Health

Mercy Medical Center receives $2 million donation for new dementia care center

The HallMar village, shown in this rendering, will sit on 42 acres of land bought by Mercy Cedar Rapids and Presbyterian
The HallMar village, shown in this rendering, will sit on 42 acres of land bought by Mercy Cedar Rapids and Presbyterian Homes and Services. (Courtesy Mercy Medical Center)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Mercy Medical Center has received a $2 million donation for the creation of a center focused on dementia-related services.

Mercy Medical Center Foundation announced that the family of Cedar Rapids couple Chris and Suzy DeWolf gave the funds this past week for the formation of the Chris and Suzy DeWolf Family Innovation Center for Aging and Dementia.

According to Mercy officials, the center will be “a hub of research, training and education” to help those who are aging and have chronic conditions — most notably, dementia — “live their lives with purpose.”

The Innovation Center is set to be part of Mercy’s new HallMar Village, a new senior living facility that’s scheduled to begin construction in spring 2021.

Echo Hill Presbyterian Church, a 23,000-square foot building located at 9000 C Ave NE in Marion, will be renovated to house the new center.

“We see this gift as an extension of our responsibility to the Cedar Rapids community,” Chris DeWolf, chairman of Mercy’s board of trustees, said in a statement.

“We believe the Innovation Center for Aging and Dementia has the potential to change the trajectory of dementia research and, thus, the way people with dementia live, and that’s something we’re pleased to support and nurture.

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“We want to be part of the contemporary solution in addressing this growing public health crisis,” he said.

Chris DeWolf also is the president and CEO of Lil’ Drug Store Products Inc., a consumer products distributor based in Cedar Rapids that was founded in 1974.

Chris DeWolf and his wife Suzy DeWolf purchased the company in 2005 from her parents, Dennis and Donna Oldorf, according to the company’s website.

The couple have given major donations to other area projects in the past, including a $1.5 million gift to the University of Iowa Stanley Museum of Art that’s set to open sometime in 2022.

The Innovation Center for Aging and Dementia, which is anticipated to open by late fall 2021, will house services for individuals diagnosed with dementia as well as their families and care givers.

That includes a geriatric medical clinic, an adult day center for patients with early-stage dementia and an extension of the Family Caregivers Center of Mercy.

Mercy’s Memory Clinic, currently housed on the hospital’s main campus, will be moved to the new center. The clinic offers medical evaluations for patients to determine whether their changing memory is a form of dementia or a normal part of aging.

“Our family was blessed to be part of the fundraising, design and construction of the Dennis and Donna Oldorf Hospice House of Mercy in 2007, which honored my parents and is a lasting legacy to their foresight and generosity,” Suzy DeWolf said in a statement.

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“We have witnessed the influence that the Hospice House has had on so many people’s lives over the years, and we are hopeful that the Innovation Center for Aging and Dementia will have an equally transformative effect.”

HallMar Village, a 237-unit complex that will be operational by fall 2022, will be located on 42 acres east of the C Avenue Extension and northeast of Robins Road. The Village will replace Mercy HallMar residential care facility in Cedar Rapids, and will house independent, assisted and long-term care facilities.

Comments: (319) 398-8469; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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