Meet Our Staff

Meet Our Staff: Mandy Klarman, LCSW

Meet Our Staff!
Mandy Klarman, LCSW, Director of Onboarding and Client Coordination

Mandy Klarman first came to the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center in 2018.  A stay at home mom engaged with many activities at her children’s school, Mandy was eager to do more to give back.  She gravitated to Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center because of a personal connection--her grandmother had battled the disease.  Although she was not her grandmother’s caregiver, she saw how it affected her mother and grandfather as they cared for her.

Right from the start, Mandy fit in at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. Initially a volunteer, she quickly joined Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s staff as the Director of Onboarding and Client Coordination. Today, utilizing her skills and knowledge as a licensed clinical social worker, Mandy works to ensure a smooth transition into Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s programs and services. In this position, she welcomes diagnosed individuals and their caregivers into a safe and supportive environment, conducts intakes and assists in Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s day programs.

“I bring compassion, patience and understanding to my work,” says Mandy. “With this community, you need to be flexible and understanding. During the intake process, potential clients and caregivers can have some apprehension and may need guidance about the disease and the journey ahead.”

Mandy’s friendly face can also be found in the day-to-day programs at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s center. “What I appreciate about older adults is that they have so much to share and so much history.  Face-to-face interaction allows them to express their humanity, maintain dignity and have joy in their day.” She unfailingly treats everyone with compassion and respect and allows Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s participants to be as independent as is safe for them.  She is outstanding at recognizing concerning behavior, such as someone being unsteady on their feet or refusing to eat lunch. Mandy plays a vital role in supporting families every step of the way at the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.

“Mandy has a unique warmth that makes all the difference when working with our families. Her approachability helps families feel comfortable and eager to become a part of the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center” Melissa Katz, LMSW, Director of Caregiver Services and Grant Management, Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.

Dementia and Depression

Crystalizing the Two Links Between Dementia and Depression

Everyone feels down from time to time, but the link between dementia and depression is much stronger than a one-off feeling. In fact, much of the latest research suggests depression affects those with dementia in two different ways:

  • Those who have depression may have a higher risk of developing dementia; and
  • People who have dementia suffer from depression, which can make symptoms like forgetfulness and confusion worse. 

Let’s take a more in depth look at the different connections between dementia and depression.  

Depression Is Common with Those Suffering from Alzheimer’s

It’s estimated up to 40% of people with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from substantial depression. However, actually identifying depression in someone living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging because both conditions can all cause similar symptoms. For example, individuals diagnosed with dementia and depression both can suffer from:

  • Impaired thinking
  • Isolation
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Problems concentrating
  • Apathy

A person living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can have difficulty expressing their feelings of guilt, sadness, hopelessness, and other feelings associated with depression. In addition, depression with someone diagnosed with a cognitive impairment can look holistically different than depression without a diagnosis – it may be less severe and the symptoms may come and go. If you’re a caregiver to a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia, it’s imperative to discuss any concerns with their primary care physician. 

How Can Caregivers Help Diagnosed Loved Ones Battling Depression? 

Getting your loved one living with depression the appropriate help is critical to improving their quality of life. In addition to drug treatments, there are a myriad of non-drug techniques and approaches you can take to potentially help. 

  • Involve your loved one in stage-specific support groups, especially for those in the early-stage who have been recently diagnosed. 
  • Help your loved one get into an exercise or workout routine, particularly in the morning.
  • Help them get engaged in a regular, predictable daily routine. Make sure you take advantage of your loved one’s best time of the day to perform more difficult tasks.
  • Keep an active list of places, activities, and people your loved one enjoys the most. You can schedule these activities more often.
  • Always celebrate your loved one’s small victories and successes.
  • Look for ways your loved one can contribute to life and work to recognize their contributions and feel a sense of purpose.
  • Acknowledge your loved one’s sadness and frustrations, but also express hope and support.
  • Nurture your loved one with inspirational activities and favorite foods

Can Depression Cause Dementia? 

In addition to those with dementia suffering from depression, researchers suggest depression is a risk factor for dementia, and those with more depression symptoms tend to suffer a fast decline in memory skills and thinking. In this study, depression accounted for approximately 4.4% of the difference in mental decline that couldn’t be connected to dementia related damage discovered in the brain. 

The study involved more than 1,700 seniors who averaged an age of 77 and reported no memory or thinking problems at the beginning of the study. In the end, the researchers discovered that high levels of depression before dementia diagnosis are related to a more drastic decline in memory skills and thinking skills later on. 

The British Journal of Psychiatry’s Late-Life Depression Research 

Another study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry found that depression is associated with Alzheimer’s disease and substantial vascular dementia. In summary, researchers discovered that older adults who suffered from depression were 65% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and more than two times likely to develop vascular dementia than those who are similarly aged and not depressed. 

Co-author of the paper and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Meryl Butters explains “We can’t say that late-life depression causes dementia, but we can say it likely contributes to it.” She continued to explain 36 of every 50 older adults who suffered late-life depression progress and develop vascular dementia, while 31 out of 50 seniors who have a previous history of depression may eventually have an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. 

Contact Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center for Support 

If your loved one is diagnosed with a form of dementia, the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center is available and wants to help. Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center offers a range of stage-specific programs and solutions to help you and your family navigate your way forward. 

bingo

Join Us for BINGO to Raise Money for the 4th Annual Ann Asparro Run

On National Grandparent's Day — Sunday, September 8th — the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center invites you and your family to a delightful afternoon of BINGO! Offering prizes and raffle items, this charitable event is an excellent way to celebrate, bring the whole family together and give back to your community.

The contributions from BINGO at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center will go toward helping Jay Asparro meet this year's goal of raising $100K for the 4th Annual Ann Asparro Run. So mark your calendars and plan to be in attendance at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center for BINGO. Here are the details:

Sunday, September 8th from 1:30 - 3:00 PM
1025 Old Country Road, Suite 115 in Westbury,. New York
$15 Per Person or 2 for $20
To register, call us at (516) 767-6856 or email dcastoria@liaf.org

In addition to helping raise money for an amazing cause, you can celebrate National Grandparents Day! The BINGO event is an excellent way to spend time with your family while teaching younger grandchildren the importance of giving back and supporting great causes. 

Celebrate National Grandparent's Day

National Grandparent's Day is a national holiday observed to honor grandparents and their monumental contributions made to society. Whether you're a grandparent, an adult child, or grandchild, Grandparent's Day is an excellent time to connect with the special seniors in your life. Here are a few ways you and your family can celebrate National Grandparent's Day:

  • Attend Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center's Bingo Session! It's a great opportunity to bring family and friends of all ages together for an evening of fun! Best of all, you and your family will be supporting Jay Asparro and the 4th Annual Ann Asparro Run. 
  • A simple meal and a visit will bring a smile to most grandparents' faces. 
  • Looking for more low-key activities for Grandparent's Day? Play card games, board games, and puzzles.
  • Check out local museums and other venues that may host annual Grandparent's Day Celebrations. 

The 4th Annual Ann Asparro Run 2019: 100 Miles, 1 Day, $100k

Since 2016, Jay Asparro has turned to his passion of running to raise awareness about Alzheimer's disease and dementia in honor of his grandmother, Ann. This year, Jay is challenging himself to defy logic by running 100 miles in 1 day to raise $100,000 to support the hands-on programs and services provided by Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. On November 2, 2019, he will run from Long Island's North Shore to South Shore – remembering that caregivers have no choice but to continue and push through the challenges living with the disease can entail. The BINGO event at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center on Grandparent's Day is a fundraising venture to help Jay achieve his goal. 

Can't Make Bingo? Here's How You Can Help! 

If you're unable to make the BINGO event at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, you can still help Jay by donating to his cause. No amount is too small, and everything you do will help Jay and help provide support to families throughout the Long Island area impacted by dementia. In addition to making donations directly to the Ann Asparro Run, you can also:

If you have questions or would like more information about BINGO, the 4th Annual Ann Asparro Run, or about what we do at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center, reach out to us today!

The 2019 Ann Asparro Run: 100 Miles, 1 Day, $100K

Watching a loved one face the challenges of living with Dementia can be devastating. However, it was this very devastation that inspired Jay Asparro to do something special. After watching his grandmother Ann Asparro slowly slip away while battling Alzheimer's disease, Jay knew he had to take a stand, and he did more than that!  

Since 2016, Jay has helped raise awareness for Alzheimer's disease and the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center in the annual Ann Asparro Run. Three years later, Jay has demonstrated no signs of slowing down.

For 2019, Jay is upping the ante to accomplish 100 miles in a single day by running from Long Island's North Shore to its South Shore to raise a total of $100,000 for the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. Continue reading to learn more about the Ann Asparro Run and how you can do much more than cheer Jay on from the sidelines to help make a difference. 

