Debra Hallisey

Advocate for Mom and Dad, LLC


  • Presentations for professional and family caregivers on effective communication based on my book, “Your Caregiver Relationship Contract.” Topics include the roller coaster of emotions, setting boundaries, asking and saying yes to help.
  • Presentation for dementia family caregivers based on my book, “A Relationship Contract for Dementia Caregivers.
  • Presentation that addresses grief during the caregiving years, “Grief Runs Through Caregiving Like a River.”
  • A four week interactive workshop series for all caregivers: New ways to communicate, Tips for navigating the emotional roller coaster of caregiving, How to set boundaries with everyone in your life and Asking for and saying yes to help.

About Debra:

Deb Hallisey is a past caregiver who lost her job due to caregiving. As a result, she founded her company Advocate for Mom and Dad. Deb writes on caregiving issues for adult children of aging parents at her website

Her caregiving insights have been featured in articles, blog posts, podcasts and video chats.

As an advocate for caregivers, Deb works with them to effectively communicate with their caree, other family members and the healthcare system.

Deb is the author of Your Caregiver Relationship Contract. The book, available in both English and Spanish: Su Contrato de relación como cuidador de un ser querido, is a practical, step-by-step guide for discussing relationship issues that arise between caregivers and their care partners. She uses personal stories to illustrate how these techniques healed her relationship with her mother. And A Relationship Contract for Dementia Caregivers, which provides the reader with practical knowledge and necessary steps at each stage of the disease, to continuously adapt your practices and expectations to meet the needs of the person you care for and, more importantly, your own needs as the disease progresses.

Deb is a regional speaker for ARTIS Senior Living and has been a guest speaker and trainer for a variety of organizations including The Care Years Academy, Northwell Hospital System, The Parkinson Foundation of Oklahoma and United Way.

Deb is a Certified Caregiving Consultant™, Certified Caregiving Educator, Certified Caregiving Facilitator and Certified Dementia Practitioner®. She holds an MA in Leadership and Supervision.

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Debra Hallisey


    When I feel overwhelmed, I reach out to Deb, who listens with calm and kind compassion. She then engages me in a conversation, which leads me to vent and share honestly. At the end of our session, I realize what I can control, understand what I can let go, and feel better going back to my day. I’m grateful for her support.
    ~ Denise M. Brown Care Years Training Academy

    Today’s program “Grief Runs Through Caregiving Like a River”, was outstanding. Well thought out and put together, our family caregivers found it helpful as confirmed by our exit poll and the emails I received after the program. The personal touch you put into the program shows that you truly speak from your heart when it comes to caregiving. Thank you for joining us today.
    Robin Ennis
    Manager, Caregivers Coalition
    Assistive Technology Program Specialist
    United Way of Northern New Jersey

    “Debra was able to lead us in a thoughtful and loving conversation about caregiving. We are grateful for the ways she presented to let go of unessential things while we processed the real emotions that rise to the surface as caregivers. This was a meaningful time that allowed us to feel less helpless and more empowered and it was important to focus on us as caregivers”
    Linda Panarella, CDP
    Care Specialist and Director of Business Development, Town Square Adult Day of Brick and Princeton

    “Just wanted to thank you for the terrific caregiver support group you facilitate and also for the excellent program given by Debra Hallisey. Putting names to the whirling explosion of emotions that accompany the diagnosis of dementia and explaining the many reasons for these emotions has been invaluable in accepting and dealing with them. Personally, I have learned so much from the 2 meetings and lecture I was able to attend—many, many “AHA” moments and gratitude with each one. As you know, it is not easy to find caregiver help and support and the program you offer is truly an outstanding lifeline. Thanks too for reminding us to find and savor the joyous times. I look forward to our next meeting and hope you are enjoying the sunny days.”
    Best Regards,
    Chris P

    Thank you Karen and Debra for this extremely helpful workshop. learned a lot of strategies and information shared by Debra was very insightful!
    Cathy P.

    (Even without being seen or heard, – no camera or mic) I learned so much. Thanks also to the county for an excellent idea.
    Ruth S.

    Thanks so much for the enlightening and affirming sessions. Allison and I really found it helpful.
    Ed F.

    I am so impressed by this book and your wonderful ability to share important information.

    Once again, by using your own experiences you help others navigate a difficult journey. The acknowledgement that a caregiver contract is a growing, changing agreement is so valuable. This book gives a caregiver permission to better understand that this is difficult changing situation in which, with good communication and clear expectations, they too can be successful.
    Linda Mundie

    The first thing you notice is the title. Who has a Caregiver Relationship Contract? Nobody, that’s who. And so, a true caregiver for both her mom and dad, Deb Hallisey leads us through the ups and downs of taking on the role of adult caregiver and how to practically navigate the newness of that relationship….which can be both a mine field as well as shark-infested waters!

    The beauty of this book is that Deb tells you honestly how her failings were able to make her a Sherpa for the new caregiver, or even the long-time caregiver who hasn’t considered that some of these relationship pitfalls can be fixed, with just some time, thought, conversations of honesty and true commitment to change by everyone for the better.

    Deb makes it clear that this contract you are entering into, whether willingly or not, is in fact a contract, and may need to be re-negotiated on a continuing basis. And even more surprisingly, some disputes may be settled with just one honest conversation.

