Our Impact

MemoryCare is now a nationally recognized program for dementia care! Our community-based, nonprofit, charitable organization is uniquely focused on serving the whole family. In 2018, we served over a thousand people living with dementia and 3500 of their family caregivers.  We reached over 2200 individuals with dementia-specific education and sent our electronic newsletter to over 2300 people. Our peer support groups met three times per month, and our Caregiver Consultant met families throughout the year.

There is a reason we are here. With age being the greatest risk factor for cognitive impairment, the disease is already a significant issue in Western North Carolina where, on average, 23% of our population is of this age as compared to the 15.9% in the rest of the state and country. We are also here because the community supports our work. Over the years, we have noticed that the majority of our supporters have been touched in some way by dementia.  Those whose lives have been impacted by the disease have a unique understanding of the need for a program like MemoryCare. Said one MemoryCare caregiver, “There will never be adequate words to thank you and your organization for your constant support and wisdom.”

  • For every dollar donated 88 cents goes directly to program services
  • For each dollar spent, 12 cents goes for overhead costs

For each person with cognitive impairment seen at MemoryCare, on average there are three caregivers provided education, training, and support.

1%

percent for program services

1%

percent for overhead

Stories of those we have helped.

Dad's Team Spear

by Liz Spear
Daughter and Caregiver

TEAM SPEAR is three sisters (Liz in western NC, Sue in D.C., Pat in NYC), a geriatric care manager (GCM) and our care team at MemoryCare.  Four years ago, our father’s life changed dramatically, and my sisters and I discovered that Alzheimer’s had become a part of the family.  We learned about the GCM field and met and engaged one who also immediately suggested we contact MemoryCare and have Dad evaluated as fully as possible.  That first 4-hour appointment was draining for everybody, but the sheer volume of thoughtful care for both Dad and me (technically the nearby caregiver) and the presentation of resources for each of us (and by extension, my sisters) was amazing.  The care team explained that with time, they would be able to give a more specific diagnosis and information about Dad’s future.

After a year of periodic cognitive testing and interviews with myself and the GCM (we each visit Dad once a week), we were told that Dad likely has Vascular Dementia with a ‘frosting’ of Alzheimer’s Disease: a mixed dementia illustrated by his pattern of change.  Heartbreaking, yes, but the information was HUGE!  Even with the caveat of ‘most likely diagnosis’ due to the general uncertainty about dementias, the clear and practical presentation of information by our MemoryCare team was a relief.

Dad is now living safely in a secure and more socially-oriented facility; he is quite healthy, still very verbal and articulate in spite of slowly growing confusion.  My weekly visit reports are shared with all of  TEAM SPEAR; the GCM and MemoryCare team respond quickly to any issues that arise with explanations, recommendations and follow-up.   My sisters and I found that initial learning curve to be very steep, but MemoryCare made a huge difference in our family’s peace of mind and acceptance of the future.

A Chorus of Care

by Becky Anderson
Caregiver

“Mr. Ed, Mr. Ed”- Voices ring across the parking lots, grocery stores and restaurants to us, voices of former employees from Teves Continental automotive manufacturing plants where my husband had been the Director of Operations. His knowledge and love of the automobile offered other voices with different dialects as we traveled to Germany, Austria and Switzerland for work and recreation with his business colleagues. Later in our lives, voices with other accents greeted us across mountains, prairies, small towns and cities in the United States as we participated four times in the coast to coast “Great Race” across America in his 1939 Pontiac. But eventually, they became the voices he could no longer connect to or remember.

The reality of his declining mental condition came about as a result of a home visit from a nurse who was examining us for our long term health insurance application. Her sobering assessment of his failure to pass the cognitive test and denial of his insurance coverage brought new voices into our lives. In 2010, we were introduced to the services, knowledge and personal engagement of MemoryCare. Our first meeting with our physician and social worker was in-depth with testing, observation and consultation that revealed an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. It was the beginning of regular appointments filled with not only testing, observation and advice but also encouragement, patience and constant vigilance.

In 2012, a medical emergency required the replacement of his aortic valve through complicated surgery resulting in an increased demise of his cognitive ability. The voices in our lives became a quartet of care and coordination with his regular physician, heart surgeon, cardiac physician and MemoryCare physician. Constant communication via emails and phone calls on a daily basis kept us on track with his medicines, physical needs and cognitive changes. This communication and coordination continue in our lives today-four years later.

As a caregiver, the voices at MemoryCare have provided knowledge, understanding and encouragement through times of anxiety, sadness and frustration. At their recommendation, I enrolled in the MemoryCare Caregivers Education program, and the Program’s information notebook still serves as a guide in resolving new issues of moods, hygiene and communication. The availability of information in the library and monthly MemoryCaregivers Network groups for caregivers provide a consistent voice of encouragement and the knowledge that you ae not alone in the journey.

Upon the advice of our MemoryCare physician, my husband is enrolled in an adult day care program where he engages with other people and a variety of activities. As we continue our journey we know that our lives will not be overcome by the “sounds of silence” but will be surrounded and supported by a chorus of family, friends, and our community and…MemoryCare.

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