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Joseph A. Ilardo, PhD, LCSW

Joseph A. Ilardo photo As a writer, educator, and psychotherapist, Joseph Ilardo has a long-standing commitment to helping others. At age 24, after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, he began his professional career as a college teacher of interpersonal and family communication. Finding that his students would approach him with requests for help with individual and family problems, the prospect of helping people one-on-one began to intrigue him. As a consequence, he returned to graduate school while keeping his full-time teaching position. In 1980 he earned a Master of Social Work degree from Adelphi University in New York.

Between 1980 and 1998, Dr. Ilardo maintained a highly successful private practice as a psychotherapist, expanding his clientele beyond his students to the general public. During this time he became a member of the Academy of Certified Social Workers (a credential earned through competitive examination) and a Connecticut state-licensed clinical social worker.

During his 18 years in practice, more and more of Dr. Ilardo’s clients in their forties and fifties became responsible for the care of their aging parents. He shared many of their experiences as his own parents aged. (He was the primary caregiver for his father, who died in 1994; he is the primary caregiver for his mother, now well into her nineties.) As a result, for the past 15 years he has devoted himself to addressing the special needs of adult children of elderly parents. In 1995 Dr. Ilardo founded the Center for Adult Children of the Elderly, one of the first organizations in the United States specifically devoted to helping these frequently unacknowledged and definitely underserved caregivers. Under the aegis of the Center for Adult Children of the Elderly, he developed many innovative services and conducted research on eldercare. He created and ran workshops and support groups for adult children. In addition to giving speeches, he wrote a weekly column for a local Connecticut newspaper. And as a result of his work at the Center, he wrote his fourth book, As Parents Age, winner of ForeWord Magazine’s “Self-Help Book of the Year” award.

Over the past few years, Dr. Ilardo has begun serving a broader range of caregivers. With Carole Rothman, Ph.D., a New York state-licensed clinical psychologist, he founded the Center for Caregiver Studies in 1999. Together, he and Rothman have written materials, conducted workshops, and made presentations before groups of lay and professional caregivers in academic settings as far apart as the University of Connecticut and Oregon Health Sciences University. They speak frequently at events sponsored by senior and community centers, chambers of commerce, area agencies on aging, and business organizations, as well as at conventions such as the annual conference of the National Organization for Rare Disorders. They have also provided training for professional caregivers, including social workers at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work, informational and referral coordinators of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, home care workers, and others. Their articles and interviews have appeared in Business Week on-line, McCall’s magazine, Today’s Caregiver, and newsletters including Work and Family Life. Dr. Ilardo has appeared twice on NBC’s Today show and on a variety of television programs. You can visit their Web page at www.irccares.com.

When Dr. Ilardo is not writing, teaching, training, or presenting, this native New Yorker can be found pursuing his many interests, including music (he plays piano and guitar), cooking, painting with watercolors, and a variety of physical activities, including running, cycling, tennis, and roller-blading.

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