Family Caregivers - The Unsung Heroes
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On this episode of Finding Your Bliss, we have a show devoted to family caregivers- the unsung heroes of the healthcare system. This week, Bliss expert and Life Coach Judy Librach is joined by Dr. Samantha Winemaker, who is a graduate of McMaster University Medical School. Dr. Winemaker completed her residency training in Family Medicine, and fellowship training in Palliative Medicine. Her clinical work is predominately community based, caring for people facing progressive life limiting illnesses in their home. She has been awarded the Dr. Ted Evans Scholarship for excellence in the principles of family medicine, and received the Ontario College of Family Physicians Award of Excellence in 2010. She is an associate clinical professor at McMaster University in the Department of Family Medicine, Division of Palliative Care. She is an active educator and researcher with a passion for examining the interface between primary care and palliative care. She co-authored and published a systematic review on postgraduate palliative care curricula which informed new ways of teaching palliative care within family medicine residency training. She has held multiple leadership roles including Postgraduate Curriculum Lead, Hospice Medical Director, Regional Palliative Clinical Lead and Medical Director Palliative Care Outreach Team. Most importantly, Dr. Winemaker is an advocate for urgent palliative care reform. She believes strongly that basic principles of palliative care should be the business of all health care providers and they should be integrated into care of the patient seamlessly, moving upstream in the patient’s illness journey. Dr. Winemaker has bravely reoriented her clinical and academic work to help illuminate a more modern expression of the provision of palliative care.

Also on the program is Darlene Chrissley, who is a writer, performer, explorer and master coach. Darlene is also one of the many caregiver superheroes. Darlene’s story and her blog “Caregiver Log”, revolves around her mother’s dementia diagnosis, and how Darlene coped with the sudden shock, and all of the ups and downs of being her mother’s primary caregiver. She also talks about the unexpected blisses that she found along the way in the caregiving experience.

For her 60th birthday in 2019, Darlene wrote and performed a solo show called “Mama et Moi”, exploring the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters and what happens when a daughter who has carefully kept her distance is called home to care for her mother, who is suffering from dementia. At the end of the show, the daughter walks away from the call of duty. But in real life, that hasn’t proved so easy. (Spoiler: There will be a sequel.) Stay tuned for an upcoming memoir and possibly another show from Darlene.

Our Featured Artist this week is the uber talented singer Michelle Newman. For more than a decade, Michelle has been one of Toronto’s most in demand Voice Coaches. She comes highly recommended by Toronto’s Top Talent Agencies as well as leading industry Record Labels. Michelle credits her success to her genuine passion for her students and their craft, as well as her personalized approach to every lesson.

Her approach enables her to bring out the best in any singer, whether it be a live performance or studio session. She focuses on vocal health, breath control, tone, range and much more. She believes that singers are born with a gift, but it is how they nurture that gift that enables how far they are able to take themselves as an artist.

Michelle has trained the city’s most talented young singers. Most recently Michelle’s long-time student was the winner of CTV’s The Launch. She was also a coach to many of the finalists on that show. Michelle has trained many of the cast members of Mirvish’s Matilda, Mirvish’s Annie, cast members of the Next Step, Broadway’s Billy Elliot, Broadway’s Frozen, members of The Revel Boys, YouTube sensation Johnny Orlando, Hollywood actress Alexandra Shipp and many more. Three of Michelle’s students have been featured artists on The Ellen Degeneres Show and many have gone on to pursue their dreams of becoming professional musicians and have already created big names for themselves in the music industry. Michelle was the resident vocal coach and producer for The Mini Pop Kids from 2011-2015. She was also the vocal coach for the Lifetime Biopic Aaliyah: Princess of R&B.

As a vocalist, Michelle has shared the stage and studio with many amazing artists such as Tina Turner, The Black Eyed Peas, Philosopher Kings, Jacksoul, Mosquito B and Donny Osmond. She was part of the Canadian Idol Writer’s Project and has been a featured anthem singer for The Toronto Raptors.

Check out Michelle’s beautiful cover of Adele’s song “Easy On Me”:

You can follow us @theblissminute on Instagram and Facebook. Or you can visit our online magazine at and take one step closer to finding your bliss.

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