Meet Our Team
Crystal Littlejohn, MHSA, CMC, CSA
Founder, Certified Geriatric Care Manager – Since 2009
As a Certified Geriatric Care Manager, Crystal has spent her career in service to seniors. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Plymouth State University, as well as a master’s degree in Health Services Administration from Strayer University.
During a health care career spanning almost 25 years, Crystal has obtained quality experience in the assisted living, skilled nursing, assisted living memory care, hospice and geriatric care management arenas.
In addition to her Care Manager Certified (CMC) credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers, she holds a Certified Assisted Living Facility Manager Certification (CALFM) through the Arizona Board of Examiners of Nursing Care Institution Administrators and Assisted Living Facility Managers. Additionally, Ms. Littlejohn obtained a Certified Senior Advisor designation (CSA) and is an active member of the Society of Certified Senior Advisors. In 2012, Crystal achieved certification as a Professional Patient Advocate from the Professional Patient Advocate Institute.
Crystal has been an active member of the Phoenix Metropolitan area health care network since her move to Arizona in 1994 from her home state of New Hampshire. Her education, experience and compassion for seniors make her an ideal advocate for this very special population.
As founder and Certified Geriatric Care Manager for Geriatric Resources, LLC, Crystal assists seniors and their families to identify needs, locate appropriate resources, and hire and monitor necessary services to keep them living safely in their preferred environment.
Office Manager/Assistant Care Manager – Since 2011
An Arizona native, Petra plays a vitally important role as the Office Manager/Assistant Care Manager with Geriatric Resources, LLC. Prior to working with Geriatric Resources, Petra worked as a Lead Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT) at CVS pharmacy in the heart of Sun City West, Arizona for approximately 15 years.
Petra began her pharmacy career with CVS in 1996, training as a pharmacy technician. Over the next few years she became nationally board certified as a CPhT and ultimately worked her way up to becoming lead pharmacy technician in 2001. She was very dedicated to her work and especially drawn to her senior clientele.
As she built relationships with her loyal customers over the years, she recognized that many of them did not have any local support or advocacy during their more difficult times. She so often felt bound to one side of the counter and powerless to help them.
In March 2011, Petra joined the Geriatric Resources team as the Office Manager/Assistant Care Manager. Since joining the team, Petra has been steadfastly dedicated to supporting and assisting Geriatric Resources’ clients, their families and the team. Life has imitated art in Petra’s personal life as she had cared for both her grandparents, both of whom had played major roles in her life as her “parents”. Petra has always had a passion for serving the senior community as she always wanted to give back for all her grandparents had done for her.
Through years of compassionate customer service and dedicated work ethic, Petra enjoys fulfilling her calling to serve seniors and give back every day through the important advocacy roles that Geriatric Resources’ plays in clients’ lives.
Luann Arvonen, BS, CMC
Certified Geriatric Care Manager – Since 2012
Luann’s professional career spans more than 29 years working in the senior care continuum, and she earned her certification through the rigorous protocol of the National Academy of Certified Care Managers.
A native of New Jersey, Luann earned a Bachelor of Science degree in recreation therapy from Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. She began her career in healthcare with 10 years’ experience working with seniors in the skilled nursing facility setting. Following that, she held professional positions in memory care, assisted living, independent retirement living, and hospice care environments, helping older adults and their families adjust to the changes and challenges unique to each setting.
Luann’s skill in assisting older adults as they navigate complex medical, living and social challenges has been invaluable to countless families over the years. Over the course of her professional career, Luann has been working and living her passion – care and advocacy for seniors. Her philosophy is based on providing the same level of care and advocacy for the client that she would (and did!) provide to her own parents. All are to be treated with the utmost respect and dignity, in order to allow as much autonomy and independence as possible. Through the years, she has been involved with many service organizations and has held positions on a number of boards, all devoted to enhancing the lives of older adults.
Luann’s strong observational skills and natural curiosity combined with her expertise ensure that all of her clients and family members are well-informed. She works to bring all available options to clients and families, giving them the information they need to make the best decision for optimum quality of life.
Val Litchy, MA
Geriatric Care Manager – Since 2017
Val Litchy began her career in services to older adults in 1988, following completion of an undergraduate degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Working for a hospital-affiliated continuing care retirement community in Madison, Val served on the President’s Cabinet. During her eleven-year tenure there, she assisted in the operation and development of a senior living spectrum of housing and services where older adults could be part of the overall community in a dynamic downtown urban environment.
After relocating to Phoenix in 2002, Val continued to work to improve quality of life for seniors. As Community Relations Coordinator and Executive Director at a memory care facility, Val assisted seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias transition to and live in a supportive environment designed for their needs, and worked to support their families throughout the process. During her time with a home care services company, Val built an understanding of the support available from services delivered in a senior’s existing living environment, and coordinated provision of services there. As a Geriatric Care Manager, Val brings a thorough understanding of the spectrum of services available to seniors wherever they choose to live, and experience in addressing and adjusting to their changing needs and condition.
