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Member Spotlight: Cari Martin

April 12 2023
A library featuring comfy seating with a large tv.
Cari Martin knows a thing or two about resilience. She survived as her home was hit by a devastating tornado (while in a sling after rotator-cuff surgery, no less). Five of her family members have been diagnosed with some sort of dementia. And she provided care for her husband of 34 years, who has Alzheimer’s, until he eventually needed more comprehensive support.

Cari’s husband has lived at The Preston for a little more than a year now—and she continues to be a fierce advocate and partner when it comes to his care and well-being. “I am not a doctor or a psychiatrist or a professional caregiver,” says Cari, who worked in sales and management in the consumer package goods industry for more than 35 years. “I am a niece, daughter, daughter in-law, sister In-law, and wife of individuals who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, like vascular and Lewy Body.” Cari devotes much of her time to giving back to organizations that support others going through a similar experience.

In addition to volunteering with the Alzheimer’s organization, she is also working to develop an Alzheimer’s support group for members of the First Baptist Church of Dallas. She has also been a part of the Park Cities Alzheimer’s Support Group for more than three years, a group that has “made a huge difference in my life and my ability to address the needs of my husband,” Cari says. “We are all a team, present to help each other. I feel God has given me these experiences so I might help others with their journey.” Cari is currently at work on a book to help others navigate their own Alzheimer’s journey with love and compassion. “My experience has been on the frontline as a warrior and advocate for my loved ones,” says Cari. “Their journey and experiences have been imprinted on my heart and soul and have taught me so much about compassion and loving tenderness.

I have found that the most meaningful lessons in life are during times of hardship and tragedy. We can always learn something that can be shared and paid forward.” While caregiving for a loved one is a selfless role, self-care is vital, too. For Cari, that takes the form of daily walks with her dog and spending time with friends and family. “You can’t do it all alone,” she says. And when it came time to find additional support for her husband’s care, The Preston—with Its convenient location, upscale restaurants, and private rooms for gathering with family—proved to be an ideal fit. What appealed to her most was the way the associates interact with residents. “The staff uses techniques to get to know the individual, so they can relate and deal with them in the most appropriate and caring way,” says Cari.

She was also impressed by how resort-like the community feels. “It reminded me of many of the places my husband and I stayed at during our travels.” Perhaps the most important message from Cari is that it’s OK to ask for help. “Create a group of friends and family that are willing to help and strategize what might work for all,” she says. “Get yourself into a support group and go regularly. Focus on what your loved one can do versus what they cannot do.”

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