The Caregiving Years Academy
All Home Care Matters was honored to welcome Denise Brown for an in-depth interview about caregiving and to learn about how she is helping to support family caregivers.
Denise launched The Caregiving Years Training Academy in April 2020 after selling CareGiving.com, an online community she launched in 1996 to Ohio’s Hospice. Through its blogs posts, podcasts and video chats, CareGiving.com held one of the largest online libraries of caregiving stories at the time of its sale.
In addition to creating training program and support services for family caregivers, Denise helps her parents. Denise began caring for her parents in 2004 after her father’s bladder cancer diagnosis. Her parents, now 90 and 87, live near Denise in their own apartment. In a video created for the American Cancer Society, Denise shared her own personal caregiving story. A recent online story in The Wall Street Journal also included Denise’s caregiving experiences.
Next Avenue named Denise a 2017 Influencer in Aging, one of “50 advocates, researchers, thought leaders, innovators, writers and experts who continue to push beyond traditional boundaries and change our understanding of what it means to grow older.”
Denise leads research initiatives to better understand the personal caregiving experience including the Family Caregivers Stress Survey. Since December 2015, more than 1,200 family caregivers have taken the survey which ranks a family caregiver’s stress from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most stressed. The current stress number is 4.13. More than 70% of respondents indicate that they miss their lives, a major source of their stress.
Denise organized and hosted the National Caregiving Conference (NCC) four times between the years of 2016 and 2019. At NCC, family caregivers and former family caregivers were the experts, which meant they presented workshops and participated in panel discussions. Family caregivers and former family caregivers from three countries and 28 states attended the last conference which took place in November 2019. “A truly amazing and inspirational event, felt so much love and warmth from so many people,” said a conference attendee.
In January 2016, Denise debuted the Certified Caregiving Consultant training program which helps former family caregivers launch a business to help current family caregivers. The program also helps professionals who work with family caregivers communicate effectively and offer the right resource at the right time. She has since added additional programs, including the Certified Caregiving Advocate, Educator, Facilitator and Specialist training programs. More than 300 individuals from six different countries have enrolled in her training programs.
In May 2020, Denise launched the Certified Family Care Manager training program, which teaches individuals how to care for a family member. Certified Caregiving Consultants provide the training through classes which teach about personal care, stress management, family dynamics and system navigation.
In 1997, Denise began an ongoing project of staging the family caregiver experience. She regularly refines her six stages to reflect the current challenges faced by family caregivers. The The Six Caregiving Stages is now the foundation for her training programs and Caregiving Master Classes.
Denise is the author of several books that provide insights, comfort and hope to those who care including;
• The Caregiving Years, Your Guide to Navigating the Six Caregiving Stages
• Healing Words, Soothing Strategies for Your Caregiving Fatigues
• Take Comfort, a four-book series
• After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again
• The Daily Healing Plan, Support for Healing After Caregiving Ends
Her insights have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, US News & World Report, USA Today, SmartMoney.com, Time magazine and Chicago Tribune.
Denise graduated from the University of Illinois in 1985 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English.