been an entrepreneur since 2002, owning several businesses, and recently, he decided to go into full-time ministry leading a mission organization, Christian Hands in Action. He has left the reigns of Heritage Keepers to Mary Kasinger who has done a fantastic job taking care of clients.

Tom and Rhesa have been married for 28 years and have three children, Will, Anna and Holly. They have recently moved to Oklahoma to be close to their children and their first grandchild.

“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.

williams-loganPatty 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.

“End-of-Life Discussions and the Caregiver”
Frank Seddio
Category: Caregiving

Learn how to turn a tough discussion into a treasured time of sharing. Discussing end-of-life wishes is a wonderful way to learn about a loved one’s life and how they want to be celebrated. This session shares a simple approach for bringing up the topic and asking the right questions. Different options for end of life will be presented, and we will discuss necessary forms that allow your loved one’s wishes to be carried out.

fseddioFrank W. Seddio, Sr., has been a licensed funeral director and embalmer for the state of Texas since 1983. For the past seven years, he has been the general manager for Local Cremation and Funerals Funeral Home in Dallas, and aCremation of Texas Funeral Home, which covers most of the major metropolitan areas of Texas. Frank’s prior employment was with the two largest funeral/cemetery/crematory providers across the United States, and he was with them for more than 25 years. There, he managed funeral homes and cemeteries across Texas and was a part of their national acquisition team, buying and selling industry related businesses for the corporation. He is a 1982 graduate of Dallas Institute of Funeral Science, Dallas, Texas, and currently sits on their Board of Directors. Frank is a past president of the North Texas Funeral Directors Association as well as having sat on the Texas Funeral Directors Association Board of Directors for many years. In addition to managing funeral homes, Frank is a State of Texas Continuing Education instructor for licensed social workers and professional counselors where he teaches end-of-life options as they relate to the grieving family.

“Understanding Hospice”
Marisa Daugherty, RN, BSN
Category: Caregiving

Hospice – It’s All about Life!

  • Review eligibility, coverage, and levels of support; discuss myths and fears

Preparation for the Journey

  • Discuss challenges in care and keeping hope in difficult times

Realistic Expectations for the Caregiver Role

  • Building a support network
  • Having conversations of the heart

mdaughertyMarisa Daugherty is currently a patient care manager with VITAS Healthcare. She began her career in oncology with primary nursing, so hospice was a natural progression. In 1989, Marisa cared for her first hospice patient in rural East Texas. Since that time, her tenure in hospice has included serving as a clinical liaison, clinical community educator, bereavement manager with grief certification and acute loss/trauma certification, interim director and patient care manager.

Marisa has been on the caregiver’s side of hospice with her husband and several family members. She enjoys music, junk-store shopping and traveling, trying never to take the same road twice!

“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.

“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.

lleuLori 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 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 2019—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 22 years. For the past 11 years, she has been educating seniors about their rights and choices for original Medicare and Medicare Supplement insurance plans. Mona’s expertise can help you make sense of Medicare and Medicare health insurance plans and the Affordable Care Act Health insurance plans for individuals and families. Portwood 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.

“Income and Tax Planning for Retirement”
Mike Reppert
Category: Financial/Legal

The presentation will cover the following topics:

  • 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

mreppertMike Reppert is the senior partner of Spectrum Advisors. He is a tax smart Elite Advisor with Ed Slott and Company and specializes 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. He is a member of Bent Tree Bible Fellowship and is very active in his church and community.

“ID Theft and Scams … Preventative Measures”
Mark Dawson
Category: Financial/Legal

Learn the most common types of ID theft and how you can avoid them.

mdawsonOfficer Mark Dawson began his law enforcement career in January of 1981 with the Graham, Texas, Police Department After five years, he joined the Plano Police Dept.

He has worked patrol, professional standards, internal affairs, hiring and background investigator, SWAT (seven years), crime prevention, firearms instructor, and field training officer; he facilitates the Citizens Police Academy and performs many other assignments. Has been part of the Crime Prevention Unit for more than 23 years. He has given thousands of presentations to hundreds of thousands of people.

