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News Story

Early-bird registration open for Direct Caregivers Conference

Jan. 22, 2015

Professional and family caregivers who provide direct care services at home or in long-term care settings are invited to attend the ninth annual Direct Caregivers Conference from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 13, in the Northwoods Center on the Nicolet College Campus.

The conference provides an excellent opportunity for caregivers to receive continuing education and network with their peers in a relaxed, informal setting. As in the past, a highlight of the conference will be a special awards luncheon to recognize caregiver excellence. There will also be resources on wellness and stress management, door prizes, and giveaways.

"Through the generous contributions from the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Northwoods, the Northern Highlands Area Health Education Center, and local businesses, we're able to keep the registration fee affordable and make this a really fun event while also recognizing the value and dedication of direct care providers in our Northwoods communities," said Sandy Bishop, Nicolet College director of Workforce Development and a member of the Northern Wisconsin Long Term Care Workforce Network.

This year’s keynote speaker will be Geri Heppe, who will encourage participants to find humor in caregiving. Heppe has been in the field of aging for more than 35 years. With a master’s degree in gerontology from UW-Madison, she was part of the team that opened the first assisted living facility in Wisconsin and implemented the first “aging-in-place” retirement community in the Midwest. She was instrumental in creating the Life Enrichment Center for Lutheran Homes in Oconomowoc, the first education center dedicated to healthy aging. Most recently, Heppe helped launch the Aging and Disability Resource Center of the Northwoods.

Other presenters include Dr. Lenore Blemke, dean of Health Occupations at Nicolet College; Jennifer LaPorte-McCanles, bereavement coordinator with Dr. Kate Hospice; Mary Sikora-Petersen, registered dietitian and diabetes educator with the Peter Christensen Health Center in Lac du Flambeau; and Kori Koeppel, consultant with Catalyst Health.

In addition, physical and occupational therapists from Aspirus VNA home health will be conducting a hands-on skills fair for attendees.

The conference is hosted by the Northern Wisconsin Long Term Care Workforce Network and Nicolet College. The network is a professional organization of long-term care providers, agencies, and organizations that provide education and support to caregivers in a variety of settings.

Early-bird registration is $45 ($19.83, if age 62 or older) for those enrolled by Thursday, Feb. 1. After Feb. 1, registration is $50 ($24.83, if 62 or older).

Continental breakfast and catered luncheon are included in registration. Those attending will receive up to seven hours of continuing education and certificates of class completion. To register, call Nicolet College at (715) 365-4493, 800-544-3039 ext. 4493, or TTY 800-947-3529 or 711.

For more information about the conference, contact Nicolet’s Workforce & Economic Development office at (715) 365-4905, 800-544-3039, ext. 4905 or by email at