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Loretto - Borer Memory Life Community


Dewitt, NY


The Borer Memory Life Community, at Loretto’s Nottingham campus, is a new $10.5 million special needs assisted living facility in Jamesville, NY. It will exclusively house people with a dementia diagnosis. The community is connected to Loretto’s Nottingham Campus through a pedestrian bridge, making it accessible to other residents and Loretto caregivers during inclement weather.

The 20 unit community has been designed with an evidence based approach to support the unique needs of residents. The core design element is a welcoming neighborhood concept with open spaces to give residents a sense of freedom in a safe environment and direct visual wayfinding cues.

The neighborhood design concept originated with the goal of creating an environment emulating a family home, with your home (resident room) individually identifiable on the neighborhood street. The Founder’s Garden as Town Square, and the adjacent outdoor courtyard, which provide central focal points for orientation. The neighborhood is supported by a theater, restaurant (dining/kitchen areas), spa, salon, communal front porch and living room. The abundance of recognizable, tactile and visually rich materials and live plants contribute to a sense of neighborhood belonging and opportunity for gardening as resident activity. The exterior and interior architecture was developed to reflect the design concept and support the overall project goal to assist and enrich residents lives.


  • Optimized use of natural light for additional Sensory Stimulation. East & West Orientation of Resident Rooms and clerestories in the winter garden bring abundant natural light to interior spaces

  • Spacious interior garden brings the “outside in” with an enclosed water feature and seasonal plants which will provide therapeutic gardening opportunities

  • Dedicated activity areas, all season front porch, large multi-purpose room, hair salon and laundry

  • Circulation with no dead-ends, which helps eliminate confusion in residents

  • Restaurant-style dining room that overlooks the garden

  • Luxurious spa bathroom with heated floors

  • 18 one-bedroom apartments and two onebedroom suites to accommodate couples

  • Large resident rooms

  • Each apartment has an entry complete with unique roof forms and front doors with memory boxes for residents to more easily identify their apartment with personalized items

  • “Grass” squares outside each doorway contribute to the overall neighborhood appearance

  • Large windows with window benches in each room for additional storage and enjoying views outside and rummaging

  • Bathrooms include walk-in showers and heated floors

  • Direct sightline from head of bed to bathroom

  • Bathroom mirrors covered by wall cabinets

  • Non-contrasting floor materials to prevent resident confusion

The Community is supported by highly-trained

memory care employees on staff at all times.

Individualized therapeutic recreation programs

are designed to address all five senses, helping

residents maintain their quality of life and thrive in

their new home.

Site work included access drives, parking for 58 cars,

ADA accessible walks, retaining walls and landscaping

to beautify the campus. The work included extensive

grading on the hilly site and utility relocations

and extensions. Stormwater management was

accomplished using a combination of hydrodynamic

devices as well as expansion of an existing infiltration

basin and addition of a forebay.

Landscaping consisted of street trees and low

maintenance native foundation plantings. The sparsely

vegetated Nottingham Road street frontage owned

by Onondaga County was improved with addition of

planting soil and seeding with a native meadow mix.

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