Family Matters

Cynthia and Mike Harris have known one another since they were children and her mother gave him piano lessons. Now married 56 years, they still play duets.

Five years ago, the couple moved to Matthews from Topsail Beach. Their daughter noticed Cynthia seemed forgetful. Mike admits he and Cynthia had noticed too. They made an appointment at Memory & Movement Charlotte and received a diagnosis of dementia. Mike remembers the day. “Neither of us was happy about it but we decided to be positive, and our team at MMC has always modeled that for us.”

“Family is our biggest support. We have over 70 family members, and every summer we gather at the beach for a week. We rent a whole street of houses! Cynthia loves this – her long-term memory is still intact, and these reunions make her so happy. We all get together again over Christmas, and four generations of our extended family prioritize this time. It means everything to us.”

Mike retired in December, and he’s not used to so much time at home. “For my retirement, two of our nieces gave me a weekend off each month for a year. I do something just for me, and one of them stays with Cynthia or she visits them. It’s a huge help, and Cynthia really enjoys those visits. Our daughter is always on call and all the grandchildren visit often.”

Mike smiles, “Our days are different now. We cook and eat, talk, read, and spend time with our family. We’ve started exercising more. And yes, we still play the piano. There are things we don’t like, but to fixate on those just causes anxiety. We let it go and try to enjoy every day. Cynthia is sweet, kind and staying positive and she is so, so loved.”

Cynthia and Mike Harris
The Harris family at the beach
Cynthia and Mike Harris

A Note from Dr. Edwards

This story reinforces a major theme in our care. We focus on what is working in the lives of patients, not what is lost. Joy and purpose are possible if we look in the right place.