March-April 2024

Volume 15, Issue 2




A newsletter for caregivers of loved ones with dementia

Upcoming: Asheville-Biltmore Rotary’s 100-Mile Walk!

We are excited to announce Asheville-Biltmore Rotary’s major fund-raising event for 2024: The 100-Mile Walk!

Half of the proceeds from this event will support MemoryCare right here in Asheville, while the other half will contribute to the CART research program. Every donation received will directly benefit these causes. Join us on Saturday, May 18, from noon to 4 PM (activities wrap up at 5 PM) at Hi-Wire Brewing, 197 Hilliard Ave, South Slope, Asheville.


“I Am Lucky”

The following is a CNN interview with a caregiver. 

Bill & Rhonda Mobley on their wedding day, October 7, 2006.

Tell me about your wife Rhonda.

Rhonda and I knew one another in high school. Our first date was to the senior prom, but then we lost touch during college. She went on to get her Ph.D in Psychology and spent most of her career working with the VA counseling veterans with PTSD and drug and alcohol dependency. We reconnected 35 years later, after both of us had divorced, and were married shortly thereafter.  We were deliriously happy for ten years until she got Alzheimer’s.

When did you first become aware that Rhonda was having cognitive issues?

The early symptoms began after we’d been married about eight years. First, it seemed like she was “tuning me out.” For instance, I’d say, “Let’s go to Lowe’s this morning and then have lunch,” and she’d agree…but then when I’d ask later if she was ready to go, she’d act like she didn’t know anything about it. This happened over and over, and I was starting to think she was just not paying attention to what I said. It was annoying! Also, she’d started doing some odd things in the kitchen like washing dishes but leaving the dirty plates on the table, or mixing up dirty dishes with clean ones in the dishwasher. When I’d point it out to her, she didn’t seem aware that it was a problem. She treated it like an insignificant oversight. 


After a few months of this, we finally agreed there might be a problem. We consulted a neurologist, who diagnosed her with Early Cognitive Impairment. After a few visits with the neurologist over the next year or so, we enrolled at MemoryCare in Asheville, North Carolina.

Did Rhonda acknowledge the diagnosis?

Yes, I am lucky in this sense because I know that many people with dementia don’t acknowledge that they have it.  She eventually acknowledged the problem and accepted the diagnosis willingly but nervously. She didn’t like to talk about it, partly because with her background, I think she knew it was going to be tough on both of us. On occasion, she would make passing references to it when she realized she had failed to remember something or made a mistake like putting her purse in the sock drawer. As time went on, she seemed to be less self-aware, but fortunately as the disease progressed, she readily trusted me to steer her away or rescue her from difficult situations. She willingly leaned on me, which was gratifying for me as her husband and caregiver.

What have been your biggest challenges as a caregiver?

Taking charge of everything – cooking, cleaning, organizing, making all decisions, big and small, and learning not to expect her input on any of it. Worrying about our future, making financial decisions, and trying to figure out where we should live, etc., took up a lot of my energy. I have a lot of sympathy for single moms of two-year-olds now. Caring for Rhonda with Alzheimer’s is like being a 70-year-old who adopts a child. It’s a staggeringly bleak contrast to the retirement life we had pictured together.  

Getting and keeping good home caregivers. Although I admit to being a bit of a perfectionist, I really don’t think I expected too much from them. But it was hard to find people who were well-trained and reliable. I am lucky, I had long-term care insurance as well as other resources to be able to afford one-on-one care for Rhonda.

Living with relentless grief and melancholy. There is no attenuation of the grief over time; it comes in waves as I witness the continuing loss of a previously vibrant spirit. I am losing my soulmate to this disease.  

Dealing with Rhonda’s behavioral changes. Although she never got mean, her naturally sweet disposition became unfiltered and annoyingly super-sweet. She would go up to anyone, whether she knew them or not, and gush to the point that it made people uncomfortable. Although I knew that she was just being herself - spreading her own brand of sunshine - it was inappropriate and often embarrassing.  

The constant effort required to surf over the top of each of these waves, trying to take the advice of others to stay active, nurture old friendships, ask for help when you need it, develop new relationships, participate in support groups, and/or seek professional counseling.  

Grieving the absence of her presence every day. I really miss her. She kept me grounded and I miss that. Neither of us could cook very well. We ruined a lot of meals together as we stood cooking in the kitchen with a beer or glass of wine and just chatted endlessly about our day, our kids, our past, our hopes and dreams. Then we would just pour ketchup on the dinner and eat with another glass of wine.

What resources did you find particularly helpful?

