AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – A much-anticipated groundbreaking was held Tuesday for a new Alzheimer’s care center. 

The community gathered on Lutheran Drive to formally begin the process of building a larger center for Alzheimer’s and dementia care. 

Board Member and co-chair of Capital Campaign said, “Friends, together, we are breaking ground to build our dream house.”

Formerly known as the Jud C. Hickey Center, Via Cognitive Health has now broken ground at its brand new home just off Washington Road.

Leaders say the location was picked for its accessibility to both Richmond and Columbia County residents.

“Just…our outreach efforts and the fact that with our membership, we’ll be able to help many more people dealing with cognitive issues. And, um, just, you know, positively affect them and their families and, um, just be a resource for them as well,” said Jan Wiggins, Board Member, VIA Cognitive Health

The plan has been over five years in the making. And this new center will house an innovative day program aimed at maximizing the quality of life of more than 80 members.

“Via Cognitive Health is a way to maximize the time you have through a research-backed program designed to maintain abilities for as long as possible. All of these things, in turn, reduce hospitalizations, ER visits, medications…and hopefully delay nursing home placement,” explained Jennifer Pennington, Executive Director, VIA Cognitive Health

Members like Terry Campbell say the camaraderie they feel at the center allows them to feel safe and thrive.

“We talk. And, in situations like that, it helps us,” said Terry Campbell who is a member of VIA Cognitive Health

Channel 6’s Tiffany Hobb asked Terry if he was excited.

“Oh, I’ve been excited!,” he replied.

“It is so special. It is just- it is truly a dream come true. My father- um, I watched my father suffer with Alzheimer’s and my mother, of course, as his caregiver. Um, it is, it is so unique and it is so… We are so blessed in Augusta with our support and what we’ll be able to do for our members that, um, that have dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The new center has an expected grand opening of December 2023.