“Character is the ability to carry out a good resolution long after the excitement of the moment has passed.” – Cavett Robert

Every January, Memory Matters experiences a surge in calls from caregivers who have finally decided to reach out for help. Typically the reason they call is because their adult children have been to visit and are surprised to see a decline in their parents’ health.

We encourage them to get a plan together, and most children check with us to be sure that the parent has followed up.

I see this role change often. The child takes on the role of decision maker. The parent finally listens and – it is hoped – takes action.

Caregivers rarely take the first step because they are too busy caregiving: taking their loved one to the doctor, physical therapy, brain scans, picking up medicine, and a host of other tasks. This stressful life allows little or no time for self-care.

Once someone has made a call to Memory Matters, what should they expect? The most common thread among new clients after they visit us is a sense of empowerment because they learn about the many resources available in this area, but most importantly they realize they are not alone.

How does a dementia-care specialist at Memory Matters design a plan to fit the needs of your family? Although every family case is unique, there are many common issues.

The process begins with a visit to our office so we can put eyes on the person with dementia and the caregiver and determine what resources would benefit the caregiver, loved one, and other family members. Some things we assess are:

  • What resources can give the caregiver immediate relief and benefit their loved one?
  • Could your loved one benefit from one of our programs or would home care be more appropriate?
  • Could you benefit from learning about the educational program Memory Matters will host in 2017?
  • Are you worried about your memory and could both of you benefit from a free memory screening?
  • Could you, the caregiver, benefit from a support group or perhaps even get a short break by placing your loved one in respite care for a week or two, or even longer?

Make a resolution in 2017 to do something for yourself and your loved one. This is one journey you do not want to take alone. Until there is a cure, there is Memory Matters in your community, and you will not find a better care center anywhere.

To make an appointment, call at 843-842-6688. You have nothing to lose and a lot to gain.

Just a reminder, MemoryFest is scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Jan. 12 at Hilton Head Beach & Tennis Resort. Cathee Stegall, who is a dementia care specialist at Memory Matters, will present information on how to maintain a healthy brain.

She will focus on the importance of a good diet, daily exercise, and a positive attitude and how adopting these changes will help keep us moving in the right direction.

Local vendors also will be on hand to showcase their services. Call 843-842-6688 to reserve your spot.

Karen Doughtie is assistant director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org