Who we are
Network of healthcare professionals passionate about supporting family caregivers.
Our students are Family Caregivers
They provide care for parents, grandparents, husbands, wives, siblings, friends and neighbors.
Family Caregivers often assist with...
Meals and nutrition
Ryan graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University in 2008. He started his career in project management for a Fortune 5 company. But he has always seen himself as a resource for the community, particularly family caregivers. The reason he founded Upward Care was due to the lack of educational resources and support for family caregivers.
Ryan also serves as the Director of Community Relations at Griswold Home Care, is the Chairperson for the Alamo Caregiver Support Coalition, facilitates a weekly Alzheimer's support group and sits on the industry advisory boards for several local nurse aide programs.
Marie Hoffman, RN, BSN
Hi, I'm Marie Hoffman and I am an experienced teacher of over 8 years and I am a nurse with four years of experience working with all age groups from babies to mature adults. I have experience in critical care, medical-surgical nursing, caring for patients after hip, leg, spine and bariatric surgeries. I have a fond love of psychiatric care and have experience in Psychiatric nursing for all age groups.
Currently, I am a nursing education instructor with a concentration in hands-on, practical nursing skills training. I received my Bachelor's degree from Rutger's University in Newark New Jersey, and I am currently working on my degree to become a family nurse practitioner. Helping and teaching have always been my passions. I believe that teaching builds independence, decreases stress and encourages confidence.
Kimberly Belshaw, LVN
Kimberly is a dedicated LVN with a tremendous amount of experience in the nursing field including teaching and home health. She is originally from Laredo, TX and a Spanish speaker. During the week she serves as a Nurse Aide instructor at a local Healthcare Career School.
Kimberly is passionate and excited about sharing her experiences with family caregivers. She loves nursing and especially teaching. Helping others gain knowledge allows them to be more empowered and improves outcomes for families and patients.
Megan Hamma, LVN
Hello! I’m Megan, I attended college at Texas A&M University and Blinn College where I received my associate’s degree and License of Vocational Nursing. As I currently pursue my Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, I continue to build on my existing clinical experience ranging from long-term acute care, telemetry, and medical-surgical care.
Throughout my educational journey, I discovered that my enjoyment for nursing comes from uplifting others and using my skills to fulfill the famous statement, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others”. I am excited and honored to be a part of the Upward Care team and to help make an impact in the lives of caregivers and their loved ones.
Russell Gainer, LCSW
Co-Founder - GainWell
Russell co-founded GainWel, an innovative organization that provides in-home counselings services. Russell and his team provide valuable support to family caregivers suffering from burnout, stress and depression.
In addition to GainWel, his professional experience includes working with/as: Adult, Adolescent and Children Psychiatric Hospital Counselor, over 18 years in Hospice, Adjunct Professor Teaching Sociology and Psychology, Private Psychotherapy Practitioner and National Hospice Consultant, Hypnosis and Guided Imagery Instructor, and a Professional Geriatric Care Manager.
He is also an active volunteer with the American Cancer Society and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Financial Advisor - Raymond James
Tim manages the financial affairs for families and businesses throughout Texas and select states. He implements a comprehensive planning process that can help clients build and manage their wealth by evaluating their whole financial picture, then outlining strategies that are tailored to their individual needs.
Tim understands the challenges faced by family caregivers and the need to plan for the financial implications of dealing with ongoing healthcare challenges. Everyone has their own financial situations it is important to be proactive in planning accordingly.
Note: Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Member New York Stock Exchange/ SIPC
LeAnne Chaloupka received her Master's degree in Occupational Therapy in 2007. She sought her profession at an early age while assisting with caring for her aging grandmother after two reconstructive knee surgeries.
LeAnne's specialty focus is the geriatric population and being able to assist families and caregivers of loved ones affected by Alzheimer's and Dementia. LeAnne is a clinical team member with Encompass Health in San Antonio and the Hill Country. In addition to her OT background, LeAnne is also a Certified Lymphedema Therapist. LeAnne is very involved with the Alzheimer's Association and providing local support groups for families/caregivers and their loved ones.
Owner / Senior Advisor - Griwold Home Care
Laura is Co-Owner of Griswold Home Care with her primary focus on community relations and marketing. She and her husband opened the SA - Griswold Home Care Office in 2003. Laura is currently active in many organizations in the San Antonio area including the Alamo Area Home Care Council and the First Friday Network.
A driving factor that gave Laura the passion for this business was their own personal experiences. Laura lost her mother to cancer at a very young age. Laura says, “In 1983 when my mother was being treated for cancer, home care was not an option in our area. She died in the hospital, several months after being admitted. It would have been much more dignified and comfortable for her to have been able to come home during her last few months to be around those she loved and in familiar surroundings.”
Elder Law Attorney - Law Offices of Carol Bertsch
Carol Bertsch is an elder law attorney serving San Antonio and the surrounding communities. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from the University of Texas School of Law in 1992. Since opening her practice in 1996, Carol has been a champion of the elderly and disabled – she even makes “house calls” to those unable to get out so they can receive the full benefit of legal counsel.
First and foremost, she treats clients with the dignity and respect they deserve, always appreciative of the wonderful tapestry woven by their life experiences. With patience and understanding, she helps her clients plan for the challenges of aging.
Byron Cordes, LCSW, C-ASWCM, CMC
Founder - Sage Care Mgmt
Byron is recognized as one of the nation’s leading experts in Geriatric Care Management/Aging Life Care, derived from 25 years in the social work field. He has had his writings and interviews on geriatrics, families and caregiving published
Byron served as the 2012 President of the Aging Life Care Association(TM) (formerly the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers) and is a Past-President for the South Central Chapter. He received his Masters in Social
Work from the Worden School of Social Services at Our Lady of the Lake University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Oklahoma State University.
Byron is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Texas and holds an Advanced Certification in Social Work Case Management
Paralegal - Law Offices of Carol Bertsch
For the last two years Toni has served as a Paralegal for the Law Offices of Carol Bertsch. Prior to that she was the primary caregiver for her mother and father for 5 years and after her mother passed she continue to care for her father for an additional 9 years. Toni's father had Alzheimer’s and she has experienced first hand how to difficult the caregiving journey can be.
Toni also serves on the Board for Dreams Fulfilled through Music and First Friday Network.
Additionaly, she is the Associate Pastor for the Lord’s House for the past 4 years and has been a pastor for almost 25 years with a focus on working with families whoa re grieving.
Why we do it
There are over 52,000,000 family caregivers in the United States.
The healthcare industry continues to ask family caregivers to take on greater responsibility in the care of their loved ones.
We believe that we should be preparing family caregivers for that responsibility.
Our goal is to empower family caregivers with the skills they need to care for the ones they love.
We coach our caregivers in effective ways to communicate with their loved ones. Communication during care can build trust, credibility and set proper expectations. Prior to beginning any transfer or action we remind our students to clearly explain what the plan is.
Learning proper body mechanics and transfer technique are a critical aspect of our program. Our students will learn by doing. Students will perform transfers in the classroom under the supervision of the instructor. They will receive feedback and identify ways to improve until their technique is sound.
Our goal is to prepare family caregivers with the skills they need to deliver care for their loved ones. Once the proper technique and communication skills are established they should be able to repeat the skills and deliver the care necessary for their family members.
Proudly Supporting 36 Texas Counties