The Marlin and Doris Thomas Memory Center

Marlin and Doris Thomas Memory Center

Willow Valley Communities has announced plans for a state-of-the-art memory center to be constructed on our main campus. The Marlin and Doris Thomas Memory Center at Willow Valley Communities, anticipated to open in 2025, will support and care for those impacted by neurodegenerative disease by focusing on specialized programming, research, prevention, assessment, treatment, and education.

One critical aspect of the Memory Center will be providing Residents with a sense of normalcy, the feeling of being at home within a secure environment. Fourteen households, each with 10 private bedrooms and the amenities of a typical home, will be centered around a commons building.

To create a sense of community for Residents, multiple destinations to promote daily activity and engagement are planned. The new Memory Center at Willow Valley Communities will include a grocery store, bakery, ice cream shop, sit-down restaurant, dance and fitness studio, meditation room, salon and spa, performance stage, greenhouse, adult day center, and expansive outdoor courtyard. Free to explore and experience the entire seven-acre campus, Residents will be empowered to maintain an autonomous, active, and meaningful lifestyle, thus preserving their dignity and reducing the stigma associated with cognitive issues.

Within the Memory Center at Willow Valley Communities, a new Assessment and Treatment Center will offer essential components for memory loss prevention, early diagnosis, assessment, advanced treatments, and support. Plans are also being made to sponsor opportunities for better brain health. Additional features to prevent neurodegeneration, such as the Brain Tech Center, will aim to further research through self-assessment brain games and self-guided education, brain-healthy meals available for purchase, and a resource center.

The pursuit to create the new Memory Center began in 2017, with the vision of transforming the lives of those affected by dementia. The Willow Valley Communities team consulted world leaders in dementia care and research while also completing 32 benchmarking visits to the best memory care centers in the United States and around the world—including The Hogeweyk, a top-tier dementia village in
the Netherlands.

During this phase of concept development, the Willow Valley Communities Charitable Foundation launched a capital campaign and raised over $20 million toward the cost of building and operating the Memory Center. Achieving this initial fundraising goal allowed the design and construction process to begin on Willow Valley Communities’ main campus.

NORD Architects of Copenhagen, Denmark, has been chosen as the design firm for the Memory Center. John G. Swanson, CEO of Willow Valley Development Corp., the developer of the center, said, “NORD is known for its architecturally groundbreaking and eye-catching designs, but it aims to create recognizable spaces within a community in which residents can grow together as a family and feel safe.”

The Memory Center at Willow Valley Communities will be NORD’s inaugural project in the United States. Additional features will include person-directed programming, assistance with navigation, and increased freedom, dignity, privacy, and Resident interaction through individualized care.

John added, “For 40 years, Willow Valley Communities has been a national leader in the senior living industry. We are honored to be taking this monumental step in the research, prevention, and treatment of neurodegenerative disease. The Memory Center at Willow Valley Communities will lay the foundation for a much healthier aging population for generations to come.”

Craig D. Thompson, President and Chief Operating Officer of Willow Valley Living, the management company for Willow Valley Communities, celebrated this announcement, stating, “We are delighted to be on the forefront of this important endeavor. We look forward to achieving our goal of caring for those experiencing dementia, as well as being on the cusp of groundbreaking research to someday cure this insidious disease.”

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Willow Valley Communities has announced plans for a state-of-the-art memory center to be constructed on our main campus. The Marlin