Senior Living’s Special Effects
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Retirement Living

Senior Living’s Special Effects

From cocktails to concerts to creating community, facilities now offer a roster of unique services catering to the whole person.

Springpoint Senior Living’s pickleball team. Courtesy of Springpoint
Springpoint Senior Living’s pickleball team. Courtesy of Springpoint

Many retirees are interested in moving to senior-living communities that provide special services for residents — and these days, such residences have so many services available. From on-site pharmacies and dentists, to cruise ship-like luxuries, to technology that detects when a resident has fallen and alerts health-care providers, the offerings are rich and varied. And they are all focused on enhancing the health, safety and enjoyment of daily living.   

United Hebrew, located in New Rochelle, in Westchester County, provides a strong focus on the arts, with an art gallery that has rotating exhibitions, art therapy and regular musical performances. Recently, the facility hosted its first annual “Doctors in Concert,” with physicians sharing their musical talents. To enhance lifelong learning, professors from local colleges present lectures on historical topics and staff members facilitate discussions of current events. Residents also lead workshops to impart knowledge from their former careers.

There are also many programs designed to provide links between residents and community members. Volunteers from local schools and houses of worship come by to play Bingo and poker, teach technology skills and develop one-on-one bonds with residents.

“We place great emphasis on fostering a strong sense of community,” said Rita Mabli, president and CEO of United Hebrew, which was founded in 1919. “Research shows engaging with people helps us live longer, and it makes us happier, too.”

A dining room in one of Springpoint Senior Living’s facilities. Courtesy of Springpoint

Community events are also plentiful at Riverview Senior Independent Living, located in Manhattan’s Clinton neighborhood on the western edge of Midtown, and it is the residents who often lead the way in planning such gatherings. Book clubs, live music and other events are organized based on suggestions from residents. Its location on West 49th Street provides access to top-notch theater, restaurants and galleries.

“It has the intimacy of a small community with the amenities of New York City,” said Linda Bazerjian, a senior communications associate for Riverview. There are also stunning waterfront views to enjoy. Unlike many residences, Riverview does not require a lease, so residents can try it for a month or stay for longer without a commitment. And the residence is all-inclusive, so there are no additional fees for the use of facilities such as the fitness center or computer lounge.    

Amenities are billed as “first class” at MorseLife Health System, which is located in West Palm Beach, Fla. There is “a carefree, cruise ship-like lifestyle,” said Trisha Hewes, vice president for market development, especially at Levin Palace, a community where residents live independently. The housing is luxurious and the menu offerings emphasize gourmet food and cocktails made by the mixologist on staff. Services for residents include chauffeurs and valet parking, personal fitness trainers and staff members who help with pets.

Riverview Senior Independent Living on Manhattan’s West Side. Photos courtesy of Riverview

MorseLife’s Memory Care Residences — which serve those with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders — offers, in addition to a highly experienced care team, private suites and open kitchens, as well as customized services to address the psychological, social, physical and health needs of residents, including a music and memory program.

At Five Towns Premier Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, located in Woodmere, L.I., the specialized rehabilitation and medical services include a ventilator unit equipped with piped-in oxygen and a highly trained, in-house respiratory team. The state-of-the-art dialysis center offers the latest in hemodialysis technology. A wound care team is also available. The 4,800-square-foot health club-style rehab gym is equipped with cutting-edge technology and equipment to serve a wide variety of patient needs. Physical, occupational and speech therapy is provided seven days a week.

United Hebrew Willow Towers staff members Paul Thaxter and Maria Hood, with resident, Jane Rudoff, center, make some music together. Photos courtesy of United Hebrew

Jewish residents can attend a minyan three times a day at the on-site synagogue, as well as Shabbat meals on Fridays. There is a kosher coffee and pastry shop, along with a Bikur Cholim room under the supervision of the Vaad of The Five Towns.

There is a full-time chaplain who is well-acquainted with the residents at Springpoint Senior Living, which was founded in 1916. It offers senior living communities throughout the state of New Jersey and in Delaware. The Springpoint Senior Living Foundation has an assistance fund to help residents who have outlived their resources, providing financial aid and the guarantee that they will not have to leave the community due to economic difficulties. The Foundation also oversees Community Cares, a program that provides donations and health essentials for affordable housing residents.

United Hebrew’s residents cook up some homemade ravioli.

At The Villas at Manalapan, in New Jersey, residents receive individualized nutrition and fitness programs. “Our dedicated health program and team are focused on the prevention, wellness and reversal of chronic diseases. It is our belief if you feel well, you can live well,” said Jessica Miller, The Villas’ medical director. There is also an emphasis on enjoying the outdoors, with a fire pit welcoming residents in the evenings and lunch served on a patio surrounded by gardens. Other amenities include a full-service salon, a spa, an art studio, and a “great room” for musical concerts, lectures, and other events.

Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Gurwin’s new Advanced Care Unit. Photos courtesy of Gurwin

Inspir Carnegie Hill, a 23-story tower on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, specializes in high-tech features. Its Allī Technology Suite provides health monitoring for residents, such as technology that detects when a resident has fallen and alerts health-care providers. It also offers access to live streaming of educational and entertainment programs from all over the country and access to hundreds of therapeutic programs. A voice-powered concierge allows residents to get in touch with health-care providers. Specialized phones offer captions on display screens for residents with hearing impairments.

Working out in a Gurwin rehabilitation program. Photos courtesy of Gurwin

The facility also has partnerships with Weill Cornell Geriatrics and other health-care facilities to deliver on-site coordinated services, which include rehab, dental, podiatry, audiology, laboratory, imaging, palliative care and hospice care. 

There are extensive on-site medical offerings at Gurwin Jewish Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, located in Commack, L.I., including two adult day health-care programs, a dialysis center and a ventilator unit. Nine geriatricians work at Gurwin Jewish, and specialists in dentistry, podiatry, ophthalmology and other fields visit to see patients on-site. An advanced care unit with 12 beds monitors clinically fragile patients. An in-house pharmacy provides access to medications seven days a week.  “We have a greater scope of services, much larger than a typical long-term care facility would have,” said Gurwin’s president and CEO, Stuart Almer.

Another feature of Gurwin Jewish is its location next door to the Suffolk Y JCC, where residents can use the pool and attend theater events. Also located in walking distance is the Commack Public Library, where residents make frequent visits for social and educational opportunities.

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