As part of her passion for service to seniors, Val has served on community boards, advisory committees and in charity event planning. Throughout her career, Val’s overriding goal has been finding the ideal living environment and service combination for individuals at each moment in their lives. In her work with seniors and families, Val draws on her experiences, both professionally and personally, to identify, address and communicate those changing needs, and to help seniors and their families understand and find joy within each season of their lives.
Leslie Archunde, COTA/L
Certified Geriatric Care Manager – Since 2020
Geriatric Care Manager Leslie Archunde, a native Arizonan, grew up in the Phoenix/Cave Creek area. She’s been working with elders for more than 10 years and is a Licensed Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant and is certified in dementia care. Leslie began her professional career in finance but was convinced to pursue a career working with older adults by her sister, and occupational therapist. Looking back, Leslie, says, it was the “perfect” fit for her.
At a local Continuing Care Retirement Community, Leslie managed a team of 20 therapists, serving as Director of Therapy. She brings this experience in coordinating the service provision of other professionals to her work with Geriatric Resources’ clients, understanding the important relationship between providers and clients, and the essential role of care management in that relationship. Leslie says, “the role of the care manager in providing input and guidance to both the medical providers and the client is critical to the success we work toward for our clients. Everyone must understand the goals and challenges for each individual client, and feel they are part of an interactive team for that client- that’s the piece we (care managers) bring to the table.”
At home, Leslie cares for her grandparents, who live with Leslie, her husband, and their four beloved french bulldogs. Leslie notes this daily helps her to understand her clients, their families, and the daily challenges everyone faces. Leslie loves to cook and travel.
Kate Sawert, P.T., M.A.
Thoughtful Engagement Specialist– Since 2020
Kate grew up in Arizona, watching her parents care for and support friends and neighbors through life transitions. An early predilection for the performing arts gave way to a lifelong career passion when Kate met a physical therapist in the medical practice that her mother managed.
Kate holds a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University. She worked in pediatric, orthopedic, home health and acute care settings with the goal of improving both functional mobility and quality of life for her patients.
During her 30-year career as a health care provider, Kate was drawn to the older adults she was privileged to serve, delighting in their stories and gaining from their experience. She developed health and wellness workshops and traveled around the country to share her knowledge and to learn from her participants. She later joined Franklin Pierce University, Plymouth State University and Midwestern University as an adjunct professor teaching behavioral science and psychosocial aspects of health care. Her most cherished role was stepping in to care for her own parents as their health declined.
As a home health physical therapist in the Phoenix area, Kate had the opportunity to partner with patients and their families to locate community resources and to maximize dignity, autonomy, and optimal function for each individual she met. She brings this wealth of experience to her role as Thought Engagement® Specialist for Geriatric Resources.
Geriatric Care Manager – Since 2016
Geriatric Care Manager Chelsea’s passion for senior care has its roots in her relationship with her grandmother, who was an essential part of her childhood. As her grandmother grew older, their roles reversed and Chelsea realized the value of service to seniors and the difference it makes for all generations.
Chelsea’s college studies led her to an internship with Geriatric Resources. Her passion for excellence, service and kind and generous spirit made her an essential part of the team, and we couldn’t do without her when the internship ended! From 2016 until now, Chelsea has been working with Geriatric Resources in service to our clients while achieving her Bachelor of Social Work from Arizona State University (2019) and a Master of Social Work from Arizona State University (2021). She also holds a certificate in Gerontology through ASU. During the course of her studies, she completed other internships in the field of mental health and non-profit caregiver support.
Chelsea brings more than 10 years of experience and her extensive social work background to her work at Geriatric Resources. Social work values and ethics are central to Chelsea’s role as a Geriatric Care Manager, and she holds the dignity and worth of each person as a central tenant. Chelsea builds rapport with clients and families through genuine interactions, while efficiently researching resources and individualized service plans for her valued clients. Her clients benefit every day from her advocacy, integrity, amazing work ethic and kind and caring heart.
Administrative Assistant – Since 2018
A native of Surprise, Arizona, Office Assistant Monica Gardea was a pharmacy technician and a cafeteria manager for Dysart School district before joining the Geriatric Resources team. She continues to serve on the PTO board at Dysart high school.
As the first voice callers hear, Monica brings professional skills, a calm and caring demeanor and great sense of fun to all her interactions with our clients, their families and service providers. Our clients, families and care partners also receive the benefit of her skills in managing a blended family of seven children, two grandchildren and 3 dogs! Monica also provides support to her elderly grandmother, who recently experienced a fall, knee replacement and skilled facility stay, acting as a caregiver for her one day each week.
Additionally, Monica serves our clients in a one-to-one role as part of our Thoughtful Engagement® Program. In that role, she has taken clients horseback riding, has researched executed meaningful outings to the butterfly garden, aquariums, museums and has just time spent together with clients talking about music and their other interests.
In her spare time (!), Monica enjoys cooking, classic rock, quilting, puzzling, and bringing together family and friends.