Laurel Zien, M.A., G.C.

Laurel Zien M.A., G.C. is a gerontologist, eldercare educator and patient advocate. She has lead workshops for caregivers and participated in caregiver support groups for over 17 years. Prior to her cancer diagnosis in 2011, she was a Senior Care Examiner for the national news site where she covered caregiving news and topical elder issues. Laurel has taught classes in medication safety for caregivers and seniors at major hospitals in the S.F. Bay Area as well as for local Area Agencies on Aging.

Laurel is the author of the award-winning guide Tracking Your Medicine: How to Keep It Simple and Safe. She is the founder of Ditty’s Closet, a virtual closet for the free loan of durable medical equipment in her community.

Laurel has also published short stories and other non-fiction. Most recently, her ethical will was included in the collection Gems of Wisdom: A Book of Elder Poetry and Prose published by AgeSong in collaboration with Barnes and Noble. Her website is

Her eagerly awaited e-book is "You Have Cancer: Moving from Fear to Hope - First Steps for the Overwhelmed" has been released for pre-sale. Cancer is its own universe, and when you enter it, the language you speak and the nature of time changes from everything that once was familiar. This book provides the road map to begin your fight as a survivor (for everyone is a survivor starting with the moment of diagnosis).

"You Have Cancer: Moving from Fear to Hope" will be published on August 28, 2017. .

The next BoomerView care guide e-book by Laurel is anticipated in early 2018, tentatively titled Medication Safety 101: Good Tips to Know. This is an e-book short course with a focus on using and managing medications safely, particularly for those with chronic diseases, the elderly and their care partners. Topics include: how to watch for potentially dangerous drug interactions; medications and issues of aging; maintaining medication lists; communication with medical staff including pharmacists and what to ask medical personnel when adding new medications. It also includes a compendium of simple but vital tips for safe medication use as well as advice on medication management, patient advocacy, and care site transitions. Publication will be announced here and on Laurel’s website

Also watch for her tentatively titled blog to e-book The Care Guide–A Toolkit for Cancer Survivors, Seniors and their Loved Ones. Based on Laurel’s Senior Care column for, it will offer a compendium of practical, pragmatic strategies designed to ease the challenges of chronic illness as well as old age. Tips included will help individuals and their care partners communicate with their medical teams, survive hospital stays as well as garner support as physical changes occur.



for families facing the challenges of aging and chronic illness


Working with Laurel

Family and Individual Coaching

Laurel occasionally works with families to explore areas of interest, concern or difficulty and to develop solutions. Generally, a pre-meeting phone call or exchange of email is conducted to help focus on issues, and to arrange for a meeting. In cases where meeting in person is not possible, conference calls can be used. Fees will be discussed privately and in advance of meeting.

In most cases, she is able to propose potentially successful solutions and resources after one or two sessions. Remember, Laurel is dedicated to empowering individuals to take on their own caregiving challenges as long as it is safe and practical. Also: Laurel is not a therapist or social worker, and does not provide therapeutic advice.

Workshops and Guest Speaking

Laurel’s workshop and seminar offerings are presented in time modules. A minimum presentation of 30 minutes is generally needed to include sufficient information to make the talk worthwhile for participants. She also offers workshops in a series, and can tailor sessions for specific community needs or concerns. Fees are negotiable depending upon topic, audience and time.

Laurel is available for guest speaking on a variety of topics including: Medication Safety and Awareness for Seniors, Being Newly Diagnosed with Cancer, Empowerment as a Cancer Patient, Patient Advocacy, Long Distance Caregiving.

Among her workshop clients: John Muir Senior Services, Kehilla Community Synagogue, U.C. Berkeley, Alta Bates-Summit Hospital, the Contra Costa Senior Coalition, the Fall Prevention Program of Contra Costa County, the Alameda County Senior Injury Prevention Program and various social service agencies in the Bay Area.

Use the Contact form on this website to reach Laurel to explore working with her.