CNY Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation in Memory Care

Lucy Wang

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

CNY Celebrates 30 Years of Innovation in Memory Care

Syracuse, NY (October 18, 2022) – The Heritage in Syracuse is celebrating 30 years of caring for residents with dementia. In October of 1992, the first resident moved into The Heritage, which is part of Loretto. It was the first residential program in Central New York focused on caring for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia. Since that day, The Heritage has served more than 2,000 people.

“Prior to The Heritage, people with dementia either had to stay home or go to a skilled nursing home, regardless of whether they needed that higher level of care,” said Julie Sheedy, Chief Marketing and Engagement Officer at Loretto. “The Heritage was an innovative and much-needed middle ground.”

While the level of dementia-specific care that The Heritage provides sets it apart, it’s the innovation and evolution of care over the past 30 years that has made a significant impact for people with dementia and their families.

Latest Research

The leadership at The Heritage closely follows studies regarding memory care and actively makes changes to better serve residents based on cutting-edge research. For example, red dishes have been shown to stimulate appetite, a common challenge for people with dementia. So, The Heritage changed all dishes to red. Another challenge for people with dementia is getting oriented to the time of day. Lighting that mimics more natural daylight replaced fluorescent lights throughout The Heritage to help residents with this challenge.

More Options for Various Need Levels

As residents’ medical needs have evolved, so has the staff—which now includes nurses and aides with more clinical training.

“Many families come to us having tried day care programs, home aides or having their loved one with dementia move in with them and it gets to a point where it’s just too difficult,” said Mary Koenig, administrator for The Heritage. “The Heritage offers peace of mind to these families along with the comfort of knowing they are now part of a continuum of care in case needs increase.”

Unique Payment System for Residents

Even the payment system is focused on the patients. Realizing that change is a detrimental challenge for dementia residents, The Heritage accepts private payments as well as Medicaid. This is important because, in other area facilities, Medicaid is not an option. When private pay funds are depleted, the patient must move out of the familiar environment and into a new care facility—something that can often be avoided at The Heritage.

“Reframing” Memory Care

Residents at The Heritage, as well as Loretto’s Borer Memory Life Community and The Commons on St. Anthony’s Memory Care Unit are now helping to “reframe” the way we look at memory care.

Residents participated in a photo shoot that shows the many local faces of memory care and worked with recreation therapists to decorate picture frames and express who they are as individuals.

“People with Alzheimer’s often struggle with a sense of self or personal identity, as well as a decreased self-esteem,” said Koenig. “Despite their disease, residents are able to build confidence and improve their sense of self through recreational activities which are a part of their therapeutic treatment.”

Through this “reframing” activity residents reminisced by looking through the selection of stickers and other decor, recalling times they participated in different activities and other details about their lives.

This and many other activities at Loretto’s Memory Life Communities help residents socialize and engage their minds, all while helping to improve their overall mood and wellbeing.

“Loretto is committed to providing innovative memory care that reframes the way we see and treat Alzheimer’s Disease and care through extensive research, cutting-edge technology, and therapeutic treatment,” said Sheedy.

For more photos and information about memory care at Loretto, visit

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