Officer Dawson has numerous awards and achievements, including Employee of the Year for the City of Plano (1999); Citizen of the Week for the entire DFW Metroplex by radio station KRLD; he was nominated Officer of the Year five times by the Plano Police Dept.; he won the Reader’s Choice Award for “Best of the Best” Police Officers for 2011, and has been on television and radio many times promoting crime-prevention techniques.

Mark’s hobbies include playing guitar (classic rock and blues), playing golf. and spending time with his best friend, his wife. He has two grown children who are former United States Marines, three granddaughters and one grandson.

“Resources Available from the Non-Profit Elder Financial Safety Center”
Steve Benton
Category: Financial/Legal

The Elder Financial Safety Center (EFSC) is a unique collaboration of the Senior Source, the district attorney’s office, and the probate courts, seeking to “ensure older adults live in a safe community with the financial resources to securely age with dignity.

sbentonSteve Benton of the EFSC will provide information on the resources and education available regarding needs such as income and resource support, financial stability and security, as well as financial exploitations and frauds prevalent in today’s culture.

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 over 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.

He is a native of Dallas, a TCU grad, and previously had been a volunteer in the Senior Source Money Management/Guardianship Program since 2010, joining the Elder Financial Safety Center at its inception in 2014.

The Elder Financial Safety Center is a collaboration of the probate courts, the district attorney, and the Senior Source, tackling 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.

“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 18 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 was the primary caregiver for her sister Nola, who had early onset Alzheimer’s. Nola passed away in 2018 after having the disease for 11 years. Della 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 an LPCi and currently doing her internship hours, and Morgan, 24, who graduated from the University of North Texas with a finance degree and is now working full-time alongside her parents at Strategic Estate Planning Services, Inc.

“Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s/Dementia”
Alex Nameth
Category: Memory Care

This session will focus on understanding two main challenges that caregivers face as they care for someone with Alzheimer’s/Dementia:

  • Changes in communication skills
  • Changes in personality and behavior

The session will include suggestions and tips on how to cope with each of these challenges. Time will be allotted for caregivers to ask questions specific to their own situation.

anamethAlex Nameth was thrust into the role of caregiver when his dad and step-mom were both diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. 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 the more than five years of ownership, the center served the needs of more than 300 members, providing respite for the caregivers and meaningful activities for their loved ones. Alex has continued his mission of helping both caregivers and their loved ones as a business manager for Encore Memory Care Day Center in Plano.

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

This session will focus on what is “normal” memory loss and what is a concern. It is built to alert people of possible challenges, as well as help them not overreact with occurrences such as walking into a room and not being able to find their keys.

jreaganJennifer Reagan, LMSW, is the Senior Director of Resident & Family Services at Silverado Communities. She has been practicing social work for more than 20 years. The majority of her professional career has been her true vocation of caring for people suffering from dementia and working with their families. As a member of Silverado’s world-class care team, she continuously provides education and resources to those affected by memory-impairing diseases, their loved ones and their healthcare providers.

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

We will have trained dementia care specialists who 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 will include 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.

“Understanding Alzheimer’s and Dementia with a Research Update”
Nelly Garcia
Category: Memory Care

This education presentation provides an overview of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as explains the differences between Alzheimer’s disease, other dementias, and normal memory loss due to aging. Information regarding the disease process, the 10 warning signs, and typical issues facing those in the early stages will also be provided during this presentation.

ngarciaNelly Garcia is a bilingual dementia coach certified through Teepa Snow's Positive Approach to Care Training. She has a master’s degree in cognition and neuroscience from the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Southern Methodist University.

Nelly is also a proud, active member of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Speakers Bureau for the past seven months, where she acted as the chapter’s main presenter for the Hope for Tomorrow Caregiver Conference and National HOSA Conference. She has represented the Dallas & Northeast chapter in presenting presentations in Spanish and English to a variety of audiences, such as police officers, students, senior citizens, professionals and the general public. She averages two presentations per month and has educated more than 500 people for the association thus far.

