Sunrise of East Meadow committed to residents with Alzheimer's, dementia


The Sunrise Senior Living Center of East Meadow will host its annual Alzheimer’s Mini Walk on Sept. 20, at 2 p.m.

The event focuses on supporting Sunrise residents with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, and raising money for the Alzheimer’s Association.

The center created the event over a decade ago, for residents and their families, as a way to promote the association and raise money for it. Since then the walk has become a community event, and many others have joined it and supported the cause.

“Sunrise has been working with the Alzheimer’s Association for over 10 years,” Melissa Brownfeld, the center’s executive director, said. “(The association) always supports our events and walks.”

Sunrise of East Meadow, which is on Glenn Curtiss Boulevard, has a “Reminiscence Neighborhood,” where residents with Alzheimer’s receive personalized care that is tailored to their preferences, interests, needs and choices, Brownfield said. The center also has a life enrichment manager who knows the residents, and engages them in individual activities based on their interests and abilities.

“Sunrise focuses on encouraging the independence of each resident and promoting their quality of life,” Brownfeld said.

The Alzheimer’s Association, which hosts and supports a variety of walks, works to promote research, driving-risk reduction and early detection of the disease, and focuses as well on maximizing care of and support for those who have dementia, and eventually ending Alzheimer’s. The Sunrise staff uses its training methods, and many are certified in Alzheimer’s care through the organization’s training course, called essentialALZ.

Participants in the Mini Walk, including Reminiscence residents, members of their families and staff members, stroll around the parking lot of the facility, with supporters encouraging them from the sidelines.

“The entire community participates in the walk to support our Reminiscence residents,” Brownfeld said. “Our assisted-living residents are outside cheering on our residents.”

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, New York state has the second-highest prevalence of the disease in the nation, at 12.7 percent, among adults 65 and older. It’s estimated that there are over 60,000 Long Islanders living with the disease. Higher rates on the Island are attributed to a higher average age, as well as a more diverse population: Black and Hispanic residents are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

The Association’s annual Nassau County Walk to End Alzheimer’s is scheduled for Oct. 1 in Eisenhower Park. Sunrise’s goal this year was to raise $50,000 for the walk — which it has already far surpassed.

Pamela Lowry, the facility’s activities and volunteer coordinator, has been working with residents on creative projects, like bracelets and chocolate lollipops, which will be offered at next week’s Mini Walk. Residents’ artwork and knitting will also be on display, and available for purchase.

There will be a bake sale as well, and raffle prizes, including a blanket knitted by a resident’s family member and a basket donated by a local florist, will be awarded to lucky attendees. The event will end with a Zumba for a Cure dance.

“It’s a good way to bring families in and all get together to raise funds to get rid of this disease,” Lowry said.