Right in the heart of the Upper West Side on 72nd Street, older adults with memory loss and their caregivers gather multiple times a week for a life-changing, innovative program.
National Council of Jewish Women New York’s (NCJW NY) LINC Program – short for Lunch, Interaction, Nurturing, and Companionship – is much more than a daycare or respite program. It deeply engages participants to spark positive interaction and stave off further decline.
Founded twenty years ago, LINC provides a space for older adults and their caregivers (both home health aides and family members) to engage in recreational and therapeutic activities in a warm, welcoming environment. LINC is intimate by design so facilitators can have individualized interactions with each person in the room. Participants experience art therapy, pet therapy, movement, and music therapy, and get the opportunity to be in a social, interactive environment with others. Simultaneously, caregivers experience the same welcoming support from each other. After enjoying a delicious lunch from a local café, participants are entertained by professional musicians, who lead participants in song and dance based on their own abilities and preferences. Caregivers report seeing improvements in mood and function that lasts throughout the day and the week.
“We came into LINC with Dad, and he would come and enjoy music and dance. He would love pet therapy and lunch with everyone. It definitely helped him stay connected and alert for many years beyond – he’s now 98!” – Helene Solomon, daughter of LINC participant Irwin “Cookie” Solomon
NCJW NY believes cost should not be a barrier for anyone who is a good fit for the LINC Program. So, with funding from the Sephardic Foundation on Aging, LINC is able to subsidize and even waive program fees for families who qualify.
“It’s been wonderful to offer these scholarships. We’ve been able to open this program up to families who may have thought they couldn’t afford such a high-quality, individualized experience on a regular basis.” – Andrea Salwen Kopel, NCJW NY Executive Director
LINC takes a strengths-based approach. The program facilitators strive to meet participants where they are and build on their individual interests and capacities, cultivating a safe and nurturing environment. NCJW NY’s social worker, Letitia Maun, develops relationships with all participants and caregivers, and is available to provide deeper support options and more resources.
“LINC is a place where we celebrate everyone. No matter where they are in the journey of losing their memory, we invite them to a space where there is joy – lots of joy – and creativity.” – Letitia Maun, NCJW NY Social Worker
Caring for an older loved one as they experience memory loss can be isolating, even though it is such a common experience among so many of us. If you’ve been considering looking into more opportunities for your loved one, LINC could be the perfect fit for you and your family.
Check out this new short video to get a more in-depth look at a typical day in the LINC Program.
If you’re interested in learning more, or have any questions, reach out to NCJW NY’s social worker, Letitia Maun, at email@example.com or 646-884-9471. We have financial aid available for those who need it.