Alberta Richardson is a woman of faith. For over 45 years, she has attended Elyton Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit. “I go every Sunday,” says Alberta. A deacon picks her up from her home at Thome Rivertown Neighborhood in Detroit.
Alberta came to live at Thome Rivertown Assisted Living four years ago at the suggestion of her doctor at Henry Ford. Located at 250 McDougall Avenue, Thome Rivertown is the first and only affordable assisted living development in Detroit for adults 55 years and older with limited incomes. This collaboration between United Methodist Retirement Communities (UMRC) and Presbyterian Villages of Michigan transformed a former Parke Davis pharmaceutical laboratory as part of a major redevelopment effort in the city’s riverfront area in 2012. Today, Thome Rivertown Assisted Living is home to approximately 80 Detroit older adults.
Alberta’s story began in Mississippi where she was born and raised. Her family chopped and picked cotton. With the mechanization of the cotton industry, however, “there was nothing to do in Mississippi,” says Alberta. “There were no other jobs.” She and her family became part of the Great Migration of African Americans from the South to cities across the Northeast, Midwest, and West. In 1966, her brother moved their whole family to Chicago where she had some cousins living. There she found a job in a book company.
In 1972, Alberta moved to Detroit which has been home to her close-knit family ever since. She shared that she has seven children, twenty-seven grandchildren, fifteen great-grands, and five great-great-grands! “We have big family get-togethers at holidays,” Alberta laughs. One of her daughters is a pastor.
Alberta taught Sunday School for many years, primarily to preschoolers. “I love the little ones,” says Alberta. She has watched them grow up and says she loves that they give her hugs, hold the door for her and greet her when they see her at church.
One of Alberta’s favorite hobbies is quilting. She calls it her mission. “I give them away as fast as I can make them!” says Alberta. She especially enjoys making quilts from bandanas, which she says she can finish in a day.
When asked what she likes about Thome Rivertown, Alberta quickly replied, “The people! Everyone gets along with everyone and loves everyone. I’m treated the way I want to be treated.”
To learn more about Thome Rivertown Assisted Living Neighborhood in Detroit, visit https://umrc.com/communities/the-thome-rivertown-neighborhood/ or contact Executive Director, Julia Szuper at 313-288-7206.