About the Authors

Maria Meyer has been a long-time advocate of social causes, beginning with her work as co-founder  of the Society for Abused Children  of the Children’s Home Society of Florida and founding executive director of the Children’s Foundation of Greater  Miami. In  1993,  when  her  father-in-law  suffered  a stroke,  Maria became aware of the need for better information about how to care for an aging parent,  a responsibility  shared  by millions  of Americans. That  experience  led Maria  to  found  CareTrust  Publications  and  to  co-author  the  award-winning guide,  The  Comfort of Home® A  Complete Guide for Caregivers—now in  its fourth  edition—earning  the  Benjamin Franklin  Award in  the  health  category and  Finalist in  the  Book of the  Year  award  by ForeWord Reviews. Maria has co-authored   a  caregiver  guide  series—including   the  MS, Stroke,  Parkinson, Alzheimer’s,  Chronic  Lung Disease, Chronic  Liver Disease and Chronic  Heart Failure—editions.  She is a keynote  speaker and workshop  leader on caregiver topics  to  health  care  professionals  and  community  groups,  as  well  as,  the Northern  California  Caregiver Community Action Network (CCAN)  volunteer for  the  Caregiver Action  Network  (formerly  the  National  Family  Caregiver Association). For more than 10 years, Maria has practiced Taoist Tai Chi® and is a Beginning Instructor  of the Taoist Tai Chi Society of the USA, Inc. Maria and her husband live in San Francisco.

Paula Derr has been  employed  by  the  Sisters of Providence  Health  System for over 37 years. The past seven years she has been working  in the Quality Management office as Quality Coordinator.  She is author  of emergency medical services field guides for emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and nurses and has co-authored numerous  health care articles. For Paula, home care is a family tradition of long standing. For many years, Paula cared for her mother and grandmother  in her home while raising two daughters and maintaining her career in nursing  and health  care management.  Her personal  and professional experience adds depth to many chapters of this book. Paula is active in several prominent  professional organizations—OrAHQ, NAHQ, ENA,and AACN, —and is an officer on the OrAHQ Board. Paula is a native Oregonian and lives with her husband in Portland.


Alzheimer’s Edition – Co-Authors

Mary S. Mittelman, DrPH, is an epidemiologist who has been evaluating psychosocial interventions for family members of people with Alzheimer’s disease for the past two decades. She is Director of the Psychosocial Research and Support Program at the Silberstein Institute, Research Professor in theDepartment of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, and leader of the Education and Psychosocial Cores of the NYU Alzheimer’s Disease Center. She is Principal Investigator of the NYU-Spouse Caregiver Intervention study, funded by the NIH since 1987, as well as other studies of psychosocial interventions for people with cognitive impairment, dementia, and their family members. In the past few years, Dr. Mittelman has made a commitment to disseminate research findings to both health care providers and the community at large and to collaborate with researchers and community organizations to implement and test psychosocial interventions.

Cynthia Epstein, LCSW, a social worker and clinical investigator, is a graduate of the Hunter/Mt. Sinai Geriatric Education Center and the Brookdale Post Masters Program in Aging. For more than ten years she has counseled family caregivers and people with Alzheimer’s disease who seek cognitive evaluations and participate in psychosocial interventions at the NYU Aging and Dementia Research Center. In addition to providing clinical supervision to social work students, many of whom are now Alzheimer’s care providers themselves, she offers workshops for professional and family caregivers under the auspices of the New York City Alzheimer’s Association. In her private psychotherapy practice she works with people coping with Alzheimer’s-related issues as well as a range of other emotional concerns.


Chronic Heart Failure Edition – Co-Authors

Kay Kendall, MSW, LISW, ACSW, has been a licensed, clinical social worker for over 30 years. For the first 15 years of her career, she provided individual, marital, and family counseling in a variety of settings. In 1989, after moving to Cleveland with her husband and two sons, Kay began working at the Cleveland Clinic with cardiac patients and their families. As a member of the Cleveland Clinic Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Team, Kay provides ongoing counseling and support to both patients and their families. Through daily contact, she counsels patients and their families as they adjust and adapt to managing a chronic medical condition. Through the years she has spent in the hospital setting, Kay has come to recognize the significance of the caregiver in the treatment process, and the role of the patient and their family in disease management, and outcome. Kay has published articles on the quality of life of patients with heart failure, the stages and process through which patients adjust to illness, and ways to improve compliance with medical recommendations. She has also presented at national and international conferences. Kay served for five years as the President of the Society for Transplant Social Workers, and she remains active on their executive board.

Jennifer Reese, RN, BSN, has been employed by the Cleveland Clinic for the past 10 years. After graduating from nursing school, her focus has been in cardiac care. She started her career in the cardiac intensive care units, before joining the Heart Failure/Heart Transplant Team. As a member of this team she provides ongoing care and education for both the heart failure and heart transplant patients and their families. She has been involved in several task forces and committees at the Cleveland Clinic to help improve the quality of care that both patients and their families receive. Jennifer has presented at several national conferences and provides educational lectures to other community hospitals and facilities on the care of both the heart failure and heart transplant patient. She is active in several professional organizations both locally and internationally and volunteers for several local charitable organizations. Jennifer continues on in her educational career by pursuing her Adult Nurse Practitioner degree at a local university. She is a native Ohioan and lives with her daughter.


