homes away from home

| 25 Jul 2018 | 12:38

Isabella House & Isabella Nursing

515 Audubon Ave., near West 191st Street


Facilities: 78 independent-living apartments, from studios to one-bedrooms; 705 nursing beds

Fees: $2,400 to $2,800 per month

Waiting list: Varies depending on availability — typically not more than 3 months

Type: Independent Living — with additional support as needed

Isabella House, a residence for independent seniors over the age of 62, was built in the 1960s on the campus of Isabella Geriatric Center. The Center began in 1875 — originally in Astoria, Queens — and relocated to Washington Heights in 1889. The original building was replaced with two large tan brick buildings in the 1960s and '70s, and occupies the top six floors of the 525 Audubon Avenue building.

Residents of Isabella House can reside in studio or one-bedroom apartments that offer stunning views of the New York skyline. They enjoy lunch and dinner each day and a full array of activities. Cable television and utilities are also included. An enclosed outdoor garden offers an opportunity to enjoy the good weather in a secure setting.

In addition to Isabella House, Isabella Geriatric Center offers short-stay rehabilitation in a new state-of-the-art Rehabilitation Suite; an Adult Day Health Care Program; Home Care; and free membership in the education and wellness program — the Institute for Older Adults. The Center has a nursing home with specialties in dementia care and ventilator-dependent care.

Isabella House offers “really good value,” says Betty Lehmann, Director of Marketing and Community Relations. Residents of all income levels choose Isabella House for the value, says Lehman, preferring to spend their savings on cabs to Lincoln Center, excursions and occasional dinners out on the town.

Amsterdam Nursing Home

1060 Amsterdam Ave.


Facilities: 409 beds

Waiting list: None

Type: Skilled Nursing Home & Rehab

One of the oldest nursing homes in the city, founded 145 years ago as a home for “old men and aged couples,” Amsterdam was once located on Hudson Street and moved to the Upper West Side in 1872, even before St. John the Divine Cathedral was built. Amsterdam is a not-for-profit skilled nursing facility dedicated to providing excellence in clinical care and quality of life.

Sitting just across the street from the iconic Cathedral, the home is protected for privacy with shrubbery and plants and trees and offers a continuum of life in the Morningside neighborhood. On nice days, residents sit outdoors with an attendant or family to enjoy the fresh air.

There are lovely common rooms, one with a piano, and plush armchairs for concerts and other events. One room features a captivating live bird display and fish tank. A connecting landmark building (which at one time was built as a water pump station) is where their adult day care program is held.

While Amsterdam serves the local community and NYC, hospitals often recommend patients for rehabilitation, including those coming from throughout the U.S. and abroad for surgical procedures. “We have good outcomes,” says Judith Fenster, Senior Vice President and Administrator. Amsterdam has consistently received five-star ratings from Medicare/Medicaid.

One special feature, Fenster says, is a Geri-Gym, a complement to prescribed physical therapy. “You want people to retain their level of function; if they're walking — even with assistance, you want them to continue and maintain their functional abilities and their independence.”

Last fall, Amsterdam entered into a partnership with VNSNY, (Visiting Nurse Service of New York), to provide an additional service — acute inpatient hospice care for those needing end of life symptom-management and care.

Lott Assisted Living Residence

1261 Fifth Ave.


Facilities: 127 studio apartments

Fees: $4,500 per month

Waiting list: Anywhere from 2 weeks to 6 months

Type: Assisted Living

Lott Residence was built for low-income seniors in 2000, located at the northern end of museum mile and across the street from Central Park. The not-for-profit residence was built to offer seniors quality care in the East Harlem area. It is one of only two assisted-living facilities in New York City that accept Medicaid — 90 percent Medicaid, 10 percent private pay.

As a Medicaid recipient, Lott is required to adhere to many rules which preclude residents from having pets, overnight guests or wheelchairs (with some exceptions), but the upside is that the staff are vigilant, and residents have “low fall rates.”

While Lott aims to target seniors in the area, residents hail from the Bronx, Staten Island, Florida, everywhere, says CEO Nicole Atanasio.

Lott residents have the opportunity to engage in a full calendar of activities including exercise, lectures, trips and music programs. Resident jazz musician Ruben Wilson performs for the Lott community with his trio once a month.

A charming garden is at the center of the building where many events take place. The resident dining room on the 14th floor is described as a daily dose of joy, with a spectacular view of the Harlem Meer in Central Park.