On top of her work with the Alzheimer’s Association, Nelly is also the founder of Brain Change 101, which is a passionate advocate group for people living with dementia and their care partners. Brain Change 101 is a nonprofit organization which provides education, training and emotional support for families living with dementia by conducting support group meetings, public and private seminars and other speaking engagements in English and Spanish. BC101’s sessions are designed to help family members and the general public understand how neuro-degenerative disorders, such as the ones that cause dementia, affect a person's brain, body chemistry and, consequently, their emotions and behavior. During these sessions, participants are encouraged to engage in educational activities such as role playing in order to learn new skills. This practice, combined with educational information, helps attendees build a strong and reliable “tool kit” they can use to manage day-to-day interactions and/or to de-escalate difficult situations.

“Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s”
Phyllis Jefferson
Category: Memory Care

This presentation teaches the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, emphasizes the importance of visiting the doctor for early diagnosis and proper treatment, and promotes patients to participate in clinical trials, as well as providing information on where to find support.

pjeffersonPhyllis Jefferson has worked in the field of diversity and inclusion for more than 18 years. As a diversity strategist, her company specializes in diversity and inclusion assessments, strategic planning and diversity management; she is certified to coach and provide feedback from assessment results. Her approach is utilizing assessments to conduct a gap analysis and design solutions with measurements. Facilitating focus groups, one-on-one interviews, phone interviews, and web-based surveys are examples of the methodology applied. She provides diversity and inclusion consulting based on a Learning Overtime Strategy® applied at all levels of an organization. Strategies are developed from data collected from more than 300,000 people.

Phyllis's experience includes being a diversity manager for Texas Instruments, serving as an internal consultant and working as a corporate master trainer. As a master trainer and consultant, she was responsible for workshops such as “Managing Diversity,” “Essentials of Leadership Development,” “Performance Management,” “Interviewing Techniques,” “Conducting Effective Business Presentations,” “Becoming an Inclusive Leader,” “Inclusion Is a Business Strategy,” etc. She has certified approximately 500 trainers and trained more than 3,500 executives, managers and associates, in a plethora of industries. Phyllis has worked with major corporations, government entities, churches, public school districts and nonprofit organizations such as Twin Cities Public Television, Michelin, Campbell Soup, PetSmart, 3M, Denny's, Mortenson Construction, Pepsi Bottling Group, Courage Center, Prudential, IRS, Bank of America, ESPN, Cox Enterprise, Inc., City of Irving, RR Donnelley & Sons, Cox Communications, BP North America Pipelines, SUPERVALU, Tesoro, Select Comfort, Lumin Community School, and Medica, among others.

As a thought leader in the field of inclusion and diversity, Phyllis has been a conference speaker for the Network of Executive Women, Linkage Institute for Diversity & Inclusion (a global leadership development company), Multi-Cultural Forum, and International Society of Diversity & Inclusion Professionals (global representation of attendees).

Her educational background includes master’s and bachelor’s degrees in business administration.

“Effective Communication”
Elaine Scholly
Category: Memory Care

This presentation was designed to provide practical information and resources to help dementia caregivers learn how to effectively communicate with the individual with Alzheimer’s. It helps individuals decode verbal and behavioral messages from people with dementia, as well as improve knowledge regarding adult emotions, communication challenges during early, middle and late stages, and redirection.

eschollyGrowing up as part of a mobile military family, Elaine’s early life could be considered normal. However, her visits to see “a grandma,” though exciting, were irregular because they centered on travel to her dad’s next military assignment.

The traveling life of a military kid provided a solid base to experience history. Over time, it was evident she shared the same love of history as her dad, in particular, family history.

Talking with her grandparents was like a history lesson. They were “living books” who put a personal face on history. Elaine could see their joy when telling stories about people, events and things that were important to them.

In the late 1990s, Elaine’s mother began the downward spiral of Alzheimer’s. Eventually she was moved to a memory care unit. In any form, under any circumstances, Alzheimer’s is a difficult disease to watch or understand.

Seeing a need, Elaine began to volunteer. With the innovation of senior retirement communities, it was natural to begin there. After a few years as a volunteer, she was offered a part-time job as an assistant activity director working with dementia and memory care residents.

