Community//

Joy Loverde: “Before you go onstage, take a sip of water”

What drives me is the knowledge and evidence that I have accumulated over the years that proves without a doubt that planning for our future self and having the willingness to make difficult decisions early on is powerful. I have witnessed the reverse of what happens when people run away from the personal responsibility of […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

What drives me is the knowledge and evidence that I have accumulated over the years that proves without a doubt that planning for our future self and having the willingness to make difficult decisions early on is powerful.

I have witnessed the reverse of what happens when people run away from the personal responsibility of making plans and not putting their affairs in order when they had the chance to do so.

Dealing with one crisis after another is no way to live. Plus, with no plans in place, others eventually step in and take over your life and make decisions for you whether you like their choices or not. This is the powerful message that energizes me every day. I will never get out of my head the picture of those seven people sitting in the dark at the nursing home on Thanksgiving morning.


As a part of our series about Inspirational Women of the Speaking Circuit, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Joy Loverde, a best-selling author, keynote speaker, mature-market consultant, and advocate for family caregivers and people who are aging solo.

Joy is the author of “The Complete Eldercare Planner: Where to Start, Which Questions to Ask, and How to Find Help,” and “Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?: Plan Now to Safeguard Your Health and Happiness in Old Age.”

A seasoned media spokesperson, you may have seen Joy on the TODAY Show and Good Morning America and listened to her interviews on numerous National Public Radio stations, podcasts, and SiriusXM.

She has written hundreds of blogs and articles which are posted on her website (www.elderindustry.com).

During her career, she has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, TIME Magazine, New York Times, Money Magazine, U.S. News & World Report, Reader’s Digest, and a host of others. USA TODAY ran a four-part series on Joy’s family-caregiver programs.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was raised in a traditional Italian household with many people living under one roof, including Nonna (our grandmother). I am one of five siblings.

Throughout the years there were always family traditions in place for relatives to gather to share good times. Homemade Italian meals and wine, and of course, children of all ages were present at every celebration. To this day, we cousins remain close and continue the traditions of Italian living.

My Dad worked as an attorney and was eventually appointed Judge of The Circuit Court in Chicago. Mom stayed home and ran the household. She cooked meals from scratch every evening. Attendance at the dinner table was mandatory. The girls were responsible for the after-dinner clean up. I remember singing in the kitchen with Mom and my sisters as we cleared the table and washed dishes.

Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?

Every day, I relive the critical decision I made as a fourteen-year-old attending Trinity, an all-girl’s Catholic high school in River Forest, Illinois. When Sr. Dorothy was looking for a student to visit nursing-home residents on Thanksgiving morning, I hesitated; then raised my hand to volunteer. That decision changed my life forever.

Upon entering the nursing home, I observed seven residents sitting motionless in the dark. No one was talking. No one was smiling. Everyone was staring into nothingness. I was shocked at what I witnessed, and immediately started grappling for answers to questions no one seemed to be asking:

Who are these elders?

What series of events led them to a life of resignation?

How did they end up isolated and alone in their old age?

And why are they not with their families on Thanksgiving Day?

Since that visit to the nursing home, I have never looked back. I vowed to find answers to these and other vital questions. For the next 40 years I would advocate and troubleshoot the causes, concepts, and needs of the world’s aging population.

Can you tell us the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

Almost every day for the past 25 years — barring overextended itineraries (mine) and medical emergencies (his) — I logged into my computer in the wee hours of the morning to video chat with Martin K. Bayne, my dear and longtime friend. He was a MIT graduate, journalist, and former Buddhist monk. He was also unmarried and childless.

At the peak of his professional career, Marty was diagnosed with early-onset Parkinson’s disease. He was fifty-three. With no other choice but to move into an assisted living community, he knew that this housing decision would challenge him every waking moment to stay alive, let alone remain vital.

Marty became my assisted-living “insider,” keeping me informed of the realities of aging solo and receiving facilitated long-term care. He is the force behind my relentless advocacy for aging people and solo agers everywhere.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

This is more of an, “Ah ha” moment than a, “Ha ha” moment.

The first edition of The Complete Eldercare Planner was self-published. It took two years of researching, writing, and editing, and then dealing with the printing company. I’ll never forget the day the boxes of books were delivered on my doorstep. My thought was, “Wow. That was a lot of work. I’m so glad that’s over with.” I’m done here.”

The mistake I made was believing that after this long and laborious book-writing task was behind me I could get back to the life I had before I wrote the book. Ah ha! I smile when I think about how naive I was back then.

Lesson learned: When you put your words in writing — in a book or even an article such as this — you must prepare for people to take in what you write about and then respond to you according to their beliefs. In other words, the work has just begun.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

The opportunity for me to become a published author, keynote speaker, and mature-market consultant would never have come my way if it were not for five special people — Angie Thoburn, who woke me up to my career path; Jill Morris, who keeps me moving forward; Lisa Hudson, who recognized my mission early on, Joe Durepos, my literary agent, and Bob Ebel, my forever mentor.

In the wee hours of the morning during writing time, bleary-eyed, and surrounded by stacks of research and umpteen empty coffee mugs, I hear their soothing voices gently urging me on and leading me to the light at the end of the tunnel.

The story in all of this is I recall each of them at one time or another when times get tough personally and professionally. They continuously offer me unwavering and unflinching support to carry on.

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that can be challenging and intimidating. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path, but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?

