Long Beach, CA
63-year-old Melissa D. spent more than 15 years in the U.S. Army, working in ammunitions and explosives. She left the army in the early 1990s, and developed both mental health and cognitive issues during that time.
Although Melissa managed for a while—even becoming a nurse for some time—she eventually had what she calls a “mental crash.” Unable to take care of her mental health issues, Melissa became homeless, and spent more than four years on the streets. “I was hiding from people, filthy, living like a feral animal. It was really bad,” she remembers.
Melissa got help from Volunteers of America, who helped her transition to living at the Century Villages at Cabrillo as a resident of US VETS housing—a community that provides housing and services for homeless people. There, she got the help she needed to stabilize her mental health and was ready to move into her own studio in June of 2018. (“It’s just 220 square feet, but it’s all mine!” she glows.) But her memory and other cognitive functions had taken a hit over the years, and were still a real problem.
“My memory was so bad I couldn’t really take care of myself. It was terrible. I started a fire because I forgot I was cooking, things like that,” Melissa remembers. “I couldn’t read anymore, either. I couldn’t focus, so I would just pretend.”
In October of 2018, Melissa found out that a brain training class was starting. She signed up. Since starting to use BrainHQ through that class, Melissa’s cognitive function has improved dramatically. “I can read now!” she says. “Fiction and history, some technical manuals…I can focus and think.”
Even better, she isn’t starting any more fires. “This morning I cooked four dozen muffins. I got interrupted but still got back to the muffins! I couldn’t necessarily have done that before BrainHQ,” she says.
Between the help she’s received for her mental health and the cognitive benefits of BrainHQ, Melissa is now able to do a lot of volunteer work—including at the front desk of her community.
It’s been a long and challenging road for Melissa, but she persevered and pulled through. We’re overjoyed that BrainHQ played a part in helping her make it to where she is today!