OCTOBER 2020 • LONGISLANDPRESS.COM 7
Long Island Alzheimer’s & Dementia (LIAD)
Center was started in 1988 by five Long Island
women who each had a connection with dementia
and wanted to create a place where families could
turn for much-needed help and services.
The grassroots, not-for-profit organization’s
programs provide help and hope for families
grappling with Alzheimer’s disease and other
forms of dementia.
We recently discussed how the COVID-19
pandemic has impacted the organization, its mission,
and more with Tori Cohen, its executive director.
Q: What is the mission of the Long Island
Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center?
TC: To help improve the quality of life for
individuals and their families living with
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Q: How is your organization using technology
now and how has that changed since the start
of the pandemic?
TC: Technology has kept us connected to our
LIAD Center community through Facetime and
Zoom calls with our caregivers and participants
who are living with dementia. The pandemic
has changed our format in how we do our
programming but it has also made it easier to
connect with many more families whom we were
not able to reach because of distance.
Q: How has COVID-19 impacted your
organization? What challenges has it created for
you and how have you overcome those challenges?
TC: The LIAD Center has been impacted
economically. We were fortunate to get a Payroll
Protection Program loan. We have a few different
revenue streams and they were all affected, one of
them being special events. Our golf outing, held
on September 14, was held with safety restrictions
but was sold out. Our casino event in November
is being changed to another event – a comedy
Long Island Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center:
More Than 30 Years of Help a nd Hope
event that will hopefully draw in more people
and raise more money than we would have in a
smaller in-person event.
Q: What are the biggest challenges facing your
organization in addition to COVID-19 and
how are you working to overcome them?
TC: We pride ourselves on our hands-on programs
and services that make us unique – specifically,
with our programs that serve all stages of the
disease. So our recent pivot to online and virtual
programming has been challenging – especially
for a population that has cognitive impairment.
We have done a lot of support over the phone but
this population needs a lot of handholding. We are
waiting on guidance from New York State in order
to open our center for our in-person services. But
we are working on how to monetize our virtual
programs to increase revenue and to ensure that
we are a sustainable organization in the future in
case of a new surge of COVID.
Q: Are there new initiatives, programs or
expansion plans at your organization that you
can tell us about?
TC: We’re starting a counseling service run by our
licensed clinical social workers for any caregivers
and individuals in the Long Island community
who are facing this disease and any other mental
health challenges. While our facility is located
in Nassau County, our doors are open to anyone
seeking support and resources.
Q: Please tell us about your role at the
organization and what your favorite part of
what you do is.
TC: I have been with the organization for over 17
years and have been the Executive Director since
2015. My favorite part is working alongside my
wonderful team and creating new programs that
will help all individuals and families facing this
Q: How did you get into this line of work?
TC: My grandmother had dementia and
I watched her progress and I realized how
important it is to have programs and services
plus hope and support for these families. I am
a licensed certified social worker and have been
working with the geriatric population since 1997.
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Spotlight Long Island
Tori Cohen, Executive Director, Long
Island Alzheimer’s & Dementia Center
Left to right: Thomas Killeen, Esq., Board
Member, Tori Cohen, and Jennifer Cona,
Esq., Chair of Board of Trustees