Department Chair, Nursing and Health Professions January 2011 – March 1016, retired. Currently on the Board of Directors of Memory Matters, Hilton Head, SC. Primary areas of interest: professional trends and issues, health policy, dementia care, and care delivery systems. Selected previous experiences: Dean at South University, VPAA at Technical College of the Lowcountry, nursing program director at SUNY College at New Paltz, and faculty at the University of South Florida and the LSUMC in New Orleans. Member of the South Carolina Board of Nursing (2000-2011), NCSBN board member, accreditation visitor for SACS COC (2001-2005) and CCNE (2013-2016).
As the world’s population ages, dementias are increasing and are expected to multiply and have a significant impact on economies. Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common type of dementia, especially the late form with unrecognized onset often years prior to symptomology. Although research continues on treatments, an important consideration is early identification and delay of the pathology. We will consider some of the barriers to early identification and effective interventional strategies. In the United States, two national objectives of Healthy People 2020 are currently in the developmental stage with baseline data on caregiver awareness and preventable hospitalizations. This presentation focuses on brain health, prevention of health disparities, and interventions for individuals, informal caregivers, health professionals, and the public. A model non-profit organization in South Carolina has lead the way in provision of techniques to boost brain health, offer special screenings, provide enhancements for people with cognitive impairment and their caregivers, and celebrate each day and memory. Caring, hope, support, and fun are hallmarks of the various programs offered. However, we also need to reach out to the community for effective interaction strategies, whether in a restaurant, shopping event, or emergency department visit. Nurses and healthcare professionals can use and share important strategies for use with consumers with cognitive challenges and their caregivers. Provision of high quality cognitive health care, whether in the community or a hospital setting is critical for individuals and caregivers. Memories truly do matter for the individuals their significant others and the communities in which they live.