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Caregiving Reality

Looking Back and Looking Forward

The old year has slipped away and the new is still fresh as a baby. The last week of 2016 provided me with some much needed time away from the normal bustle of life, but now I am refreshed and back to work. It is easy to leap straight into all the planning for the new year, but I think it is good to spend a bit of time reflecting on what was just left behind.

When I look back on 2016 I feel a deep sense of thankfulness for what I was enabled to do in reaching and helping caregivers. In the beginning of January 2016 I couldn’t have guessed what was coming in the rest of the year. My gratitude list is very long, but here are a few highlights:

  • Keynote address at the Alzheimer’s Association Spring Conference in Oneont, NY. This started my speaking events for the year with a bang–and the request for me to speak was as unexpected as it was a great success. If there was one lesson for me from 2016 is that the greatest successes often come from the places we least expect–and where we can’t take the credit. But we can be thankful when doors open, and I am.
  • Clarion County’s Area Agency on Aging’s Senior Wellness Council in Clarion, PA. This was the event where I had the most unexpectedly large audience. I thought I was going to speak in front of a modest number of senior citizens, but when I arrived at the event I found myself in a large (and very full) parking lot before walking into a banquet hall filled with tables and people. It was the largest audience I have spoken in front of to date.
  • Top of Alabama Regional Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging’s Caregiver College, Hunstville, Alabama. This event was the first speaking engagement which required that I book a flight to attend. The air travel went remarkably well, and I was able to experience some southern hospitality while sharing my story as one of the presenters at the event. Long distance traveling does introduce a new element of stress into speaking engagements, but I am glad I finally opened that door. I anticipate doing more in the future.
  • WellMed Charitable Foundation Caregiver Summit, San Antonio, TX. I thought I had to travel far for my event in Alabama, but then this caregiver summit took me nearly to the Mexican border. It was a great crowd to speak with, and I had the privilege to hear some prominent speakers in the field while there, as well.
  • Alzheimer’s Association Fall Conference in Wilkes-Barre, PA. I capped off the year with a second Alzheimer’s Association conference presentation. I made a lot of good connections in Wilkes-Barre and hope to work with the Association more in the coming year.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of my events for 2016, but it is some highlights to give you a sense of how grateful I am for the opportunities that were sent my way. In is incredibly fulfilling to reach so many people. I hope 2017 is as richly full as the year past.

So what about the future? Well, I certainly shouldn’t count my chickens (or speaking events) before they are hatched, but I will work hard to do my part to make the coming year even better as far as reaching more people. But I am also all the more aware of how the opportunities of speaking are so much beyond my control. I plan to simply continue giving my best and waiting to see what comes.

That said, I am also thinking about what I can do beyond speaking events in the coming year. I have plenty of writing projects I would like to embark on, but I can’t tackle them all. Besides, it is likely that any book length project I start in this year will probably not be finished before December rolls to its close in twelve months. I have two other distinct ideas about how I would like to reach more people with my message in ways beyond speaking at events and writing books–but the ideas are still early enough in their development that I don’t want to say anything more definite at the present. Stay tuned here for more details when the appropriate time arrives.

If you have any suggestions, please drop me a note.

Between one thing and another I’ll be very busy in 2017, but I hope to see you around!

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