News - September 21, 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 21, 2021

CONTACT:  Lindsay Hutter | 703.824.1109 | lhutter@goodwinhouse.org

Goodwin House Incorporated Partners with U.S. Senator Mark Warner to Launch StrongerMemory PSA for World Alzheimer’s Month

Alexandria, VA – Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI), a senior living and health care services organization in the National Capital Region, recently hosted an event to launch a public service announcement featuring U.S. Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) focused on the brain health curriculum, StrongerMemory. Sen. Warner is co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Task Force on Alzheimer’s Disease.

“I want to say a special thank you to all my friends at Goodwin House for their StrongerMemory program,” Senator Warner remarked in the PSA. “My mom had Alzheimer’s for 11 years, so anything we can do to improve cognitive facilities as we age is something I strongly support.”

The event featured remarks from Rob Liebreich, GHI President and CEO, and creator of the StrongerMemory program, and City of Alexandria Councilwoman Amy Jackson. In 2019, Alexandria became the second jurisdiction in Virginia to be designated as a Dementia Friendly city.

“As the senior population grows, we’re relying on support programs and services, such as the StrongerMemory platform,” said Councilwoman Jackson. “This program allows the continuation of longevity so that we can continue to have those important human interactions. We all have stories, and StrongerMemory assists in keeping those stories alive.”

StrongerMemory was created by Mr. Liebreich in 2011 to help his mother, Wendy, fight against cognitive decline. The proven curriculum, which was implemented for GHI residents in January 2020, consists of simple activities practiced daily to engage the working memory and trigger brain activity in the prefrontal cortex. Research indicates that participants who spend just 20 to 30 minutes a day engaged in simple reading, writing and math activities can experience stabilized or improved cognitive functions.

“It is an honor to serve as the President and CEO of Goodwin House Incorporated, and an even greater honor is to be the son of Wendy Liebreich,” said Liebreich. “My mom Wendy was repeating herself, forgetting her conversations, and even getting lost in familiar places, and though I was in service to older adults and educated on the topic of brain health, I had no answers for my mom. I created StrongerMemory to help my mom and nine years later, she continues her daily regimen of handwriting, reading out loud, and doing basic math quickly, and her brain health is strong.”

Dr. Robert Wallace, Former Chairman of the Departments of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the Mayo Clinic and Georgetown University School of Medicine, and resident of Goodwin House Alexandria, also shared his personal story of how StrongerMemory has sharpened his cognitive capabilities.

“I never felt that I had a strong memory,” said Dr. Wallace. “When the program became available here, I thought it would be worth trying. Over the past several weeks, I think I have noted subjectively a change. It is an outstanding program that I’m happy to be a part of.”

GHI has partnered with the George Mason University Department of Social Work to study the impact of GHI’s StrongerMemory program on cognitive ability, memory retrieval and life satisfaction. The study, which is currently in phase two, includes residents of GHI’s two Life Plan Communities (Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads) and members of Goodwin House at Home, who participated in the program.

“We’ve seen so many exciting and promising results from this risk-free brain health program,” said Jessica Fredericksen, Brain Health Manager at Goodwin House Inc. “We will continue to enthusiastically spread awareness about StrongerMemory while we continue our research partnership with George Mason University.”

The Alzheimer’s Association reports 15% to 20% of those over age 65 have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – upwards of 10 million people in the United States – and that 38% of individuals with MCI develop dementia after five years. In Virginia, 150,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s disease, and 9.5% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline.

With a goal to enhance the lives of more than 100,000 older adults, GHI has been able to make StrongerMemory available at no cost thanks to the generous donors of the Goodwin House Foundation, which is funding StrongerMemory as well as the GHI brain health program. The entire curriculum can be downloaded for free at www.goodwinhouse.org/stronger-memory/packets/

To view the StrongerMemory PSA featuring Sen. Warner, please visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j-LfqXH-B8 

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About Goodwin House Incorporated: Celebrating 54 years of providing exceptional service to older adults, Goodwin House Incorporated (GHI) is a not-for-profit, Virginia-based corporation affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Through its growing family of senior living and healthcare services owned and operated across Northern Virginia, GHI serves 2,000 older adults with options that include: two Life Plan Communities—Goodwin House Alexandria and Goodwin House Bailey’s Crossroads; an innovative continuing care at home program—Goodwin House at Home; and a portfolio of healthcare services and partnerships delivering Home Health, Rehabilitation, Primary Care, Palliative Care and Hospice.

GHI also is the management agent for The Lewinsville Retirement Residences, Inc. serving low-income older adults in McLean and Great Falls, Virginia. GHI also advances its mission through the Goodwin House Foundation, a 501(c)(3) supporting foundation that provides financial support to current and future residents in need and to fund programs dedicated to promoting growth and education of staff as well as overall well-being and vibrant living as we age.

About StrongerMemory: StrongerMemory is a curriculum designed to stimulate the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which governs our ability to retrieve memories. Participants spend just 20 to 30 minutes a day engaged in simple reading, writing and math activities. The StrongerMemory program is currently available in a workbook of exercises and can be downloaded at no cost at: https://www.goodwinhouse.org/stronger-memory/. StrongerMemory is available at no cost thanks to financial support from the Goodwin House Foundation.

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