By Debbie Adams
April Jones has launched her new business, Life Care Coordinators, LLC, a geriatric care
coordination company which assists senior adults, their caregivers, and their families in coping
with the transitions of aging and chronic disease. It is headquartered in Roanoke and serves
Her goal is to help individuals age gracefully with the best quality of care, planning for “what if
and when,” instead of “what now.” Her approach is to assess, plan, and advocate for her clients
to coordinate their health care services.
She fine-tuned her business skills this spring in the 2023 Gauntlet Business Program and
Competition based in Vinton. She placed sixth among over a hundred entrepreneurs participating
from across Southwest and Central Virginia.
Annette Patterson, who founded the Gauntlet, says, “April brought passion and excitement to her
business strategies and placed into the Platinum Division in the ninth annual Gauntlet
competition. She is filling an important need in our region by helping seniors who have chronic
diseases to navigate services to improve their quality of life and age in place.” Along with her
win, she received a prize package worth approximately $9,000 in cash and in-kind prizes to help
get her business up and running.
Jones is originally from Clarksville, Va., a small town near South Boston. She comes from a
family of entrepreneurs and educators who have inspired her ambitions – her grandfather, father,
and brother have all been successful small business owners.
She has a fascinating story to tell about how she has arrived at this point in her life – and one that
has involved a great deal of “pivoting,” a favorite term with Gauntlet graduates, which simply
means when you reach a crossroads or a roadblock in your aims and goals, modify your plan.
Jones says she has learned that lesson well and is now embarking on her fourth life as an
Her first business venture- – or adventure – began when she set off for New York City and a
career in the men’s apparel industry after earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Fashion
Merchandising from Virginia Commonwealth University.
She lived in New Jersey and commuted via train to her office in the Empire State Building for
six of the seven years she was there. Her life changed on September 11, 2001, with the attack on
the World Trade Center – visible from her office. She was just getting off the train when the first
plane hit. She didn’t witness that first attack, but did see the second plane fly into the tower. The
building was evacuated, and she caught the last train out of Penn Station back to New Jersey.
She decided to “take a departure from New York” and get closer to home by teaching fashion
merchandising at her alma mater (VCU) for two years. On her second day in Richmond, she met
her husband. He eventually “whisked her off her feet” to Roanoke, where “this fashion girl was
forced back into retail and then into advertising sales” – another venture.
A friend, co-worker, and fellow gerontologist convinced her to work in admissions in an assisted
living facility in Salem and that began her third life as an entrepreneur—and her focus on the
She will always tell you that she looks for a little bit of her grandmothers and grandfathers in
every aging adult that she meets. She lost her grandparents when she was young, so she would
like to help all the aging adults she meets because she was unable to help her own grandparents.
She is always seeking opportunities to enrich, engage and inspire aging adults during their
journey to optimize care and improve quality of life.
In recent years she has been employed in assisted living facilities, community-based long-term
care, home health and hospice programs from the business perspective. Working with hospice
led to her desire to educate the community to think differently about hospice, not as just end of
life care, but as palliative, involving symptom management and improving quality of life.
n her last position before setting out on her own with Life Care Coordinators, Jones worked
with a company which approached community-based long-term care from an interdisciplinary
One day she and her husband were driving and came up with an idea for her to open her own
business as a geriatric coordinator. She had been involved as an advocate in coordinating
services for family members and friends informally. Her years in working in senior care had
taught her the questions to ask when transitions became necessary. She is adamant that aging
adults need a team, and a team that “talks the language” of the healthcare system.
(Jones had become involved in, and a supporter of, interdisciplinary care on a very personal level
with the health issues of one of her daughters whose team included a neurologist, plastic
surgeon, dentist, ENT, and others.)
She did the research and discovered that while there is a growing market for her services in the
Roanoke area and Southwest Virginia, there is only one other company providing them.
Demographics indicate that the Baby Boomer generation is now “stuck between their own
growing healthcare needs and those of their aging parents.” Her job will be to help them navigate
those needs and relieve their burden of having to work with so many different individuals when
healthcare needs become the top priority.
Times have changed and often keeping a family member at home is not an option, or not even
the best option for receiving optimal care. Telling a loved one that “there are people who can
take better care of you better than I can,” is, of course, a challenge.
She has discovered most people “don’t want to think about getting older and avoid making plans
for the future, remaining focused on “the now.” She wants to change that mindset since it’s more
difficult to make decisions when you are in the midst of a health crisis, rather than having a plan
in place beforehand.
Hospital stays are getting shorter, in some cases making patients feel as if they are being pushed
out the door. Time with a case manager is limited; decisions are rushed.
Her goal is to help families make a plan in advance, ideally when a loved one is first given a
“Challenging situations call for professional guidance,” Jones says. “The maze of options is
confusing, and the difficulties seem overwhelming. Care managers help families sort through
complex issues and find the best care solutions for their specific needs.”
Her research and subsequent motivation to optimize quality of life, service, and collaborative
relationships between community, patients, residents, and partners with her own business led her
to the Gauntlet, three days before classes began.
Jones describes the program, its resources, and its mentors, as “incredible.” The classes meet on
a virtual platform in the evening, allowing participants to continue with full-time jobs.
As they say, “timing is everything,” and the company she had been working for underwent a
work force reduction in early July, leaving her with a severance package, and allowing her to
jump full-time into Life Care Coordinators.
Jones says it’s a little daunting being out on her own, but she already has several clients. Her
business is full-time and currently 24 hours per day – as crises with seniors don’t always happen
during 9 to 5 hours. She works from home but has plans to expand into an office space as she
hires more employees in social work and nursing.
Life Care Coordinators offers a wide range of services, including individual needs assessments,
care plan development and implementation, information on dementia engagement programs,
assistance with identification and selection of alternative living situations, family liaison and
caregiver support, home safety evaluations, patient advocacy, family education, and medical
Jones says that Life Care Coordinators aims to assist seniors and their families not just during a
crisis, but before a crisis occurs.
“We work with families proactively to take preventative measures, providing greater safety,
independence, peace of mind, and improving the aging adult’s ability to age in place.”
Jones feels that all of her experiences have led her to where she is today and that she is “doing
what God wants me to do.”
For more information on Life Care Coordinators, call Jones at 540-354-3589 or email her at