Jane Heller

The only thing better than reading her book is listening to Jane tell her stories. Her ability to look in the mirror with humor and honesty captured our hearts.

– Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care

About Keynote Speaker Jane Heller

“Funny” and “inspiring” are the two words most often used to describe both the books of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jane Heller and Jane herself. Her fourteen novels of romantic comedy, nine of which have been sold to Hollywood for film and television, are laugh-out-loud entertaining while reminding us that we’re all resilient, regardless of the obstacles we face – a theme that recurs in Jane’s own life.

Growing up with a mother who nursed two sick husbands (her father died of brain cancer; her stepfather suffered complications from epilepsy), Jane had an up close-look at her mom’s demanding role as a spousal caregiver.

Speech Topics

Caregiving 101: There Should Be a Manual for This

The vast majority of the 65 million caregivers in America are thrust into the role; only those who are professionally trained and actually apply for the job know what they’re getting into. For the rest of us, it’s a learn-as-you-go process, and bestselling author Jane Heller shares her slip-ups as well as her successes during her twenty years as the caregiver to her husband Michael. Her presentation will walk audiences through her often hilarious, always inspiring journey as she shares what she’s learned both from experts and at her own school of hard knocks. Some of the topics include:
How to get a grip on a loved one’s medical condition or disability.
How to navigate the medical maze known as the Hospital Emergency Room.
How to endear yourself to nurses and other medical staff.
How to care for a loved one and still have a life of your own.
Jane’s Caregiving 101 presentation is anything but a dry lecture as she elicits laughter, tears and nods of recognition.

In Sickness and In Health: When Marriage and Illness Collide

Bestselling author Jane Heller thought she’d found her Mr. Right when she met and fell in love with Michael, a professional photographer and avid sailor. He was in remission from Crohn’s disease and exhibited virtually no symptoms – until shortly before their wedding. Only after Jane’s first trip to the ER did she understand that her life with him would be a medical adventure involving nearly a hundred hospitalizations and thirty surgeries. For spousal caregivers, the famous marital vow, “in sickness and in health,” takes on new meaning as husbands and wives are thrown into a more complicated relationship than they’d imagined. In Jane’s candid, humorous and moving presentation, she describes the challenges spousal caregivers face as well as the rewards of caring for a romantic partner with an illness or disability. Some of the topics include:
Why nagging wives save lives.
Why it’s normal to wish your spouse would just “get over it.”
How to cope when his/her illness causes changes in personality.
How to forge a different kind of closeness and intimacy with a partner who’s ill.
Jane’s In Sickness and In Health presentation is an unflinching look at the role of the spousal caregiver, even as it uplifts and inspires and reminds us that love doesn’t always conquer all but it sure does count for a lot.

Taking Care of you Even When You're Caring For a Loved One

The statistics are staggering. Up to 70% of family caregivers exhibit symptoms of depression. Nearly 55% skip their own doctor appointments. 63% report having poor eating habits and 58% get less exercise than they used to. Worst of all, studies show that family caregivers experience extreme stress that can take as much as 10 years off their lives. What’s a caregiver to do? Bestselling author Jane Heller learned from experience. When her husband was hospitalized four times in 2010, she neglected her own health and ended up needing surgery herself. In her presentation, she shares her story with humor and insight and provides practical advice for any caregiver, whether they’re caring for a child, spouse or aging relative. Some of the topics include:
How to get a good night’s sleep even when you’re worried sick.
How to eat nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals – and what foods to avoid at that hospital cafeteria.
How to exercise even when visiting a loved one at a hospital or nursing home.
How to take a “mental vacation.”
Why humor can save your life.
Jane’s Taking Care of You presentation is full of useful takeaways, handpicked from a wide variety of experts: therapists, fitness instructors, dieticians, meditation teachers, even a cookbook author. Bottom line: taking care of you is not self-indulgent; it’s crucial.

How Being a Hospital Volunteer Made Me a Better Caregiver

Bestselling author Jane Heller was researching a new novel when she visited the Volunteers Director at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in L.A. and asked if she could observe volunteers for a day. “No,” she was told, “but if you’d like to sign up as a volunteer for a year minimum, we’d be glad to have you.” Jane signed up, and the experience changed her life. Her interactions with patients of all ages and circumstances were so profound that she encouraged her husband Michael, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, to sign up too, and their mutual efforts at the hospital strengthened their bond. In Jane’s presentation, she shares encounters with patients over the years, both funny and touching, and explains how volunteering made her more compassionate and, most importantly, more accepting of her role as Michael’s caregiver. Some of the topics include:
How volunteering gets you over the “aversion to being around sick people” hurdle.
How volunteering helps to educate you about the medical world.
How volunteering teaches you how to think on your feet and handle emergencies.
How volunteering engenders more patience when dealing with those with an illness or disability.
Jane’s emotionally uplifting How Being a Hospital Volunteer Made Me a Better Caregiver presentation is not just for prospective hospital volunteers; it’s applicable for those contemplating any sort of volunteering. A perfect fit for hospitals and volunteer groups in all arenas.

Don't Hold It In! Write It Down!

When bestselling author Jane Heller was working in book publishing, promoting such authors as Judy Blume and Danielle Steel, she never dreamed she’d become a writer herself. And then her marriage began to crumble and she took refuge in her office night after night, creating characters and telling a story. Before she knew it, she’d written a novel. The experience was not only cathartic; it launched a career. Now, as the caregiver to her husband Michael, she advocates that her fellow caregivers write about what they’re going through. Her lively presentation explores the relationship between writing and emotional release; how putting it down and getting it out can give you the strength to provide care, whether you’re writing fiction or simply keeping a journal. Some of the topics include:
How to begin writing, word by word.
Who cares if it ever gets published.
Why it’s so important not to store emotional pain.
OK, maybe it should be published and here’s how.
Jane’s Write It Down Presentation is filled with hilarious personal anecdotes about her transition from publicist to author (there’s her famous “Today” show story that brings down the house). An experienced leader of writers’ workshops, Jane has a unique ability to discuss her craft and appeal to caregivers to tell their own stories.

Speakers Videos

Speaker Demo

Caregiving – Panel Discussion

Humor & Caregiving

Caregiver Book Trailer

Books & Media


Rave Reviews

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KEYWORDS: Caregivers & Caregiving, Dementia, End of Life, Grief, Health | Wellness, Hospice, Humor