Betty Marione’s eyes lit up at the sight of Belle, Granat Alzheimer’s Center’s therapy dog at the Parker Jewish Institute. She smiles and gently strokes the pup who sits quietly next to her.
Belle – from Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs – made the rounds to each of the almost 30 participants at the Alzheimer’s center on Friday, August 13 during a family barbecue, an annual tradition for the Alzheimer’s program that recently celebrated its 21st anniversary.
“The family barbecue is a chance for family members to just relax and have a nice evening,” said director Martha Wolf. “It’s also a chance for caregivers to meet each other and be supportive.”
Parker is among the national leaders in managing and treating the full range of clinical problems for people at all stages of dementia. Participants in the program enjoy special services including bathing, grooming, hot lunch, special diet items and more. During recent weeks, members of Girl Scout Troop 10-24 visited with the participants and developed bonds through exercise and games.
“They are so happy when we come,” said troop member Megan Velsor. “We started by doing exercise routines, but they love to play ‘Simon Says’ and charades.”
All in attendance were treated to cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries, sodas and a live keyboard performance featuring tunes like “Save the Last Dance For Me,” “Under the Boardwalk,” and “Sitting by the Dock of the Bay.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the Alzheimer’s Day Care Unit at the Parker Jewish Institute should call 718-289-2105.