Sunnyside Community Services wins national caregiving award

A senior center in Sunnyside received national recognition for the quality of care they provide to clients.

Sunnyside Community Services, an organization dedicated to providing support to caregivers of those who have Alzheimer’s or other dementias, was awarded a $20,000 grant through the Innovations in Alzheimer’s Caregiving Award.

The award is presented by The Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Foundation, Bader Philanthropies, Inc. and Family Caregiver Alliance, and is presented to three outstanding programs in the country.

SCS and their Care NYC program was recognized for its multicultural approach and services, and is the only New York City-based winner.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our accomplishments, in particular, providing support to the Latino caregiver community,” Shyvonne Noboa, division director for senior services, said.

“Our Latino caregivers are exacerbated in terms of their needs, including social support, basic healthcare and mental health needs,” she continued. “What we do is empower with education and provide that emotional support and in-home care, and it’s wonderful to be recognized for the area of expertise that we’ve been able to craft. We’ve been providing services to family caregivers in western Queens and all of Queens for over 10 years.”

Care NYC offers services to caregivers and their loved ones which include education and caregiver skills workshops, peer support groups and long term care planning.

Edward Rosado, a caregiver support specialist at SCS, said that he enjoys being able to provide necessary services to the Latino community by making resources accessible to them and engaging with them in their native language.

“When we speak in their native tongue, we develop that trust in the beginning, which can lead to them asking for other services they normally wouldn’t know how to ask for,” Rosado said.“From that moment on, we try to provide a care plan that would implement services for them to help navigate dementia.”

He added that “caring for someone that you love that suffers from this devastating disease is not an easy thing, and so we provide the services to keep them intact.”
Anna Romero, a resident of Brownsville, cares for her 71-year-old husband whose cognitive function is declining.

She has participated in SCS’ programs for seven years, and described the organization’s assistance as “instrumental” during her husband’s journey with dementia.

“Their expertise and support system is incredible, because there’s so much knowledge and experience with the roundtable talks and the sense of community they provide,” Romero said.

“It helps me remember that I’m not going through this alone. SCS’ care is more individualized, more heartfelt than other places I’ve dealt with,” she continued. “We developed several relationships through the support group that have continued, and it’s very helpful to just be able to talk to someone who’s going through the same thing as you.”

In 2021 alone, the SCS staff provided over 2,000 caregivers with support services, and performed over 3,000 check-in calls.

The awarded funds will be used to further support and expand upon the organization’s programming.

“A lot of the time, the funding that this program gets is really tight and restricted to particular areas,” Noboa said. “This grant gives the program and the team an opportunity to get really creative, to develop and strengthen their professional skills to create opportunities for caregivers and the team in a way that we couldn’t before.”

Rosado said that the most rewarding part of his job is hearing the feedback from clients and knowing how much the work he does makes a positive difference in someone’s life.

“We’re in this work to help people. We’re not looking to pat ourselves on the back or put ourselves on a pedestal,” he said. “These clients, these caregivers are so appreciative that somebody knows that they’re alive, or that they need assistance. So what I get is not in the pocket, I get it in the heart when I hear ‘Thank you, you saved my life. God bless you.’ During this part of history, I can actually say I’m part of an organization that helped mankind out… How many people get to say that?”

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