Memory Care America - October 2019

Eddie O’Brien’s Family Finds Peace of Mind at Memory Care of Naples Sharing Your Stories


When Edward “Eddie” O’Brien was a young man, his father died, leaving Eddie to care of his younger siblings with a limited education backing him up. “He’s really a great brother,” says Eddie’s younger brother, Dan O’Brien. “He would always try to take care of the family.” Eddie later became a firefighter in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a lifelong bachelor who enjoyed his independence and remained close with his family, even when retirement called him to Florida. But for the past decade, Dan says the family noticed their once strong, capable brother deteriorating. “It’s very painful to see that happen and not have the medical experience to recognize the root causes of these changes,” Dan says. “He still sounds like your brother, but he's not in there.”

How to Minimize Age-Inducing Atoms

If you’ve ever picked up a health magazine while waiting at the doctor’s office, then you’re probably familiar with the term “free radicals” — at least enough to know that they get a bad rap from doctors and beauticians alike. But what are they, exactly? According to Live Science, free radicals are atoms with unpaired electrons that have split off from oxygen molecules in the body and started to “scavenge” for other electrons to pair with. That wouldn’t be problematic, except that these atoms tend to damage cells, lipids, proteins, and even DNA along the way, and that destruction has serious consequences. As Live Science puts it, “Free radicals are associated with human disease, including cancer, atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and many others. They also may have a link to aging, which has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage.” Unfortunately, it’s impossible to entirely avoid free radicals and the havoc they wreak. The process that forms free radicals, called oxidative stress, can be kick- started by a variety of different substances found in food, water, medicine, and even the air we breathe, according to the Huntington’s Outreach Project for Education at Stanford University. Unsurprisingly, these substances are things already considered unhealthy, like alcohol, exposure to X-rays, ozone, fried food, chemical pesticides, air pollutants, and tobacco smoke. That said, there is one molecule that is stable enough to stand up to and reduce free radicals: the antioxidant. According to a study published by Pharmacognosy Reviews, antioxidants can “donate an electron to a rampaging free radical and neutralize it, thus reducing its ability to damage.” Synthetic antioxidants exist but can sometimes have harmful side effects, so scientists advise protecting yourself by avoiding free radical triggers like alcohol, processed foods, and red meat, and ingesting natural antioxidants in the form of berries, stone fruits, olives, onions, garlic, and green and black teas. Herbs and spices like cinnamon, basil, turmeric, and fenugreek can ratchet up your antioxidant levels too. While it can’t guarantee immortality, the right diet can certainly help you stave off aging and disease, so why not start today?

Later diagnosed with dementia, memory loss, and paranoia, Eddie’s family knew it was time to find him a home where he could live in peace with the protection of care. Since most of the family was snowbirding along the west coast of Florida, Dan says they searched that region with the help of a third-party agency.

The first company the organization pointed to was Memory Care of Naples. “[...] We kind of fell in love with its location. We fell in love with the people,” Dan recalls. “They had a friendly look about them. […] We had a feeling that they really cared about patients.” It was actually Memory Care of Naples’ marketing director, Ellen Reilly, who sold Eddie’s family on this community. “We didn’t really want to leave; she was so good,” Dan says. “She had a really good way about her, and she made it a lot easier for us to have Eddie placed in a facility down there.” During the summer and fall, much of Eddie’s family remains in New Hampshire and Massachusetts. But in the two months that Eddie has been at Memory Care of Naples, Dan says he no longer has to worry about his brother’s well-being and happiness. Ellen even got Eddie involved in a walking program, which Dan believes is one of Eddie’s favorite parts of his new home. “Coming to Memory Care [of Naples], we saw this interaction between the patients and the staff,” Dan says. “They gave them a purpose; they gave them a new family.” You don’t have to keep our work a secret; referrals are the best compliments you can give us. If you would like to be featured in our newsletter or if you know a family that could benefit from our services, please call 833.MEM.CARE (636.2273) or visit


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