December 2003


A Community-Centered Resource, The AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan Offers Innovative Programs to Those Affected by Memory Disorders

The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), will open and dedicate the nation’s first Leeza’s Place in Manhattan on Tuesday, December 9, 2003. The AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan is a community-centered resource offering programs that educate, empower and energize both caregivers and those recently diagnosed with any memory disorder.

After the loss of her grandmother and the diagnosis of her mother, noted television and radio host Leeza Gibbons and her family created The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation to meet the growing needs of those impacted by memory disorders. The AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan provides an intimate and safe community-based setting where those affected by any memory disorder can gather to prepare themselves for the challenging journey ahead.
“From the beginning, my family’s fight against Alzheimer’s disease has been fueled by my mother’s courageous insistence to inform, educate and heal the patient, caregiver and community,” said Leeza Gibbons. “I’m so excited that now we can share the outcome of our efforts with the opening of the country’s first Leeza’s Place. We’ve created a stigma free environment to begin to help those feeling alone, frustrated and frightened by this thief of memories. There is life after diagnosis.”

Each Leeza’s Place has been carefully crafted to empower both the caregiver and the recently diagnosed by offering services that nourish self esteem, relieve symptoms, impart knowledge, reduce stress, promote inclusion, and ultimately improve the quality of life while helping those affected to acquire advocacy, coping and care-related skills.

“Shutting oneself in behind closed doors after a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia can cause even more damage,” said Eric J. Hall, chief executive officer, Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. “We intentionally located The AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan in the heart of a residential and business area to draw individuals out. By providing a warm, convenient place that offers creative recreational therapies, education and other support, we can truly improve their quality of life and that of their families.”
Jamie Huysman, a licensed therapist and executive director of the Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation notes, "The genesis of Leeza’s Place was inspired by the challenges Leeza and her family faced in Columbia, South Carolina when they discovered their grandmother and mother were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Leeza’s Place, a memory disorder ‘oasis’ will soon open in communities across North America to meet the needs of every caregiver and those recently diagnosed with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, Stroke, Traumatic Brain Injury and other medical disorders that have cognitive impairment as a byproduct.”

All of the programs at The AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan are the direct result of listening to and understanding the needs, values, pressures and goals of caregivers and their loved ones. Programs have been designed to provide educational and empowering strategies, and unique tools not currently available in other places. Although services may vary from site to site, each Leeza’s Place locale will provide programs that offer support on three levels - emotional, educational and social - for caregivers, families and their recently diagnosed loved ones.

The AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan will be located at 322 8th Avenue on the 6th Floor. Leeza’s Place will be open for media and public tours on Tuesday, Dec. 9 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Leeza will be speaking at the dedication ceremony, which will take place at 11 a.m. Jamie Huysman, executive director of The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, Eric J. Hall, CEO of AFA and Bert Brodsky, AFA board chairman, will be present at the opening dedication. Volunteers are scheduled to demonstrate programs available at Leeza’s Place including scrapbooking, Leeza’s Memory TV and stamping. Furniture for the AFA Leeza’s Place of Manhattan has been donated by CORT Furniture.

The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation is the manifestation of Leeza’s vision for a better standard of care for patients and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related memory disorders. The Leeza Gibbons Memory Foundation, through its signature program Leeza’s Place seeks to educate, empower and energize caregivers and the recently diagnosed. Leeza’s Place integrates educational approaches, connective social activities, emotional support, and intergenerational programming. The Memory Foundation is dedicated to supporting the day-to-day needs of caregivers and the diagnosed, and is committed to a realistic, coordinated national strategy for finding a cure. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3); donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. For more information about Leeza’s Place, please visit www.leezasplace.org or call 1-888-OK-Leeza.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on “care in addition to cure” for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, by providing optimal care and services that improve quality of life for those confronting dementia, and for their caregivers and families. Founded in February 2002, AFA unites member organizations from coast-to-coast to collaborate on resources, program design, legislative advocacy and fundraising campaigns. AFA, through its member organizations, provides cutting-edge education and hands-on social services, including a national resource and referral network, adult day services programs, in-home and overnight respite care, comprehensive diagnosis and counseling centers, and multilingual conferences. For information about AFA and its member organizations, visit www.alzfdn.org or call 866.AFA.8484.