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About the Authors

Susan Johnson

United States Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director of Region 10, serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Susan Johnson, United States Department of Health and Human Services Regional Director of Region 10 Susan Johnson was appointed in 2009 by President Barack Obama as Regional Director of Region 10 serving Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. As HHS Regional Director, she serves as Secretary Sebelius’ primary representative and key liaison to key constituencies in the Region. In this role, Susan works with federal, state, local and tribal officials on a wide range of health and social service issues. Susan can be reached at or (206) 615-2010.

Visit United States Department of Health and Human Services

Dr. Marion

Dr. Marion

During the past three decades, Marion Somers, PhD, aka “Dr. Marion,” provided care for more than 2,000 elderly clients while she owned and operated a thriving geriatric care management practice. It is now Dr. Marion’s goal to help caregivers everywhere by providing valuable insights and information in her book, Elder Care Made Easier: Doctor Marion’s 10 Steps to Help You Care for an Aging Loved One, and on her Web sites, and

While others might avoid elder care issues at every turn, Dr. Marion has made caring for the elderly her life’s work. She loves her work and it shows. Dr. Marion doesn’t focus on the grey hair or wrinkles of the elderly. Instead, she’s inspired by the beauty of their life experience. “If an individual has lived to be 90 years old, he must have some real skills and smarts to get his needs met in life. It’s vital we tap into the wisdom, strength, and life strategies of the elderly before they pass on.”

Dr. Marion knows that caregivers feel scared, angry, guilty, frustrated, overworked, and underappreciated, but she is here to hold their hand through these demanding times. She passes on her knowledge and practical advice in a way that all caregivers can understand. “There are many common issues that caregivers face when dealing with the elderly. The language or the culture may be different, the values or the color of skin may be different, but many issues are universal, and it’s my goal to make a positive impact,” says Dr. Marion.

Find more of Dr. Marion’s articles in the Caregiving section of our library.

Laura MacDougall

Chef and Owner of Home Plate Advantage Personal Chef Service

Laura MacDougall

Food has always be a part of my life. From the time I could see over the counter in my mom’s kitchen, I would help with the cooking after a weekend of picking local produce, during dinner parties and holidays, and even making “experimental” dishes for my younger sister. I learned technique from my mom, and fearlessness from my dad, who love to put a bit of this and a bit of that and see what happens. After my dad’s had heart surgery, we all learned how to eat heart friendly – lot’s of chicken and olive oil! This healthier way of eating has followed me to this day.

In 1982 I headed to college to pursue a chemistry degree. Upon graduation, I worked for the state police for 2 years, Lancome/L’Oreal for 6 years and moved to MA in 1993. I did recruiting for scientists, which led to a marketing position with a local roofing company. What started a 10 year marketing career with several companies led to a lot of frustration in the corporate world. When I was laid off from my last position, I decided to go back to the beginning.

In July, 2008 I headed to Decatur, Georgia for Personal Chef Training through the Culinary Business Academy, a branch of the United States Personal Chef Association. I had finally found my place! My passion for preparing great food has been rekindled, my joy of feeding others has been focused into a life path, and I have gained the confidence to pursue a dream. I now am able to offer services for those struggling with time, special diets or lack of culinary skills. I am happy to fill a freezer with meals, cook for a dinner party or even provide educational cooking in my client’s home. I strive to offer dishes that are selected specifically for my client, help them address the pains they feel with dinner time, and offer a professional, convenient and delicious experience in the privacy of their own home. For more information, please visit

“Food has always been a love of mine, and I have been blessed to have been exposed to many different cultures, cuisines and flavors in my life time. I continue to explore new recipes and ingredients and look forward to sharing them with you.” -Chef Laura

Florence R. Klein

Florence Klein - Chief Visionary  Officer

Florence R. Klein

“Traveling across the country, I have listened to many seniors express frustrations with the Internet and with the scams targeting seniors. Hoping to empower more seniors to communicate and interact more effectively in today’s highly technical world, I envisioned a company that would serve the everyday needs of the ever-growing group of seniors, as well as protect them from scams. So, I reached out to the professionals in the areas of healthcare, finance, retirement living, and entertainment, with the idea of creating an ultimate resource guide for seniors. Receiving an enthusiastic reception and offers to help from across the globe, I formed a core group to transform this vision into reality. In this way, we created a trusted online resource for persons over 55 years: MySeniors/Silver Planet!”

