• CDCS Registry

    Meet Our Certified Dementia Communication Specialist

    Mindy Bolton, CDCS

    Twin Cities, MN

    Mindy Bolton facilitates and promotes human connection through

    simple, creative processes and communication techniques. With an eclectic

    background of creative arts, spirituality, and care-partnering, Mindy’s

    acquired a unique set of intergenerational and dementia-friendly wellness

    tools. Unwaveringly fond of the rich and often humorous stories and

    expressions of older adults—she aims to spread their joy like confetti.

    Leslie Davis, CDCS

    Gilbert, AZ

    Leslie is a native Arizonan, fifth generation! She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications. Leslie worked as a Corporate Event Planner for 15+ years, but after helping both of her parents through illness and then their subsequent moves to Hospitals, Independent Living, Skilled Nursing, and Hospice for Mom, she divinely landed in the Senior Industry. First, as a Lifestyle Director for a large Master Planned active adult community and then as a Sales and Marketing Director for several Independent, Assisted Living and Memory Care communities.

    Laura Ford, CDCS

    Joliet, IL

    Laura Ford is the Director of Subacute Services for Marianjoy Part of NW medicine. Her clinical background is in Occupational Therapy, where she has worked as a COTA for the past 30 years. She received her bachelors and masters degree in health administration in 2008. She currently oversees four Subacute rehab settings in Illinois.

    Alexandria Garner, RN, CDCS

    Fox Lake, IL

    My Name is Alexandria Garner, RN

    Fox Lake, IL

    I am a Director of Nursing for Paradise Park Assisted Living and Memory Care.

    I started as a LPN, 6 years ago. Last year, I graduated with my RN.

    I love learning and reaching goals. I am very ambitious.

    I am a single mother of two beautiful girls.

    Colleen Kavanaugh CDCS, CCC

    New Jersey

    Colleen Kavanaugh, in addition to being a CDCS, is a Certified Caregiving Consultant who specializes in assisting adult children who are caring for a parent with dementia. Colleen actively supports her clients in creating a compassionate understanding of dementia along with building customized systems that streamline and organize their lives. She helps family caregivers understand that the perceptions of the challenges before them can be controlled to better offset the unpredictable nature of a disease process. Colleen guides clients to manage their daily worries and leads them to proactively prepare for the futures of both themselves and their loved one.

    Christene Kelley, CDCS

    Yardley, PA

    I have been the Director of Nursing at Spring Village at Floral Vale for 3.5 years. I have been a nurse for 35 years. Working with dementia residents has been the most rewarding of all my experiences.

    Lori Lafferty, CDCS

    Yardley, PA

    Lori has worked in the healthcare field for 18 years, with most of that time in the field of geriatrics. Her passion has always been working in Memory Care. Currently. Lori is the Enrichment Coordinator at Spring Village at Floral Vale.

    Gary Le Blanc, CDCS

    Spring Hill, FL

    Author Gary LeBlanc has written books on dementia including “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfulness,” “The Aftereffects of Caregiving” “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors” and co- author of “While I Still Can”.

    As a caregiver to his parents with dementia for 20 years, he developed the Purple Angel Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project after his experience with his father in a local hospital.

    Giving persons living with dementia a voice he co-founded Dementia Mentors.

    Avi Levin, CDCS

    Chicago, IL

    Avi Levin recently found his passion in working with the elderly, one of the more underserved populations. Finishing his BS in human services at Loyola University Chicago and is currently pursuing his Masters in Social Work there as well. Avi is currently working in the field of aging as a social services coordinator and is looking forward to utilizing his newly acquired CDCS certification in the field.

    Kimberly Martinez, CDP, CDCS

    Round Lake, IL

    I am currently the Resident Care Director at Paradise Park Assisted Living and Memory Care. Before this position I was a certified nursing assistant (CNA) here at Paradise Park for 4.5 years. I am a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and thanks to you guys I am now a Certified Dementia Communication Specialist(CDCS). Outside of work I enjoy taking walks with my fiancé and my fur baby. I hope to continue my training and education to further my knowledge of dementia and other debilitating diseases.

