Norma Wilson

Finding assistance through Memory Care Navigator program

Little by little, Norma Wilson started noticing problems with her memory.

She would forget what word she was looking up in the dictionary. Her sentences just didn’t flow like they used to. Her short-term memory was almost non-existent.

“I would lose my train of thought,” Norma said. “I would not be able to get words. I would not know the next word I wanted to say. I knew what it was, I just couldn’t get it out.”

After visiting with her physician and a neurologist, Norma still didn’t have a clear diagnosis. Battling leukemia and undergoing chemotherapy, she wondered if she was foggy as a result of “chemo brain.”  She also wondered if something more, such as dementia, was causing her memory loss.

On her physician’s advice, she decided to learn more about Sun Health’s Memory Care Navigator program.

Typically, clients are referred to the program by physicians, friends or family members. But they can also self-refer to seek assistance for themselves.

Norma, a longtime Sun Cities resident and former data processing manager for a wholesale distributor, wanted all of the information and referrals that she could get as she struggled with memory loss.

The Memory Care Navigator program is designed to assist clients, family members and caregivers as they make their way through the maze of emotional, psychological and physical effects of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

With guidance from navigators, clients develop a plan of care tailored to their needs. Clients also rely on navigators to serve as a liaison between them and families, physicians, and community services. Navigators make home visits and are available by phone.

The service is provided at no charge to clients through the generosity of Sun Health Foundation donors, and is supported by USAA, Sundt Foundation and the John F. Long Foundation.

Norma immediately clicked with program navigator Marty Finley during an in-home visit. Marty was invaluable when it came to providing information about community resources, such as an estate planner and home organization company.

Marty suggested that Norma get out more, something that Norma had cut back on because of fears over contracting illnesses while undergoing chemotherapy. Norma had also cut back on exercise and missed her regular water aerobics classes. Marty suggested she try something new to keep moving, so Norma began walking.

Marty followed up with phone calls to check the status of Norma’s to-do list and later noted that Norma had been “excellent” in following through with her plans.

Norma is grateful to have found Marty.

“Absolutely no question about it,” she said. “She knows what a person needs just by talking with them.”

About Memory Care Navigator

Sun Health’s Memory Care Navigator program can help those with memory loss and their family members and friends to identify support, services and resources that may be helpful in navigating the dementia journey. For more information or to schedule a consultation by phone, call (623) 471-9300, or visit

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