Florence R. Klein is a knowledgeable investment professional with over 42 years of diversified experience. She is president of her own NASD firm, American Classic Financial Company, and is one of the few women-owned licensed Broker-Dealer firms in the United States. She was previously a vice president with Kidder Peabody & Company, Prudential Bache, and Gruntal and Company. Florence has worked with an impressive roster of public and private clients, including the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of Maryland. She has successfully transformed her creative ideas into sound business solutions across the country.

In addition to her brokerage career, Florence Klein is a highly regarded independent real estate developer. She has acquired and developed four historically certified luxury apartment complexes in the East and a land package in Colorado. She has also planned innovative intergenerational housing. Florence has structured and syndicated her own real estate projects throughout the United States. Her expertise in the financial world includes successful financing through limited partnerships, UDAG grants, and tax exempt municipals.

Her board affiliations include the Center for Prevention of Domestic Abuse, AIDS Information Network, and Hadassah. She has also established several successful women’s self-esteem and financial independence programs for incarcerated women in Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Ms. Klein holds a BA degree from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Elinor Greenberg

Dr. Elinor Greenberg

Dr. Ellie Greenberg has more than 50 years of professional experience as a speech pathologist, civil rights activist, community development professional, and adult educator. She has been the founding director of many innovative undergraduate and graduate degree programs for returning adult students. Her research is in adult development and learning. She is the author, co-author, and editor of many books, pamphlets, and articles.

She is the author of Weaving: The Fabric of a Woman’s Life (1991) and co-author of In Our Fifties: Voices of Men and Women Reinventing Their Lives (1993). Her most recent book, A Time of Our Own: In Celebration of Women Over Sixty (2008), has been on the Denver Post’s Best Sellers list (Non-fiction Paperback) twice.

Ellie serves on a number of community boards and committees and has received many awards and honors for her academic and community leadership. Ellie is married and has three adult children and four grandchildren. She lives in Centennial, Colorado.

See Dr. Ellie’s Classic Reading List for Caregivers.

[Editor’s note: Dr. Greenberg no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]

Elaine Magee

The Recipe Doctor

Elaine Magee - The Recipe Doctor

Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, is positively passionate about changing the way America eats—one recipe at a time! Through her national column, THE RECIPE DOCTOR (appearing in newspapers and magazines), Elaine has been performing recipe “makeovers” for a decade now. In her recipe makeovers, she is able to bring down the calories, fat, saturated fat, and sometimes sugar and sodium, while simultaneously increasing fiber, phytochemicals, omega-3s, and monounsaturated fat.

Elaine is the author of more than 25 books on nutrition and healthy cooking. Her two most recent books are FOOD SYNERGY (Rodale, March 2008) and COMFORT FOOD MAKEOVERS. Elaine’s medical nutrition series, including TELL ME WHAT TO EAT IF I HAVE DIABETES, TELL ME WHAT TO EAT IF I HAVE IRRITABLE BOWEL SYNDROME, TELL ME WHAT TO EAT IF I HAVE ACID REFLUX, and TELL ME WHAT TO EAT IF I HAVE HEADACHES AND MIGRAINES (and others), has sold hundreds of thousands of copies and is now being distributed all over the world, including China, Russia, Spain, Indonesia, and Arabian countries.

Elaine is a nutrition expert/writer for,, and magazines across the country, and she appears frequently on radio, educational videos, and television shows.

[Editor’s note: Elaine no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]

Rita Files

Rita Files of the Veteran Files

Rita Files

Rita Files, LPN, CALA, is a nationally recognized expert with the knowledge and skills needed to work effectively with the elderly. She has over 30 years of experience in eldercare. Rita’s background includes program development for many leading providers in the senior living industry.

Rita Files committed herself to help veterans age with dignity. Rita’s commitment fueled her desire to pursue credentials as an accredited claims agent through the Department of Veteran Affairs. Her mission: to honor those who have served and make sure they too are served. From this foundation, Rita provides powerful advocacy and resources to veterans and their families.

In addition to her nursing experience, Rita Files holds both state and national certifications in assisted-living administration. She is a founding member of the Senior Veterans Service Alliance. Her other memberships include the American Society on Aging and the National Care Planning Council. Rita. founded Veteran Files LLC one of less than 150 accredited VA claims agents in the United States. Rita serves as the Executive Director.

Visit Veteran Files to learn more. Read more articles by Rita Files here.

Carol Bradley Bursack

Carol Bradley Bursack

Over the span of two decades, author, columnist, and speaker Carol Bradley Bursack cared for a neighbor and six elderly family members. As a result of this experience, Bursack wrote Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories, a portable support group for caregivers.