    Deb teaches us that words matter, language matters, rules of engagement have to be honored and timing is everything. This sounds like things you would know, but truthfully, you need to have someone hone in on why you and/or your loved one may be struggling and what you can do about it.

    And this book doesn’t just open your eyes to what you are missing, it gives you actual exercises at the end of every chapter to guide you in making concrete paths to a better working relationship with your loved one.

    If all that is not enough, Deb does something that I think caregivers don’t hear enough. I have been a caregiver for eight different family members and friends in the last 25 years, and I know from personal experience, caregivers don’t ask for help nearly enough. So right smack dab in the middle of the book is Chapter 6 “Ask for and say YES to Help.” A personal favorite.

    If you’re a caregiver, know a caregiver or you see the writing on the wall that you may be one in the not-so-distant future or YOU may need caregiving, get this book and get it now. If you know someone who could really use some help, get this book for them.

    Cathleen S. Sikorski, Esq.
    Author of: Who Moved My Teeth? Preparing for Self, Loved Ones and Caregiving and Showering With Nana: Confessions Of A Serial Caregiver

    Author Debra Hallisey shares deeply personal feelings and encounters in her own caregiving journey. I applaud her for that and predict many readers will identify with, and be helped by, her experiences. She went beyond personal stories to provide readers with a variety of useful tips and tricks. This is the sort of guide that everyone will return to often.
    Glenna Crooke, Ph.D.
    The Network Sage: Realize Your Network Superpower

    This is a beautifully and thoughtfully written book. The idea of a caregiver relationship contract is genius and helps the reader to understand that what’s happening really is a sort of contract, and that both people can work together to make that relationship easier even in the face of life-changing circumstances.
    Danielle L. Kunkle
    Boomer Benefits

    She skillfully defines the caregiver ‘dance’ in a way that brings clarity and insights in a time that is often confusing. The book is infused with therapeutic wisdom and practical exercises that will help you build a stronger caregiver tool kit.
    Annette Murphy, MSW, LSW
    Director of Home Care and Care Management
    Springpoint at Home

    This book has clear, real life examples of the successes and frustrations of caregiving, as well as the joys. Valuable information and insights are offered to guide us through difficult conversations, asking for help, and dealing with emotions. Debra outlines the importance of respectfully including our parents in the decision-making process, which can lead to a smoother path. Debra shows

    how caregiving can be a time of shared joy and result in a more satisfying, supportive relationship based on mutual respect. Deb’s life-giving approach with her own mother can help us to honor our role as a caregiver, while reminding us the importance of nurturing ourselves along the way.
    Hillary Murray
    Director of Community Relations
    Brandywine Living at Pennington

    Caregiving is more than just a series of tasks to keep your loved one safe. Debra Hallisey takes us on a wise and practical journey through some of the hardest conversations you will ever have in your life. She uses her experience to show us the importance of truly connecting, while always showing your parents the respect they deserve. This is the book every person with aging parents needs to read before the crisis hits. This is the book that will shed some light on the darkest of days and will help you create the caregiver contract that will restore the quality of life that you and your loved one both need and provide clarity and insight to your caregiving relationship.
    Sheli Monacchio, President
    Caring Connections of New Jersey

    This book is a wonderful guide through a difficult maze of parent-child-parent relationships. Through organized lists and informational anecdotes, Ms. Hallisey acquaints the reader with the necessary considerations when taking on the care of a loved one. Everyone with a parent should read this, and every parent should gift their child with a copy!
    Susan R. Ferraro

    This book is a must have companion for anyone caring for a loved one or patient with Dementia. Every aspect of the extraordinary challenge of being a caregiver is so clearly explained and acknowledged, and some of the best solutions, strategies and answers are found in these pages. Deb walks us through the maze of caring for someone with Dementia, gently but firmly guiding us to being the best caregiver we can be based on her own experiences, strength and hope. There is no one better to take with us as our guide. The book helps us feel less alone, more prepared and certainly more aligned with those we love and care for.
    Susanne White
    Caregiver Warrior

    This book is an important contribution to our understanding of the emotional demands of being an Alzheimer’s caregiver which are all-encompassing and increase over time as the disease progresses. Little acts can make a big difference. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia is exceptionally demanding, and especially challenging. This book provides ideas to encourage people to lend a hand to a caregiver, understand the importance of effect-ive communications, gives us permission for relationships restructuring through contacts and tools for person-centered care approaches.

    How to help an Alzheimer’s Caregiver is a learned responsibility. Offering caregivers a reprieve is…often a welcome gift. Even one hour can provide the caregiver with the reprieve they need to reset. It is important for family and friends to see the common signs of caregiver stress, denial, anger, social withdrawal and isolation, anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and self-health problems. This book is an important contribution to our toolbox of resources for families and ourselves and we all need the encouragement and boundaries provided to enable us to cope with the tremendous responsibility of a caregiver.

    Thank you for providing an understanding of Alzheimer’s caregiving and writing another real-life contribution to our everyday work and mission.

    Robyn Kohn, MA, CDP, CMDCP
    Caregiver, HealthCare and Dementia Educator
    Director of Programs and Services, Alzheimer’s Association