Summit aims to educate on importance of brain health

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For 20 years, the focus at Memory Matters has been on caregivers and their loved ones with dementia, giving them emotional support for the long journey. At the same time, the loved ones have benefited from the nonprofit's unique day programs. Families in distress relied on Memory Matters for compassionate care.

Now, Memory Matters is expanding its vision and mission, evolving to "Optimizing Brain Wellness," which balances memory care with individualized brain health. This approach includes every Beaufort County resident, with the goal to mitigate - and perhaps avoid - diagnoses of dementia.

Kicking off Memory Matters' brain wellness mission is its inaugural Brain Health Summit, to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 25 at Hilton Head Island Beach & Tennis Resort.

The event will feature highly regarded national and local experts who will share insights about how to keep a healthy brain.

Keynote speaker Paul Nussbaum, PhD, ABPP, is an internationally renowned expert on brain health and author of numerous books, including "Save Your Brain."

Dr. Nussbaum is a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct professor of neurological surgery at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Through his Brain Health Center Inc., he works with retired NFL players.

Other Brain Health Summit speakers include David Premo, 2017 TEDx Hilton Head speaker, who will share his inspiring stroke-recovery journey; London-trained Chef Kim Baretta, who will discuss brain-healthy eating; Dr. Brittany Thomas with Horizon Rehabilitation, who will demonstrate brain-healthy exercises; and Clayton Cooke, certified music therapist, who will teach how to "cool your brain."

The cost is $45 per person, which includes a Mediterranean-inspired light breakfast and lunch. Call Memory Matters at 843-842-6688 to register, or visit memory-matters.org.

In considering Memory Matters' brain-wellness initiative, the organization is building on its time-honored strengths for a simple reason: The board of directors accepts its obligation to the community to promote brain health as part of proactive memory care.

Memory Matters continues to provide its award-winning memory care programs - Brain Boosters, Counseling, Connections, and Compass.

Brain Boosters is brain training for active, healthy adults. It is two courses, Introductory and Advanced, with four classes each, delivering a "brain tune-up." New courses will be scheduled in May.

Counseling is available via facilitated free peer support groups and paid confidential counseling. Private therapeutic sessions are booked with a licensed professional counselor. Free baseline memory screens and brain-wellness presentations are available to the community.

Connections Classes are three hours and emphasize brain-stretching class work, yoga and music therapy, meditation techniques, and art therapy. Classes are ideal for students experiencing early memory loss. They are offered twice a week.

Compass Day Program incorporates music therapy, yoga, art therapy, exercise, and presentations by community partners. Compass, designed for those with mild- to moderate-level dementia, is offered four days a week for five hours each day. Participants enjoy a Mediterranean-style lunch.

For more information, including fee structure, call 843-842-6688 or visit memory-matters.org.

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