The New Jewish Home

120 West 106th St.


Facilities: 514 beds; they also run a Westchester campus (in Mamaroneck) and senior-housing residences in The Bronx, including independent living and assisted living. Most recently, they opened an Adult Day Heath Care Program (off Hutchinson Parkway)

Fees: A mix of private-pay, Medicare/Medicaid

Type: Skilled Nursing Home & Rehab

The New Jewish Home continues to be in construction of a new 20-story facility, the first high-rise Green House Project® in a densely populated urban setting, at 97th Street and Columbus Avenue. Completion is projected for early 2022. The green house employs a person-directed care model, which places the older adult at the center of decision-making.

Each green house accommodates 12 long-term care residents, with their own room with private or shared bathroom. Rooms will open onto a central living area, with an open kitchen where staff can accommodate residents' food choices and activities.

Although a nurse is available 24 hours a day and the clinical-care team is nearby, the sense is that one is receiving care in a family-type setting. Staff are consistent to one group, and develop warm relationships with residents.

A not-for-profit, The New Jewish Home has been running small houses at their Westchester campus successfully for several years on a smaller scale. Small communities embody the innovative Green House approach to older adult care.

To keep pace with the development of the new building at their current location on 106th Street, the Home has been adapting the green house principles, making changes where they can within the footprint (a traditional hospital floor plan). They are preparing to be ready when staff and residents are transferred to the new location.

The present building has impressive features, including a spacious outdoor garden and a library, and an auditorium where many social events for the residents take place, including writing workshops, pet therapy and art classes. Residents also regularly attend concerts, have movie nights and go to the theater.

Recently LGBT residents were taken to the NYC Pride March. Seniors in their wheelchairs and dozens of staff and friends participated with two colorfully decorated vans.

Wendy Strauss, 75, a resident, says, “This parade is for all Americans to see. We're all the same: we go to work, we go to war, we pay the ultimate sacrifice. If the NJH is sponsoring this for their residents, then maybe other homes like this one will get the idea to do the same thing. That's our one little seed.”

Carnegie East House

1844 Second Ave.


Facilities: 98 apartments, studios to two-bedrooms

Fees: $5,900 to $7,600 per month

Waiting list: Six months for units with East River views; two to three years for one of 21 units set aside for qualifying low-income applicants

Type: Assisted Living

As an independent, not-for-profit, says Marketing Director Margaret Foley, Carnegie East “is not under pressure to increase rates by 10 percent each year.” That means they have a small budget when it comes to advertising and marketing, but there is added focus on the residents.

“Every resident knows me, they know my family, they know where my parents live,” says Foley. “I think people really feel cared for.”

Resident Phyllis O. Silverman, 87, a retired school teacher, says that “I love my little apartment. Every morning I look out my window, and see people walking their dogs, and the traffic, I love it and I feel like I'm part of the city.”

Among the activities, highly noteworthy are operas performed live by The New York City Opera Forum once a month; as many as 15 singers perform. There are movies every night, lectures, a Shakespeare class, a jewelry-making class, Tai Chi, chair yoga and stretching exercises. Residents can participate in a theater workshop, and put on shows several times a year in an activities room they call “Carnegie Hall.”

Carnegie East also offers affordable housing, something no other senior living community does, Foley says that if a residents spend down their money, they can be placed on a waiting list for affordable housing. When a resident meets New York State requirements, Carnegie East can do a conversion on the spot.

“A rent can go from $6,700 to $2,700 a month with the same services in place,” says Foley. “Three meals a day, housekeeping, laundry, everything.”

Atria West 86

333 West 86th St., near Riverside Drive


Facilities: 183 apartments, from studios to a two-bedroom penthouse

Fees: Starting at $7,495 per month

Waiting list: Limited availability for select floor plans, including upper-floor apartments with river views

Type: Assisted Living (Enriched Housing)

This fully renovated pre-war Upper West Side building makes it easier for older New Yorkers to live in the cultural heart of the city.

Surrounded by dining destinations both trendy and legendary, life at the community means eating well — whether residents choose to go out or stay in. Food is a celebratory affair at Atria, with three on-site restaurant options for residents: Anthony's, a formal restaurant offering gourmet cuisine and table service; A.P.'s Grille, with an open kitchen offering casual fare; and a 24-hour café.

