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Elaine K. Sanchez

Elaine K. Sanchez

Caregiving Speaker & Author

Biography

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 ^

Speaker Videos

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

Speech Topics

Finding Hope, Humor & Heart in Caregiving

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 ^

Sexuality, Violence & Other Dementia-Related Challenging Behaviors

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

“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.

Connect with Elaine K. Sanchez