Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center System named national winner of Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s 2021 Anne & Irving Brodsky Innovation Grant

The Island Now

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, a Commack, Long Island-based nonprofit organization serving elderly, medically frail older adults, including those affected by dementia, has been named a national winner of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s (2021 Anne & Irving Brodsky Innovation Grant.

The $25,000 grant will help create an Interactive Immersion Memory Stimulation Program in Gurwin Center’s 60-bed Memory Care Unit. 

According to Gurwin, the unique program will be the first of its kind in New York to offer a multi-sensory virtual reality experience for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, as well as their loved ones.

Gurwin’s program features a completely virtual interactive Immersion Room designed to stimulate the senses of sight, sound, smell and touch by connecting participants to virtual experiences and memories. 

Unique to the program is its ability to remotely include caregivers or loved ones in the virtual experience; preloaded scenarios enable shared virtual excursions to concerts, events and places such as the Botanical Gardens or even a simple stroll down the streets of Manhattan. 

The program also enables joint participation in therapeutic cognitive activities, health education, music and art modalities, mindful experiences and holistic interventions to promote socialization and meaningful engagement.

“This interactive memory stimulation experience can help bring back memories for individuals with dementia by creating unique experiences. They can visit some of their favorite places or enjoy a favorite show or concert without having to leave the safety of their residence,” said AFA President & CEO Charles J. Fuschillo Jr. “The program offers cognitive stimulation in a fun and interactive way. We are proud to award this grant to Gurwin Jewish Healthcare Foundation for implementing such a worthwhile project that will tremendously benefit Long Islanders.”

“We are so pleased to have been selected for the AFA’s 2021 Anne & Irving Brodsky Innovation Grant,” said Stuart B. Almer, president and chief executive officer of Gurwin Healthcare System. “This award helps us further our mission and enhance our services to provide innovative, person-centered care and programs for our residents with cognitive issues, and has the added ability to extend that care to their loved ones as well.”

Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center opened in 1988 in Commack, Long Island and since then has expanded to a CMS 5-star rated, 460-bed skilled nursing and sub-acute rehabilitation facility. Situated on a 36-acre campus, the Center includes a dedicated Memory Care Unit, an Advanced Care Unit, a respiratory/ventilator care unit, two Adult Day Care Programs for community members with dementia and other physical/cognitive needs, as well as on-sight dialysis and pharmacy.

The annual grant, initiated in 2005, awards $25,000 to an outstanding nonprofit member organization to help fund an innovative program that improves the lives of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or other related illnesses, and their families. The program must demonstrate creativity and uniqueness, greatest need, and replication potential.


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