Minding Our Elders is used as a college text for gerontology and nursing home administration classes as a way to humanize, for students, the family caregiving experience. Bursack’s award-winning Web sites, and, include links to helpful agencies, articles rich with information and comfort, links to chat groups, and resources for caregiver, boomer, and senior needs.

Bursack’s eldercare newspaper column, “Minding Our Elders,” runs weekly, in print and online. She is editor in chief of, an expert blogger and community leader on, and the forum moderator and a regular contributor to Bursack has been interviewed on many national radio shows, including Mr. Eldercare, Today’s Author, The Ron Ross Show, and Kevin Skipper’s The Parent Care Show. She has been interviewed and quoted in magazines and newspapers around the world, including Family Circle, Quick and Simple, North Jersey Media Group, the Leader-Telegram, Tampa Tribune, and the Sydney Morning Herald. She also speaks on caregiving issues to groups of all sizes.

Bursack is a member of AARP, CAPS (Children of Aging Parents), the National Caregivers Advisory Panel (NCAP), the National Family Caregivers Association (NFCA), and the National Council of Hospice and Palliative Professionals (NCHPP). As an expert in her field, she is featured in Montclair’s Who’s Who in Health and has written hundreds of articles for national publications. Bursack is also a contributing author to The Media Librarian’s Handbook (Facet Publishing, UK 2008) and to Dementia: Frank and Linda’s Story: New Approaches, New Understanding, New Hope (Lion-Monarch, March 2010).

Find other articles by Carol in our Caregiving library.

Karen Braitmayer, FAIA

Karen Braitmayer, FAIA

Studio Pacifica principal Karen L. Braitmayer, FAIA, offers the unusual combination of personal experience as a lifelong wheelchair user with her professional expertise as a registered architect. She has made accessibility consulting and design services her focus since 1990 and founded Studio Pacifica, Ltd., in 1993.

Karen has worked with civic and private organizations committed to complying with federal laws and state codes and to creating spaces that work optimally for the unique needs of individual users. She has served on numerous boards and committees, supporting or representing people with disabilities and won awards for her contributions.

She is a frequent and enthusiastic speaker to other professionals and the general public on the topics of accessibility, universal design, and the art of turning your differences into your strengths.

On September 14, 2010, President Obama appointed Karen to the U.S. Access Board, an independent federal agency that provides leadership in accessible design under the ADA and other laws. Its governing board is structured to function as a coordinating body among federal agencies and to directly represent the public, particularly people with disabilities.

Click here to read her full biography.

Julie Hall

The Estate Lady, Julie Hall

Julie Hall

Julie Hall is an expert in dealing with personal property the Depression era leaves behind. Estate dissolution and helping grieving families make appropriate decisions during the estate settlement process are her specialties. She is a certified personal property appraiser, an estate sales professional, a residential content removal specialist, and a broker of fine items. As owner of The Estate Lady®, LLC, which offers turnkey estate dissolution services, she brings 18 years of experience to families facing the overwhelming task of dissolving the family home. Her expertise is called upon for consulting, conducting on-site estate sales, appraising personal property, and organizing the removal and disposal of contents in the most appropriate way.

In addition to her responsibilities as the Estate Lady®, Julie’s passion for helping as many distressed families as possible deal with the challenges of estate dissolution inspired her to take ownership of the American Society of Estate Liquidators (ASEL) in 2007. As director of ASEL, her vision is to dedicate the organization to being an educational, networking, and referral resource to estate professionals nationwide.

A popular speaker to groups dealing with older adult issues and estate accumulation challenges, she has also written a monthly column, “Ask the Estate Lady,” to provide answers about appraisals, downsizing, and family matters. Her work has been published in the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, MSN Money, Los Angeles Times, etc., and she is called upon from people worldwide for her sound advice.

Julie is a member of the Certified Appraisers Guild of America, the National Speakers Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners and the Better Business Bureau. Currently, Julie is also pursuing a certificate in appraisal studies in arts and antiques at the Rhode Island School of Design.

In 2007, The Estate Lady®, LLC, was selected by Entrepreneur’s StartupNation as the #3 home-based businesses in the United States. Her book, The Boomer Burden: Dealing with Your Parents’ Lifetime Accumulation of Stuff, has hit #1 on Amazon in seven different categories.

She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. For more information on Julie, please visit her Web sites:,, and

Find more articles by Julie Hall in the Estate Planing section of our library.