Brandon Wilde retirement community executives on Wednesday started tearing down a seemingly forgotten set of homes nestled in the woods west of the Evans complex to make way for facilities meant to help Alzheimer’s patients.
Brandon Wilde President and CEO Rich Kisner said his board of directors started buying the 6 acres of land abutting the main complex five years ago with a plan to construct two facilities, totaling about 23,000 square feet, to start a program for those suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Called the Windsor House, the facilities are the first in Georgia to model a “small house” concept for Alzheimer’s patients.
Each facility will have up to 13 suites constructed like homes, Kisner said. They will share a common area and the grounds will have three gardens.
The concept, Kisner said, is to help Alzheimer’s patients retain their memories for as long as possible by allowing them to continue doing the everyday things they always have done.
The belief, Kisner said, is that patients with mild forms of the disease can better maintain their lucidity by continuing with such typical tasks as cooking their own meals or making their beds.
“The Windsor House will be a means for them to keep some freedoms and maintain their dignity,” Kisner said.
Much of the current treatment methods for Alzheimer’s patients is too regimented, Kisner said.
“If they want to get up in the middle of the night and make themselves a snack, then they should be allowed to do that,” he said. “They should be granted those kinds of freedoms to live their lives.”
However, the buildings will be part of assisted-living facilities, meaning a professional staff always will be on hand to help, Kisner said.
The building project should be ready in two years, he said.
Brandon Wilde resident Stella Grandin – whose parents, Alexander and Ruth Windsor, were among the first residents of the retirement community when it opened in 1990 – donated $1 million toward the project.
However, about $2 million more is needed to complete the “small house” facilities and revitalize a wellness center on Brandon Wilde’s main campus.
Those wishing to donate should call the University Health Care Foundation at (706) 667-0030, or visit its Web site at www.universityhealth.org/CharitableGiving.