    Lisa Mayberry, CDCS

    Yardley, PA

    With over 30 years in healthcare, I have had a wonderful career working in various positions. I worked as a licensed nursing home administrator in the state of Pennsylvania for more than 15 years. I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Accounting from Holy Family University. My love for taking care of the elderly is my motivation for coming to work every day, although, for me, it is not work but empathy and love that keeps me in this wonderful field.

    Tessa Garcia McEwen, AM, LCSW, CDCS

    Chicago, IL

    Tessa brings 15 years working with diverse populations, doing her best to listen first before giving care. She is interested in providing patients and families with personalized access to resources and exploring strategies together for increased quality of life. As a graduate student recipient of the Albert T. Schweitzer Fellowship, she focused on bringing grief and loss support to local communities, and cultural competence and compassionate care to medical settings. Tessa completed her B.A. in Sociology at The University of Notre Dame and a masters in clinical social work at The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.

    Alyssandra McKaye, CDCS

    Chicago, IL |

    I’ve been asked, (as no doubt most of you have), “What would you do if you won the lottery?” My response: “Get a degree in every topic I could, (especially topics most difficult for me), and teach it to anybody who wanted to learn it!” Yes, I played school growing up. I also earned two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, taught high school and college courses for twelve years, and have taught workshops and written curricula in every field I have been in from math, education, and theology, to hospice and dementia care. I understand that there are colleges that allow you to attend for free once you reach a certain age so you know what my retirement plans are! Perhaps I will see you or your grandkids in class or in a diverse team that is using our shared knowledge to build and implement jam up improvement plans – another thing that makes my heart go zoom!

    Callista Oberholtzer, CDCS

    Yardley, PA

    Callista has spent the last 20 years of her career in Marketing and Admissions of Senior Care.

     

    The last 8 years she has had the privilege of sharing Spring Village at Floral Vale, a community specializing in secured memory care, with families looking for the Best Memory Care in the Bucks County, PA area.

     

    “I couldn’t ask for a better job. Every day I get to reassure families that here at Spring Village of Floral Vale, we are here to help in their journey. We provide Memory Care That Matters. Our staff is making a difference everyday!”

    Rosemarie Shim, LGSW, CDCS

    Canton, MI

    Rosemarie Shim is a Michigan Licensed Geriatric Social Worker with 30+ years of experience working with seniors and their families in nursing facilities, home health care, and in the community. She is a passionate advocate for patients and their family caregivers. In addition to her work as a Care Transitions Manager for Axiom Home Care, in Taylor MI, and her expertise as a Certified Dementia Communications Specialist, Rosemarie has been the co-chair of the Wayne County Chapter of the GSWSM since its beginning. She sits on the Advisory Council for The Senior Alliance (Area Agency on Aging 1-C). Rosemarie is in her 25th year as a community Alzheimer support group facilitator. Her professional wisdom is complemented by insights which come from her own personal experience as an informal family caregiver.

    Karen Smith, CDCS

    Fox Lake, IL

    Karen Smith is the Life Enrichment Director at Paradise Park Assisted Living & Memory Care located in Fox Lake, IL. She has been employed by the company since 2006. Education includes Activity Professional Certification, Certified Dementia Practitioner and Certified Dementia Communication Specialist. Loves creativity and learning. When not at work she enjoys art, camping and spending time with her family.

    Michelle Toft, CDCS

    Peoria, AZ

    Michelle Toft is the Director of Memory Care Programs at Cypress HomeCare Solutions in Phoenix, AZ. Michelle earned her Master of Social Work in 1997 from Arizona State University, then in 2011 Michelle earned her Master of Education in Human Resource Development from the University of Illinois. The majority of Michelle’s work experience has been with the elderly population managing memory care units in both skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

    Michelle Toft, CDCS

    Peoria, AZ

    Michelle Toft is the Director of Memory Care Programs at Cypress HomeCare Solutions in Phoenix, AZ. Michelle earned her Master of Social Work in 1997 from Arizona State University, then in 2011 Michelle earned her Master of Education in Human Resource Development from the University of Illinois. The majority of Michelle’s work experience has been with the elderly population managing memory care units in both skilled nursing facilities and assisted living facilities.

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