For over three decades, the Selfhelp Alzheimer’s Resource Program (SHARP) has been a lifeline for individuals in the early to mid-stages of Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Operating from the Clearview Older Adult Center in Bayside, Queens, SHARP’s Social Adult Daycare Services provide a nurturing and stimulating environment for participants while providing respite for caregivers. For five hours each day, Monday to Friday, SHARP facilitates socialization and stimulating activities. Such as music therapy, art appreciation, Neurobics, Wii bowling, and other creative and cognitive exercises. Recognizing the vital role of caregivers, SHARP also offers caregiver support, including informational resources and individual and family counseling.

Social Adult Daycare Services

Newly diagnosed individuals undergo a fundamental emotional and psychological shift. It is important to find things they can still do well. Through a combination of the small group size, individualized care, empowering games and activities, and a host of social opportunities, Selfhelp’s SHARP model helps participants feel as if their fellow group members are an extended family.

Individuals who have been newly diagnosed with dementia are still highly mentally and physically functional. They need support in maintaining their levels of functioning for as long as possible. SHARP’s day program activities are designed to do this and there is strong evidence these activities are effective.

At SHARP, the ratio of clients to staff is five-to-one.

SHARP’s Social Adult Day Care model includes a variety of engaging activities such as music sessions, Neurobic activities, Nintendo Wii, Dakim brain fitness program, group exercise, door-to-door transportation, congregate meals, and even virtual classes for homebound individuals. Additionally, SHARP places importance on intergenerational connections and partners with local schools to foster interactions between seniors and youth.

Program Highlights

Individualized care plans

These are informed by client assessments and modified in response to ongoing evaluation through direct observation. The plans include specific goals for each participant. The mission is to delay cognitive and physical decline for as long as possible.

Door-to-door transportation

Through generous funding from the NYC City Council, transportation is available to and from the program, offering participants a familiar face to pick them up and take them home, while providing additional respite for the caregiver.


These activities, developed by a specialist in neuroscience, sharpen the senses and challenge participants to use their brains in a different way. This activates underused nerve pathways and connections when others no longer function well. An independent study found Neurobics to be effective at improving memory and reducing depression.

Besides finding Neurobics enjoyable, many of the clients tend to be more alert and active after participating. A participant will engage in activities such as writing her name with her opposing hand, wearing a blindfold to identify a piece of food by taste, smell, and touch, and attempting to finish a sentence by providing the appropriate word. Another favorite activity has been learning foreign languages. The social worker has been able to incorporate several clients into the role of instructor, who teach others in the group their native language. Participants are beginning to understand that the primary goal of the exercise is not to learn a new language but to open up new pathways in the brain.