Our Staff

Meet the LionHeart Team

Colleen Duewel, MPH, CMC, CDP

Founder and President, Eldercare Consultant

Colleen opened LionHeart in 2018 as the culmination of a career dedicated to care and support of older adults, and her personal experience in helping her parents navigate the healthcare system from afar. She has extensive experience as an Advanced Care Planner, certified geriatric care manager, nursing home ombudsman, certified dementia practitioner and hospice visitor. These roles have informed Colleen’s understanding of our health, legal and financial systems. She is well regarded in the healthcare community, always making time for her peers and colleagues in the field.  Keeping abreast of the older adults communities is essential to supporting our clients, and staying objective and rational in these environments provides clarity and competent advice.

Colleen knows first-hand what it is like to support parents from a distance. When Colleen’s dad suffered a serious illness in another state, she had to balance a full-time job, navigating a complex health care and benefits system for her father and caring for her own family. It’s Colleen’s goal that no one should have to manage aging issues of any kind without caring and experienced support.

Colleen’s goals through LionHeart are to foster autonomy, relieve family caregiver worries, and help older adults thrive. Her greatest joy is to work in a field she is so passionate about. She is honored to support you and your family.

A California girl at heart, Colleen has lived in Virginia for over 25 years with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and pup (Abby). She’s been a bit of a daredevil, skydiving and zip-lining! On a more grounded plane, she loves gardening and flower arranging.

Kaylee Bashor, BS

Eldercare Consultant

A southern California native, Kaylee attended UC San Diego studying neuroscience, a subject that hits close to home. When Kaylee was younger, both her grandparents experienced neurodegenerative disease and Kaylee’s determination to understand these diseases and how to support these populations developed.  Her early career focused on neuroscience research, while extremely important work was done, she realized her passions were more heavily rooted in helping others one-on-one as opposed to helping others through research. Kaylee is pursuing a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy.

In her free time, she loves to try new recipes, read, and hike with her dog. She and her fiancé, both new to the area, love to explore all that the DC area has to offer.

Christi Clark, ALFA, CADDCT

Eldercare Consultant

Christi has over twenty years of experience in the field of long term care. She is a licensed Assisted Living Facility Administrator, where she has worked in both marketing and operations roles. As a Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer, as well as a Certified Memory Impairment Specialist, she has dedicated the last fifteen years working specifically with those affected with various forms of memory impairment, their caregivers, families and the community.

Christi is currently attending VCU to obtain her Masters Degree in Gerontology. At home, Christi spends her time with her fiancé, as well as raising her very creative and expressive teenage daughter.

Karen Gerndt, MEd, CDCP

Director of Operations, Eldercare Consultant

Karen brings to LionHeart a wealth of experience in operationalizing programs and systems for a large healthcare system and national mental health organization. Her strengths in streamlining processes and leveraging technology are key to allowing staff to spend quality, in-person time with our clients. Karen provides the structural backbone of the organization and vision for its continued efficiencies.

As an Eldercare Consultant, Karen specializes in supporting clients during transition from home to senior community. She has extensive knowledge about retirement communities and their complexities and intricacies. She listens closely to your needs and wants and will help you find a senior living community that fits your budget and lifestyle. She takes the worry out of moving by helping with every step of the process.

Her other specialty is evaluating Long Term Care (LTC) insurance. For people who are wondering about how and when to use their Long-Term Care Insurance Policy, Karen can review your claim, create an easy-to-understand summary and help you file a claim when the time is right.

Karen enjoys staying active, whether that is golf, pickle ball or walking her dog. If you find her outside, she’ll be working in the yard – inside, she’ll be knitting one or two projects, while also planning and designing her next project.

Margie Johnson, BA, CDCP

Friendly Visitor Engagement Specialist

Margie’s Counseling and Rehabilitation degree has been an asset in her work with high-risk youth, adult outpatient and inpatient addiction treatment, community service initiatives, and custom employee engagement programs. Throughout her professional life, she has capitalized on her organizational, relationship and creative skills to adapt positively to diverse environments.

