Loretto's Memory Life Community was specifically designed for people with dementia.

The facility mimics the outside world with a two-story indoor garden and ceilings that replicate the sky.

“The idea is just have an open concept to let as much natural sunlight as possible. There’s a lot of research behind it. It improves mood, quality of health and quality of life,” said Memory Life Community case manager Dorenda Schmidt.

Exposure to the natural light helps Alzheimer's patients get in sync with a circadian rhythm and improve their sleep. It can also relieve pain and reduce cognitive decline.

“It helps increase and enlighten their mood. It helps decrease depression,” said Shannon Loughlin, Nottingham director of life enrichment and recreation.

What You Need To Know

  • June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and Loretto is using a new cutting edge approach meet the needs of Alzheimer's patients

  • This Sunday will be the longest day of sunlight of the year, which can create challenges for people who struggle with dementia

  • Many details of Loretto’s Memory Life Community are intentional to improve the quality of life of the patients

  • Loretto representatives say facilities like it have proven to be successful in other parts of the world, and it’s what’s needed in CNY.

Gardening is a favorite activity among residents that puts the new space at the center of socialization. There are herbs that can be used for cooking and plants to fuel the senses.

Many details of Loretto’s Memory Life Community are intentional to improve the quality of life of the patients. The multimillion-dollar facility is the only one of its kind in Upstate New York.

“It’s just like us, when we are up and moving and engaged, not just doing things, but activities that have purpose,” said Loughlin.

Being in the sun slows down the development of functional limitations, and best of all, helps patients relax.

“We’re here to take care of these folks, create a home-like atmosphere for them, and to see them being comfortable and being engaged daily. I think it makes our hearts happy,” said Loughlin.