Denise M. Brown, Founder of The Caregiving Years Training Academy

Denise M. Brown launched The Caregiving Years Training Academy in April 2020 after selling CareGiving.com, an online community she launched in 1996, to Ohio’s Hospice in March 2020. Denise reflects on the personal caregiving experience in her Sunday newsletter.

Connect with Denise through her current initiatives:

Personal Caregiving Experience

In addition to creating training programs and support services for family caregivers, Denise also helped her parents. In an article in The Wall Street Journal, Denise opens up about her own caregiving burn-out. In a video created for the American Cancer Society, Denise shares her own personal caregiving story. Denise began helping her parents after her father’s bladder cancer diagnosis in 2004. She cared for her father for 19 years until his death in July 2023. She cared for her mother for seven years until her death in August 2022, one year to the date of the unexpected death of Denise’s brother.

More than 3 Decades of Service to Family Caregivers

Denise began helping individuals who care for a family member in 1990 and launched a business to help them in 1995. She created one of the first online caregiving communities in 1996 which she managed until its sale in 2020. 

Because of her vision, CareGiving.com was the first website to add online caregiving support groups, daily caregiving chats and blogs written by family caregivers. At the time of its sale in March 2020 to Ohio’s Hospice, CareGiving.com held one of the largest online libraries of caregiving stories.

Denise was a team of one — managing the website’s technology, content, social media and events, including the National Caregiving Conference while also developing and delivering her training programs. CareGiving.com achieved a global ranking of 682,127 on Alexa on January 22, 2020, and generated 60,000 page views per month. On Twitter, Denise launched one of the first chats for family caregivers, which she hosted or co-hosted for ten years. Her Twitter account associated with CareGiving.com attracted 31,000 followers.

Developing a Caregiving Talent Pool

Denise now develops and delivers training programs for the workplace and for individuals who want to coach family caregivers. More than 400 individuals from eight different countries have enrolled in her training programs offered through her company, The Caregiving Years Training Academy. Her training programs have been approved to provide Continuing Education Units to health care professionals, including nurses, and to human resource professionals.

Trained Auxiliary Personnel

Denise began training auxiliary personnel (Certified Caregiving Consultants) to support family caregivers in 2016. CCCs are the equivalent of Community Health Workers who can deliver Community Health Integration and Principle Illness Navigation Services. Medicare Part B covers these services.

Her training program’s conversational assessments and planning tools support family caregivers with effective planning sessions, including:

  • After the Diagnosis Plan
  • Family Emergency Plan
  • Fall Recovery Plan

Family caregivers who have connected with the program’s conversational assessments and planning tools overwhelmingly recommend these services to fellow family caregivers.

Innovative Caregiving Concepts

Denise developed several concepts, including The Six Caregiving Stages, The 12 Caregiving Fatigues and The 17 Caregiving Systems, which both explain the complexity of a personal caregiving situation and inspire interventions to better support family caregivers. 

The Net Promoter Scores for her workshops reflect her ability to speak to family caregivers about the complicated, stressful caregiving experience:

  • Net Promoter Score for The Six Caregiving Stages two-hour workshop: 81.40
  • Net Promoter Score for The 17 Caregiving Systems two-hour workshop: 75

Marketing Insights

Denise regularly gathers insights about the caregiving experience. 

In her survey of 1,297 family caregivers, family caregivers share their stress number and its source. On a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the most stressed, the average stress number is 4.10.

In her survey of 112 family caregivers, family caregivers share what exhausts them (coping) and what energizes them (solitude).

Community of Support

Denise hosts an online community, CaringOurWay.com, that supports individuals during and after their personal caregiving experience. Community members enjoy free workshops and special events like the Caregiving Listener Project and the 36-Hour Christmas Chat. 

A participant in the Caregiving Listener Project describes her experience as “exquisite.”

Engaging Presentations

Denise presents workshops and keynote presentations to family caregivers and those who serve them. Speaking engagements include:

  • Keynote Presenter: “Help for the Caregiving Years,” hosted by Atlanta Regional Commission EmpowerLine
  • Presenter: Nasdaq, Parent and Caregiving Employee Resource Group
  • Keynote Presenter: “Destination Healthy Aging: Transforming Our Workforce and Caregivers”, hosted by Southern Illinois University
  • Keynote Presenter: 
  • Guest Lecturer: The Family Caregiver’s Stress, Loyola University School of Social Work
  • Guest Lecturer: The Family Caregiver’s Stress, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
  • Amgen’s Third Annual Stakeholder Summit, “Putting Principles into Practice.”
  • Panelist: National Family Caregiving Policy – What Might the RAISE Act Inspire, HCBS National Home & Community Based Services Conference

For 18 years, Denise led Lunch and Learn workshops at employers located in the Midwest on behalf of Employee Assistance Programs and Work/Life Benefit companies. She presented to employees in various industries, including health care, manufacturing, higher education, financial services, telecom and insurance. Her workshops provide insights to help attendees manage their work/life balance, their stress and their caregiving responsibilities.

Book Denise for your next conference or event.

Effective Advocacy

Denise creates campaigns to improve the caregiving experience and introduces reporters to family caregivers to feature their stories in The Wall Street Journal and KFF Health News.

Denise’s collaboration with researchers at University of Illinois and Georgia State University created awareness for better support for direct care workers in a Health Affairs article. 

Denise led efforts to give guidance to states on how to spend additional Medicaid funding they can receive through the American Rescue Plan Act. Those efforts led to an article, Why Don’t We Pay Family Caregivers What They’re Owed?, in The New Republic.

13-Book Author

Denise is the author of several books that provide insights, comfort and hope to those who care, including The Caregiving Guide, Your Go-To Reference and Companion During All Stages of Your Caregiving Experience, and After Caregiving Ends, A Guide to Beginning Again. Her free resource, A Workbook for Your Workplace Wellness, helps individuals who care, grieve and work.

Supportive Events

Denise organized and hosted the National Caregiving Conference four times between the years of 2016 and 2019. At NCC, family caregivers and former family caregivers were the experts, which meant they presented 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.

Conference attendees said:

“It was amazing. I had lost the last person/my mother in close proximity to the conference. While I wasn’t sure if it made sense to attend the conference, it ended up being a very helpful and healing process to do so. Thank you Denise and everyone I encountered over the two days. You helped.”

“WOW! How jammed packed full of awesome sessions this was. I wish I had at least 2 more days there to be able to take it all in. There was so much to learn! I felt like I was back in high school changing classes again and it felt wonderful. I met so many incredible people/caregivers. I shared like I’ve never shared before. Thank you, Denise, for helping make this possible!!! I look forward to next year and as soon as you have a time and place (don’t forget how warm it is here in Florida!) I will be sharing with other caregivers and friends. I’m pretty sure everyone knew my name by the time I left. Lots of warmhearted people there.”

“A truly amazing and inspirational event, felt so much love and warmth from so many people.”

“I felt welcomed! Appreciated! Most exhausting week/weekend that I loved!!”

Consulting Services

 Denise consults with organizations that want to develop:

  • Community Health Integration and Principle Illness Navigation Services for their practices or clinics
  • Training for auxiliary personnel who can deliver Community Health Integration and Principle Illness Navigation Services
  • Marketing campaigns to reach family caregivers
  • Services to support family caregivers
  • Products to help family caregivers
  • Initiatives and campaigns to raise awareness about caregiving issues
  • Content about the caregiving experience
  • Strategic plans to increase utilization of caregiving services and products

Media Mentions

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.” 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.

Contact Denise

Links:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *