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Jun 13, 2016 4:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Alzheimer's Association Celebrates Opening Of Riverhead Office

Members of the Alzheimer's Association Long Island chapter cut the ribbon on a new office in Riverhead. COURTESY ALZHEIMER'S ASSOCIATION
Jun 14, 2016 2:20 PM

Those on the East End with family and friends suffering from Alzheimer’s disease now have a place where they can go to get help and support.

The Long Island Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association opened a new office 30 West Main Street in Riverhead this past winter, but celebrated its official opening only last Thursday, June 9. The chapter’s second satellite office—the other is located in Melville—is being funded through the state budget, which allocates $50 million over the next two years to support and provide services for patients battling the disease and their caregivers.

The new facility is an offshoot of the organization’s main office in Melville and will offer caregiver education sessions, public awareness programs, support groups and social activities. The staff will also be working with the Family Community Life Center, through the Riverhead First Baptist Church, to offer caregiver support on the fourth Friday of every month.

“This will give us a chance to make a stronger impact on the eastern end of the island—that is our goal,” Doug Davidson, executive director for the Long Island chapter, said on Friday. “Our mission is to reach as many people as possible because the number of people with this disease is staggering and continues to grow.”

Alzheimer’s disease affects memory and eventually leads to the deterioration of brain function. In advanced cases, patients might not remember their age, or anything about their family and friends.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans now suffer from the disease, and it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. A new case is diagnosed every 66 seconds and there is no cure.

The Riverhead office opened its doors in February and, according to Mr. Davidson, the area was picked to accommodate the East End’s growing population, especially among the elderly. The Alzheimer’s Association boasts seven chapters in the state.

Additional information about the Alzheimer’s Association, and its many services, can be obtained by calling its helpline at 1-800-272-3900, or by visiting www.alz.org/longisland.

“We are fortunate that the State of New York has traditionally been generous with funding because this disease is so compelling and heartbreaking,” Mr. Davidson said. “And last year that support went way up, allowing us to use these funds to serve more people throughout the state.

“The office in Riverhead is the Long Island chapter’s way to expand the number of people we are reaching,” he continued.

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