Elder Guru was founded in 2009 as a means to make aging-related information available to professionals working in the field (social workers, long-term care administrators, case workers, etc.). Since that time, the focus has shifted some toward also helping non-professionals, from people wondering about their Medicare benefits to caregivers seeking information for their loved one to older adults seeking the best life possible.
You can reach us by email at elderguru @ gmail.com. If you are interested in joining the team of writers, visit the Write for Us page.
Derrick Grant – Founder and Editor
Derrick Grant began his professional career working as a social worker in a nursing home, helping residents and families navigate the world of long-term care. He then worked as the Social Services Manager at an area agency on aging where he oversaw Information and Referral and programs such as Alzheimer’s Respite, Matter of Balance, and Meals on Wheels eligibility.
After that he became the Director of an Adult Day Care at an Alzheimer’s care facility and served on the board of the Maine Adult Day Services Association. Derrick then went to work for the State of Maine as a Research Analyst at the Office of Elder Services. He now works as a Program Manager on Medicaid policy.
Jon Fernandez – Editor
Jon grew up in Southern New Mexico and developed a lifelong love for green chile, which he credits for providing his daily dose of Vitamin C. As a young man, he discovered his passion for cycling and quickly became an accomplished athlete, earning the status of category 1 competitive US road and mountain cyclist.
After completing his Bachelor of Science, Jon began his career in the life sciences. He spent over a decade working for Johnson & Johnson, holding various business, management, and education roles. He later co-founded several successful companies in the medical, skincare, and tech industries.
Jon is a prolific writer, clinical author, and expert on topics related to health technology, aging, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, and skincare. He earned a Graduate Certificate in Pharmaceutical Chemistry from the University of Florida College of Pharmacy along with post graduate studies at the University of Colorado Healthcare Administration program.
Dr. Donna Schwontkowski
Starting out in the field of nutrition in the 1970s, Donna Schwontkowski worked as a dietitian and director of food services at several institutions including a boys’ youth home, a community food program for seniors, a 96-bed home for adults with mental retardation, and a 197-bed nursing home in Illinois. She earned her doctorate in Chiropractic Medicine as well as a master’s degree in Nutrition and another in Herbology. She’s worked with thousands of patients to improve their nutrition.
Dr. Schwontkowski has taught over 1,000 classes on topics such as health, nutrition, diets, weight loss, herbs, detoxification, cooking, memory and accelerated learning, natural healing infection control, supplementation, diabetes, back problems, and overcoming various health challenges. She was also a journalist for health and fitness magazines for 15 years and an editor of a top health magazine in Sacramento for 12 years. She co-produced her own health television show for four years in the Sacramento, CA market between 2001 and 2005.
Amanda Lambert – Contributing Writer
Amanda Lambert is an Aging Life Care Professional and consultant with over twenty years of experience in the elder care field. She has worked in home health, mental health, and guardianship. She is a Care Manager Certified, Aging Life Care Professional, Master Guardian Emeritus, and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Utah. Amanda also sits on the state board of AARP.
As a writer, Amanda has co-authored two books related to aging: Aging with Care: Your Guide to Hiring and Managing Caregivers at Home and Choose Your Place: Rethinking Home As You Age. She also consults and writes for several companies focused on eldercare. She also writes on topics such as prostate cancer, small business development, and bioidentical hormone replacement. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, reading, and traveling. Follow Amanda on LinkedIn and Twitter.
Zac Martin – Contributing Writer
Zac Martin is an exercise physiologist who has spent years working with older clients with a scope of conditions. He is familiar with the physical issues older adults face as they age and has worked with them in strength building and recovery.
When he’s not writing, Zac can be found trying to catch his escaped chickens. He enjoys reading biographies, studying World War I, growing new varieties of tomatoes, and attempting to keep his honey bees alive.
Leona Small – Contributing Writer
Leona Small is a freelance writer and former caregiver. She has experience working with people who have Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementias, and has worked in hospice.
Her passions include writing about healthy aging, finding resources to help older adults and caregivers, and travel.
She has written for various publications, including fiction stories and the Wall Street Journal. Now, she is a freelancer who enjoys writing about a variety of interesting topics.
Mal Harrison – Contributing Writer
Mal Harrison is a certified clinical sexologist, eroticism philosopher, TEDx speaker, member of the International Society for Sexual Medicine, and the Executive Director of the Center for Erotic Intelligence.
Mal writes on topics relating to sexual health and related topics that pertain to older adults. Find her on LinkedIn.
Our expert team of senior care professionals comprises trained doctors, authors, thought leaders, and caregivers who educate and empower seniors, drawing from vast experience. Their firsthand expertise, combined with a passion for aiding older adults, yields reliable aging resources. Our community benefits as our experts diligently review articles to ensure that they are valuable and accurate. Eager to enhance our mission, they connect older adults and caregivers to information and resources that benefit seniors and their families.
Peter A. Lichtenberg, Ph.D. – Clinical Geropsychologist
Peter A. Lichtenberg, Ph.D. is the Director of the Institute of Gerontology and Founding Director of the Wayne State University Lifespan Alliance. Dr. Lichtenberg is also a Distinguished University Service Professor of Psychology. He is a clinical psychologist and obtained his Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1986 and completed post-doctoral training in geriatric neuropsychology from the University of Virginia. Dr. Lichtenberg received his diplomate in Rehabilitation Psychology in 1997 and his Diplomate in Clinical Geropsychology in 2013. Dr.Lichtenberg has been at Wayne State University since 1991 first as the Associate Director of Psychology at the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan and since 1998 as the Director of the Institute of Gerontology. In 2008 he added Directing the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute to his duties and created the Lifespan Alliance at Wayne State University.
Dr. Lichtenberg is a national expert in financial capacity assessment and financial exploitation of older adults. Dr. Lichtenberg, one of the first board certified Clinical Geropsychologists in the nation, has made contributions to the practice of psychology across a variety of areas including in Alzheimer’s disease, medical rehabilitation and with those suffering from late life depression. As the founder of olderadultnestegg.com, he is particularly interested in the area of intersection between financial capacity and financial exploitation; finding ways to balance autonomy and protection for older adults.
Kirsten Brancheau, BA, RDH – Dental Hygienist
Kirsten Brancheau, BA, RDH, has been practicing clinical dental hygiene since 1978. She earned an associate’s degree in applied science in dental hygiene from Union County College in 1977 and a bachelor of arts degree in English literature from Montclair State University in 1988. She has been a member of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association throughout her career. Kirsten is also a freelance proofreader, editor, and writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lori Zitelli, Au.D., Clinical Audiologist
Dr. Lori Zitelli is an Audiology Manager at UPMC, a compensation and pension examiner at Cranberry Hearing & Balance, and an adjunct instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she received her clinical doctorate in Audiology. Her special interests include evaluation and treatment of tinnitus/decreased sound tolerance, amplification, clinical education, clinical research, and interventional audiology. Dr. Zitelli contributes to a variety of online publications and began contributing to the Elder Guru website in 2023. She is a Certificate Holder in Tinnitus Management (CH-TM). Dr. Zitelli is a member/active volunteer of the American Academy of Audiology and was honored to receive the 2022 Early Career Audiologist Award.