Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

HABIT Healthy Action to Benefit Independence & Thinking

Welcome to the HABIT page for people living with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and program participants.  The HABIT Program is for individuals with MCI and their loved ones to learn the best strategies for adapting, coping, and living their best lives with MCI.

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Mar 20, 2018

Our HABIT Team: Meet Dr. Melanie Chandler

By Miranda Morris, HABIT Program Coordinator, @mirandamorris

Dr. Melanie Chandler

This week, I got the chance to interview my mentor and the reason that I am a part of HABIT. Dr. Chandler is the HABIT Florida Director and one of the creators of HABIT. I can tell you that besides being an inspiring mentor, she is also a fantastic mom to three of the cutest kids that I have ever seen. Enjoy!


Miranda Morris: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Dr. Melanie Chandler: A veterinarian until my dad started telling me stories of all the gross stuff I’d have to do.


MM: What is your favorite thing about the HABIT Program?

MC: The people, their stories, and their resilience. If I wasn’t a neuropsychologist, I could probably go around interviewing people for StoryCorps or something like that. I just love to learn about people.


MM: What’s your favorite way to de-stress?

MC: Riding my bike. There is always a moment on the ride when a big sigh literally just hits me, and I can appreciate being in the moment and being outside in nature.


MM: How did you get into studying memory?

MC: My interest began watching old Nova and similar PBS shows with my dad at night as a teenager. We bonded watching these shows.


MM: Some of the healthy habits that we talk about in the program include eating well, emotional self-care and getting quality sleep. With such a busy work life and a family, how do you make sure to practice the habits of wellness?

MC: I do not do well without sleep, so it is always a priority.  Having kids, and wanting to be a positive role model helps me eat well and exercise.  Plus, everyone around me knows to have me eat regularly, or else I get very hangry! A veggie (or fruit if it’s breakfast) at every meal!


MM: What do you usually use the “Notes” section of your calendar for?

MC: To jot notes while I’m in meetings or phone conferences at work. I find I usually refer back to these things in that same week when I use them, so this works much better than a notepad where everything gets jumbled.


MM: How long have you been a part of HABIT?

MC: Since the beginning when it was just an idea in 2004.  I wrote the first grant with the aid of my mentor, Dr. Glenn Smith, for the start-up funding to launch in 2005

Dr. Smith and I on MPR in 2006 with HABIT Begginings

HABIT beginnings: Dr. Smith and Dr. Chandler in 2006 for Minnesota Public Radio Interview


MM: How many times a day do you refer to your calendar?

MC: At least once a day on the weekend, but probably 10+ times a day during the week.


MM: What is a typical day like for you as the HABIT Director in Florida?

MC: Emails, phone calls, telling people (nicely) to do stuff – not as glamorous or fun as doing the sessions themselves. Then I go home and heard cats (and dogs) aka my children.

Raining Cats and Dogs Halloween Photo




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