During this time, she discovered the Association of Personal Historians, an organization dedicated to encourage people to preserve their family and personal history. That’s when she created Remembering When, followed by TalkShare.

With this experience of working with seniors, she saw a pattern emerge. Even with the onset of dementia, it was possible for a family to learn more about a loved one through personal history. It is a place where a person is comfortable and confident.

Elaine shares what she’s learned through interactive speaking engagements, informative caregiver training and through conducting group personal history classes.

Remembering When and TalkShare help calm the fear of facing this devastating disease. Personal history is not a drug or a long-term cure. It helps discover memorable moments that bring respect and dignity to individuals and their families searching for answers.

“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
  • 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

tweeksTresi Weeks is an attorney and the 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 2017.

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.

“Special Needs: Caring for Loved Ones under Unique Circumstances”
Mark Stratton
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

Life with a family is challenging! When you add a loved one who has unique needs or requires special accommodations, it can seem very daunting; some days it may seem like “mission impossible.” This workshop is designed to educate you about some of the many resources available, and steps you should consider taking, as you tackle life with someone who has special needs. The workshop is for those in need of direction on where to start as well as those wanting a better understanding of planning strategies that focus on leveraging your resources while helping alleviate some of the challenges.

mstrattonMark Stratton, LUTCF, CFP® lives in the DFW area with his wife and four children, two of whom have special needs. Mark’s firm, TSG Financial Strategies, helps individuals and families align their actions with their goals in several areas of financial planning. However, special needs planning hits close to home as Mark and his wife, Austin, navigate these waters with their two youngest children.

Mark has spent 16 years helping families, business owners, and high net-worth individuals with special needs planning, charitable planning, tax strategies, retirement planning, investment planning, succession planning, executive benefits, key person retention strategies, and estate planning services.

When he is not working or spending time with his family, Mark loves to coach baseball, hunt, or play golf.

“Government Benefits for the Elderly and Disabled and Their Families”
Teresa Center
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

In this session, Teresa Center will provide an introduction to major government benefits programs in Texas. The session will include an introduction to Social Security, SSI, Medicare and Medicaid for the elderly, disabled and their families. She will explain the differences between the programs, who qualifies, and how to apply.

tcenterTeresa Center represents TXGPS, an organization whose mission is to empower the disability community by providing essential resources and direction to individuals with disabilities and their families. Teresa has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Texas at Arlington and has more than 10 unique years of hands-on disability field experience. She has completed the Social Security exam for non-attorney representatives. She has worked with SSI clients for five years and has represented more than 100 families. Teresa has previous experience with the CLASS Medicaid waiver program and has worked and volunteered at Camp Summit and numerous other organizations. She has pursued her passion for people with special needs for 15 years. TXGPS is pleased to be able to offer SSI assistance and fill a need in the special needs community.

“Hope and Planning for the Future: Discovering the Giftedness of the Individual”
Debbie Wilkes
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

This session will help you learn more about supporting individuals with disABILITIES. Discover the giftedness of the individual and explore positive possibilities. Participants will learn how to use person-centered tools to describe and plan for the best quality of life for the individual and create a trajectory to establish a vision for the future with a pathway to achievement. The trajectory, along with the Integrated Star of Support, will provide guidance in creating goals to support a quality transition plan from early childhood through adulthood.

dwilkesWith more than 40 years’ experience educating students with disabilities, Debbie Wilkes now provides support to parents, schools and universities in the area of transition, work-based learning, assessment and person-directed planning. Debbie is a Stephen Minister who believes that God makes no mistakes and all people are made in God's likeness. Through spending time with people who have disABILITIES, one walks with the Lord and learns more about Him.

