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About Us
This CaringHome.org was funded by grants from several foundations to Weill Cornell Medical College, a top ranked clinical and medical research center located in New York City. Rosemary Bakker, MS, ASID is on academic staff at Weill Cornell Medical College and is the Director of ThisCaringHome.org. All materials on ThisCaringHome’s website have been reviewed by select members of the Advisory Board, composed of a wide variety of professionals, including nurses, dementia specialists, physical and occupational therapists, safety experts, social workers, and recreational therapists.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank our funders for their generous support: The Alzheimer's Association, Helen Bader Foundation, NEC Foundation, Retirement Research Foundation, and the Wallerstein Foundation for Geriatric Life Improvement.

Rosemary Bakker, Interior Designer and Gerontologist
Director of ThisCaringHome.org

ThisCaringHome.org is the brainchild of Rosemary Bakker, MS, who is on academic staff at Weill Cornell Medical College. Rosemary is a gerontologist, a certified interior designer, and a former caregiver to her mother, Arlene, who had Alzheimer’s disease. She understands first -hand how difficult and rewarding caregiving can be. Most importantly, she learned how a dementia -friendly environment can make caregiving less difficult and more fulfilling. Rosemary is the recipient of many awards for her innovative educational projects and has authored two books on interior design and aging: Penguin Books (1997) and Lark Books (2010).

Email Me: Rosemary@thiscaringhome.org


Mark S. Lachs, MD, MPH, Research Collaborator, ThisCaringHome

Mark S. Lachs, MD, MPH is Professor of Medicine and Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Weill Medical College. He is also director of Cornell's Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care and Director of Geriatrics for the New York-Presbyterian Health System. Dr. Lachs' research, teaching, and clinical experience center on elder abuse and improving the quality of life for older adults. In addition to an NIA academic leadership award, Dr. Lachs is Paul Beeson Physician Faculty Scholar from the American Federation for Aging Research through funding from the John A. Hartford Foundation, and the Alliance for Aging Research.


Ronald D. Adelman, MD, Geriatrician

Ronald D. Adelman, MD is Professor of Medicine and Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Weill Cornell Medical College and New York Presbyterian Hospital. He is also the Director of the Irving Sherwood Wright Center on Aging and Co-Director of the Cornell Center for Aging Research and Clinical Care. Dr. Adelman's research focuses on older patient-physician communication and geriatric medical education. He is a strong proponent of the role of the environment in improving patient care and quality of life.


Lisa D. Ravdin, Neuropsychologist

Lisa D. Ravdin PhD, ABPP-CN, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology at Weill Medical College of Cornell University. She is a board certified Neuropsychologist and Director of the Weill Cornell Neuropsychology Service at New York Hospital Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center. As faculty member of the Weill Cornell Memory Disorders Program, Dr. Ravdin conducts clinical diagnostic evaluations of cognitive functioning in individuals suffering from a variety of neurologic disorders. Areas of professional expertise include aging and dementia. She is a co-investigator on a number of research initiatives relating to cognitive decline associated with age related disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus, Parkinson's disease, and late life depression.


Tracey Vause Earland, Occupational Therapist

Tracey, MS, OTR/L is the Clinical Project Director of Translational Research Activities for the Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health at Thomas Jefferson University.

Over the last 15 years, Tracey Vause Earland, OTR/L, has served as a research interventionist on numerous nationally funded studies centered on frail elderly and aging in place, dementia management & family caregiving, and activity engagement in the dementia population. Professional areas of interest include older adults and their living environments, caregiver training, functional assessment, and promoting evidence-based practice in occupational therapy.

Tracey is theClinical Project Director of TranslationalResearch Activities for the Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health and an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, both at Thomas Jefferson University. She has over 25 years of clinical experience in acute care, geriatric rehabilitation, and home care intervention.



Barbara Lawrence, Nurse and Senior Outreach Specialist

Barbara is a Senior Outreach Specialist at the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Institute (WAI) at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. Prior to her work at WAI, Barbara was the Program Director of the Wisconsin Alzheimer's Information and Training Center at the Southeastern Wisconsin Alzheimer's Association and Director of Dementia Care at Lutheran Home and Services, Arlington Heights, IL. On a personal note, Barbara understands the many challenges of caregiving - her mother had Alzheimer's disease.


Melanie Bunn, Gerontological Nurse Practitioner

Melanie Bunn, RN, MS, GNP, has been consulting with the Alzheimer's Association, Eastern North Carolina chapter for 20 years. She has provided primary care to older people in a variety of settings including retirement homes, long term care nursing, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and in the home in positions including gerontological nurse practitioner, clinical nurse specialist and staff nurse. She received a B.S. in Nursing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a M.S. in Family Health Nursing with a Clinical Concentration in Geriatrics from Clemson University, and completed her post master's experience in the Gerontological Nurse Practitioner Program at Duke University School of Nursing. A dynamic lecturer and skillful clinician in the areas of gerontological nursing and Alzheimer's disease, Melanie presents over 150 sessions each year at local, statewide, and national conferences and meetings with interactive presentations using learner centered educational strategies.


