About Us

GeroPartners strives to

  • provide premium psychological and care management services to the Richmond Metro area,
  • be a resource to other professionals engaged in serving older adults and their caregivers, and
  • strengthen the network of services available for older adults through relationships with other senior service providers and organizations in our community.

We were inspired by our experiences while working in the public mental health system, which provided us with intimate knowledge of the lack of community resources to address the needs of families caring for aging loved ones: coping with the day to day challenges of dementia, navigating the complicated healthcare system, and balancing safety with preservation of dignity and autonomy in elderhood.

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Our Team


Andrew L. Heck, Psy.D., ABPP
President, Clinical GeroPsychologist

Dr. Heck is a nationally renowned clinical geropsychologist, educator, trainer, and administrator. He holds dual board certification through the American Board of Professional Psychology in both Clinical Psychology (2005) and Geropsychology (2013; founding member).

Dr. Heck spent 17 years as a clinician and administrator at Piedmont Geriatric Hospital in Virginia’s public mental health system, and has held clinical faculty appointments in the Departments of Gerontology, Psychiatry, Psychology and Pharmacy at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has briefed members of the U.S. Senate on Geropsychology Training Funding issues, and is past-President and current member of the Board of Directors for the Council of Professional Geropsychology Training Programs (CoPGTP), an international geropsychology training organization. He is a founding member of the American Board of Geropsychology, an organization that governs specialty certification for psychologists working with older adults, and currently the President-Elect of its  board of directors.

Dr. Heck has undertaken national speaking tours on geriatric mental health in both the United States and Australia.  He is a co-author of Psychologists in Long-Term Care (PLTC): Guidelines for Psychological and Behavioral Health Services in Long-Term Care Settings (published in Professional Psychology: Research and Practice) and co-editor of the textbook, Forensic Geropsychology: Practice Essentials (published through the American Psychological Association), which is the first text that comprehensively addresses the interface between geriatric psychology and the legal system.  He was named Alumnus of the Year by the University of Indianapolis School of Psychology (2014) and was the recipient of the American Board of Professional Psychology’s annual Geropsychology award for services to the field.

Dr. Heck’s particular areas of professional interest include clinical training and supervision, dementia evaluation, decision-making competency and capacity, behavioral treatment, and ethics in working with the elderly.

In his spare time, Andrew enjoys playing sports with his son, singing and playing in a Richmond-based rock cover band and woodworking in his home workshop.


Courtney Petley, LCSW, C-ASWCM
CEO, Geriatric Care Manager

Ms. Petley is a Virginia Licensed Clinical Social Worker and is certified as an Advanced Social Work Case Manager.  She has more than 15 years of experience as a clinical social worker and an administrator in Virginia’s public sector mental health system at an inpatient geriatric mental health facility, as well as in the community as part of the PACE model, a government-funded long-term care management program. 

Ms. Petley has provided training for assisted living facility staff through the Department of Gerontology at VCU and the Virginia Department of Social Services, and provides education for family and professional caregivers in the community on various topics including managing challenging behaviors in dementia, coping and self-care for caregivers, recognizing and responding to depression, and sexuality and aging.  She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Aging Life Care Association™, which is the national professional and certifying organization for geriatric care managers. 

Areas of professional interest include clinical training and supervision, caregiver education and support, and quality of life issues for older adults.  Courtney is a long-time resident of the Richmond Metro area, and enjoys spending time with her husband and dogs, caring for her growing collection of houseplants, and practicing yoga.


Derenda Lovelace, MSN, RN-BC, CM
Geriatric Care Manager

A Registered Nurse for 40 years and a Case Manager for 25 years (in the hospital as well as the community), Ms. Lovelace has a BSN from the University of Virginia (1978) and MSN from University of Alabama (2008) in Nursing Case Management. She is an ANCC Certified Case Manager (since 2005), a Case Management Society of America (CMSA) member since 2004 and published author.

Ms. Lovelace is active in the Central Virginia Chapter of CMSA (current President) and is the DoD/VA Advisor to the National CMSA Board. She served as the Co-Chair for the 2018 and 2019 CMSA Military/VA/DoD Conference Planning Committees. She has been a presenter at both the local and National CMSA levels and in 2010, received the National CMSA Award of Service Excellence. She is serving as an ANCC Nursing Case Management Content Expert Panelist from 2018-2021.

In Mar 2018, Ms. Lovelace was the recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s 2018 Certified Nurse Awards in the Nursing Case Management category and in May 2018 was selected as the RICVAMC 2018 recipient of the Department on Veteran’s Affairs Secretary’s Award for Excellence in Nursing in an Expanded Role.

After 25 years serving as a case manager for the Department of Defense (DoD) and the Veterans Administration (VA), she retired in January 2019 from Federal Service.  

Derenda enjoys spending her free time with family to include her husband, father, two sons and daughter in laws, 4 grandchildren, 3 cats and numerous grand cats/dogs/goats. She also likes yoga, gardening and reading. She serves as a VA volunteer and is active in the mission program at her church, having spent time in the Philippines and Romania.


Lindsay Cavanah, MSW,CMC
Geriatric Care Manager

Ms. Cavanah has a passion for serving the aging population and assisting individuals and their loved ones navigate the changes and challenges the aging process can entail. Throughout her career, Ms. Cavanah has approximately eight years’ experience providing care management services to older adults.