My advice is simple. At the end of life, it has been documented that most people on their deathbed regret what they did NOT do when they had the chance. They did not listen to their gut. They did not follow their heart.

The realities of life can be frightening at time. Feel the fear and do it anyway. And for God’s sake, don’t listen to (or hang around with) anyone who has a negative attitude or is fear-driven.

What drives you to get up every day and give your talks? What is the main empowering message that you aim to share with the world?

What drives me is the knowledge and evidence that I have accumulated over the years that proves without a doubt that planning for our future self and having the willingness to make difficult decisions early on is powerful.

I have witnessed the reverse of what happens when people run away from the personal responsibility of making plans and not putting their affairs in order when they had the chance to do so.

Dealing with one crisis after another is no way to live. Plus, with no plans in place, others eventually step in and take over your life and make decisions for you whether you like their choices or not. This is the powerful message that energizes me every day. I will never get out of my head the picture of those seven people sitting in the dark at the nursing home on Thanksgiving morning.

Can you share with our readers a few of your most important tips about how to be an effective and empowering speaker? Can you please share some examples or stories?

Practice. Practice. Practice. In the shower. Walking down the street. By the time you appear on the stage you deliver a message that is from your heart rather than your head.

Another tip… thank your sponsors at the end of your talk, not the beginning. If you want to make an impact right out of the gate, engage the audience as soon as you open your mouth. Begin your talk with a compelling question or controversial comment.

As you know, many people are terrified of speaking in public. Can you give some of your advice about how to overcome this fear?

For me, the fear of speaking has never really gone away. The intensity may have lessened, but the fear remains. What I do now to help lessen the fear is to think about my feelings as an indicator that I want to do a good job.

The more talks you give, the less the intensity of feeling afraid. Say yes to every invitation to speak. Volunteer to speak every chance you get. Speaking up at meetings also helps.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why.

  1. Statistics put audiences to sleep. Put them in a handout or on your slides.
  2. Like it or not, you will be judged by what you wear. Dress smart.
  3. Before you go onstage, take a sip of water.
  4. Ignore anyone in the audience who has a negative look or scowl on their face.
  5. Technology will let you down. Be prepared to give your talk without slides.

You have such impressive work. What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? Where do you see yourself heading from here?

If you look closely at the partial list of projects and resources below, you will realize almost immediately that when you have a stellar reputation as a keynote speaker, you attract a variety of interesting and exciting projects.

Where I see myself heading from here depends on who is attracted to my message and mission. Myriad projects and interviews continuously come my way because organizations and journalists align with who I am and how I think. There is no limit to where my work will take me next.

Speaker’s Bureau

Professional Speakers Bureau International (PSBI)

Product Spokesperson / B2B Mature-market Consultant

Females and Finance

Stonewall Virtual Village

2Life Communities

Redstring

Burling Insurance Group Long-term Care

Treece Financial

Estate Inventory Services

Baird Private Wealth Management — Kim Schultz

BuddyIns

Advocacy / Media

The Transition Network

Women Over 70: Aging Reimagined

Chicago Health

Whole Care Network

My Brother’s House

All Things Senior

Can you share with our readers any self-care routines, practices, or treatments that you do to help your body, mind or heart to thrive? Please share a story for each one if you can.

You can’t be a keynote speaker if you are not healthy — mentally and physically. I eat right and exercise every day.

My inner-circle network is made up of individuals who are smarter than me, health conscious, leaders, positive-thinking, and entrepreneurial. If your friends are energy-drainers, find new friends.

You can’t be a keynote speaker if you are unable to travel. Fifteen years ago, I retired my roller blades and downhill skis. If I can’t travel because of a sports accident, then I’m not hirable.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

One favorite life-lesson quote is this: You are the one and only person you can count on.

Throughout my life, whenever something happened that forced me in another direction (divorce, not getting the job I wanted, death of family members and close friends) this quote got me through the dark days.

Seeking wisdom from my old friends (people aged 90 and over), they never fail to remind me that at any given time I always have two choices: Either waste time feeling sorry for yourself, or spend time looking for the new doors that opened because of the change.

You are a person of huge influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

With millions of people aging solo, my book, Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old? sparked a movement called, “Let’s eat together.” Loneliness and isolation are serious health hazards, and sharing meals is an easy way to combat this world-wide crisis.

NOTHING binds us better than sharing a meal. Young and old. Rich and poor. Everybody can participate. Join the “Let’s Eat Together” movement and together we can change our lonely, isolated world one meal at a time.

On my website (www.elderindustry.com) I invite people to send me photos and tell their stories about how the “Let’s Eat Together” movement changed their lives and the lives of others.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

I would have lunch with my Dad, Judge Charles M. Loverde. Unfortunately, he died in 1995. Now that I’m older, I would love to hear what he has to say about all that is going on in the world. I would introduce him to the Internet and FaceTime with my daughter and his great-grandchildren.

Are you on social media? How can our readers follow you online?

Website: www.elderindustry.com

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/joyloverde

Twitter: www.twitter.com/joyloverde

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/joyloverde

This was so informative, thank you so much! We wish you continued success!

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

A book that sparks a movement is “a tool for action,” an interview with authors Sara Connell & Joy Loverde

by Sara Connell
Community//

Author Joy Loverde: “Here Are 5 Things We Can Each Do Help Solve The Loneliness Epidemic”

by Tyler Gallagher
Community//

Joy Loverde: “What I do today is important because I am exchanging one day of my life for it”

by Ben Ari

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.