Sometimes I’d Rather be Eating Gelato!: The Cost of Caring by Champlain Dementia Network

The Champlain Dementia Network is pleased to present this online workshop, by Valerie Spironello, MSW, RSW (, for both staff and caregivers. Please share this opportunity with your networks – all are welcome.


The expectation that we can be immersed in suffering and loss daily and not be touched by it is as unrealistic as expecting to be able to walk through water without getting wet. (Remen, 1996). Having worked in the field of child welfare, domestic violence, palliative care and now private practice, Valerie knows first hand the ‘Cost of Caring’.

Using her ‘re-discovered’ sense of humour, Valerie will share how Compassion Fatigue snuck up on her, changed her and how she survived to tell her story. Valerie will share in a way that allows participants to reflect on how they are doing and to begin to explore what is needed to continue to be healthy while working in the field. Valerie has been a social worker for over 30 years working in a variety of settings including health care (palliative care, chronic illness), child welfare, and domestic violence. Valerie is an Assistant Professor (PT) with the Department of Family Medicine teaching in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. She has provided workshops and presentations to service providers on a variety of topics such as compassion fatigue, work/life balance, mindfulness and end-of-life care. Valerie is also a meditation teacher trained in the use of mindfulness in the clinical setting. She is also a yoga teacher which she finds incredibly healing. In her private practice Choose Wellness, she provides counseling, groups, workshops and retreats to assist others in living well in Body, Mind and Spirit. After experiencing compassion fatigue herself, Valerie committed to using her ‘re-found’ sense of humour to help others look at, and live their best life!

May 10, 2:30-4:00PM

May 18, 5-6:30PM

Staff or caregivers may attend any of the above sessions depending on availability, however the sessions will be targeted to either staff or caregivers as identified.