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Memory special-care unit now open at Loretto’s The Commons on St. Anthony

By Eric Reinhardt (


The technology table is part of the memory special-care unit at The Commons on St. Anthony in Auburn. Loretto on Feb. 7 formally opened the new unit, which seeks to “to help meet significant, continuously growing demand for memory-care services in Cayuga County,” Loretto said in its announcement. PHOTO CREDIT: LORETTO

AUBURN, N.Y. — The Commons on St. Anthony in Auburn, which is part of the Loretto system, now offers a memory special-care unit (MSCU).

Loretto’s fourth MSCU is the “first facility of its kind dedicated to dementia care in Auburn,” and seeks to “to help meet significant, continuously growing demand for memory-care services in Cayuga County,” Loretto said in its Feb. 7 news release.

This newly designed memory-care floor features imagery and technology that “soothes and supports” those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. This redesigned unit provides a new home for 40 long-term, memory-care residents.

The unit offers the Montessori method because, as Loretto put it, “today’s dementia patients have new and evolving needs.” The Montessori method is described as an “innovative” approach to activities programming that combines rehabilitation principles and educational techniques to “improve the lives” of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

The development of this new MSCU took six months of planning and three months of construction to complete.

Loretto used a $200,000 grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to pay for the floor redesign of The Commons MSCU, Kathleen White, manager of marketing and public relations at Loretto, tells The Central New York Business Journal in an email. The agency also used $18,500 in funding from the United Way of Cayuga County to fund renovations to a classroom at The Commons, which is used to teach the Montessori method, White added.

“Today is a significant step for people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia, and their families, in Cayuga County,” Kim Townsend, president and CEO of Loretto, said in the release. “As the region’s leader in memory care, Loretto continues to provide residents with a high quality of life, improving their well-being through empowerment.”

Loretto has been providing memory-care services for those in need for more than 30 years, the agency noted. It cites the New York State Department of Health (DOH) as indicating more than 410,000 people in New York State are living with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow to 460,000 by next year. 

DOH’s data also indicates 22 percent of that population (around 90,200 people) live in Onondaga and Cayuga counties where Loretto provides services.

Loretto describes itself as the fourth-largest health-care provider and the sixth-largest employer in Central New York. The agency has about 2,500 employees at its 19 locations, delivering care to close to 10,000 people of all ages, income levels, and care needs in Onondaga and Cayuga counties annually.

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