After my mother had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Dementia, and knowing that she would benefit from services geared towards those afflicted with the disease I did my research. Happily, I found LIAF. My Mother and I went to LIAF for a meeting and assessment with Alana who was so wonderful. Thankfully, my mother was accepted into the program and began attending once a week. Mom graduated to 3 times per week and her time there was well spent and enjoyable for her. The services and stimulation they provide is wonderful and the staff there is so warm and caring. They became family and people I totally trusted with the care of my mother. I cant say enough about the organization.
One year after my husband, Edward, was diagnosed with Alffzheimer's dementia, his doctor suggested I join a caregiver support group/ My research led me to LIAF, which I learned not only had a caregiver support group but also had programs for people with dementia.
Edward started attending these programs a few times a week and now attends LIAF all five days. He looks forward to attending these programs and when he arrives home he has a smile on his face. He will often say he had a good time even though he can't remember the grogram.
LIAF has given me the support I needed to accept and understand Alzheimer's. It also gives me respite when he is at LIAf and I can relax knowing he is safe and enjoying himself. LIAF is a wonderful program which helps the caregiver learn to handle problems related to dementia.
In the spring of 2009, when my wife, Clare, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) at the age of 63, I sought out a support group for her so she could meet with others dealing with this horrible disease. I turned to the only AD organization I knew about here on Long Island ... the Alzheimer’s Association. Sadly, I learned that whereas the Alzheimer’s Association had more than 30 support groups for caregivers, they had none for people with Alzheimer’s. Eventually I did a Google search and discovered the existence of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) and that LIAF did have support groups for those with early stage AD. I set up an appointment for Clare to be evaluated so she could be considered for that support group.
As soon as we entered their Port Washington facility for the first time, LIAF made a positive impression on me ... and that impression has only grown stronger during these past 4 years. That first impression was of a warm and caring place, and Alana Rosenstein, the social worker who evaluated Clare, reinforced those first impressions. She was caring, concerned, and extremely knowledgeable.
What I could not possibly have known at that first visit was that LIAF would soon become more important to me than to my wife. As far as I was concerned, my “mission” was accomplished when my wife was accepted into LIAF’s early to moderate stage support group. I had found a “place” for Clare to meet weekly with others experiencing a similar situation. So, when I brought Clare to LIAF the following week to attend her first support group meeting, I brought along the newspaper and a few magazines to read while she was with her group. Clare, however, had other plans for me. We had learned that at the same time her group was meeting, another caregiver support group ... one exclusively for spouses of people in early to moderate stage AD ... was meeting in another room under the leadership of another social worker, Tori Cohen. Clare wanted me to join that group. No matter how many times I told Clare that I didn’t “need” a support group, she insisted that I “just try it” this once as a favor to her. I gave in, reluctantly, never expecting to attend another meeting. But by the time my meeting ended, I realized just how much I did need to be part of this group. Why? Because I was with other people who “get it” ... others who know what it is like to live with a spouse with AD, 24/7. Over the weeks and months I learned so much in that group ... so many practical suggestions for dealing with Clare’s AD behaviors and issues, and so much information about helpful products for people with AD. Our group facilitator, Tori, had a knack for drawing out those whose pain was most difficult to talk about that week, yet she always respected each person’s decision whether to speak up that week or not.
That caregiver support group also taught me other valuable lessons. I learned that I now had support from others whom I could lean upon when having to make tough decisions, such as convincing Clare to stop driving. And from group members whose spouses were further along on their AD journey, I learned a lot about how to deal with behaviors and situations that I knew I might also have to face in the future. In time, when I did find myself facing some of those very same issues, I was much more prepared than I would otherwise have been because of those group discussions. All members of the support group knew they could speak about anything they needed to talk about each week, and we all knew we would receive helpful feedback. Many group members bonded so closely that we would often call or email each other between weekly meetings to discuss something, or just to support each other when one of us was going through a particularly painful time.
After more than 3 years of our weekly participation, I had to place Clare in several day care programs so I could have some respite time. One of those programs is on the day our support groups had met, so my “formal” participation in LIAF programs ended. However, Clare now attends LIAF’s “Al’z Club” every Monday where she is able to socialize and participate in fun activities with others at her level, including several people who had been in her support group. Each Monday when Clare is at Al’z Club, I now meet for lunch with many of my former support group members. The primary purpose of getting together is socialization, but in some ways we continue as an informal support group as well.
Alana and Tori continue to remain only a phone call or email away, always there for both of us. When it was time for me to consider those day care programs, the first people I turned to were Alana and Tori. In fact, Alana even took valuable time away from her family one weekend to set Clare up for her first Al’z Club meeting. Now that I am looking into a possible Assisted Living Facility placement, I again contacted Alana and Tori and yet again they stepped up to provide helpful information and advice. Alana, Tori, and all of LIAF staff just always continue to “be there” for Clare and me to provide whatever support and assistance they can ... whenever I need it. They have truly made me feel that I am part of the “LIAF family.”
I am looking forward to eventually volunteering for LIAF at their Port Washington facility when time permits because without LIAF I could never have gotten through these past four years. My wish would be for all who are dealing with Alzheimer’s on Long Island to become involved with LIAF through their support groups and programs.
