The Mooring at The Downs: Learning, Growing and Building on Success

We started this journey with an idea. Not the sort of idea that comes in a rush, all at once, but something much more deliberate – formed and shaped by years of experience in the world of assisted living and residential memory care. Over the course of those years, members of our team worked in a variety of assisted living environments and occupied nearly every imaginable role. We kept a careful tally of what worked, what didn’t, and what might. We researched other care models. We borrowed from the best. And over time, those curated ideas came together to form a new concept in residential memory care.

This concept represented – in our collective opinion – the best of the best. And in 2017, we brought that concept to life with The Mooring on Foreside.

But isn’t this story about The Mooring at The Downs?

Yes. It is about The Mooring at The Downs – and we’re both excited and grateful for the opportunity to bring our concept to a whole new community in a whole new setting. But it’s much easier to tell the story of our new Mooring by referencing our first Mooring – because in many ways, The Mooring at The Downs (The Downs) and The Mooring on Foreside (The Foreside) share a lot of the same DNA. For example, both facilities:

  • Accommodate no more than 12 housemates at any given time. In our experience, 12 is residential memory care’s magic number. It’s just right for creating real, close-knit community, where each housemate grows familiar with each of his or her care partners and 11 immediate neighbors. And when housemates need solitude? It’s easy to find it.
  • Feature individual suites for each housemate. Each housemate’s suite – made up of a spacious bedroom/living area and full bathroom – is very much his or her own. From furnishings to artwork to favorite belongings, these spaces are individualized havens where housemates enjoy rest, solitude, company, or quiet activity on their own terms.
  • Incorporate an abundance of warm, inviting, familiar shared space. Our shared spaces are scaled and furnished to feel instantly and universally familiar. Everyday areas, like our open kitchen and dining room, living room and activity space, provide ample space to accommodate any level of desired social stimulation – from a quiet, personal pastime to a lively celebration.
  • Encourage housemates to take part in everyday activities. From grocery shopping and cooking to laundry and housekeeping, housemates are encouraged to take part in as many daily chores and routines as they choose. In a memory care setting, home keeping tasks take on new meaning and importance, often providing a welcome sense of purpose and structure.
  • Have an open-door policy for family and friends*. Visitors are an integral part of everyday life at The Mooring. Over time, relationships extend from one housemate’s family to another’s, and over time, visits start to feel like homecoming celebrations. In the past, we’ve been honored to build long-term friendships with the family members and friends of housemates who’ve passed on – further strengthening the community for housemates and care partners alike.
  • Boast more than 150 activities each month. This remarkable tally, which works out to more than 5 activities per day, includes group and individual options that take place both on-site and in the surrounding community.* We develop our activity lists with lots of input from housemates, their families and their friends, much of which is gathered during our once-monthly activity planning meetings. With on- and off-site activities that run the gamut – including cultural events, athletic competitions, music performances, restaurant meals, wine and beer tastings, light hikes, crafts, cooking and scenic tours – each day’s plan includes at least one activity sure to stimulate each housemate’s curiosity.
  • Are designed to look and feel like home. We recognize the fact that each housemate brings his or her own impression of what “home” looks and feels like. And while we can’t exactly replicate those spaces, we’ve worked diligently to create environments that feel warm, welcoming and universally familiar. Over time, as housemates settle into the rhythms and settings of The Mooring, they relax, engage, and feel increasingly at home. From secure outdoor patios and shared interior spaces to individually-appointed living suites, housemates are constantly reminded that they’re safe, settled, and in the loving hands of dedicated care partners.
  • Offer standard-setting care partner-to-housemate ratios. Given our focus on individualized care, we make every effort to hire, train and retain exceptional care partners. Because of our high staff-to-housemate ratios, care partners are able to build close, personal relationships with those in their care.

So what’s the difference?

At first glance? The setting. While The Mooring on Foreside is situated in a serene forest clearing, The Mooring at The Downs is at the heart of one of Scarborough’s newest residential neighborhoods. Where The Foreside offers secure forest trails and abundant wildlife, The Downs’ prominent village location means we’re more in the thick of things. Many of our windows – and our spacious, secure patio – are situated to see the comings and goings of everyday village life, making for lively people watching. We’ll also take advantage of the neighborhood’s pedestrian-friendly design for regular walks, taking time out to meet our neighbors and explore nearby businesses.

While The Downs isn’t situated in the forest, we’ll still have plenty of access to wildlife and the great outdoors. In addition to our large, private patio – where we’ll garden, grill and enjoy the changing seasons – we have easy access to neighborhood walking paths tailor-made for fair-weather strolls with care partners. And with plenty of windows to let in lots of natural light, we’ll have clear views of nature’s ever-changing seasonal scenery.

But the biggest difference of all?

To put it simply, it’s the people who make The Downs different. While both homes are guided by the same philosophy, and share a great many livability-inspired design cues, it’s the housemates, their families and friends, and their care partners who make each Mooring feel like home.

At The Mooring, we understand that housemates are individuals – each with unique histories, pastimes, passions, strengths and challenges. Accordingly, our care model is designed not to enforce conformity, but to accommodate and celebrate differences. No two Mooring housemates – at either home – will have the same experience. But we do everything we possibly can to make sure each housemate’s experience is the best and most fulfilling it can possibly be.

So, like The Foreside, The Downs represents the absolute best in residential memory care. Both provide a safe, supportive, familiar environment for each and every housemate. Both offer programming designed to leverage each housemate’s unique cognitive strengths – and to accommodate his or her challenges. Both offer the warmth, support and expertise of care partners who see their work as a calling – and who quickly come to feel like extended family. And both provide a place for each housemate to live as unique individuals – with all the autonomy, self-respect and dignity he or she has earned over the course of a uniquely remarkable life.

*In light of the ongoing pandemic, we’re taking a range of precautions to protect our housemates and care partners from exposure to Covid-19. For the time being, all visits by family and friends are virtual. We’re getting pretty good at Skype and Zoom. The focus of our activity calendar, which typically involves at least one community-based activity per day, has also shifted considerably. Most activities take place on-site, sometimes enhanced by live video feeds, and our offsite trips are limited to scenic drives. We’re enormously thankful have each other, and we’re still staying active, happy and engaged. But like everyone else, we’ll be thrilled when the vital importance social distancing is behind us.