Event to highlight new research on Alzheimer’s, launch next phase of fundraising for learning center

Editor's note: This story is part of Southwest Michigan Second Wave's On the Ground Milwood series. If you have a story about the neighborhood please let us know here.

Health care providers, educators, and concerned family members will get a chance to learn how to do more for people with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia when Heritage Community of Kalamazoo opens a unique memory-loss learning facility in Kalamazoo in 2021.

On Wednesday, those who live or work with people with memory loss will have an early opportunity to advance their knowledge as Heritage Community hosts a virtual education event titled “State of Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Research.”

Led by Dr. Henry Paulson, director of the Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the University of Michigan, the free presentation will be focused on the science of dementia, the latest research findings, and how the public can get involved in research and programs. It is scheduled for  2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday (Nov. 11).

Jay Princem president and CEO of Heritage Community of Kalamazoo Jay Prince, president and chief executive officer of Heritage Community of Kalamazoo, says that while Alzheimer’s disease severely impacts patients, their families and society as a whole, it is the only leading cause of death in the United States that can’t be prevented or cured.

“The majority of families will make many sacrifices to personally care for their loved ones at home,” says Prince. “I routinely hear from the adult children that they are physically and emotionally broken as they take care of an aging parent or spouse, especially one with dementia. With no professional education, practical training, or support, this journey becomes unbearably difficult.”

Until cures are found, Heritage is focused on trying to help improve the lives of families by equipping them, educators, and care practitioners with more knowledge to treat patients and help them cope. The Memory Care Learning Center is expected to help provide that in creative ways. It will be a 6,700-square-foot facility constructed inside Heritage Community's Amber Way memory care assisted living location. It is one of a number of structures on the 27-acre campus of Heritage Community, a 75-year-old residential and care community for older adults. It is centered at 2400 Portage St. in Kalamazoo's Milwood Neighborhood.

An artist’s rendering shows the floor plan for the proposed Memory Care Learning Center at Heritage Community of Kalamazoo. It includes a conference room, reception area and auditorium.Wednesday’s presentation is also the kick-off event for the public phase of fund-raising for the $2.5 Memory Care Learning Center.

More than $1.5 million has been committed collectively by about 200 donors, to complete the first phase of the project, according to information provided by Heritage Community.

Phase 1 is set to begin in January. With Byce & Associates and Miller-Davis Co., both of Kalamazoo, as construction partners, the five-month project will include the construction of the facility’s front entrance, conference room, reception desk, auditorium, and hallway. That will provide space for group learning, support groups, and one-on-one meeting space (while staying within appropriate social distancing and gathering guidelines). Phase 2 of the project is not expected until later in 2021.

At Wednesday’s presentation, Paulson is to be joined by Prince and Ashley Lubbers, director of Memory Care at Heritage Community. They are expected to announce upcoming programs and construction plans for the Memory Care Learning Center.

Those interested in participating in Wednesday’s event are asked to please register by email at or access the event on Facebook here

Also under development
Heritage Community continues to push ahead with the development of a new $50 million independent living facility for older adults and retirees at the west end of its campus on Portage Street.

Called Revel Creek, a symbolic groundbreaking for the four-story facility was held on Oct. 22. It will provide 60, one- and two-bedroom apartments. They are expected to range from 881 to 1,597 square feet in size. The living center will offer smart-home technology, underground parking, a group dining area, a wellness center, outdoor terraces, and greenspace.

Although Revel Creek is not slated to open until 2022, more than 70 percent of its apartments are already reserved, according to Heritage.
Prince has said Revel Creek is part of a broader plan by Heritage Community to expand available housing and services for seniors. Enhanced rehabilitation and long-term care accommodations, in-home care (launched this year as Heritage Homecare), smart-home technologies for older adults, and memory care are included in those plans.

More information about Revel Creek is available at
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Read more articles by Al Jones.

Al Jones is a freelance writer who has worked for many years as a reporter, editor, and columnist. He is the Project Editor for On the Ground Kalamazoo.