Joanne’s mind is one that works best when stimulated. “I’m a multi-tasker, all my life.” she says. When she is not reading or playing brain exercise games on her computer, she is taking care of her four pets, preparing meals for family gatherings, or attending physical therapy and doctor’s appointments.
Born and raised in Philadelphia, she is the second-oldest of six children. After losing her only son, an Air Force veteran, she singlehandedly raised her four young grandchildren until they reached adulthood. The nurturing instinct in Joanne has found a new group of beneficiaries in her pets—two dogs and two cats that require much attention and care.
"This little Yorkie of mine has cataracts… and I have to put medicine in her eyes,” she says. “I don't have to do it daily, but pretty much weekly and, when I forget, which I do at times, her eyes are so crusty. We work so hard to try to clean it up.”
The demands of taking care of her pets can be taxing, particularly when Joanne maintains such a busy schedule. But she recognizes and values highly the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle, and of an engaged mind.
“I come out of a family of readers,” she says. “When [my siblings and I] were younger… at one given time, all of us could be reading.”
Nowadays, Joanne reads the newspaper regularly and sometimes rereads certain sections to help the information sink in.
Reflecting upon her diagnosis of MCI, Joanne says, " I think it's a normal process of aging. Maybe it isn't, but I feel it is because I saw my mom go through it, my aunt, my grandmother… Being diagnosed, I know I'm not that bad because… I know what I'm doing and I can still drive. I can still do everything.”