George Arthur relaxing after a visit to Memory Matters

You don’t need me to tell you that children are a gift from on high. Your own kids, and later your Grandkids. I often refer to the inter-generational magic that lights up the atmosphere when children enter our Memory Care Center. Children create more “mission moments” than most other folk or happenings. I observed this again yesterday. More about this later………………

The other observation worth emphasizing endlessly is that the Memory Care Center is a place of joy, and should not be seen as a place where adults suffering from dementia, Parkinson’s or other related diseases go as a last resort. Certainly, we give the caregiver five hours of respite, but the staff and their volunteers work tirelessly to give each and every participant the best possible “Brain Day.”  The vast majority of the participants genuinely look forward to the day, engaging with friends, working to keep their brains stimulated and simply having fun. Live music, art, engaging presentations from the Coastal Discovery Museum and others, exercise, balance, yoga, meditation, trivia are fun, topped off with philosophical debate, and in some classes written work to enhance lifelong learning to help push back the symptoms.

For our readers I would ask you to support us in pushing back the unfortunate stigma that sometimes shows it’s ugly head. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s are just that, in some ways no different to heart disease or cancer. As with heart disease it is vitally important to tackle dementia as soon as symptoms appear. By taking early, expedient, thoughtful and responsive action it is possible to push the symptoms back and improve longevity and quality of life. We provide special intervention education to those with early diagnosis and speaking personally as a volunteer, I can point to several participants I know who were at Memory Matters when I started here four years ago.  Their stories are always remarkable and you can only admire their brave persistence to not let the disease ruin their life.

One such lady joins us twice a week, plays bridge, goes swimming, socializes and enjoys all that the Island arts have to offer. Another comes to us to “learn new things.” He started as a volunteer in our kitchen, attended Brain Boosters, Connections Class and now Compass Plus. He is fun, engaging and doing great. Others tell me straight up, “I have Alzheimer’s, but I’m here to combat it!”

What do we mean by taking early action? The first step is a “gold standard” baseline memory screen. A simple brain check with a qualified member of staff that is confidential and will take no more than 30 minutes of your time.  We give hundreds of these each year and our goal is to provide this service to the whole community. We all get our blood pressure and cholesterol checked, why not our memory? Sign up now. It may be the most important decision of your life. Call Kari at (843) 842-6688.

Now speaking of starting early, my youngest grandson George Arthur joined us yesterday. Four years old in a week or so, he knew how to shake the hand or high five every participant in the Compass Program. I watched with just a little pride as he walked around the room, carefully ensuring that he didn’t miss a soul. The writer and Memory Care Specialist, Caroline Larimore, took some snapshots while Dale and the band played some great music. Debbie later posted them on Facebook and one caregiver’s wife spotted her husband in a photo and responded, “it’s so good to see my husband smiling. Thank you so much.” That welcomed comment speaks a thousand words and serves to encourage us to seek greater heights.

My two sons and their wives encourage their children to experience community service at an early age. All three of my grandkids are great with the elder generation. All three, Brody, Connor and George Arthur seem to have inherited my wife Barbara’s good genes in terms of interpersonal skills and engagement……

Thanks for reading and sharing this chronicle…………..Mike

Currently one of our favorite songs, performed by two volunteers is from Tim McGraw:

You know there’s a light that glows by the front door
Don’t forget the keys under the mat
Childhood stars shine, always stay humble and kind
Go to church ’cause your momma says to
Visit grandpa every chance that you can
It won’t be a waste of time
Always stay humble and kind.
Hold the door, say please, say thank you
Don’t steal, don’t cheat, and don’t lie
I know you got moutains to climb but
Always stay humble and kind
When the dreams you’re dreamin’ come to you
When the work you put in is realized
Let yourself feel the pride but
Always stay humble and kind

For more information on baseline memory screening, brain health education, or memory care services including professional counseling for caregivers, please call (843) 842-6688.

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