Alzheimer’s is a horrible disease that affects the entire family, and although the AD journey is somewhat different for everyone, that journey is difficult for everyone involved. However, LIAF personnel and programs can definitely make that journey easier to navigate than it would otherwise be without LIAF’s assistance and support.
I became an indirect client of LIAF when it became apparent that my mother, who lived alone in Port Washington was having significant issues with memory. Our journey with LIAF spands several years.
The first time we visited, after a pleasant intake meeting, my mother decided she didn't want to have any part of what they offered. A year later she admited it was because she was afraid of the word 'alzheimer' in the title. At that time her diagnosis wasn't confirmed - mild cognitive impairment was the phrase being used.
Over a two year period I interacted with several professionals in the area (primarity social workers with a focus on the elderly). My mother tried a different day program that was connected to her religous congregation. It was not a match for her. So we returned to LIAF - the draw being that she could still drive herself there as it was within the boundaries of her town (which she loved and had lived for 45 years) because she would still get around without getting confused.
In total honesty, of all the professionals I have delt with over my mother's disease, the only one who has actually been helpful - who actually followed through with the commonly mouthed phrase, "You are not alone with this." works at LIAF. Her professionalism is top notch. Her care, respect, consideration, and understanding of my mother - along with her creativity and grace in supporting family members brings tears of gratitude to my eyes.
When the time came for my mother to decide where she would move to - as she could no longer live alone - LIAF helped us navigate this very painful decision. Painful because my mother didn't want to leave her town yet a part of her knew she wanted to give up her home. It was this staff member that helped my mother shift an old habit of 'independence at all costs' to a new strategy of allowing herself to rest a bit into the support and love of her children - particularly me - by moving close by.
Even after my mother moved 500 miles away - I knew LIAF was a support to me as care-giver. From time to time I call to talk through an issue. The support & insights I gain are always the most supportive. Our experience with LIAF is a light of love and care and true help. It changed our lives for the best through this most challenging journey.
My Mother has been attending LIAF for the past 4years. We as a family don't know where we would be if it weren't for LIAF. I can't praise this organization enough. My mother is treated with kindness and the dignity and respect she deserves. She has found a new family of friends that suffer with the same disease as she does. The knowledgeable staff has supported us too with the emotional support we need as Alzheimer's progresses in Mom. The mental games, entertainment, friendly faces and compassion have Mom looking forward to attending her "club" as she calls LIAF. She has also recently started an exercise class there so she is enriching both her mind and body. My Mother's quality of life is wonderful being part of the LIAF community. We as a family feel blessed to have such fabulous support in dealing with such a difficult disease.
The kindness of each and every staff member brings a smile to my mom's face. Every time I pick her up from spending her day at LIAF she is so happy and excited. She tells me about the activities and relationships she has with clients and staff. She feels special.
After Mom was away in Florida for 3 months she had forgotten about ALZ Club. I had to coax her to go in. I called ahead to ask for support to greet my Mom and to help familiarize her to the Alz Club family. When we arrived, the staff came out from everywhere to greet her with hugs and smiles. I stood behind my mom with tears in my eyes reminded at how wonderful and comforting is is to have LIAF in her life and in mine. She quickly felt comfortable and was reminded of how much she loved it there.
Our community is blessed to have LIAF and their incredibly caring staff available to families during the tough times of watching our loved ones as their memories drift away.
Unfortunately, my husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease at the beginning of 2009. I could not imagine how I would manage the days weeks and years going forward...that is until I learned about the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation (LIAF). From the first time my husband and I visited LIAF we both felt so comfortable. They had day programs to fit his needs and he soon became a "five day a weeker" taking advantage of all the professional social workers and occupational therapists could offer. If that wasn't enough, he enjoys every minute he is there, hanging with his buddies, enjoying lunch talk and commeraderie on the LIAF bus with fellow participants and the warm and friendly group of bus drivers. All of this specialized care and amazing programming for the Early Stage group has made the past few years for my husband (formerally a CPA and Certified Financial Planner) mentally stimulated and just plain happy, looking forward to each day. And bus transportation has allowed me to keep working at my own profession knowing he is being well taken care of and entertained. I cannot say enough about LIAF, or Alan Rosenstein, Tori Cohen and the other wonderful professionals who fill the many needs of those suffering with Alzheimer's - both the one afflicted and his or her caregiver. Kudos to Fred Janney and the LIAF Board for providing this wonderful oasis in Alzheimer's very difficult desert.
LIAF of Port Washington is an outstanding nonprofit organization. I have frequented LIAF's events because they provide so much information + social activities to the individual, caregiver + family member. Joyce who is the director, has demonstrated professionalism, empathy + kindness to all who come to LIAF. Joyce has a genuine willingness to reach out to the community at large to educate and provide leadership within the town of Port.
As a Senior Move Manager and working with clients that suffer from Dementia, I have found that LIAF is a wonderful organization that cares about their clients and their families. The whole organization puts 110% into everything they do.
As a Home Care provider we see the challanges that individuals and families face every day with respect to Alzheimer's disease. The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) support families and friends throughout Long Island with amazing programs and services that have reached thousands of people through support groups, adult day programs, cognitive stimulation and socialization programs and in-home respite care. I have personally participated in their workshops and charitable events. Our community on Long Island, New York is a better place because of the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation. We need to do all we can to support LIAF because LIAF is doing all it can to support us. Brian Callahan - 7 Day Home Care