About Us

Touching Hearts at Home – Capital District New York

Our journey began in 2004 when our family experienced firsthand the critical need for qualified, compassionate caregivers during our mother’s battle with cancer. This personal experience ignited our passion for serving elders, driving our commitment to providing the highest quality, personalized care tailored to each client’s needs.

Here’s a snapshot of what sets us apart:

  • Local ownership complemented by the national support and resources of Touching Hearts at Home franchise in Minneapolis, MN, ensuring the best of both worlds for our clients.
  • All caregivers undergo rigorous background checks, training, and are insured and bonded for peace of mind.
  • Our Albany, Buffalo, Syracuse, and Rochester offices boast administrative and supervisory staff available 24/7, offering personalized attention to every client.
  • We collaborate closely with elders, their caregivers, and experts in elder care to ensure the highest standards of care and service.
  • Home Care Pulse recognizing industry leading services and job satisfaction.
  • With over 16 years of experience in the field, backed by references from satisfied clients and referral sources, we offer a trusted solution for your home care needs.

Contact us today to discover how we can tailor our services to meet your unique requirements. We’re ready to provide assistance with no cost or obligation, offering peace of mind and support when you need it most.

Mark McDermott, Owner

Mark brings more than 35 years of senior care management, business and legal experience to his role as owner of Touching Hearts. The home care his mother received before her death in 2009 from ovarian cancer, and the great role model his father was as her caregiver, motivates him to provide the excellent home support elders deserve. Mark has a Bachelor’s Degree from Boston College and a JD Degree from University of Buffalo.
He is the Vice-Chair of the Board of Lifespan a member of the Greater Rochester Area Partnership for the Elderly (GRAPE) Advocacy Committee. He is a Certified Eden Associate. Outside of work Mark enjoys reading, fishing, traveling and spending time at his “off the grid” cabin in Quebec with his wife and children. A favorite quote of his is, “To whom much is given, from him much is expected.”

Justin McDermott, Owner

Justin joined Touching Hearts in April of 2017 and brings 6 years of senior care, marketing and HR experience. Justin has a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing from Providence College —Go Friars! Justin has been a caregiver for Touching Hearts since its inception in 2007. He is responsible for overseeing operations for Touching Hearts branches in Syracuse and Albany, NY. In Syracuse, he is an active participant of Caring Community Advocates (CCA), and supportive of the Alzheimer’s Association CNY chapter, as well as Vera House. In his free time, Justin enjoys spending time with his extended family, his wife Melissa, and hiking with his two dogs Finley and Maverick. He is an avid golfer and sports fanatic — particularly football and basketball — and is a die hard Boston Celtics fan!

Jennifer Harvey – Owner/Executive Director

Jennifer joined Touching Hearts in 2020 and joined the ownership team in 2022. She brings over a decade of experience in geriatric social work, all in the Capital Region. Jennifer has a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary/Special Education from The College of Saint Rose, and a Master’s Degree in Social Work (MSW) from The University at Albany. She is also a Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) and brings years of experience supporting individuals living with dementia and their families. Jennifer prioritizes communication, empathy and person-centered awareness for both our clients and our staff. In 2020, Jennifer founded the Senior Networking Resource Group (SNRG) as a way to keep area professionals connected throughout the pandemic. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her spouse and children.

Jennifer Harvey

Erica Cortese – Assistant Director

Erica joined Touching Hearts in September of 2018, when our Capital District office first opened its doors. She joined the team with over nine years experience in senior living— beginning with a position as waitstaff and working her way up to reception and eventually the Engage Life Director. Client-centered care has always been a top priority to her to ensure the highest quality of life for the seniors we serve. Erica holds an Occupational Therapy degree from Maria College. Erica has participated in many organizations and groups that support the health and well-being of seniors, including the Capital District Caregivers Coalition. Outside of work, Erica enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and other extended family members. Erica also enjoys reading shopping, and spending time with her friends.

Laurie Valdes – Scheduling Coordinator

Laurie has been a caregiver with Touching Hearts since December 2019. She has worked in senior caregiving for nine years, starting out as a caregiver and then also working as a scheduling coordinator for her previous employer. She loves working with older adults and their families. It’s important to her to know that the services we provide give families peace of mind that their loved ones are being taken care of by warm, loving individuals. Laurie is a mother of three and has five grandchildren. She loves to spend as much time with them as she possibly can! When she does have some time to spare, she enjoys spending it with her friends and her two cats.


Victoria Gagnon – Office Assistant

Victoria joined Touching Hearts in 2022. She is a graduate of Marist College with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Social Work minor. She brings experience in recruitment and human services from an internship at The Center for Victim Safety and Support in Poughkeepsie, New York. Victoria has an empathetic and compassionate nature and looks forward to supporting the Touching Hearts team in hiring care partners with the same qualities. Victoria is a mother to two domesticated pet fancy rats, Asiago and Romano, and a Havanese dog named Nugget. Outside of work, Victoria loves to spend time with her partner watching movies, listening to music, or playing video games. She also loves to sing, draw and play the ukulele.

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