Cheerful Seniors


Get to Know Us


Colleen Duewel, MPH, CMC, CDP


Colleen Duewel, MPH, CMC, CDP knows first hand what it is like to support  parents from a distance. When Colleen's dad suffered a serious illness in another state, she had to balance a full time job, navigating a complex health care and benefits system for her father and caring for her own family. It's Colleen's goal that no one have to manage that without caring and experienced support.

Colleen has extensive experience as an Advanced Care Planner, certified geriatric care manager, nursing home ombudsman, certified dementia practitioner and hospice visitor.  Colleen’s goal is to foster autonomy, relieve family caregiver worries, and help older adults thrive.

Colleen's biggest joy is to work in a field she is passionate about and is honored to support you and your family.

Cora Plass, MSW

Eldercare Consultant

Cora Plass, MSW, has more than 30 years of experience in the field of aging, health care, and public health at the local, state, and national level. Her career path provided opportunities to work in a variety of settings, including the hospital, nursing home, home health, and community.

She is passionate about helping older adults maintain their maximum level of independence and live full, quality lives with meaning and purpose, no matter what their health status is.

A senior herself, Cora understands firsthand both the challenges and joys of growing older. She believes it’s never too late to make changes that can lead to a healthier and happier life. Through her own life experience, she has learned that small changes can make a big difference.

Cora enjoys using her knowledge, skills, and experience to support older adults in planning for and managing their health and long-term care needs to make their later years better. Her ultimate goal is to help the individuals she serves live life to the fullest and to support their family members by lightening the caregiving load.

Cora Plass headshot

Farnaz Firoz, RN

Nurse Case Manager

Farnaz is a Registered Nurse (RN) certified in Quality and Safety with 9+ years of experience in patient advocacy, healthcare policy, and consulting.

After graduating nursing school, Farnaz worked as a surgical trauma nurse for several years. This experience molded her early on as it illuminated the needs and care required to effectively treat patients. From there, she transitioned into the advocacy and policy arena, where she has spent a number of years promoting the need to create meaningful change and advocating for timely, safe, and quality patient care.

Farnaz’s passion for patient advocacy and helping others became personal when her mother was diagnosed with advanced stage stomach cancer. Farnaz quickly took on the role as primary caretaker for her mother while juggling her full-time job and other personal duties. Knowing how difficult that was – from the emotional, financial, and physical toll it took on everyone to the balancing act of fighting for a patient’s wishes – has only made Farnaz more mission driven.

It is vital to her that she honor her mother’s legacy by paying it forward and provide care and support to those in need.

Susanne Young, MPH, CMC, CDP

Community Liaison & Public Health Advisor

With 20+ years of health care experience, Susanne has a passion for helping individuals and families navigate the health care system. Always happy to lend a listening ear, colleagues seek out her expert advice.

Susanne spent many years as a Certified Care Manager advocating for older adults and as a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist in various health care settings. She has a proven track record of positive relationships and communication with health industry leaders. Currently contracted as a supervisor for the Covid-19 investigation team at a local health department, Susanne continues to make a difference in the health of her community.

Susanne is an enthusiastic ambassador for older adults, long term care and public health in various settings throughout Northern Virginia.

Blanca Cali

Blanca Cali


Blanca has worked with older adults in a variety of settings in the last five years. She worked at a continuing care retirement community overseeing the activities in the assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia care unit. She has three years experiencing helping manage senior health programs for a local hospital, including leading a senior mall walking program and a personal response button service.

After serving in the military, Blanca obtained a degree gerontology and a Masters of Aging Services Management.

Blanca’s commitment and passion to work with older adults and their families started with the love of her grandparents. Growing up she spent many happy summers with her grandparents.  After graduating from college, Blanca’s grandmother had a stroke and Blanca was responsible for household chores, cooking, grocery shopping, bathing, coordinating doctor’s appointments, and therapy.

Blanca understands the changes and challenges that come with aging and believes those challenges do not have to be faced alone.

Nancy Dezan, BSW, CMC, CDP

Dementia and Aging Advisor

As a Social Worker and Administrator, Nancy Dezan has worked in the field of Aging for more than 35 years, specializing in Dementia education and care.  She has served as Executive Director of two non-profit adult day health centers in the Washington DC area, and created a nationally recognized program for individuals in the early stages of Dementia.  

Her passion for assisting those with memory impairment led Nancy to the Alzheimer’s Association, where she  worked for several years developing curriculum, educating staff and supporting families living with Dementia.  

Throughout her career, Nancy has spoken on a wide range of aging-related topics both locally and nationwide.  


"Getting old isn't for sissies" - Bette Davis

It takes real courage to get older and face the challenges life puts in our way. In fact, it can take the heart of a lion. 

At LionHeart Eldercare & Consulting, we know how overwhelming this process can be. Our goal is to help you navigate the journey and be sure you have put in place everything you need to support you.

Cheerful Seniors