Keynotes & Workshops

Presentation Themes

COVID -19 Recovery | Nurturing Resilience | Post Pandemic Growth | Aging | Mental Health | Diminished Capacity | Dementia | Depression | Long-Term Care | Optimal Aging | Medications + Alternatives | Dependency and Self-Determination

Featured Presentations

Does Asking for Help Make Me Look Helpless?

Learning Objectives

  • Describe the impact of healthy dependence on health and well-being.

  • List ways to negotiate the need for help and the desire for independence in older persons.

  • Discuss the importance of life histories in shaping self-perceptions of dependency and the implications for service delivery.


Finding an optimal balance between a reliance on others and the desire for independence is a fundamental task across the lifespan and can be particularly challenging for older people.

Using the growing body of research on interpersonal dependency, participants explore the idea of healthy dependence and its impact on health and well-being.

Dr Wehry demonstrates from personal experience (a fall, a fracture, a surgery) how radical acceptance of the need for help actually accelerates recovery, enabling her to participate in a long-planned, month-long medical pilgrimage in the Himalayas just weeks after surgery.

Better understanding of the complex nature of interpersonal dependency and autonomy has implications for public policy, for delivery of social services, for health care systems, and for successful transitions by individuals.

Trauma-Informed Care

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the relationship between person-centered and trauma-informed care.

  • Define trauma, trauma-informed care, resilience and vulnerability.

  • Nurture resilience.

  • List resources for providing a trauma-informed approach to care.


Adverse life events -- including adverse childhood events (ACEs) -- can affect us throughout our lifespan. As the number of these events increases, so does the risk for negative health and diminished well-being. This is true for both caregivers and residents of long-term care.

However, even in the face of trauma, people still possess an ability to return to being healthier and more hopeful, with less caregiver burnout.

Mental Health Tapas

Learning Objectives

  • Distinguish among the various types of psychotropic medications including uses, benefits, and risks.

  • Name the key features of commonly encountered mental health disorders.

  • Express greater comfort in supporting recovery in residents with behavioral health issues.


In this presentation, participants acquire a framework and a language for understanding and responding to frequently encountered disruptions in thinking, feeling and behaving -- commonly referred to as mental or behavioral health disorders.

How are these disorders similar to and different from the disruptions experienced by residents with Alzheimer’s and related dementias? What do we mean by the unmet needs model for understanding behavioral expressions of distress?

The session includes a quick review of commonly encountered diagnoses and therapies, and a deeper dive into what to look for on move-in, when to refer, when to consider move-out, and practical tips for person-centered responses to resident distress, including validation techniques.

"She brought up some very good points and challenged participants to think differently."

Depression, It's Everybody's Business

Learning Objectives

  • Describe risk factors for depression

  • Discuss a public health approach to responding to depression

  • List three strategies you can take


Depression is common, overlooked, devastating, treatable, preventable and a significant public health issue. Dr Wehry convincingly argues for universal screening, appropriate treatment and prevention programs.

Put Your Oxygen Mask on First

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss ways to manage stress

  • Describe ways to make the most of any living environment

  • Recognize, prevent, and report abuse, neglect and exploitation (ANE)

  • Create and use teams of support, including families

  • Discuss the importance of supporting significant relationships


Caregiver stress is a very real problem. This true for both informal caregivers (family neighbors, friends) and formal direct care workers.

And it comes as no surprise: both informal and formal caregivers report they do not always have adequate training or have other obligations and stresses in addition to caregiving.

Stress can lead to poor health, poor care, poor quality of life and increases the risk of abuse and neglect in the long term care setting . As more and more caregivers work side by side in home and community based settings , this problem needs attention.

Sounds of Silence: Ending the Stigma of Alzheimer's

Learning Objectives

  • List reasons individuals may not want to disclose a diagnosis

  • Discuss hesitations to disclosing that may be unique to Alzheimer's Disease

  • Describe what is meant by a person-centered approach in dementia


For many individuals, sharing their diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can be frightening and overwhelming. Ageism, fear of memory loss, loss of self, and assumptions about the disease are among the many factors that stigmatize persons living with Alzheimer's.

This presentation invites participants to think anew about Alzheimer's disease and to discuss it in ways that recognize a person's strengths, dignity, and stories. The use of positive language combined with emphasizing what a person is still able to do versus what he or she can no longer do, can have a significant positive impact on an individual’s quality of life. Attendees will gain a better understanding on how to support the “personhood” of individuals living with dementia.

"...thanks SO much for your great presentation."

First, Do No Harm

Learning Objectives

  • Figure out what a resident’s behavior means

  • Respond appropriately to a person's communication

  • Avoid unnecessary drugs


Everyone knows behaviors may express unmet needs -- and that medications may harm as well as heal. But not everyone knows what to do for residents in distress.

With humor, data and common sense, Dr Wehry presents up-to-date interventions that work. What does a behavior mean? In this presentation, participants discover the question to the answer.

Engaging Aging

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss four common responses to life challenges and transitions

  • Describe ways to overcome common barriers to development in late life

  • Create a personal plan for nurturing resilience


This lighthearted talk makes the case that optimal aging means neither denying nor defying aging but rather engaging in the process. Participants will learn they can ​get​ old —or ​grow​ old—and that there is a difference and a choice. Dr. Wehry will provide tips—drawn from research in the mind and life sciences, lived experience and her Mother—for optimizing health and nurturing resilience in ourselves and others.

Patienthood to Personhood

Learning Objectives

  • Describe care from the "outside in" and "inside out"

  • Compare and contrast both the "unmet needs" and the medical model for meeting challenging behaviors

  • Implement practices that support a resident's personhood


The world of long-term care has changed. Individualized, person-directed care is largely replacing institutional provider-directed care. A greater emphasis on home-like environments is replacing a purely medical model. And quality of life concerns are becoming equal in importance to quality of care issues.

As long term care moves to person-centered care, there is an increased focus on the strengths, wants, needs and personal goals of the individual, in addition to the disability or health care need.

With a nod to Maya Angelou, Dr Wehry shows us how to do better now that we know better.

"The exercises are great for empathy and understanding"

Compassion and Capacity, Not Control

Learning Objectives

  • Define autonomy, independence, self-efficacy

  • Discuss diminished capacity

  • Describe supported decision-making


Few issues are more troubling than the fear of loss of self-determination. Using actual stories, Dr Wehry explores the challenges individuals and families face in the context of diminished decision-making capacity and increasing needs for help.

Oasis 2.0

Learning Objectives

  • Explore person-centered and "inside-out" dementia care

  • Discuss ways to reduce the use of antipsychotics

  • Discover how families and other circles of support can become even better partners in care


In this presentation, Dr Wehry provides an overview of the Oasis curriculum, the philosophy for providing person-centered care, and how you can use it to create homes where people want to live and staff want to work.

"Oasis brought out the best in me."


Resources for Speaking Engagements

Watch the live stream of the 2nd Annual Conference of the Occupational Therapy Association of Morocco

Website Version Only What is High Quality Dementia Care

Watch: What is High Quality Dementia Care?

Dr Wehry's presentation "What is High Quality Dementia Care?" at the University of Maine's event on October 28, 2019

Thanks to the wonderful presenters and participants I met at the Second Annual Conference of the Occupational Therapy Association of Morocco in January 2020 for making it such a great experience!

I am very pleased to present the work of two of the presenters and their organization called, below.