Debbie is the board secretary for The Arc of Texas and serves on the committees for Governmental Affairs and Inclusion Works! As a board member for My Possibilities, a continuing education program for people with developmental disabilities, she has created the Educational Framework. She is an associate with the Institute on Person-Centered Practices, a collaborative partnership between the Center on Disability Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and the Center on Disability and Development at Texas A&M University. The employment curriculum written by Ms. Wilkes is implemented at UT Southwestern Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“Brain Integration: How Movement and Exercise Change the Brain”
Tricia Snyder
Category: Special Needs/Disabilities

The brain is neuroplastic, which means it is ever changing as we interact with our environment. Neuroplasticity also means that neurological connections, both cognitive and functional, can improve, even heal, for those diagnosed with neurological-based conditions. Through brain integration therapy, specific movements or exercises can assist with strengthening brain-to-body neurological connections.

This session will focus on:

  • Basic brain building blocks
  • Common neurological disconnects; specifically, in special needs individuals
  • Making brain-to-body connections through movement or exercise for:
    • Emotional outburst
    • Life skills
    • Communication
    • Body control
    • Cognitive learning

tsnyderTricia Snyder has a master’s degree in exercise science along with more than 20 years of experience in health, fitness, rehabilitation and business development. Her love for fitness started with her love for track, culminating with a five-year career at Wichita State University in NCAA Division 1 Track and Field and Cross-Country. Being a collegiate athlete allowed for a variety of experiences that ultimately fostered a love for rehabilitation and research.

Tricia has had the opportunity to apply her education to a vast range of health and fitness outlets and individuals including: learning disorders, learning delays, autism, dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, older adults, stroke, COPD, MS, CP, RA, Parkinson's, arthritis, and other debilitating injuries and diseases. Over the years, Tricia has become proficient in brain integration movements by using specific exercises to create brain/neurological connections specific to rehabilitation and cognitive goals, such as: increased muscle tone, eye/hand coordination, emotional well-being, school improvements, balance and functional movement. As an exercise and brain integration therapist, her purpose is to use corrective exercise and primal movement patterns to make brain connections, promote muscle memory, and to provide an environment for an individual to become strong in mind, body and spirit.

When not seeing clients or researching, Tricia focuses her attention on her family. She has been on many adventures with her husband throughout the last 18 years, and she loves serving her three kids, whether it be as a school tutor, chef, sports coach/trainer or taxi. Tricia also serves in the Special Needs Ministry at her home church, Bent Tree Bible.


9:00–9:20 a.m.

  • Welcome – Loft 456 (3rd Floor, Children's Ministry Building)
    Phil Mitchell, Prestonwood Baptist Church
    Vic Mazmanian, Mind Heart Soul Ministry, Saddleback Church
    Michelle Harrell, Bent Tree Bible Fellowship

9:30–10:20 a.m.

  • The Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's
    Memory Care – Loft 456 – Phyllis Jefferson
  • Grace for the Unexpected Journey
    Memory Care – Room 302 – Della Pruitt
  • Resources Available from the Non-Profit Elder Financial Safety Center
    Financial/Legal – Room 303 – Steve Benton
  • Social Security Basics and Options
    Financial/Legal – Room 304 – Mike Reppert
  • Top Questions to Ask When Touring a Senior Living Option
    Caregiving – Room 305 – Paul Markowitz
  • If Aging is a Journey, Where is my Roadmap?
    Caregiving – Room 306 – Cheryl Acres
  • The Virtual Dementia Tour (15 people maximum)
    Memory Care – Room 307 – Silverado Representatives
  • Special Needs: Caring for Loved Ones Under Unique Circumstances
    Special Needs/Disabilities – Room 207 – Mark Stratton
  • Compassion Fatigue: Managing Caregiver Stress
    Self-Care – Room 208 – Danny Mack

10:30–11:20 a.m.

  • The Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer's
    Memory Care – Loft 456 – Phyllis Jefferson
  • Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s/Dementia
    Memory Care – Room 302 – Alex Nameth
  • ABC's and D of Medicare
    Financial/Legal – Room 303 – Mona Odom
  • Social Security Basics and Options
    Financial/Legal – Room 304 – Mike Reppert
  • Housing Transition Challenges for Seniors
    Caregiving – Room 305 – Ron Blume
  • If Aging is a Journey, Where is my Roadmap?
    Caregiving – Room 306 – Cheryl Acres
  • The Virtual Dementia Tour (15 people maximum)
    Memory Care – Room 307 – Silverado Representatives
  • Government Benefits for the Elderly, Disabled, and Their Families
    Special Needs/Disabilities – Room 207 – Teresa Center
  • Planning Respite Care for Your Loved Ones
    Caregiving – Room 208 – Tom Brewster

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

  • Lunch – Loft 456
  • Vendor Fair – Loft 456 & The Edge

12:30–1:20 p.m.

