KALAMAZOO, Mich. — A new $2 million center focusing on Alzheimer's disease and dementia is in its final stages of construction.
The project at Heritage Community is hoping to educate and provide resources to people affected.
The project has been in the works for around five years, finally breaking ground last year.
The memory care learning center is located within Heritage Community of Kalamazoo and will assist community members, patients and caregivers affected by Alzheimer's disease and dementia get educated and connected to resources.
"Ninety-three percent of those that have dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are living at home, and a spouse or a loved one is just thrown into this. We want to be able to help the community be able to empower those caregivers and be able to support them," said Heritage Community of Kalamazoo's CEO and President Jay Prince.
Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States.
"With Alzheimer’s disease, it can be very devastating with no cure or really a treatment plan and take on very different forms and burdens for family members," said Prince.
That's why Heritage Community constructed the center. The 7,000-square-foot space is already on the campus below their memory-care community, Amber Way.
"For those who have just been first diagnosed and had been to a doctor, and the doctor shared that you had this condition, we want you to call the Memory Care Learning Center. We want to educate you about what this path may look like, what are proper steps you may take as well as be able to support you wherever that journey comes," said Prince.
The center also hopes to create stronger programs for patients and caregivers as well as aims to educate the professional community have a greater understanding of the disease at no cost.
"One hundred percent of our staff is trained in the 'best friends' approach. It is an approach to Alzheimer’s disease. That is one we are already developed and are ready to help people be trained in that approach," said Prince.
Heritage Community said it's the first of its kind in the area and in West Michigan, staying community focused, to address a disease that impacts so many families.
"We see the need both now and the continued need, and so we just want to help our community. We don’t want to have any financial barriers, so they can just come in and we can help them at no cost," said Prince.
Construction for the center will be finished in December.
Heritage Community said they will host a few soft openings at that time, and then fully open to the public in January.