She is a VCU alumni where she obtained her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Social Work. During her academic career, Ms. Cavanah focused on both clinical and macro based social work practices and minored in nonprofit management. Since graduating, Ms. Cavanah has served the aging population in the Greater Richmond area through the public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

Ms. Cavanah began serving the aging population volunteering at local nursing homes during middle and high school in Henrico County. Prior to returning to school to complete her social work degrees, Ms. Cavanah was a Surgical Coordinator for a local ophthalmology practice where the vast majority of her patient base were older individuals. During graduate school she focused on macro based social work practice including community-based needs assessments, program development/evaluation, community outreach, research, and advocacy. Prior to graduating with her MSW, she was hired as the Development Manager with the nonprofit she interned with throughout both her BSW and MSW programs. During this time, she worked with marginalized populations, including the aging population, to decrease disease through programs focusing on the importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Although Ms. Cavanah loved working in the nonprofit sector, she began to crave more client centered work. Through some personal experiences, Ms. Cavanah was drawn to hospice and became a hospice social worker. To this day, hospice holds a special place in her heart, and she hopes to continue to support this service through volunteer opportunities in the future. During her time as a hospice social worker, Ms. Cavanah learned one of her strengths is working with older individuals in crisis and left the private sector to work for Henrico Social Services with Adult Protective Services.

When she’s not snuggling her two rescue pit bulls, Birch and Baloo, Ms. Cavanah will most likely be found outside enjoying gardening, camping or live music. She also loves spending time with her immediate and extended family and hosting family functions at her home in the country.



Jillian Ryan
Office Manager

A New Jersey native transplanted to Virginia many years ago, Jillian Ryan is the Office Manager at GeroPartners, where she makes empathy, strong communication and attention to detail her daily driving goals.

Ms. Ryan oversees all aspects of our office, including, but not limited to scheduling, coordination with doctors and other referral providers, ensuring impeccable privacy for our patients’ information, working with insurance providers, and always working to find ways for GeroPartners to provide the absolute best geriatric services.

Previously an Executive Assistant to the CEO at a Skilled Nursing and Independent Living facility, Ms. Ryan has worked with geriatric clients and their loved ones firsthand, including through the height of COVID-19. Always endeavoring to do what is best for the resident, Ms. Ryan took great care to know the residents by name, their hobbies, and their concerns, and ensured their needs were met with dignity and respect. She carries this passion with her to GeroPartners and hopes to put a little bit of sunshine in each person’s day.

Over the last 10 years, Ms. Ryan has raised funds by organizing charitable events around the Richmond area to benefit the VCU Children’s Hospital.

Outside of work, Ms. Ryan loves spending time with her six pets (lovingly called “the zoo”), going museum hopping, gaming, and crafting all kinds of jewelry and upcycled goods with her mother and husband on the family farm.





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What is an Aging Life Care™ Manager?

An Aging Life Care Manager is dedicated to helping clients age well while also supporting quality of life for family members. This phase of a family’s journey together is often complicated. There is more to do than there is time. Relatives may live far away. Relations can become strained.

Our professional training and knowledge of best practices can ease the journey.

Every family is unique. As Aging Life Care Managers, we apply our insights and skills in 8 key areas to provide you with a positive care plan tailored to your family’s individual needs and strengths.

We offer expertise regarding:

  • Health and disability: Through assessments and experience, we can help you understand what your loved one does well, and in what areas he or she could use additional help.
  • Finances: A review of the current monetary situation will result in a plan to make resources stretch as efficiently as possibly while maintaining the desired level of comfort, dignity and safety.
  • Housing: Based on the assessments, recommendations can be made for optimal living situations now, with a view to likely changes in the foreseeable future.
  • Family: Sibling disagreements and old family history often make the aging journey difficult. Our training provides for skilled facilitation of family meetings and creation of a plan that takes everyone’s needs into account.
  • Local Resources: There are programs available to help, but it’s difficult to know which one is the most appropriate for your situation. Save time and money by letting us objectively evaluate the situation and connect you to the resources best suited to your needs.
  • Advocacy: Our comprehensive knowledge of the disjointed health care system allows us to monitor quality and lobby for the care and treatment your family wants.
  • Legal: Let us help you identify issues and get key paperwork in order.
  • Crisis Intervention: The unexpected is simply a fact of life in aging. We are experienced with elder emergencies and are ready to jump in at a moment’s notice.

GeroPartners is in the business of helping aging adults and their families to live well throughout the aging process. Give us a call at (804) 993-4304 to discuss the many ways we can help you.

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How we are different

What makes an Aging Life Care Manager stand apart from the others is the commitment to stay focused on the needs of the client and family. Others may offer services for less, but what you receive cannot help but be influenced by the payment structure.

Hospital- or insurance-based case managers are employees of the health care system. They are good professionals. Their focus, however, is to address the issues of patients within the institution and to make efficient use of services for their organization.

We are based in the community and work with aging adults wherever they live. We provide continuity of care across all settings. We include the family and focus on improving quality of life for the older adult and their grown children.

Because we are paid directly by you, we are independent and objective. Our focus is 100% on the needs of your family and your aging loved ones. We apply our considerable skill and years of training to your unique situation.

When the issue is safety and quality of life, you deserve the best!

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Professional Memberships

We pride ourselves in our commitment to stay abreast of the ever-changing landscape of senior services and aging research. To this end, our Aging Life Care Managers are members of the following professional organizations:

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