It takes a team of very skilled individuals to support this important program. As we progress forward with our critical work, we want to take a moment and highlight some of our key individuals. Today, we get to know Mary Caldwell a little bit better:
Where did you grow up?
In the beautiful town of Rome, Georgia, located at the foothills of the Appalachians, with three rivers. My family has lived there for five generations!
What is your role within Georgia Memory Net?
As the Helpline and Early Stage Program Manger at The Alzheimer’s Association, I serve as a GMNET community partner responding to referrals from the Memory Clinics. I conduct care consultations with patients and their families, share resources, and provide disease education.
How long have you been a part of Georgia Memory Net?
Since Fall of 2018.
What is your favorite thing about working with Georgia Memory Net?
I really love helping patients and families navigate health concerns. We work with people at a critical time in their lives and often they are experiencing fear, uncertainty, grief, in addition to compounding risk factors in aging. I feel honored to work with these families at such a time—it is a rare privilege.
What inspired you to go into this field and join Georgia Memory Net?
I began this work in aging and dementia at Mercy Care in Rome. I served as the Program Coordinator there at their amazing Adult Day Health for 4 years. Previous to that, I owned a private preschool that offered structured education to the very young. I have always been interested in lifespan development as well as work that allowed me to align my hands with my heart to serve people in need. Through my work at Mercy, I met my mentor and friend, Liz Molina, now Executive Director at Mercy and an RN Gerontologist and she was a huge inspiration. I also was very inspired by past clients and colleagues at NW GA AAA, Athens Community Council on Aging and CCSP at Legacy Link AAA.
If you could do any other job, what would it be?
The more I study, research and work with clients and families, the more passionate I am about reducing risk in chronic conditions in aging. I think it is very possible for us to increase the health span as longevity increases—I would love to share that so if I could do anything else, I would like to teach gerontology or lifespan development at the college level.
Do you have any pets?
Of course! We love our pup, Scruffy and a beautiful ragdoll kitty, Picasso.
What is your hidden talent?
Hahaha, it is possible that you do not want to know the answer to this question! But seriously, I trained as a sous chef in my twenties and I am a baby whisperer.
What is your favorite movie and why?
Love film—love it. So it is difficult to choose one, but I would say Sling Blade (1996) is a favorite. Billy Bob Thornton directed and starred in this movie. Also Cinema Paradiso, Out of Africa, lots of others.
If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Some cool shade of green!
This has been a crazy few weeks, any advice for staying happy and healthy while sheltering in place?
Be intentional with self care and staying connected to those you love—including yourself! If you feel any decline in mood, pay attention and reach out to friends or a therapist.
Georgia Memory Net at a Glance
What is Georgia Memory Net and why does it exist? There’s so much information about Alzheimer’s and related dementias in Georgia, and how to diagnose and treat them, that it can become overwhelming. We’ve done our best to simplify the info into a clear one-page infographic.