Memory Health: Caring for Self, Caring for Others
Dr. Cheryl Dye discusses how she has created a nexus between her work as a public health professor teaching a course in older adult health, mentoring undergraduate students in a multi-semester Creative Inquiry project, and conducting research in collaboration with a hospital memory health program to promote the cognitive health of those with dementia and their caregivers. Her five-session program for caregivers and their care recipients was originally offered in a clinical setting and has now spread to community-based settings like retirement communities and churches. Goals of the program are to provide cognitively and socially stimulating activities to those in early to middle-stage dementia and to provide stress management activities and social support activities to their caregivers. Dr. Dye’s education and research agenda has been advanced through adjunct research projects conducted by a post-doctoral fellow, a junior faculty member, and an honor’s student which include structured interviews with caregivers and their care recipients, creation of a documentary about life with dementia from the point of view of someone with dementia, and an evaluation of a clinic-based caregiver education program. Cheryl J. Dye received a PhD in Public Health Promotion from the School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina in 1991, and joined the faculty in the Department of Public Health Sciences at Clemson University that same year. Since that time she has taught and conducted research in health promotion and chronic disease management, and provided leadership for several initiatives. She is currently a Professor and Director of the CU Institute for Engaged Aging. In 2006, Dye was a founding member of the South Carolina Aging Research Network, which facilitates inter-institutional research in gerontology. She co-wrote a proposal approved in 2007 to establish a Center of Economic Excellence (CoEE) called SeniorSMART, which includes a CU Endowed Chair in Senior Driving, Mobility and Physical Functioning. Dr. Dye serves as an invited member on the SC Long-Term Care Task force and the Advisory Board of the SC Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. She has been as active participant in the CU Service Learning Collaborative for many years and has served on the SC Institute on Service Learning and Ethics.