Chronic Liver Disease Edition – Co-Authors

Lucy Mathew, NP is a nationally certified Nurse Practitioner with a Masters degree in the specialty of Acute Care Nurse Practitioner from UCLA. She has nineyears of experience as a Nurse Practitioner. For the past five years, she has been managing patients with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and post transplant patients. She has medically managed pre- and post-operative cardiacsurgerypatients. She also has six years of experience in medical/surgical and critical care units as a registered Nurse Lucy works in Los Angeles at the Cedars Sinai Medical Center liver transplant department. She is actively involved in teaching other health care members about the importance of recognizing liver disease early and preventing complications. She is passionate about the subject and takes an active role in teaching physicians, nurses and the community about liver disease.

Jill Chang, PA-C is a nationally certified Physician Assistant in the field of Hepatology and liver transplantation. For the past 2 years, she has been managing patients with chronic liver disease including pre- and post-liver transplant patients. She has worked in general Gastroenterology with special emphasis in Hepatology. She works in Los Angeles at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center liver transplant department. and teaches Physician Assistant students as a guest lecturer at the University of Southern California Physician Assistant program. Jill is passionate about the field of hepatology and is proactive in community outreach activities in teaching the transmission and prevention of the various liver diseases.


Chronic Lung Disease Edition – Co-Author

Mary Gilmartin, BSN, RRT, is a Nurse Specialist and coordinator of the COPD

Clinical Research Network at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver, Colorado. National Jewish Medical Center has been rated first in the nation for treatment of lung disease by U.S. News & World Report. For over 30 years she has worked with people who have severe lung disease. Her focus has been to educate both patient and family about lung disease to help them have more control over the illness.


Multiple Sclerosis Edition – Co-Author

National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The mission of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is to end the devastating effects of multiple sclerosis. The Society and its network of chapters nationwide promote research, educate, advocate on critical issues, and organize a wide range of programs—including support for the newly diagnosed and those living with MS.

If you or someone close to you has recently received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, you probably have a lot of questions and concerns. Or, you may be so overwhelmed by the diagnosis that you aren’t sure what questions to ask. The National MS Society has developed programs to give you the information and support you need to live comfortably and confidently with this change in your life.


Parkinson Edition – Co-Author

Susan Imke, RN, MS is a certified gerontological nurse practitioner with more than 20 years experience working with patients who have Parkinson disease and family caregivers. Originally certified as a family nurse practitioner, her focus shifted to elder care in the 1980s when she was appointed Associate Director of the Texas Tech Alzheimer Center in Lubbock, and later recruited to practice with a leading movement-disorder specialist, Abraham Lieberman, at the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix. Susan is the CEO of Senior Health Solutions, a geriatric consulting practice, helping families living with chronic illnesses to navigate a complex health care system and maximize the functional abilities of the individual with neurological impairment. She serves on the Center of Excellence Review Board for the National Parkinson Foundation and on the Board of Directors for The Parkinson Alliance in Princeton, NJ. Susan lives with her husband in Fort Worth, Texas, and has been the down-the-street caregiver for her +90-year-old father, who suffered from Parkinson disease.


Stroke Edition – Co-Author

Jon Caswell has been lead editor and staff writer of Stroke Connection Magazine, published by the American Stroke Association, for more than 10 years. During that time he has written about many of the emotional travails and triumphs of stroke survivors and their caregivers. Over the years he has covered most of the scientific developments that are improving the lives of stroke families. In addition to his career as a writer, Jon was an instructor in the Wellness Department of Southern Methodist Universityfor 15 years. He teaches “Finding Time Sitting Still,” a meditation class, with Linda, his wife of 25 years. They live in Dallas, Texas.

UK Edition – Co-Authors

Sylvia Denton, CBE, MSc, RGN, RHV, FRCN, was President of the Royal College of Nursing from 2002 until 2006. She is a highly experienced healthcare leader, educator and manager who has enjoyed a distinguished clinical career, as a nurse and health visitor. She worked as a specialist nurse in cancer care specialising in breast cancer care, achieving national and international recognition. She has served on government bodies and played a major role in the healthcare political arena.

Sharon Haffenden, MBA, MCMI has worked in the public and voluntary sector for 30 years. She collaborated with carers’ leaders in the 1980’s, and undertook qualitative research with carers, which put the needs of carers onto the government’s agenda. More recently in her career, she was director of research and operations at a major UK disability charity, and now works independently as a consultant with the NHS, local authorities, voluntary sector and government bodies. She has published books and articles on carers, user involvement in health care, and the commissioning of health care. She is also an executive coach.

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