The pad reads “No more Mr. Nice Guy!” Judie Rappaport says it was a present from someone who thought she worried too much about other people’s needs. “Talk to a few caregivers,” she says, “listen to their problems, listen to how hard it is to find the information they need to make informed decisions, and I defy you not to want to help them. I’m lucky, I know how.”
Judie has been helping adult children care for their aging parents and educating professionals on the needs of elders with Alzheimer’s and related dementias for over two decades. She is the co-author of the well-received books, Eldercare 911: The Caregivers Complete Handbook for Making Decisions and The Eldercare 911 Question and Answer Book. Judie also writes, Eldercare 911, a weekly column answering readers’ caregiving questions. The successful column is in it’s 7th year in Florida’s Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers.
A pioneer in geriatric care management, she co-founded Parent Care, one of the country’s oldest care management firms, which she subsequently sold to Crawford & Co., a global risk management firm. In 2000 she returned to what she says is her calling – “helping people is where I belong.” As President of Preferred Lifestyle Services, she has trained and spoken to thousands of family caregivers and professionals who have elder clients. “Did you know that almost one third of the country is involved in caring for an elderly person? I’m not surprised that wherever I speak or train, eight or 10 people always come up afterward to talk about personal problems with their parents. ”
In retrospect, does she think returning to helping caregivers was a good move? “Every year, we help thousands of caregivers attain a better quality of life; that, in turn, means thousands of elders will be safer, healthier, and lead a better life. This gives new meaning to the phrase ‘job satisfaction.’ I love what I do!”
Judie shows her love of her field in her reach, dedication, and involvement in both her community and national groups: she was a founding member and By-Law Committee Chair of the Geriatric Care Managers Assn. of South Florida, a founding member and 1998 and 1999 Conference Co-Chair for the Alzheimer’s Alliance; served on the Advisory Council for Area Agency on Aging, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for Alzheimer’s Community Care. She is a Certified Senior Advisor, a member of the American Society on Aging, The National Council On Aging, Eldercare Professionals, and Leading Age.