Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation celebrates New home in westbury

LIAF Open House

The Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation (LIAF) recently welcomed close to 150 guests, among them, board members, families, politicians, several members from the Long Island Elite (who have chosen LIAF as its Charity Partner of the Year), healthcare administrators and friends, to its new home. The open house was held to celebrate the organization's move earlier this year to a state-of-the art facility in Westbury, where LIAF will carry out its mission to bring awareness to Alzheimer's disease and related memory disorders. LIAF's unique programs and services help improve the quality of life for these individuals and their caregivers. Since its founding in 1988, LIAF has operated out of Port Washington. The decision to move was based on the need to be more centrally located in order to serve a greater number of Long Island families.

Configured to allow for flexibility and expansion of services, the new facility, at 1025 Old Country Road, features three separate program rooms to accommodate participants in the early, moderate and late stages of Alzheimer's disease, with a presentation room for LIAF's participants to enjoy daily entertainment. The space will also allow for caregivers, staff and supporters to attend educational programs and presentations by guest speakers. An intake room for potential participants, a support group area for caregivers and families, and a "quiet room" for a participant needing rest, round out the facility. LIAF's well-received Brain Fitness Workshops— for individuals who do not have an Alzheimer's diagnosis but want to maintain and enhance cognitive abilities— will also be part of the new space.

In her opening remarks, Tori Cohen, LIAF's Executive Director, noted the monumental day, recognizing the organization's past and symbolizing an exciting new beginning, saying, "Today marks the day that we can operate in a facility that will match the quality and breadth of our hands-on services. We are fortunate at LIAF to have a dedicated and passionate board who has accepted the challenge to help more people and has worked tirelessly to get us here tonight."

Tom Killeen, Esq., LIAF's Board Chair, concurred and introduced several board members who were in attendance, including Vice Chair Jennifer Cona, and board members Paul Eibeler and Brian Emmert. With respect to the approximately 50,000 Long Island residents who are affected, Killeen stressed: "Every dollar LIAF has is spent on Long Island to help Long Islanders. We alone conduct adult social day care programs to help people in every stage of Alzheimer's from early stage to late stage. We provide on-site and in-home programs for caregivers."

Among the government officials present were Congresswoman Kathleen Rice, New York State Senator Kemp Hannon and New York State Senator Elaine Phillips, each offering their congratulations and a few heartfelt remarks. Additionally, Senator Phillips presented LIAF with a New York State Senate Proclamation to mark the occasion. Congressman Tom Suozzi was able to stop by briefly, extending his congratulations and presenting a proclamation, as well.  

Before the evening's conclusion, Cohen returned to the podium to recognize the past and current caregivers in attendance, saying, "Our greatest motivation is hearing their testimonies and knowing that we have provided comfort and strength when they had lost all hope and had no place to turn." With that, she introduced Lisa Belinsky, whose parents are both participants in LIAF's day program. Belinsky came to LIAF about five years ago when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's. "I didn't know what to do, where to go. After reading about LIAF and seeing some ads, I finally got up my courage and called."

After her father's diagnosis two years ago, Belinsky knew where to turn. "LIAF is incredibly supportive, they cover every step you can possibly image. I can't say thank you enough." As a way of giving back, Belinsky was instrumental in helping create Whimsical Wednesdays, a monthly program where participants and their caregivers can relax and enjoy lunch, music, even dancing. Her parents love of music and dancing, Belinsky shared, was part of the motivation that led to the program's establishment.

The Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation is extremely grateful to all who attended the open house and for the generosity of the event's sponsors, 1-800-Flowers, Banfi Wines, Lessings and Tesoro Ristorante. Your support enables LIAF to help Alzheimer's families on Long Island find "life worth living" after diagnosis.

Caption: New York State Senator Elaine Phillips (center) presented a proclamation commending the Long Island Alzheimer's Foundation upon the occasion of its grand opening celebration to Board Chair Tom Killeen, Esq. and Executive Director Tori Cohen.

For more information about the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation, please contact Nancy Leghart, Director of External Affairs at nleghart@liaf.org or (516)767-6856 ext. 28. To schedule an intake, please contact Melissa Katz, Director of Early Stage/In-Home Respite at mkatz@liaf.org or call (516) 767-6856 ext. 14.

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For 29 years, LIAF has been providing supportive community-based services to Alzheimer’s families on Long Island. LIAF offers critically needed social adult day programs for individuals facing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers. LIAF takes considerable pride in its pioneering role in the development of cutting edge services that foster the independence, dignity, well-being and safety of individuals with Alzheimer’s. For information call (516) 767-6856 or visit www.liaf.org