Making a Difference One Mile at a Time

While Jay wanted to make a difference, he was like many others and didn't know where to start or how. He often found himself at odds between finding a way to help and finding time for his busy career and young family. 

Jay desired to make a hands-on difference — he wanted to increase awareness and help other families navigate their way through the disease. Eventually, Jay merged his passion for running and his love for his grandmother into a blueprint for making a difference — one mile, one person, one family at a time. 

At first, he considered running a half marathon, but felt it wouldn't make the impactful difference he desired. As a result, he challenged himself to run an Ultra Marathon of 90 miles. As the days passed prior to the first run in 2016, his mission became more defined. Jay Asparro explained: 

"I'm running for my grandmother, for my parents and aunt and uncle, and for all of the other families who are suffering because of this terrible disease."  

Charting a Unique Path

Once Jay decided to run, the next step was for him to chart a path. Traditionally, his family would visit Montauk for Mass at St. Therese of Lisieux every summer, so his first inclination was to run from St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk to his home parish of St. Pius X in Plainview. When Jay charted the distance between the two points, it was exactly 89.7 miles — only 0.3 miles away from his grandmother’s age at the time. 

In 2016, with some adjustments to the route, Jay finished the inaugural run of 90 miles in three days to raise money for awareness and programs through the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. What started out as a 90-mile marathon took on a life of its own and grew into an annual inspirational campaign. 

In 2017, Jay ran 75 miles over a period of two days to commemorate his grandparents' 75th wedding anniversary. In 2018, Jay competed in the Lake Placid IronMan 70.3 triathlon.

100 Miles in One Day for $100,000 for Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center

Since the inaugural Ann Asparro Run, Jay has raised over $75,000 and continued to push himself farther. For 2019, Jay is looking to raise his output and awareness even higher by completing a 100-mile run in a single day! 

On November 2nd, Jay will run from Long Island's North Shore to its South Shore with a goal of raising an astonishing total of $100,000 for Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center’s hands-on programs and services. And you can do much more than cheer Jay on from the sidelines by supporting Jay's heroic run across Long Island. 

How Can You Help Jay Run the Race for Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center

If you're looking to get in on Jay's amazing feat, you can help! In fact, every one of us has a meaningful role to play. Here's how you can help: 

  1. Open your heart and wallet to make a tax-deductible charitable donation for a direct impact. 
  2. Join us for an afternoon of games, giveaways, and BINGO on Sunday, September 8th to help raise money for Jay's amazing run for Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. 
  3. Donate your time by volunteering at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center. We offer an endless range of volunteering opportunities for any age. 
  4. Commemorate the life of a loved one with an In Honor and In Memoriam Gift
  5. Encourage your organization to get involved or sponsor an event at Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center
  6. Share this article on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets to show your support. 

Contact Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center today at (516) 767-6856 with any questions about the 2019 Ann Asparro Run.

Myths About Dementia

Most Common Myth 

There is no point in obtaining or facing the diagnosis. This is a huge mistake. It affects the overall experience of diagnosed and caregiver. Getting the diagnosis allows for:

  • planning for care.
  • conversations with loved one about their wishes and preferences while they’re still lucid. Helps absolve self-doubt and guilt over decision making down the road.
  • securing documents for Power of Attorney and other decisions of this type. If you wait, that process is more difficult and more expensive.
  • education for caregiver about the disease.
  • connection to a community agency, case manager, and/or support group.
  • access to medications which may slow progression of some forms of dementia.

Most Surprising Myths

  • The person with dementia is intentionally acting stubborn, lacking in initiative or being needy. It is very difficult but important to understand why a diagnosed person no longer knows how to do something. Understanding this aspect of the disease makes it easier to conjure up a sympathetic response with a loved one.
  • People believe that the diagnosed person is in denial of the diagnosis. In reality, the diagnosed person is not able to understand the diagnosis. Often when caregivers have the conversation with the diagnosed, the loved one cannot comprehend what the diagnosis or prognosis means, even when their language skills remain intact. The condition is Anosognosia, and is a byproduct of changes to the brain. Anosognosia is different than denial. It is not a coping mechanism, it is an inability to process that specifically occurs with dementia.

Myth

  • A caregiver can accurately assess their loved one’s needs.

The caregiver may know their loved one and their needs best, but lacks objectivity about the person’s functioning because of the close relationship and emotional component. Diagnosed people are incredibly skilled at masking symptoms, fixing mistakes, making jokes, making excuses, accusing others. The ability to mask cognitive impairment is remarkable and a caregiver can be fooled into thinking loved one is either more or less functional than they appear.