• MemoryCare. There was very little support in the rural county where we lived prior to moving to Asheville. When searching for additional support and treatment options, I luckily stumbled onto MemoryCare. Our neurologist approved the move from his practice to MemoryCare; he seemed to prefer concentrating his time on more treatable and rewarding neurological disorders as opposed to Alzheimer’s, which had few if any optimistic treatment options. Lucky for me, MemoryCare’s caregiver support programs were an added bonus.  

• MountainCare’s adult day program.  I was lucky, Rhonda went willingly most of the time. She was always very social and enjoyed being the “greeter” as others were dropped off.  

You may access the rest of the interview here.

Programs and Events
MemoryCaregivers Network
Peer Support & Education Groups

All MemoryCaregivers Network Support Groups are currently being held online via Zoom on Tuesdays from 1:00-3:00pm

Network meetings are open to the public. Participants will receive a Zoom link via email the day before each meeting.

If you are not currently attending a MemoryCaregivers Network support group, please email to join the mailing list. If you do not use email but would like to talk with a support facilitator, please call Mary Donnelly at 828.230.4143.

For more information about the MemoryCaregivers Network, contact:

Mary Donnelly
The Network relies on charitable support to keep its program going.
Donate Now

Spring Deep Dives

Starting on June 20, 2024, MemoryCare will be providing an educational series designed for caregivers to learn more about how to care for themselves and their loved one affected by dementia. Courses are free, open to the public, and will be presented as a live online broadcast.

June 20, 2-3:30 pm: 

"Staying Engaged: Activities for Connecting with Individuals with Memory Disorders"

Presented by Elizabeth Williams the Executive Director of MountainCare

June 27, 2-3:30 pm: 

"Let's talk Caregiver Resources"

Presented by Carly Woods & Elizabeth Lackey

July 11, 2-3:30 pm: 

"20+ Tips to Keep You Safe from the Fraudsters"

Presented by Gretchen Batra with AARP

Visit  to learn more and to register.

Caregiver College
A series of six free lectures will be provided for caregivers of persons with memory disorders. Sessions are designed to improve caregiver understanding of different aspects of dementia care. The course is led by MemoryCare staff members with guest lecture by attorney
Caroline Knox, Esq.

2024 Course Schedule

Thursdays from 2:00-5:00 pm


March 21 to April 25

Register for Spring


July 18 to August 22

Register for Summer


October 10 to November 14

Register for Fall
Until further notice, Caregiver College will be provided as a live-broadcast for online attendance. The ability to access Zoom through a computer, tablet or smartphone with a reliable internet connection is necessary to attend. If you are unable to attend virtually and would need to join in-person, please reach out to us at 828-771-2219 or Related course materials will be provided via email.

We gratefully acknowledge
for their support of our program.

Call 828-771-2219 or email with questions.

Move for Memory
Join us for MemoryCare's Adult Exercise Program, led by Rebecca Carter, PTA. Classes are free and open to the public and will be provided weekly through Zoom for online attendance.
This class is intended for people with memory impairment to participate with their caregiver in fun and simple exercises. The exercises incorporate movements that can improve daily activities and general mobility. Group exercise will be approximately 40 minutes, followed by a time to answer questions. Exercises can be performed standing or seated.
Please note you will be required to read and acknowledge a disclaimer when registering to join. The ability to access Zoom through a computer, tablet or smartphone with a reliable internet connection is necessary to attend. Email or call 828-771-2219 with questions.

Mondays & Wednesdays

10:00 - 11:00 am

 Do you need a program for a group event?  
The MemoryCaregivers Network staff presents on a variety of subjects, including Recognizing Early Warning Signs of Memory Loss, Facts and Fiction about Dementia, Better Communication Techniques, and more. 

We are happy to speak at your event to raise awareness and knowledge about Dementia. Contact Mary Donnelly at
To see a list of 
A special thanks to the sponsors of this newsletter:
Caregiver Network News and The MemoryCaregivers Network are auxiliary programs of MemoryCare. Caregiver Network News is written and compiled by Mary Donnelly.
Contact for more information. 
Subscribe to Caregiver Network News
is a charitable non-profit organization whose mission is three-fold:

To provide specialized medical care to older adults with cognitive impairment;
to support caregivers with education, counseling, and improved access to services; and to provide community education.

We rely on charitable donations to continue these programs!

Please consider donating...
perhaps in honor of a loved one's birthday...
or a memorial...
or a sustaining gift to support families like yours 
who depend on the services that MemoryCare provides!

Make a difference. Make a donation.
Thank you for your interest and support!
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MemoryCare is a 501(c)3 public charity as determined by the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Tax ID: 56-2178294.  
Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the Charitable Solicitation Licensing Section at 919-814-5400. The license is not an endorsement by the State.