NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - The Regency Memory Care Club in Bergen County, New Jersey is making sure people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia are living a full life. They exercise, sing, dance, cook, socialize, have memory therapy, go on field trips and they can get their hair done.
86 year old Tina Haemmerle, who has age-related memory loss says "I love it. I look forward to coming here."
82 year old Sal Benducci, who has dementia, says if he didn't have this program he wouldn't be doing "...much of anything. It's worth coming here."
A recent survey conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey found that when seeking a diagnosis, about half of the time doctors don't tell patients about support programs to help them deal with their Alzheimer's and dementia.
Kathy and Bill McNally are the primary caregivers for Bill's 91 year old Aunt Rosemarie, who has Alzheimer's.
Kathy says it's like they're drowning and "You don't know how to help them."
Bill says, "We really didn't know what to do. We were trying to handle it on our own."
They say The Regency Memory Care Club has changed all of their lives especially for Aunt Rosemarie.
"She has a better quality of life." "She feels happy."
The club hosts about 65 members a day. They range in age from 55 to 96. The program gives the caregivers a break and keeps their loved ones active.
Marketing Director Fay Schulgasser says prior to joining the memory club most of the members sat a home doing nothing and spent most of their time sleeping which caused them to deteriorate even faster. Now, they're exercising again, being active and "have a purpose again."
81-year-old Bunny Bard has dementia. She comes to the memory club 5 days a week.
"I enjoy it. It's so much fun. It feels like home. It's my home. I really enjoy it," Bard says