Riverside Health System to Launch the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center

March 02, 2022
Goodson Release Photo resized

Riverside Health System announces the extension of its memory care services through the establishment of the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center. The new center was made possible by a seven-figure leadership gift from Newport News native, G. Royden Goodson III, and will allow Riverside Health System to expand its memory care services and resources to further support caregivers in navigating the difficulties of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological and memory conditions. Mr. Goodson was inspired by the generous contributions of other community members that supported his own experience as a caregiver to his wife. Mr. Goodson’s gift, in honor of his wife Martha, represents the largest individual donation that Riverside has ever received.

Mr. Goodson and his wife Martha were both born at Riverside hospitals and have been life-long residents of Newport News. After Mr. Goodson noticed some concerning memory relapses, the couple addressed them with Martha’s primary care provider. After working with Riverside’s network of specialists, the 57-year-old, loving wife, and mother of three was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. Leaning on Riverside Health System’s Neurological and Spine Institute and its care navigators, Mr. and Mrs. Goodson quickly found a support team to help  manage the illness as it rapidly progressed. As Mr. Goodson learned more about the disease and understood the full ramifications of the diagnosis, he turned to Riverside to learn how to become the best caregiver he could for his wife. 

“I researched and discovered all kinds of information about how to be a better care partner, but one of the best resources I found was Riverside Health. I met and worked with professionals at Riverside who helped me better educate myself, anticipate what might happen as the disease progressed and what I could do to support Martha,” said Mr. Goodson. “I am grateful for the support that Martha and I have had, and I cannot think of a better way to honor her than by providing this gift. I hope it will inspire others to join us in this journey as I was inspired to do so.”

While the diagnosis of dementia does not lead to a positive outcome, Mr. Goodson and his family choose to stay positive, honoring his wife with this contribution to the Riverside Foundation, fueling Riverside’s continued mission to care for others. The generous contribution of the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center will enhance a seamless approach to neurological and memory care, with Riverside Health Systems providing expert care every step of the way – from diagnosis and treatment, programs, support services, and education - for patients and families. 

“Embellishing gratitude through your own experience and gifting it to others, as Mr. Goodson has done, is an inspirational feat of strength. The support Mr. Goodson has returned to us is essential to evolve the high-quality care provided,” said Kristen Witt, chief philanthropy officer and associate vice president of the Riverside Foundation, “We look forward to the hope the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center will provide our community, and the strength it will add to fueling our mission - to care for others as we would care for those we love.”

The center will complement the recent initiatives developed by Riverside’s nursing leadership to support patients and caregivers, including:

Memory Care Academy where the goal is to build dementia awareness, knowledge, and skills for long-term care staff members. 

George T. Spain Memory Care Navigator Program, funded by a generous donation by Steve Spain in honor and memory of his father, provides dedicated navigators to guide patients and families every step of care. 

The Purple Flower Program trains staff in Riverside acute care facilities to better support people living with dementia who come under their care. Additionally, this program is being expanded to include first responders, who are frequently called into situations with families living with dementia. 

Finally, the Essential Caregiver Program at Warwick Forest and Patriot’s Colony allows qualified family members to enter the facility to help care for their loved ones during restrictive times such as COVID or lockdowns.   

“Dementia is a devastating disease, and one we understand takes tremendous strength and a support system for both the one diagnosed and their caregivers to help them during this difficult time. Our team is dedicated to being a consistent source of guidance, care and empathy for families like the Goodsons,” said Bill Downey, CEO of Riverside Health System. “We are inspired by Royden’s love for Martha and his compassion and caring for others who may also be touched by dementia. We thank the Goodsons for embodying our mission: To care for others as we would care for those we love — to enhance their well-being and improve their health and helping us continue to be the best resource to patients and caregivers in the community. This incredible gift will help us continue to be the best resource to patients and caregivers in the community.”

To support the Martha W. Goodson Memory Care Center, contact us at (757) 234-8740 or [email protected]. To learn more, visit riversideonline.com/memorycarecenter