Julie Sipchen, Safety Services, Alzheimer's Association

Julie Sipchen, MA, is the Associate Director, Program Development and Promotion for Safety Services for the Alzheimer's Association. She provides strategic direction and oversight to the Medic Alert + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return® program, a national identification, support, and enrollment program that works at the community level to provide assistance when a person with dementia wanders or becomes lost and can provide critical health information when necessary. She also promotes and educates partners on safety issues, concerns, and possible solutions for people with Alzheimer's and their caregivers.


Della Frazier-Rios, Nurse and Director of Education & Outreach, Alzheimer's Association, NYC Chapter

Della has been an administrative health professional for over 25 years. She has held numerous hospital-based positions, most recently as Associate Director of Nursing at Bellevue Hospital Center. She is currently the Director of Education and Outreach at the Alzheimer's Association, New York City Chapter. Before coming to the Association she served on the governing board for a United Hospital Fund collaborative grant with NYU Medical Center's Alzheimer's Center and NYU Acute Care Hospital. She is often asked to present on Alzheimer's disease at national symposia. She is a member of the Alzheimer's Study Group (ASG), a taskforce of national leaders charged with creating an Alzheimer's National Strategic Plan to overcome the mounting Alzheimer's crisis. She is a passionate advocate persons with dementia and for caregivers. She was the caregiver for her late husband Charles who died after 16 years of dealing with Alzheimer's disease.


Dale Thielges – Recreation Therapist and Alzheimer's Association Site Director

Dale Thielges, CTRS, joined the Alzheimer's Association in 1998 as their Community Resource Manager. She has been serving older adults and persons with special needs for 25 years. She graduated from the University of Kentucky, in Lexington, in 1983, where she obtained her degree and maintains her certification as a Recreation Therapist. She has worked in a variety of clinical and community based settings for state, private, and non-profit sectors. She is a proud leader of volunteer development and retention, and maintains professional goals of supporting persons and families living with special needs in obtaining the best quality of life possible. Personally, she is a single parent raising her teenage son and loves to decompress through mountain biking, hiking, and quiet time at the ocean. Dale currently is the Site Director at the Santa Cruz Alzheimer's Association Office in Northern CA and Northern NV Alzheimer's Association.


Kevin Lockette, Physical Therapist

Kevin Lockette has been practicing as a physical therapist in the rehabilitation field since 1989. He was a recent (2000) president of HAPTA (Hawaii Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association) and the primary author of a medical text on rehabilitation, Conditioning with Physical Disabilities, Human Kinetic Publishers 1994.
Kevin has extensive experience in acute rehabilitation and is the founder of what is now the nation's largest wellness program for individuals with physical disabilities at the renown Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago. Kevin is a past head coach for the United States Disable Sports Team (A member of the U.S. Olympic Committee) and coached in International games including the World Championships and the Paralympics in Barcelona, Spain in 1992. Kevin is presently on the Clinical Advisory Council for the Multiple Sclerosis Society-Hawaii.

Kevin is a practicing physical therapist at Ohana Pacific Rehabiliation Services, Kailua, Oahu. Kevin is the author of Move It, An Exercise and Movement Guide for Parkinson's Disease.


Dori Schmidt, Physical Therapist

Dori Schmidt PT has been a practicing physical therapist since graduating from Ithaca College in 1984. She has had many years of rehab experience at The Rusk Institute For Rehab Medicine/NYU Medical Center She has spent the last thirteen years in the home care setting with The Visiting Nurse Service of NY, and currently with Fox Rehabilitation Geriatric Therapy at Home, specializing in dementia care.


Risa Breckman, Psychotherapist & Social Worker

Risa Breckman, LCSW is an Assistant Professor of Gerontological Social Work in Medicine and the Director of Social Work Programs and Education with the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at Weill Cornell Medical College. As a long-time psychotherapist, she has worked directly with older adults and caregivers with a focus on alleviating depression, anxiety, and stress and improving the quality of their lives. She is the author of numerous publications on the topics of chronic illness care, the needs of older crime victims, and other issues. In addition, she is involved with developing a range of programs and services benefiting older adults, including co-creating CornellCARES.com, an award-winning geriatric psychosocial website.


Krista Scheel, Program Director, Alzheimer's Association of Southeastern Wisconsin

Krista Scheel is the Program Director for the Alzheimer's Association of Southeastern Wisconsin. Ms. Scheel oversees the many programs of the Association for patients, families and health care professionals. In addition, she staffs the Medical & Scientific Advisory Committee for the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter. Krista received her BA in psychology from Western Washington University and has Master's level training in psychology and gerontology from the University of Nevada, Reno. She joined the Alzheimer's Association in 1999 as the Program Director for the Northern Nevada Chapter. Ms. Scheel has continued her work in caregiver issues and dementia program services upon relocating to Southeastern Wisconsin in August of 2007.


Felice L. Eckhouse, Occupational Therapist, CAPS

Felice comes to this Advisory Board with 30 years of experience as an Occupational Therapist. She is interested in the adult population and has worked in long term care and rehabilitation facilities. This led her to pursuing a degree in gerontology and she received her Master's degree in 2000. In 2006, she formed a company called ElderSpace, Inc., to assess home environments so people can safely age in place. Her company uses home modifications, universal design and adaptations to help people function more independently at home. She received the CAPS (certified aging in place specialist) certification in 2007.


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