Lutheran Social Services of South Central Pennsylvania is raising $4.5 million to serve people with dementia in York County.

LSS began its public "Caring for Those Who Cared for Us" fundraising campaign Thursday with a gathering at the Yorktowne Hotel in York City. The campaign will continue through March 31.

Campaign funds will be used for a major expansion project at The Village at Sprenkle Drive at 1802 Folkemer Circle in Manchester Township.

Assisted-living and memory support residences will be built there, and the Glatfelter Community Center will be expanded.

On Thursday, the organization announced that more than $2.9 million -- or 65 percent of its goal -- has been raised so far through a silent campaign that started in October. That campaign included receiving contributions from major and long-time LSS contributors, said Glenn Miller, the organization's vice president of philanthropy.

The public campaign involves drawing donations by raising awareness about the project mainly through a 30-second commercial, Miller said. There may be an appeal process by mail toward the end of the fundraising phase, he added.

The project construction is scheduled to begin this spring and would take a year to complete.

The expansion project calls for building 26 assisted-living residences that provide a household environment for seniors, said Kate Hershey, executive director of the Village at Sprenkle Drive.

She said there will be 24 memory support apartments designed to serve seniors with Alzheimer's and dementia in a neighborhood-like setting, where they will receive specialized therapy and treatment. The apartments and surrounding areas, including a protected courtyard and garden, will be designed to keep residents safe.

The expansion project will allow seniors to "age in place" as their mental-health needs change, Hershey said.

"We'll provide the services so they won't have to move to various locations to get the help they need," she said. "There will be care provided by groups of individuals familiar to them and their needs."

The Glatfelter Center expansion will include an enlarged dining area, and social, exercise and activities areas designed to help keep seniors healthy and alert.

Lutheran Social Services has been serving local seniors for more than 60 years and has seen increases in the numbers of seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer's and dementia, said Angela Dohrman, vice president of senior living.

"So LSS is preparing to meet this need in our community," she said. "This is what we're called to do."

--Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at emcmillan@yorkdispatch.com.