NVFP Presents: Caring for the Caregiver

When taking care of a loved one, our own mental health and well-being can feel less important. On June 15th, Dr. Maria Castillo-Catoni, sat down with Brett Sanders and Colleen Duewel for a conversation surrounding the difficulties faced by caregivers and discussed resources for support available to them.

Virtual Town Hall Meeting

Event Highlights:

  • 0:18 – 3:37 – Dr. Maria Castillo begins the town hall with a few housekeeping items, and introduces her guests, Brett Sanders and Colleen Duewel.
  • 4:45 – 10:04 – Dr. Castillo asks the panelists to explain their professional roles, and what led them to their current careers. Colleen states, “And also, I just didn’t want anybody to ever be as lost as I was in that process. It was very stressful very to be long distance, and an only child… very stressful.”
  • 11:05 – 13:33 – Dr. Castillo encourages participant interaction by asking her first poll question – What is your current role as a care provider?
  • 13:35 – 18:21 – Considering most attendees were providing care for their spouses or parents, the panelists discuss their experiences helping spouses and parents provide the best care possible and the difficulties they face.
  • 18:25 – 20:00 – Dr. Castillo asks her second poll question – What are the primary needs of the person you’re caring for? Are they mostly physical? Mostly cognitive? Somewhere in-between?
  • 20:22- 22:30 – Dr. Castillo asks her last poll question – What are the primary stressors you’re facing right now? Mostly financial? Or are they emotional stressors?
  • 22:30 – 26:40 – Colleen Duewel shares her experience working with a dementia caregiver support group, and the positive impact that has had. Also, she shares her experiences of providing care for someone long-distance and the emotional toll.
  • 26:43 – 29:44 – Brett Sanders discusses how important stress relief is, and how emotional stress can often be the most difficult type of stressor to help people with. Brett shares that often the emotional stress can bring to light issues stemming back years.
  • 30:17 – 31:48 – The panelists stress the importance of having a plan, and not being afraid to ask for help.
  • 31:48 – 33:46 – Where do you find caregiver support groups? The panelists provider where to find resources based upon your specific needs.
  • 33:51 – 39:10 – What is covered by insurance versus out of pocket? Is transportation covered? How does Medicare play a role? The panelists discuss the logistical questions often seen when finding the best care for their loved ones.
  • 40:36 – 42:00 – Dr. Castillo shares a personal event that happened between her and her mother and asks the panelists about the importance of having a will.
  • 42:59 – 44:37 – If there is something that is important to you in your life, let people know! The panelists discuss the importance of documenting everything, from a will to power of attorney.
  • 45:44 – 54:59 – The panelists answer questions during a Q&A.
  • 55:00 – 56:16 – Dr. Castillo thanks the panelists for their time and promotes upcoming NVFP events.

Contact Information for our Speakers:

Brett Sanders – Owner of Assisting Hands in Arlington, VA – Phone: (703) 997-5657 

Colleen Duewel – Founder of LionHeart Eldercare and Consulting – Phone: (704) 677-8319 


  • National Institute on Aging (NIA)Information on advanced care planning, including defining care planning and how to put health care directives in place
  • Creating a Care Plan – A care plan includes a summary of a person’s health conditions and current treatments for their care, including information like medication lists, list of healthcare providers, and health conditions including active medical problems and past surgeries
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