Many people are surprised to learn that MemoryCare, a nationally recognized organization specializing in dementia care, is a nonprofit organization. Founded in 2000, MemoryCare relies on community support to carry out their mission of “helping individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and other cognitive disorders live as fully as possible, for as long as possible, at home or in their preferred setting.” They offer care to anyone in need, and ABE is proud to shine our non-profit client spotlight on their work.
Dementia impacts not only the person with the illness but the family as well, leading to a long and challenging journey for patients and their families. MemoryCare’s team of physicians, nurses, social workers and volunteers is there every step of the way, from assessment and treatment for the individual, to support and education to families and caregivers.
“Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” points out Executive Director of MemoryCare, Dr. Virginia Templeton. “COVID has meant finding new ways of doing things. Like many, we are learning an enormous amount about virtual visits, virtual support groups, and tele-communications. And alongside these many innovations, we see the age-old, fundamental importance of being available to offer personal, caring support during challenging times.”
Care plans vary by individual and MemoryCare’s team of experts counts on input from family members who know the person well in order to put together the right plan. As the illness progresses, having a family that understands the disease and has access to an expert team who knows them, and their loved one can make all the difference. It is part of MemoryCare’s mission to support this community and caregivers with education.
No one is ever really prepared for the difficult journey that is taking care of a loved one affected by dementia. MemoryCare founder Dr. Margaret Noel notes, “Families will be called upon in unimagined ways to a job that few envisioned would be so consuming. MemoryCare shares that journey and works to lighten the load through education, training, and support.”
Caregiver education and training are essential to the mission of MemoryCare and is at the heart of their excellent dementia care. They have developed a comprehensive, yet accessible, series of lectures to aid caregivers and family members, as well as the public at large.
Created specifically for caregivers, Caregiver College is a 6-part series of educational lectures designed to improve their understanding of dementia care. Said one participant, “I am so impressed and grateful for this program - thank you! The materials are extensive yet highly accessible. The presenters know this material in their bones, easy to listen to, lots of helpful anecdotes. The underlying philosophy is so respectful, so loving.”
MemoryCare also offers a series of lectures covering topics highly requested by caregivers to learn more about how to care for themselves and their loved ones affected by dementia.
Located in MemoryCare’s Asheville office, the Eldercare Resource Center provides information to the public on healthy aging, exercise, nutrition, spirituality, age-related illnesses (with an extensive section on memory disorders), caregiving, community resources, ethics, and end-of-life care. Books, videos, pamphlets, and journals on these and related topics are available for review and check-out.
Not only is MemoryCare the only organization of its kind in western North Carolina, but it is also one of the few in the nation that focuses on equipping the caregiver with the resources they need as well as providing excellent care to loved ones. The comprehensive, holistic care provided by MemoryCare costs an average of $1600 per family every year, all made possible through grants, donations, and endowment income.
MemoryCare fundraises about 50% of its annual budget, with 89 cents for every dollar raised going to service provisions. Families are asked to contribute an annual fee, but for those in financial hardship, MemoryCare offers fee waivers or payment schedules.
The full cost of educating, training, and supporting families according to recommendations by experts is only covered at about 25%. MemoryCare leadership remains committed to making raising funds to cover the gap for these families, who would otherwise not receive help.
One large piece of the financial puzzle is solved thanks to a land lease for property on the campus of Givens Estate United Methodist Retirement Community, generously provided by Givens Communities, as well as annual support for building maintenance for a ten-year period.
Dr. Templeton says that Givens Communities has helped MemoryCare from the beginning. “By providing free space for the clinic in our earliest years, to low-rent accommodations in the Manor House, to now providing use of their land for the SECU Center for MemoryCare and assistance with building maintenance, their generous support has made it possible for us to grow as a resource to all of western North Carolina. We deeply appreciate their dedication and support.”
MemoryCare staff is passionate about providing the best care possible. An additional care team, added in mid-2020 for new families affected by dementia diagnoses, has significantly reduced the waiting list, while MemoryCare’s satellite clinic in Waynesville, NC is a resource for rural patients in surrounding counties.
MemoryCare will continue to count on philanthropic support in the future. If you’d like info for a family member or to find out how you can help, MemoryCare would love to hear from you.