Westbury nonprofit gives hope to families dealing with dementia

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The Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center on Old Country Road provides a six-day-a-week program for dementia patients. The center also provides in-home respite care for patients and their caregivers.

"We know that there's around 56,000 people living on Long Island with this disease, and we want to be able to help them in any way we can," says Tori Cohen, of the Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.

Experts say dementia patients are being diagnosed at an earlier age, with some people as young as their 50s. They say it can cause financial ruin for a lot of families. That's why the center works on a sliding scale with patients.

Naheed Raja, whose husband is a dementia patient, says the center helped her find ways to be strong for her husband and to have faith.

Raja's husband Sajjad was diagnosed with early onset dementia in his 50s. She says the disease put a tremendous strain on the family both financially and emotionally. After doing some research she connected with Long Island Alzheimer's and Dementia Center.

"When I entered these doors, I was crying," says Raja. "I was shaking, but they made me strong."

Raja says she brings her husband to the center twice a week and he gets to dance to his favorite music. She says it offers her a glimpse of the man her husband used to be.

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