Student Creates Outside Seating Area for LIAF Alzheimer’s Day Program

James Vernice, Joseph Vernice, Tommy Byrnes, Justin May, Carl Finkbeiner and Arjuna Lal

When Arjuna Lal of Port Washington needed to do an Eagle Scout Project, the member of Boy Scout Troop 241 thought of his grandmother, Lakshmi Lal, who had lived with Alzheimer’s disease at the end of her life.

“I thought, why not do something for Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation in memory of my grandmother?” Arjuna recalls. He reached out to the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) in Port Washington, and spoke with their executive director, Fred Jenny. Fred told him that LIAF had been thinking about creating an outdoor seating area that could be used for supervised activities with program participants. Arjuna set to work on implementing the idea.

While Arjuna is quick to acknowledge the roles of his family, friends, and members of Scout Troop 241 in creating the beautiful seating area that LIAF participants now enjoy, LIAF credits Arjuna himself with the initiative and follow through to make the project a success.

“LIAF is fortunate to have the energy and enthusiasm of young volunteers like Arjuna Lal,” Fred Jenny says, adding that realization of this project – particularly in this challenging economy – might not have been possible without Arjuna and the Lal family donating their time, energy and resources. “LIAF is grateful for community support – like that offered by Arjuna Lal and his family – in realizing our mission to help improve the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s disease and related forms of dementia, and their caregivers,” Jenny said. “We congratulate Arjuna on becoming an Eagle Scout, and consider it a well-deserved recognition.” Arjuna will officially become an Eagle Scout on September 6, 2013.

The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation offers supportive programming and services for people on every step of the way of their journey with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. LIAF’s early-stage program includes cognitive training classes, creative arts activities, mentally stimulating trivia and word games, guest lectures, and support group sessions. Its adult day program caters to the needs of clients with moderate-stage dementia, and features musical activities, crafts, guest presentations, and mental and social stimulation. Both programs give caregivers much-needed time off from the day-to-day challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. LIAF also offers a new proactive Brain Fitness Program (for cognitively healthy people who may be experiencing forgetfulness), which provides a challenging cognitive workout.

In addition, LIAF provides in-home respite through its Alzheimer’s Companions program in Nassau and Queens counties. A trained respite provider offers two hours of stimulating activity to the client at home, while the caregiver enjoys time away. LIAF is also pleased to offer caregiver support groups for spousal caregivers and adult children caregivers at its headquarters in Port Washington, as well as off site in Melville.

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Photo caption: Arjuna Lal – with the support and assistance of family and friends – created an outdoor seating area for Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation program participants as his Eagle Scout project. Pictured left to right are James Vernice, Joseph Vernice, Tommy Byrnes, Justin May, Carl Finkbeiner and Arjuna Lal.

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Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation is a Port Washington-based social service agency, founded in 1998, that provides coordinated, continuing care for individuals of any age with Alzheimer’s disease and related memory disorders, at every stage of the disease process, as well as direct and substantive help and support for their families as they cope with the demands of caregiving. For more information call (516) 767-6856.