Our Clinical Model

What sets us apart?

We are devoted to a model of care that encourages participation by our patients’ caregivers.

MemoryCare was established in 2000 in response to the need for a program that could provide excellent medical care for individuals with cognitive impairment and individualized support services for their families and caregivers.  MemoryCare welcomes all caregivers to participate actively in every office visit and engages more than three caregivers for each cognitively impaired person enrolled.  The organization’s success is directly related to this unique service that is different from any other in the region.

Through this integrated model of care, MemoryCare physicians are able to develop tailored care plans, plans shared with all caregivers and medical providers who help manage the disease as well as possible. To better care for an individual with memory loss requires time and focused attention on both the individual with memory impairment and their caregiver(s).

Our services include:

  • Providing an accurate diagnosis
  • Developing a long term care plan, including respite and in-home care options
  • Prompting to address financial, legal and safety issues
  • Providing caregiver training, counseling and support
  • Helping with behavioral management
  • Coordinating services provided by other agencies
  • Prescribing for disease-specific medications
  • Helping file for assistance for low-income families
  • Assisting with end-of-life decisions and advance directives
  • Providing a written care plan to families in coordination with primary care physicians
  • Offering a guided introduction to our lending library of caregiver resource materials
  • Offering education on aging issues to the community and training to other health care professionals in geriatrics
  • Referring patients to the home visitation program in Buncombe County when needed for clinical assessment.
  • Taking the time to listen to the care needs of each participant

MemoryCare’s model is designed to fill a gap in the care for people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers.

The medical field is making great strides in treating cancer and heart disease, with associated increases in life expectancy. For many people, longer life means dealing with cognitive impairments. People with dementia are no longer able to function independently, and they must rely more on their loved ones for support. However, as Dr. Margaret Noel points out, “due to privacy safeguards, a physician in a primary care practice doesn’t always feel comfortable talking to anyone other than the patient, yet the diagnosis of early dementia often relies on the observations of someone other than the patient.  The greatest frustration for caregivers is that the medical system will not engage them.”

Dr. Noel wanted to “develop a model that would uphold the dignity of persons with dementia who are too often neglected by our fractured health care system and incorporate their caregivers into the evaluation and management process. Failure to do so leads to delayed diagnosis, poor management, and great frustration among caregivers.”

By engaging caregivers early in the dementia process, MemoryCare is able to limit inappropriate use of the acute care system, promote advanced care planning, guide establishment of safety routines, prolong time in the home setting, and ease the stresses that dementia can cause.

For these reasons, MemoryCare staff and physicians spend equal time with the patient and their caregivers independently – during the initial appointment and in each subsequent appointment (visit our What to Expect page for more information). We also prioritize connecting our patients’ caregivers with resources and information that will help them manage the stress of caregiving (browse our Caregiver Information page to find support groups and other resources).


MemoryCare™ is a nonprofit charitable organization that was established in 2000 to meet the rapidly growing need for appropriate assessment, treatment, and support for individuals with cognitive impairment and their families.

MemoryCare began in 2000 with one physician, Dr. Margaret A. “Peggy” Noel.  Like many healthcare innovations, it started as a dream, a hope, and a vision of how care could be provided.  Dr. Noel believed that there was a better way to help patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders, as way that engaged and supported the caregivers as other approaches had not.

Today, MemoryCare serves more than 4,200 people a year.  While most patients come from Western North Carolina, some families drive from neighboring states to receive the expert treatment and care that the MemoryCare staff provides. During the early years, Dr. Noel volunteered her time to develop a model of care that incorporated the family caregivers into the evaluation, treatment, and care management of dementia patients. In 2010, Dr. Virginia Templeton assumed the role of MemoryCare’s Director.

As the number of patients has grown, so has the staff. MemoryCare’s team now includes physicians, nurses, and social workers, along with an army of dedicated volunteers, many of whom are also caregivers.

MemoryCare’s Program is a 2017 recipient of Community Investment funds from Mission Health.

In 2011, MemoryCare received the Monroe E. Trout Premier Cares Award for innovation in healthcare. This national award, which seeks out new models of care that address unmet healthcare needs in the United States, put the national spotlight on MemoryCare’s groundbreaking work. MemoryCare received international exposure in 2011, 2013, and 2016 by  presenting its model of care at the International Alzheimer’s Disease Conference in Paris, France, the International Conference on Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons Diseases in Florence, Italy, the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, and the International Conference of Alzheimer’s Disease International in Budapest, Hungary.

Since then, the MemoryCare model has been shared with healthcare organizations and individuals that have expressed great interest in replicating our model of care.

Outreach & Awards

From its inception, MemoryCare has recognized the importance of having a team approach to meet the challenges of dementia.  Through recognition of our program, other communities who are facing challenges of dementia are able to realize the possibility of establishing a high quality, cost-efficient program.  Click the tabs below for information about specific MemoryCare highlights.

Kudos & Awards