Optimize Aging LLC. is committed to educating health care consumers and health service providers by means of webinars, seminars and video presentations to promote the health and quality of life of older adults

What we do:

  • Education – programs include:
    • Aging, Mental Health and Chronic Illness”
    • What It Means to Grow Old”
    • “Differentiating Dementia, Depression and Delirium”
    • “Behavioral Health Issues in Older Adults”
    • “Update on Alzheimer’s Disease” 
    • “Understanding ‘Problem’ Behaviors”
    • “Psychiatric Complications of Dementia”
    • “Depression, Anxiety and Suicide in Older Adults”
    • “Normal Cognitive Changes that Accompany Aging”
    • “Substance Use Disorders: Issues in Older Adults”
    • “Working with Individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Chronic Mental Illness as they Age”
    • “Understanding Hoarding Behaviors”
    • “Evidenced-Based Practices for Aging in Place”
    • “Compassion Fatigue”
    • “Mental Health Issues of Covid 19”
    • “Understanding Health Disparities and Finding Community Solutions”
    • “Behavioral Assessment and Intervention for Individuals Residing in Community Settings”
  • Further descriptions of the programs are available under “2023 Training Topics”
  • Consultation and training programs are also available for “care facilities”
  • Case consultation for community residing older adults

Who we are:

Linda Shumaker, RN, GERO-BC, MA

Linda Shumaker is a gerontological certified registered nurse who is a private consultant as well as currently in clinical practice in Harrisburg Pennsylvania.  She has previous served as Outreach Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition.  In 2005, as founding Executive Director of the Coalition, she advocated for funding and received over $325,000 to outreach and educate older adults regarding behavioral health issues.  She introduced policies to encourage the Mental Health and Aging’s “systems” of care to work cooperatively to serve older adults with behavioral health issues.  Ms. Shumaker spearheaded Pennsylvania’s Older Adult Suicide Prevention Plan, one of the first in the country, as well as advocating and obtaining a Mental Health Bulletin ensuring that adults with dementia and secondary psychiatric symptoms have access to mental health treatment.  Ms. Shumaker also has worked at the Central Pennsylvania Psychiatric Institute, Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA.  Ms. Shumaker has extensive clinical experience working in community mental health, geriatric assessment teams and in long-term care.   In addition, she has been an instructor of psychiatry at the Pennsylvania State University, College of Medicine, co-chair and founding member of the Pennsylvania Mental Health and Aging Coalition.  She has served as a member of the Older Adult Committee of Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Planning Council and a member of the Long-Term Care Subcommittee of the Medical Assistance Advisory Committee.  She has served on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania State Alzheimer’s Association and the Advisory Board for the Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association.  Ms. Shumaker’s “special interests” include ethical and social policy issues in relation to the care of the elderly with behavioral health problems.

Carol Gold, PhD

Dr. Gold has conducted applied research in gerontology for over 20 years, and taught as a faculty member in the Department of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State University. She has worked with health care providers in a local clinic, as well as on research projects related to older adults, in areas such as medicine use and misuse, cognitive decline, and other issues of disability and disease. As a faculty member in the Center for Healthy Aging, she has been Project Coordinator of the Penn State Site of the Geriatric Education Center of Pennsylvania (GEC-PA) for 8 years.  Working with Linda Shumaker, Outreach Coordinator of the Pennsylvania Behavioral Health and Aging Coalition, Dr. Gold has assisted in developing curricula for the GEC-PA workshops that have been offered throughout PA over the past 8 years to well over a thousand professionals who work with older persons, helping to keep them in their homes as long as possible.  With help from experts in various geriatric fields, we have developed content for training health care professionals across the state of PA on a number of topics, including Health Literacy.  Dr. Gold has a broad background in biobehavioral health and gerontology, with specific training and expertise in key areas of the biology of aging, diseases and health problems related to aging, and behavioral interventions to promote healthier aging.  She has been a PI on an NIA-funded project looking at gender differences in patterns of diagnoses, disabilities, and mortality based on a Swedish unlike-sex twin sample. She has also been a Co-Investigator of a number of federally funded, foundation funded, and seed-grant studies related to various aspects of aging (such as alcohol and prescription drug use) and diseases (such as asthma and diabetes).