Couple’s $1.5M gift helps build elder care center at Beaumont

By: Heidi Roman | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published October 12, 2011

 Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg of Bloomfield Hills donated $1.5 million to Beaumont Health System to fund an acute care center for the elderly on its Royal Oak campus.

Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg of Bloomfield Hills donated $1.5 million to Beaumont Health System to fund an acute care center for the elderly on its Royal Oak campus.

ROYAL OAK — Alvin and Henrietta Weisberg have been strong supporters of Beaumont Health System for a number of years, but it was one incident in particular that led them to open up their pocket books to support its programs for the elderly.

“Alvin would be the first to tell you, Beaumont saved his life,” said Margaret Casey, Beaumont Foundation president. “He was in an orthopedic unit, and while recovering from surgery had heart failure. They immediately did a Code Blue on him and saved his life.”

Though Beaumont physicians and employees save lives every day, this incident was dramatic, Casey said.

The Weisbergs donated $1.5 million to the health system that will be used to help fund the Henrietta and Alvin Weisberg Center for Acute Care of the Elderly inside Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. The 24-bed center’s day room will be named after the couple.

“It’s on the ninth floor of the north tower here, and one entire wing of the north floor will now be dedicated for acute care for the elderly,” Casey said.

It will specialize in patients who are frail, at risk of falling, or who have dementia.

The center will have new beds that help reduce falls, specialized flooring, monitoring equipment and other amenities that make it safe for patients.

“The monitoring equipment alone is very expensive,” Casey said. “It’s a non-invasive form of monitoring equipment that keeps the privacy of the patient intact.”

Another feature of the wing, a day room, may not have been affordable without the Weisbergs’ gift. The room allows patients to leave their hospital bed to socialize, share a meal with other patients and visit with guests.

“One of the problems with the elderly is if they’re in the hospital all day by themselves, it leads to dementia, it leads to depression,” Casey said. “Interacting with people helps them heal faster.”

The day room will be named after the Weisbergs.

Casey said the Weisbergs also wanted to give out of their appreciation for Dr. Michael Maddens, chair of the department of medicine, because many patients have a fondness for him.

The $1.5 million gift will support construction and program development for the first phase of the center. Construction is expected to begin in January, and the center will open in June 2012.

“We are delighted to be associated with Beaumont,” Alvin Weisberg, a Bloomfield Hills resident, said in a statement. “They saved my life three years ago and we are so pleased to be able to help. We’re happy to support a specialized center for seniors.”

Their gift will also establish an endowed fund to support geriatric education and research.