Our Team

Owner & Founder
Certified Dementia Practitioner


LAUREN Mahakian

LAUREN founded Family Connect Care in 2008 after working with the elderly and memory-impaired for several years.

Seeing first-hand examples of mistreatment and taking advantage of memory-impaired individuals, she saw the need for enhanced care management services and to assure the dignity of those who suffer from a variety of cognitive impairments.

LAUREN has a love for older people, whom she refers to as, “chronologically gifted.” Some have even called her the, “Alzheimer’s Insighter,” due to her innate ability to intuitively know what her clients need, even when they can’t express it for themselves.

LAUREN earned her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of LaVerne. LAUREN holds many certifications related to aging and memory care. Among these, she is a certified Dementia Practitioner by the National association of Dementia Practitioners and certified in Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. She is also certified by the Validation Training Institute in Validation Therapy.

LAUREN is licensed by the State of California in Residential Care for the Elderly (RCFE) Administration, license #6031850740.

To see what clients have to say, see the Testimonials page.


chief operations officer
Dementia Specialist

Vatche Khedesian

Vatche Khedesian is a Dementia Specialist, Certified in Dementia Care.

Born and raised in the South Bay, Vatche completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, earning his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology. His background consists of a long line of social work.

He was also caregiver to his own mom during her battles with cancer and dementia for 8 years. He gained extensive experience and knowledge through those years, working closely with doctors at both UCLA and City of Hope to assist with the care for his mom. Reluctantly, his experiences were not positive with the care they were receiving, which directed his focus into the Care Management field. Quality care for elders has become Vatche’s personal passion.



Senior Care Manager
Dementia Specialist

Kristi Simonian

Kristi is a Dementia Specialist, Certified in Dementia Care.

In that capacity, she assists with care management for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and also coordinates our training and workshops. She is relationship-centered and intuitively anticipates clients’ needs. Kristi believes that listening and understanding the goals and needs of clients will allow her to deliver results and retain trust within her clients.

Kristi is very excited to bring her skills, knowledge, and passion to deliver excellent experiences for her clients at Family Connect Care.

Prior to joining Family Connect Care, Kristi had been working in customer service/staffing industry for over 10 years with fortune 500 companies. She was strategic in managing and developing a start-up branch and within a year brought her branch to success. She is highly skilled in relationship building, customer service, communication. She has worked as a manager, where she has been successful at training/leadership and has the ability to lead her team to success.


Director of Care

Mary Lou Giebel

Mary Lou is a Registered Nurse who specializes in elderly care.

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Mary Lou earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Public Health Nursing at Georgetown University before moving to Southern California. She started her career at Long Beach Memorial Hospital and served in positions of increasing responsibility, specializing in care for the elderly, and serving as Director of Health Services and Health Administrator for skilled nursing facilities ranging from 59 beds to 300 beds. Mary Lou most recently served as the Director of Health Services at Silverado Senior Living, a 120-bed assisted living facility specializing in care for those with cognitive impairment.

Mary Lou is well-respected among medical professionals, as well as those in her care, their families, and the staff under her supervision. She brings not just a wealth of nursing experience to our growing team, but is gifted at managing and training managers, nurses, and caregivers.

Dementia Care Education

Is it Good to Work with a Placement Agency?

We often get asked “Is it better to work with a placement agency that has contracts with all local homes and communities, because they’re completely unbiased?” Traditional placement agencies do not have contracts with all local homes and communities. Facilities,...

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Care Management Before and After Placements

Family Connect Care provides transitional care management throughout and after placement In all placements, our goal is to get it right the first time. Moving is a stressful experience, even more so for the elderly and memory-impaired, so we do our best to achieve the...

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Related News / Posts

Solvang: a beautiful, safe, HOME

A heart-felt letter from a resident's daughter -- Lauren, I’ve been writing this letter, in my mind, for more than a year.     My mom, Judy, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s/dementia several years ago.  I had no idea what that meant as far as my mom’s future and her...

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Take yourself, or a loved one, on a joy ride

By Lauren Mahakian Contributing writer. Originally published in PV News on 03/9/2022 Joy riding. Who said it was just for the young? When we think of joy riding, the sounds of music, hair in the wind, and the freedom to dream comes to mind; none of which should be...

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Design menus around finger foods

By Lauren Mahakian Contributing writer. Originally published in Santa Ynez Velley News on 02/13/2022 Our Solvang home is now a true home. We have welcomed some beautiful residents, the sun is shining in our outdoor spaces, and there is always something cooking — an...

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