Plainview Teen creates organizations to help Alzheimer’s patients

Hailey Richman

When Hailey Richman was just four years old at POB / JFK High School, she tried to help her grandmother Ruth with her recent diagnosis of Alzheimer’s. Ten years later, fast forward the clock, and the precocious teenager has created two nonprofit organizations to help people and their family members struggling with the effects of the debilitating disease.

“I was four years old at the time my grandmother was diagnosed, and I remember there were no support groups for children whose family members had Alzheimer’s or dementia,” said Richman, a freshman at POB / JFK High School. “I wanted to do something about it, so four years later I started an online nonprofit called Kid Caregivers, a support forum for youth groups whose family members are living with Alzheimer’s.”

She also founded an organization called PuzzlesToRemember, which collects and distributes puzzles for Alzheimer’s patients in memory centers and nursing homes.

Prior to the Covid pandemic, Richman said she went to her grandmothers nursing home and brought puzzles and games for them both to play.

“I know that puzzles are supposed to stimulate the visual cortex area of ​​the brain, which is reduced in size in Alzheimer’s patients. It gives these patients a rewarding activity and a sense of achievement. My grandmother and I loved solving puzzles back then and I saw that she was very happy and committed. “

As part of PuzzlesToRemember, students of all ages interact with Alzheimer’s patients in nursing homes and group homes and help them solve puzzles. The Puzzle Time program allows students to earn charitable contributions while providing Alzheimer’s and dementia sufferers with a sense of fun and camaraderie

Richman is CEO and Executive Director of the organization that spawned Puzzle Ambassadors around the world who helped distribute 136,000 puzzles to people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. She herself has shipped 50,000 puzzles to all fifty states in the United States and other countries.

“My primary concern now is to focus on Alzheimer’s patients, who are diverse, low-income and who need the resources and tools to deal with this devastating disease.”

Emma Richman, Hailey’s mother, said her daughter was the first person in the country to start a peer-to-peer youth group for children whose family members live with Alzheimer’s.

“Grandmother Haileys and my mother Ruth died of Alzheimer’s disease last year at the age of 96. My dad also died of the same disease, ”said (Emma) Richman. “I’ve been part of several Alzheimer’s support groups over the years. Both Hailey and I discovered that there were no child support groups and that was something that was badly needed. “

In her role as the founder and managing director of Kid Caregivers, Hailey offers tips, ideas and suggestions on all aspects of caring for and dealing with Alzheimer’s patients. She holds peer-to-peer zoom sessions with other children at home and abroad whose family members are living with the disease. A licensed career counselor is available to review the sessions and offer guidance and topics for discussion.

“My main motivation is to influence the lives of people with this disease and ultimately find a cure for this debilitating condition,” said Richman.

As part of her efforts to influence the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease, Richman has received several prominent awards including a 2018 Prudential Spirit of Community Award, a Power of Children Award from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, and she is a recipient of the Marvel Hero Project.

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