  • Self-care: How to Handle Caregiver Stress
    Self-care – Loft 456 – Vic Mazmanian
  • When is Memory Loss Not Just a Part of Getting Old?
    Memory Care – Room 302 – Jennifer Reagan
  • ABC's and D of Medicare
    Financial/Legal – Room 303 – Mona Odom
  • Understanding Hospice
    Caregiving – Room 305 – Marisa Daughterty
  • ID Theft and Scams…Preventative Measures
    Financial/Legal – Room 306 – Mark Dawson
  • Self-care for the Caregiver
    Self-care – Room 308 – Samantha Savage
  • Special Needs Planning and Trusts
    Special Needs/Disabilities – Room 207 – Tresi Weeks
  • Effective Communication Strategies
    Memory Care – Room 208 – Elaine Scholly

1:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Understanding Alzheimer's/Dementia with a Research Update
    Memory Care – Loft 456 – Nelly Garcia
  • Preparing for the Future with Confidence
    Financial/Legal – Room 302 – Lori Leu
  • Essential Planning for Long Term Care Needs
    Financial/Legal – Room 303 – Mark Pruitt
  • Caring for a Loved One with Cancer
    Self-care – Room 304 – Cyndy Cervantes
  • Caregiver Stress? Caregiver Resources!
    Caregiving – Room 305 – Kathleen Warshawsky
  • Senior Living Options: Top 5 Things to Consider
    Caregiving – Room 306 – Joyce Logan/Patty Williams
  • End of Life Discussions and the Caregiver
    Caregiving – Room 308 – Frank Seddio
  • Hope and Planning for the Future: Discovering the Giftedness of the Individual
    Special Needs/Disabilities – Room 207 – Debbie Wilkes
  • Effective Communication Strategies
    Memory Care – Room 208 – Elaine Scholly

2:30–3:20 p.m.

  • Understanding Alzheimer's/Dementia with a Research Update
    Memory Care – Loft 456 – Nelly Garcia
  • Preparing for the Future with Confidence
    Financial/Legal – Room 302 – Lori Leu
  • Essential Planning for Long Term Care Needs
    Financial/Legal – Room 303 – Mark Pruitt
  • Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?
    Self-care – Room 304 – Pamela Lathers
  • Understanding Hospice
    Caregiving – Room 305 – Marisa Daughterty
  • ID Theft and Scams ... Preventative Measures
    Financial/Legal – Room 306 – Mark Dawson
  • Brain Integration – How Movement and Exercise Changes the Brain
    Special Needs/Disabilities – Room 207 – Tricia Snyder


aCremation of Texas Funeral Home and Local Cremation & Funerals Funeral Home
Alzheimer's Association
Area Agency on Aging of North Central Texas
Bent Tree Memory Care Support Group
Cancer Support Community of North Texas
Careplus Hospice
Caring Transitions
Comprehensive Care Management, LLC
Dignity Memorial
D.R. Wilkes Consulting
Encore Memory Care Day Center
Fathom Realty
Heritage Keepers
Leu & Pierce, PLLC
Mom's Best Friend
Plano Police Department
Portwood Odom Insurance Solutions
Prestonwood and Bent Tree Special Needs Ministries
Prestonwood Memory Care & Caregivers Support Groups
Ruby Care Senior Living Advisors
Senior Helpers
Senior Living Specialists
Seniors Blue Book
Shirley’s Residential Care Homes
Silverado Communities, At Home, & Hospice
Sonoma House Assisted Living and Memory Care
Strategic Estate Planning Services
Stronghold Cancer Support Group
TSG Financial Strategies
Village at Mapleshade
Weeks Law Firm and Texas GPS
Wellness Center for Older Adults
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