Memory care with context: preserving connections through continuing community engagement

When an individual is diagnosed with progressive memory loss, and cognitive abilities show increasing signs of decline, few things are more grounding and reassuring than the connections that have served to define and shape his or her life. Over time, the familiar takes on greater significance by providing context in a world that seems increasingly foreign. That familiarity often serves to trigger positive memories and their associated emotions, restoring a measure of self-awareness, meaning and confidence. There’s great dignity in belonging. At The Mooring, we take every possible opportunity to remind our housemates that they’re still an important part of the world around them.

That’s why we place so much emphasis on community interaction at The Mooring. From our perspective, continued engagement is fundamental to the health and wellbeing of our housemates. It’s also a natural way to maintain the highest possible level of family involvement in each housemate’s life.

At The Mooring, community connections come in a variety of different forms, both on-site and beyond.

Internal Community

Community starts at home. And for each of the twelve housemates at The Mooring, there are frequent opportunities to engage without ever leaving the premises. They include:

  • Group activities. From creating floral arrangements and delivering them to family members to opportunities to hear – or make – live music, The Mooring’s housemates are offered a variety of on-site pursuits each week. These pastimes are designed to engage, to provide context, and to allow housemates to interact with one another, with family members who may choose to join, and with care partners on hand to guide and monitor each session.
  • Dining. As a culture, mealtime has evolved to represent much more than an opportunity to fulfill caloric needs. For many, meals represent the single most powerful way to maintain close connections with family and friends. They give us context for our lives, and foster a sense of belonging. At The Mooring, shared meals still carry that significance. Typically offered as informal gatherings, meals at The Mooring are naturally familiar to our housemates, and family and friends are often encouraged to join. Meals are prepared either in our kitchen or on our backyard grill, and during summer months, housemates cultivate and harvest vegetables from the raised garden beds they tend.
  • Social gatherings/parties. Whether for birthdays, holidays or other special events, The Mooring never overlooks an opportunity to celebrate. These gatherings can be informal, attended only by housemates and our dedicated care partners, or more formal and inclusive, providing occasions for housemates to look and feel their best when sharing time with family and friends and The Mooring community.
  • Holiday traditions. Our annual “Twelve Days of Holiday” celebration allows each housemate to share his or her favorite holiday tradition with the rest of The Mooring community. Beginning at Thanksgiving and continuing to New Year’s Day, we designate a day for each housemate, and they choose their tradition – a favorite holiday cookie recipe, a special movie, caroling – and enjoy it as a group.

External Community

  • Everyday errands. Simple tasks take on new significance in a residential care setting, and our housemates appreciate our regular trips to the grocery store, pharmacy, farmer’s market and other local businesses to purchase essentials – and to simply maintain a sense of engagement with the outside world. These trips also provide housemates with an opportunity to indulge an appetite for a special food, or for other cravings and small essentials that help to make The Mooring feel like home.
  • Cultural events. For housemates inclined toward theater, dance, music or the latest movie, The Mooring maintains a regular cultural events schedule. For most housemates, these opportunities signify a welcome return to familiar social settings, where lifelong arts aficionados can enjoy the emotional lift of experiencing a fine performance with a like-minded audience.
  • Family outings. Few influences are more powerful – or more meaningful – than family. Because of that vital bond, we encourage families to schedule regular outings for our housemates, whether for a grandchild’s soccer game, a birthday celebration, dinner out or a major holiday. These events provide a powerful boost to each housemate’s sense of belonging and self worth – and provide friends and family the opportunity to engage in a natural, comfortable setting.