Margie is at her best when interacting with others. She enjoys meeting new people and discovering their unique qualities. She makes it her mission to make everyone she meets feel valued and focuses on being empathetic to individual circumstances. Margie often calls on the examples of her mother and beloved deceased father, who instilled their values in her and taught her countless life lessons. As a Friendly Visitor, Margie shares her experiences and enjoys having the opportunity to bring joy and support to our clients.

Margie loves to travel and uses the opportunities to stay connected to friends and family. Italy is one of her favorite destinations. She’s an avid sports fan, loves to dance and enjoys a good book while relaxing at the pool or beach. Nothing makes her happier than a beautiful bouquet of flowers!

Erika Kelly, LMSW

Eldercare Consultant

Erika has a breadth of experience working with people in many stages of life. Her passion, though, has always been supporting older adults and their families navigate aging across the spectrum of care. Erika’s background in social work positions her well to support families and older adults to communicate effectively and navigate life within family systems and complex systems of care. Her previous work includes advocating for and supporting children, refugees, dialysis patients, and nursing home residents. Erika understands the uncertainty and stress that can accompany supporting older and sick loved ones from afar and is committed to ensuring older adults are treated with the respect and dignity they deserve.

Erika is a military spouse of 22 years and has lived on 3 continents and across the US. She easily adapts to new cultures, environments and thrives in the face of challenges.  She loves ballet and has been a lifelong dancer, finding performance opportunities in each place she has lived. When she isn’t supporting her husband’s career, children’s endeavors, or playing with her dogs, you will find her reading on a beach.

Laura Kent, MSW, CDCP

Friendly Visitor Engagement Specialist

With her Master’s degree in social work and professional background in mental health, Laura has spent a lifetime helping people live their best lives. Laura now brings that passion to her lifelong dream of supporting older adults. Laura enjoys connecting our clients with engaging, meaningful, purposeful activities and helping them find the joy in everyday experiences. Laura’s own life experience has taught her that tomorrow is not promised and that a long life is a gift not a given. Her work with older adults has taught her that in order for a long life to feel like a gift, one must retain a measure of independence, autonomy, and the ability to be supported in one’s wishes.

Laura’s open heart and warm, caring personality bring a ray of sunshine to our clients. It’s easy to see why her goal is to help older adults live their best lives. Some of Laura’s favorite things to do on her Friendly Visits with clients include, walking in nature, co-reading, taking photos, playing games and just talking.

Anne Koskulitz, RN

Nurse Care Manager

Anne brings more than 30 years of experience in various healthcare settings including patient advocacy, care management, research, pharmaceutical nurse education, disease management, telephone triage, and the clinical environment. She loves teaching and was a pharmaceutical nurse educator instructing clients in their homes how to administer newly prescribed medications and learn more about their diseases. The combination of her nursing and teaching background greatly informs Anne’s approach. She supports our clients in their everyday lives by assisting our care managers in coordinating their medical care, locating needed resources, and working as a healthcare advocate.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, going to the beach, and rooting for the Philadelphia Eagles!

Michele McLaughlin, MPAff

Senior Eldercare Consultant

Michele is an experienced advocate for individuals and for policy reforms in health, education and child welfare. She works diligently to promote the wishes of older adults with healthcare providers while also helping families cope and problem-solve around caregiving. Michele provides crisis intervention when needed, helping clients and families navigate through emergency departments, hospitalizations, and rehabilitation stays.

Michele is dedicated to the Alexandria community where she resides and has previously volunteered for Senior Services of Alexandria and Capital Caring Hospice. She is currently the vice president of the board of SCAN of Northern Virginia (Stop Child Abuse Now). Michele lives with her husband, two teenage sons and sweet black lab Violet, who she sometimes brings on client visits.

 

A Key to our Credentials:

BA       Bachelor of Arts

BS       Bachelor of Science

CADDCT Certified Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia Care Trainer

CDCP   Certified Dementia Care Partner

CDP     Certified Dementia Practitioner

CMC     Care Manager, Certified

CSA     Certified Senior Advisor

LMSW  Licensed Master’s Social Worker

MEd     Master of Education

MPAff   Master of Public Policy

MPH     Master of Public Health

MSW    Master of Social Work

RN       Registered Nurse