Saturday, 13 April 2013 00:00
Edward and Carole Kaplan came to the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation in 2007 when Edward was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. “Finding LIAF was the best thing that ever happened to us,” Carole stated. She joined a caregiver support group and Edward participated in an early-stage support group and socialization program. His attendance has grown from two days to five days a week with the progression of his dementia. Edward joined art, dance therapy, trivia, brain training, word games, and group discussions, while also benefiting from musical performances and guest lectures.
LIAF was started in 1988 by five women, each of whom had a parent or grandparent with Alzheimer’s disease. All had shared the frustration of not knowing where to turn for much-needed help. Initial efforts included an information line and a social-model adult day services program in a rented room in a community center.
In the 25 years since then, the foundation moved into its own building in Port Washington in 1999, expanded services, support and information to those impacted by dementia, their families, and the healthcare community. LIAF offers a range of day programs (Al’z Club, Happy Days Club and Memory Lane Club) each tailored to participants’ needs as their disease progresses, support groups for family caregivers, and an in-home respite program, among other services.
Another couple participating at LIAF is Leslie and Susan Newson. Leslie was an accountant and financial advisor when he began having difficulty with his family finances. At work, uncharacteristic oversights were cropping up, and soon the 63-year-old felt compelled to take early retirement. Les takes LIAF’s bus to Port Washington several days a week and participates in various early-stage programs including a verbal support group, sharing his feelings about the effect of Alzheimer’s on his life, and Train Your Brain, a mental boot camp to work a variety of areas of cognitive function. “For me LIAF is a respite. I feel comfortable being with people with similar interests, many of whom had important positions before Alzheimer’s shortened their careers,” Les said. Susan, who joined the caregiver support group, added, “LIAF is an indispensable part of our lives - reducing Les’s feeling of isolation and allowing me to focus at work knowing he is so well cared for.”
LIAF is located at 5 Channel Drive, Port Washington, (516) 767-6856. For further information about programs and services, including a new proactive Brain Fitness Program (for cognitively healthy people who may be experiencing some occasional forgetfulness), which provides a challenging cognitive workout, visit the website www.liaf.org.