The number of Northwest Georgians experiencing dementia-related illness is growing every year.

Officials with Charles Williams REIC formally cut the ribbon Friday to open the new Winthrop Memory Care unit at Winthrop Court off U.S. 411 East at Chateau Drive.

Historically speaking, the section that is now devoted to people with dementia-related afflictions was the former Winthrop Academy Child Care wing.

The space includes about 12,000 square feet with 16 units and 18 beds. Lauren Rawlins, asset management specialist with Charles Williams REIC said the unit already has four clients.

“We use to have Winthrop West out on Technology Parkway but sold it about two and a half years ago,” Williams said. “We also sold Winthrop at Polk which is now called Big Springs Place.”

They developed Winthrop Memory Care at Winthrop Court to allow for aging residents who begin to show signs of dementia to be able to stay in fundamentally the same location, with all of the special amenities that are needed for memory care, Williams said.

“With the baby boomer population aging, more and more people are living longer and need this type of care,” Williams said. “In Georgia, this is a private-pay industry. When someone goes to memory care it is not a nursing home. This is separate from skilled nursing care, but it is definitely a need within our community.”

Winthrop Memory care has both a registered nurse and a a licensed practical nurse on staff and each of the caregivers on the unit are certified in memory care.

The same interior design team who put together the RiverPoint Apartments next to State Mutual Stadium designed the new memory care units.

“It has a residential feel in a serene peaceful setting,” Williams said.

There are dining facilities and an area for the clients to socialize, as well as an interior courtyard where people can get outside and walk. It also is secured to keep the clients from wandering.

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