Speaking to the World
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Caregiving Speaker & Author
What’s funny about caring for someone who is aged, chronically ill, or disabled? Absolutely nothing! However, author, speaker, and cofounder of CaregiverHelp.com, Elaine K Sanchez, knows first-hand that caregiving is entirely too difficult to take seriously all of the time. Read More >
Sanchez incorporates humor and masterful storytelling into difficult and sensitive topics such as caregiver anger, guilt, depression, and grief. Her TEDx Talk, “Having the Sex Talk With Dad”, never fails to generate belly laughs, but it goes far beyond entertaining. Family and professional caregivers alike come away with an increased understanding of the causes of dementia-related inappropriate sexual behavior along with strategies for responding with compassion rather than disgust.
Pamela Slaughter, Human Services Investigator/Screener at Multnomah County, OR wrote, “Elaine was a keynote speaker at the OSU Gerontology Conference in April, 2015. I loved her message, her compassion, her expertise, and her humor! Not many people can have me taking notes while I laugh at the same time I'm wiping away a tear.”
Sanchez is the author of the unflinchingly honest and uproariously funny book, Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver. She is the cofounder of CaregiverHelp.com, a video-based support program for family and professional caregivers. She writes the blog, “Caregiver Help Word of the Day”, as well as numerous freelance articles for other caregiving publications. She and her husband, Dr. Alex Sanchez, developed the curriculum for the course “Gero - 407 Caregiving” which was taught at Western Oregon University, as well as a number of online continuing education courses for mental health professionals, nurses, and long-term care administrators. Sanchez is also approved by DSHS to deliver training to long-term care workers in the State of Washington. She has extensive experience in developing applications for continuing education credits for professional caregivers. Working with her to get CEU approval for conferences is a breeze.
Sanchez’s ten-year, long-distance caregiving journey began in 1993 when her father suffered a debilitating stroke. Her parents were Kansas farmers. Their primary resource was homesteaded farm ground, so even though Madelyn, Sanchez’s mother, was in very poor health herself, she chose to take care of her husband at home. Madelyn managed her isolation and emotional stress by writing letters to Sanchez in which she expressed everything she was experiencing and exactly how she felt about it!
Sanchez saved the letters, and when she was asked to speak at church on Mother’s Day in 2004, about mother-daughter relationships, she went out to the garage and took down a cardboard moving box her husband had labeled, “Letters from Madelyn”. After she read an excerpt from one of her mother’s letters and shared a couple of stories, people came up to her exclaiming, “You have to write a book!”
Sanchez published her book and started speaking about caregiving in 2007. Her presentations, which are sometimes described as one-woman plays, incorporate her mother’s stories, journal entries written by Dorothy Tucker, a nurse who worked in nursing homes and on Alzheimer’s unites for thirty years, as well as Sanchez’s personal experiences of being a caregiver for her parents, an elderly aunt, and her husband through years of severe and chronic back pain, including two major surgeries.
She understands the emotional stress of caregiving, because she’s lived it, and she is committed to helping others recognize that even in worst end-of-life situations there is still an opportunity for mental and spiritual growth. When people come away from one of Elaine Sanchez’s presentations, they feel validated, uplifted, and empowered to find the hope, humor and heart in caring for those who can no longer care for themselves. Read Less ^
TEDTalk: Having the Sex Talk with Dad
Sex and Dementia Vignette - Having the Sex Talk With Dad
End of Life Planning Vignette - Ducks in a Row
Identify a Guilt Tripper
Fear, Frustration, and Fatigue
The Importance of Support
Sense of Loss
Based on her unflinchingly honest and uproariously funny book, Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver, Elaine’s presentation, “Finding Hope, Humor & Heart in Caregiving . . . “And for this I take VITAMINS?!!!” is a combination keynote-one-woman play that has audience members laughing through their tears. Read More >
Elaine customizes her keynotes and incorporates real-life stories from the experiences of both family and professional caregivers about anger, guilt, depression, grief and dementia-related challenging behaviors. Attendees often comment that they come away from Elaine’s keynote feeling validated and understood. They frequently say, “She gives me permission to be human.” Read Less ^
In her hilarious and heartwarming keynote, “Having the Sex Talk With Dad”, Elaine K Sanchez shares real-life stories about dementia-related challenging behaviors - including inappropriate sexual behavior. She provides insights into communicating with people who have dementia as well as strategies for responding to challenging behaviors. She helps us understand that regardless of our age or cognitive abilities, we never lose our desire for attention, love, and control.
“Ducks in a Row” is an ideal presentation for people who are in the process of taking over the care of family elders, as well as individuals who want to control how their healthcare, finances, and possessions will be handled during the final stages of their own lives. From starting difficult conversations to completing end-of-life documents, she provides attendees with a system that helps them get their ducks in a row.
"Elaine was a keynote speaker at the OSU Gerontology Conference. I loved her message, her compassion, her expertise, and her humor! Not many people can have me taking notes while I laugh at the same time I'm wiping away a tear. I found myself wishing that I could hear Elaine again soon."
"We couldn’t have asked for a better start to the day for the 385 caregivers attending the Challenges in Caregiving Conference. They laughed, they cried, they felt understood...and they learned the importance of taking care of themselves."
"The evaluations of our conference were all extremely positive and you were definitely the star of the day! I think many people felt as if they had made a new friend!"
"Elaine is a warm and loving human being whose passion for supporting caregivers translates immediately to an audience. You cannot look at her work apart from who she is as a person. One flows from the other. Her humorous stories give one hope that, with a good approach, even some of our most challenging life experiences bring value, wisdom and perspective. Our families continue to comment on how valuable her presentation was to their perspective on caregiving. No matter how big the responsibility, we all continue to be human beings with the limitations that come with a physical body that gets tired and needs rejuvenation. Elaine is an exceptional speaker who draws capacity attendance in our caregiver series segments around the country. Whether working moms, sandwich generation boomers or spouses caring for a partner, Elaine brings a light to the topic of caregiving that will refresh the lives of caregivers in one dose!"
"'Caring, informative and compassionate' and 'amazing speaker' are just a few of the comments we received when Elaine Sanchez spoke at the 39th Annual Oregon State University Gerontology conference. Her keynote address captivated the audience from beginning to end, combining humor and optimism, [and offering] valuable insight and information. The 2-day conference brings together over 40 speakers, and attracted almost 500 attendees, primarily professional caregivers. Ms. Sanchez was one of our most popular speakers at the conference. She is wonderful and easy to work with, and would be an invaluable asset to any event."
"Elaine Sanchez has an energetic style that draws in the audience. From her own experience, she understands the feelings and knows the trials of being a caregiver. Her acting and audio-visual aids enthralled the participants. Elaine prepared for our specific group and weaved in her general information. One person had a written comment, “Love, love, love Elaine.” She is a compassionate person and gives a compelling lecture."
"Elaine is the only speaker I know who so easily touches the heart and mind of the family caregivers, staff and professionals in the audience. When she spoke about the emotions while caring for a loved one, you could see people in the audience nodding in agreement and when she shared a funny situation people really laughed because they are or have walked down the same road and she was telling her story but it was their story as well. She gave the audience tools to help deal with emotions and stress in a healthy, simple and practical way. I like to speak with attendees after each talk and everyone said they were so glad they attended. She has a wonderful gift, and I cannot imagine how many lives she has impacted."
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