Serving Senior Communities for Over 25 years
Celebrating 28 Years of Healthier Living For Seniors
 Celebrating 28 Years of Healthier Living For Seniors  

Our Leadership Team

Paula Smith, GCM


Ms. Smith is Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of the ElderCare Companies. - - having previously served as Executive VP of ElderCare, Chief Operating Officer of the Senior Citizens Home Safety Project of America, Vice President of the Corporation for Housing-Based HealthCare and Vice President of Norcross, Inc.


Ms. Smith, a Geriatric Care Manager and senior advocate, has: administered geriatric fall prevention programs in Florida and Pennsylvania; contracted with two national Medicare HMOs to provide geriatric preventive services; provided strategic planning and implementation consulting services to ten hospitals and nine nursing homes.


Nationally, Ms. Smith: • is a recognized authority on health-related geriatric fall-related programs; and • has provided liaison services for Fortune 100 companies which includes leaders in health and health-related hospitality industries.

Julie Schafer, GCM


Julie is presently Chief Business Officer of The ElderCare Companies, Inc.  She has served as ElderCare's Senior VP of Operations, Vice President of Community Liaison for the Corporation for Housing-Based Healthcare, Director for the Senior Citizens Home Safety Project of America and Special Projects Manager for the Senior Citizens Home Safety Project of New York and New Jersey.  Prior to ElderCare, she was Marketing Director and Sales Executive for Excerpta Media, a Reed Elsevier Company.


Julie has been responsible for business growth and operations which has delivered services to over 263,000+ elders.  She has provided geriatric consulting and training services to over 30 hospitals and hospital systems as well as national HMOs developing fall preventive programs for their Medicare HMO divisions. Additionally, Julie provided administration and operations for a community-based geriatric fall prevention program in New York. As a Geriatric Care Manager, she has established strong relationships with social services in national charitable organizations (Catholic Charities, JASA, etc.), county and municipal governments including housing authorities, area agencies on aging, senior centers, senior nutrition sites, meals-on-wheels programs, etc. and continues to work with those entities on senior health-related issues.


Julie has collaborated on the development and implementation of fall prevention training modules, geriatric training and marketing programs, home modification programs, customized home modification and senior safety-oriented fall-risk assessment programs. .


Julie has received her public health and gerontological education through Rutgers University and the University Affiliated Program of New Jersey, UMDNJ, Rutgers University.

Dr. Karen Cascardi


Karen A. Cascardi, PhD is the Chief Strategy Officer with primary responsibilites in developing, communicating, executing and sustaining corporate fall prevention initiatives.  She had worked as a consultant and educator for ElderCare for 10 years prior to becoming the CSO.


Dr. Cascardi recently retired after 20 years of service from South University as Director of Clinical Education for the Physical Therapist Assisting (PTA) Program in West Palm Beach, FL.  She worked at the university since 1997 and is still an Assistant Professor at the University in an adjunct capacity.  Dr. Cascardi has been lecturing on Balance and Vestibular Rehabilitation nationally since 2001.  For several years she worked closely with the Your Aging and Disability Resource Center (YADRC) PSA 9 and the Florida Injury Prevention for Seniors program (FLIPS) Department of Elder Affairs developing Fall Prevention Community Education programs. She developed the Balance and Vestibular rehabilitation program at Martin Memorial Health Systems in Stuart FL in 1997, where she also secured a $42,000 grant for the program.  She was the coordinator of Education and Community Programs there until June 2001 when she moved on to South University. 


Dr. Cascardi completed her B.S. in Education degree from Ashland University, PTA program from Lynn University, received her M.S. in Education with a concentration in Sports Medicine from Indiana State University, and her PhD in Health Sciences Education & Research at Touro University International.


Dr. Cascardi has served as PTA Director on the Board of Directors for the FL Physical Therapy Assn (2014-2018), Vice Chair (2013-14) and Chair (2014-15) of the Advisory Committee for YADRC.  To date she has dedicated 18 years of service on various committees to the National Physical Therapy Examination section of the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy. 


Dr. Cascardi has worked on a variety of fall prevention initiatives and is published. Additonally, she is in the process of co-authoring a therapeutic exercise textbook for physcial therapist assistants.

Dr. David C. Schwartz (1939-2022)


Former Chairman and Co-Founder of the ElderCare Companies, Inc., Dr. Schwartz was an internationally recognized leader in the field of preventive geriatrics.


Dr. Schwartz held the following positions in his career:

  • Professor of Medicine, Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami (Voluntary Faculty)
  • Professor Emeritus of Urban Studies and Community Health at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Adjunct Clinical Professor of Geriatrics, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, NY, NY 10027
  • Member, Board of Directors, National Housing Institute Trustee and Former Vice President, National Housing Conference
  • Board Member and Past Board Chairman, National Housing Institute
  • Director, American Affordable Housing Institute
  • Member, U.S.E.P.A. Advisory Board on the Environmental Impact of Housing Programs

Dr. Schwartz had been: a consultant to states, counties, cities, housing authorities, Fortune 100 Companies, lenders, developers, hospitals, HMOs, nonprofit corporations and labor unions.


Dr. Schwartz’s research (comprised of more than 30 research projects on which he had been Principal Investigator) included work funded by: NSF, Ford Foundation, Huntington Health Fund, Earhart Foundation, Guggenheim Foundation, Prudential Foundation, HUD, Farmers Home Administration and many others. Dr. Schwartz authored five books and more than 50 scholarly articles.

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