CaringKind


About Us

 
CaringKind*, The Heart of Alzheimer’s Caregiving is New York City’s leading expert on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving. With over 30 years of experience, we work directly with our community partners to develop the information, tools and training to support individuals and families affected by dementia.
 
We offer a 24-hour Helpline run by professional staff, individual and family counseling sessions with licensed social workers; a vast network of support groups; education seminars and training programs; early stage services and a wanderer’s safety program. We believe in the power of caregiving and seek a world where everyone dealing with dementia has the support they need, when they need it.
 
*Formerly Known As the Alzheimer’s Association, New York City Chapter
 

Our Mission:

The mission of CaringKind is to create, deliver, and promote comprehensive and compassionate care and support services for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research. We achieve our mission by providing programs and services for individuals with dementia; their family and professional caregivers; increasing public awareness; collaborating with research centers; and informing public policy through advocacy.
 
Contact Us:
360 Lexington Avenue, 4th Floor, New York, NY 10017
646-744-2900
helpline@caringkindnyc.org

 


Alzheimer's Disease: The Basics

 
What is Alzheimer's disease?
 
Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. In most people with Alzheimer’s, symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults.
 
The disease is named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer. In 1906, Dr. Alzheimer noticed changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness. Her symptoms included memory loss, language problems, and unpredictable behavior. After she died, he examined her brain and found many abnormal clumps (now called amyloid plaques) and tangled bundles of fibers (now called neurofibrillary, or tau, tangles).
 
These plaques and tangles in the brain are still considered some of the main features of Alzheimer’s disease. Another feature is the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Neurons transmit messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.
 
Although treatment can help manage symptoms in some people, currently there is no cure for this devastating disease.
 
What happens to the brain in Alzheimer's disease?
 
Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems become evident. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain. Abnormal deposits of proteins form amyloid plaques and tau tangles throughout the brain, and once-healthy neurons stop functioning, lose connections with other neurons, and die.
 
The damage initially appears to take place in the hippocampus, the part of the brain essential in forming memories. As more neurons die, additional parts of the brain are affected. By the final stage of Alzheimer’s, damage is widespread, and brain tissue has shrunk significantly.
 
 
What is dementia?
 
Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning—thinking, remembering, and reasoning—and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of daily living.
 
The causes of dementia can vary, depending on the types of brain changes that may be taking place. Other dementias include Lewy body dementia, frontotemporal disorders, and vascular dementia. It is common for people to have mixed dementia—a combination of two or more disorders, at least one of which is dementia. For example, some people have both Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.
 
Other conditions that may cause memory loss or dementia include:
 
  • medication side effects
  • chronic alcoholism
  • tumors or infections in the brain
  • blood clots in the brain
  • vitamin B12 deficiency
  • some thyroid, kidney, or liver disorders
  • stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep disturbances
Some of these conditions may be treatable and possibly reversible. They can be serious and should be treated by a doctor as soon as possible.
 
Emotional problems, such as stress, anxiety, or depression, can make a person more forgetful and can be mistaken for dementia. For instance, someone who has recently retired or who is coping with the death of a spouse may feel sad, lonely, worried, or bored. Trying to deal with these life changes leaves some people confused or forgetful. The emotional problems can be eased by supportive friends and family, but if these feelings last for a long time, it is important to get help from a doctor or counselor.

 


Programs and Services

 
24-Hour Helpline
 
Call us (646) 744-2900 or email us at helpline@caringkindnyc.org.
 
You can reach us 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in 200 languages. This is the only number you need to connect with NewYork City’s dementia experts. Our Helpline Specialists can provide you with the most up-to-date information, education and support. We’re here for you.
 
You can also call us for emotional support –– as often as you need. We know that living with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming at times. Remember, we are here for you –– all day, every day.
 
Social Work Services
 
Our social workers provide in-depth, personalized consultations for individuals and families facing the decisions and challenges associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Our professional social workers address each family’s unique concerns to develop a care plan. Social workers can meet, by appointment, in person in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, or by phone and email.
 
Early Stage Center
 
We provide programs and services for those in the early stage of the disease or caring for someone who is. The services include consultations for families and opportunities to participate in programs in our Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Stage Center.
 
Education & Training
 
Our training and education programs help you understand and navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving. We provide knowledge and skills to help you more successfully care for someone with dementia and take care of yourself.
 
Support Groups
 
Support Groups provide a comfortable place to discuss caregiving challenges, share your feelings and nd emotional support.Talking with people who truly understand will help you feel less alone as you confront the many challenges of caregiving. Support Groups take place in multiple languages throughout the five boroughs.
 
Wanderer’s Safety Program
 
Our Wanderer’s Safety Program, MedicAlert® NYC, provides a safety net for your family member and for you in the event someone is missing or found.
 
Together We Care™
 
Are you a family member looking to hire private home care workers? Together We Care posts profiles of graduates of our Dementia Care Training for Professional Caregivers, making it easier for families to find the right person for their needs.
 
Connect2Culture®
 
Our cultural arts program, connect2culture®, creates unique opportunities for people living with dementia and their caregivers to stimulate conversation and engagement through art, music and dance.

 


Caring for a Person with Memory Loss

 
Caregiver Tips
Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can have high physical, emotional, and financial costs. The demands of day-to-day care, changes in family roles, and decisions about placement in a care facility can be difficult. There are several evidence-based approaches and programs that can help, and researchers are continuing to look for new and better ways to support caregivers.
 
Becoming well-informed about the disease is one important strategy. Programs that teach families about the various stages of Alzheimer’s and about ways to deal with difficult behaviors and other caregiving challenges can help.
 
Good coping skills, a strong support network, and respite care are other ways to help caregivers handle the stress of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease. For example, staying physically active provides physical and emotional benefits.
 
Some caregivers have found that joining a support group is a critical lifeline. These support groups allow caregivers to find respite, express concerns, share experiences, get tips, and receive emotional comfort. Many organizations sponsor in-person and online support groups, including groups for people with early-stage Alzheimer’s and their families.
 
Home Care
Seventy percent of persons with Alzheimer's disease are cared for at home. Home care can be essential to provide personal care and give the family assistance and relief to continue to care for the patient. Deciding on and finding the care needed is not always easy. It is a personal decision based on the person's needs and family situation. CaringKind does not recommend nor endorse any home care agencies or workers, but provides information on resources available to assist families in making arrangements.
 
Late Stage Care
The late stage of Alzheimer's disease may last anywhere from several weeks to several years. Intensive, around-the-clock assistance is usually required. Caring for the person with Alzheimer's disease is most successful when the focus is on preserving quality of life and dignity and treating the person with compassion and respect.
 
Nutrition and hydration are important in maintaining a person's physical well being. However, a person with late-stage Alzheimer's may have difficulty swallowing food and liquids. This may cause aspiration into the airway and lungs and eventually, pneumonia. Here are some suggestions to help the person eat and drink safely.
 
 
Early Stage Center
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Early Stage Center provides a supportive environment and specialized programs for people with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or an early form of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Care partners, family members and professionals will also find an array of educational resources, counseling and support available to them.