Lou-Ellen Barkan
President & CEO

Dear Friends,

In the aftermath of the release of Hillary Clinton’s 1996 book, It Takes a Village, cultural scholars debated the origins of the proverb from which the title is derived: “It takes a village to raise a child.” Was it Swahili? Native American? To this day, no one knows for sure.

But this much, I do know: regardless of its source, this important concept resonates deeply here at CaringKind because it truly takes not just a village, but an entire city of dedicated Alzheimer’s professionals to make sure that the people who come to us for help are getting the best and most comprehensive services available anywhere.

And it all starts with one simple phone call to our 24-hour Helpline. Dialing these 11 digits, 1-646-744-2900, opens an entire world of support for you. This call introduces you to a CaringKind Helpline Specialist who figures out what you need and then connects you to members of our “village” – a coordinated network of partners dedicated to helping New Yorkers who are dealing with dementia or Alzheimer’s.

From neurologists who make an initial assessment to the experts who run adult day care programs and from the elder lawyers who plan for end of life decisions, to the health care providers who run long term care residential homes, our trusted collaborators are a big part of CaringKind’s success. We rely on them day in and day out because they are the best at what they do. And our clients deserve nothing less.

Here’s one example of how we rely on that village: After calling our Helpline, a family came in to meet with a CaringKind social worker. The family was distraught. Their father’s behavior had been uncharacteristic for some time and he was now showing symptoms they thought could be dementia. From our roster of doctors, we recommended a few neurologists and the family chose one to do an assessment. When we learned that Dad’s internist had retired, we provided the names of a number of doctors with experience diagnosing and treating people with dementia. Once they had a firm diagnosis and ongoing medical support, they had turned a corner. The family now turned to CaringKind’s programs and services to select an adult day care program located near their home.

Dad’s late-night wandering was a major concern. This dangerous behavior can result in serious injury or even death. We immediately registered Dad in CaringKind’s MedicAlert® NYC Wanderer’s Safety Program, which works in close partnership with the New York City Police Department. But to move ahead, Dad needed to wear a MedicAlert identification bracelet, and he refused to wear any kind of jewelry. To the rescue came our CaringKind social workers. She suggested that the man’s beloved grandson give Grandpa a MedicAlert bracelet for Christmas to match the one that the grandson would wear. It worked! Grandpa was successfully enrolled in the program and wore his bracelet proudly.

Our community partners are an essential component of our work. From the medical community to the social service agencies to experts in legal and financial issues to the Missing Persons Bureau of the NYPD, our organization is built on twin pillars: CaringKind expertise and loyal, long-term community partnerships. The village we have built is strong, diverse and responsive. The people who populate that village are among the most dedicated and caring dementia experts in the world.

In reflecting on these extraordinary relationships with NYC doctors, lawyers, nursing home administrators, home health aides, nurses, pharmacists, researchers, scientists, nonprofit organizations, and other service providers, I am proud of what we accomplish together every day to improve the lives of thousands of New York families affected by an Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis. And with CaringKind at the helm, our village will continue to grow and serve New Yorkers with expertise and compassion.

Please support our Year of the Hero Campaign and honor a Caregiver Hero.


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