BACK HOME AGAIN

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May I wish everyone a Happy and healthy New Year!

One of my many New Year’s resolutions is to avoid any trips to Europe in 2017! Readers of these chronicles will have counted six trips last year and, simply put, Barbara and I are happy to be back home!

Personally we are both very optimistic about this year. How could we be anything else with three lovely Grandkids close by trying to keep us young at heart.

You may recall from an earlier post that our Program Director Cathee Stegall gave me some great ideas to use as the Care Partner with my ailing Mother while in England. Specifically to a) buy a guitar, play and sing and b), to stimulate my Mum’s significantly impaired memory by explaining to her that I wanted to write a book about her life so that I might present it to her beloved Great-Grandchildren. I can now happily tell my readers that up until the very end of her life she would concentrate really well when I pursued these questions. I could speak about many other things but this opportunity to record the story of her life for her Great-Grandkids was amazingly engaging and therapeutic for both she and I, and it tended to distract her away from the obvious discomfort and anxiety that she was experiencing.

We know too that music is therapeutic and she always listened to my songs and hymns. She would simply say: “that was nice”!  So my own experience as a Care Partner (or Care Giver) was ultimately a positive one helped in part by two outstanding practical ideas from Cathee.

I’m currently writing the book on my Mum’s early life and hope to present it to our Grandkids soon.

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I am back in my normal (I like “normal”) volunteer role at Memory Matters and my eyes are enjoying the vision that Memory Matters is laying out and sharing for the future of our not-for-profit Low Country Community  Memory Care Resource. There really is so much to say and communicate, all of which is good. So let me start back here with an overview.

I have just read the Island Packet article on the management change this year at Memory Matters. I would strongly recommend also reading the lovely article in the Hilton Head Monthly (January edition page 110/111). Our Executive Director, Edwina Hoyle, is starting a well earned retirement at the end of February and handing over the reins to Sheila Strand, who joins us with a wealth of relevant knowledge and experience plus the passion and motivation to lead Memory Matters on to new heights.

It is two years since this volunteer started as a complete ‘rookie’ in the world of dementia and memory care services and it is impossible not to be impressed with Edwina’s  (“Eddy”) vast contribution which dates back 12 years. Since then the operation has grown and the services provided have grown too. The “cool” thing through my eyes being that Eddy and her staff have continuously refined the programs and services. Even in my two years with Memory Matters the scope of the programs have changed and, where they find something that works well, they go all out to embrace that as an opportunity for improvement everywhere.

The bottom line being that we serve the Care Givers (or Care Partners as I tend to personally call them), and we do everything possible to promote an extended quality of life for the dementia sufferer and maximize the time the Care Giving family can keep their loved one at home. Innovative programs like Brain Boosters and the Connections Club are classic examples of positive program enhancements introduced in the Eddy era for which we and the community are eternally grateful.

As I write we are completing the renovation to our Hilton Head facility which will provide  additional meeting room space and allow us to significantly increase the daily programs that we run. Rather than just one program per day we will be able to run two!

This is Memory Matters 20th Anniversary Year and there are a number of commemorative events for you to participate in with us. They are listed in the Hilton Head Monthly but will also appear on our web site http://www.memory-matters.org. I will continue my practice of adding them to my blog in the events column too.

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I couldn’t possibly sign off this first post in 2017 without a mention of the new “Memory Matters Minstrels” who play and sing led by Kirby and his friends on Tuesday mornings. They can bring anywhere from five to eight musicians with them. They are good musicians, hugely entertaining and funny! Oh! And they invite Volunteer Mike to play and sing with them. So they are brave too!

Just another really popular change brought in during Eddy’s tenure, for which we truly thank her.

Here below are the Minstrels singing on Tuesday this week.

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“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”

-Victor Hugo

If you believe this could help someone please do share it, or just get them to call us confidentially at 1 843 842 6688

 

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