There is a communal terrace on the roof, and many rooms offer stunning views of the Hudson River. Tenants live as independently as they wish but have the option to be an active member of a vibrant and supportive apartment community. All-inclusive rental rates provide residents with on-site dining, housekeeping, city-wide car service, daily instructor-led fitness classes and a myriad of on-site events each month, among other services. Residents also can choose different levels of aid and assistance, as needed. There's a wellness center and a 24-hour nurse on site; doctors visit weekly.

Resident Mary C., 75, a psychotherapist who still sees patients in her downtown office, moved into the community from Brooklyn two years ago with her husband. They decided to be pro-active about needing assistance, “before anyone else suggested it to us.”

Mary says she used to get a chuckle at the vans full of seniors that would pull up in front of Broadway theaters, but now she herself enjoys that same service. It seems like every minute is accounted for, from a writing workshop hosted by a Columbia University journalism grad student to morning walks in Riverside Park and art history lectures, as well as museum outings and strength and balance classes. At Atria West 86, the social calendar also includes on-site performances by Juilliard and the Jazz Foundation of America, New York Mandolin Orchestra rehearsals, renowned guest speakers from NYU and the Israeli Consulate, and group outings to museums, parks and Broadway shows.

“I don't know whether they have a special interviewing technique or whether they train the staff. This staff is both kind and very professional,” says Mary, “I used to be a nurse at one point, and now a therapist, and I watched the interaction, and people try to be kind, but really there is an extra layer.”

Billie Jean King, who won 39 Grand Slam tennis titles and became the first female athlete to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, is Atria's well-being coach. Atria West 86 is the company's flagship location on the Upper West Side, among 28 communities throughout the New York metro area, including communities in three boroughs, on the North Shore of Long Island and in Westchester County.

The 80th Street Residence

430 East 80th St.


Facilities: 70 rooms

Fees: $16,000 to $19,000 per month

Waiting list: Call for current information

Type: Enhanced Assisted Living

The 80th Street Residence is the only assisted living residence in NYC entirely devoted to enhanced memory care. The 80th Street Residence has 70 residents, all of whom suffer from cognitive impairment. With their Special Needs Assisted Living Residence license, 80th Street offers a secure environment with specially trained staff to work with their residents. With their Enhanced Assisted Living Residence license, they provide a home where people can age in place so should their needs become greater, they can remain at 80th Street while receiving more support. “Our community has created a wonderful home for our residents. Whether a person is in earlier stages or later stages, we have excelled at providing the appropriate support for all and are able to continue to care for them as their needs become greater. You don't see anything like that in other communities,” says Assistant Executive Director Lindsey Harbison.

The interior design is like a bed and breakfast with Upper East Side appeal. Based on the “green house” model, the resident floors are designed to accommodate only eight to ten individuals. Each floor groups residents together based on their abilities and their needs, as well as other factors, including their personalities and interests. “Not only are we interested in providing support and care but also creating an environment that allows residents to engage and connect with each other,” says Harbison. “Staff is also essential with helping the residents initiate interactions and making connections. Perhaps the staff mentions to Mr. Smith that he and Mr. Jones both went to Columbia University. Right there we've got a connection and engaging can begin.”

80th Street has an extensive activities calendar including trips to museums, Lincoln Center and intergenerational programs with local schools. Music is a major part of everyday life at 80th Street. “We realized that music is key to the soul, little by little we started bringing in different performers. Whether a resident likes classical music or The Beatles, we have found extraordinary performers so that everyone can hear a little bit of 'their' music,” says Executive Director Clare Shanley.

The fee for residents is all-inclusive; one monthly rate includes beauty parlor services, toiletries, outings, TV and furniture and transportation to doctor visits.

ArchCare at Mary Manning Walsh Home

1339 York Ave.


Facilities: 362 nursing beds

Fees: Mix of Medicare/Medicaid, private and commercial insurance

Waiting list: Varies

Type: Skilled Nursing Home & Rehab

Mary Manning Walsh Home is a part of ArchCare, the continuing care community of the Archdiocese of New York, and sponsored by the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm. Grounded in faith, Mary Manning Walsh welcomes people of all backgrounds, and consistently receives top ratings from Medicare/Medicaid. Most rooms are private. A living room on the first floor features a grand piano, where families congregate and where concerts are often performed. There is also a chapel on the first floor, where daily mass is held, along with regular religious services and pastoral care for people of all faiths.

The Home's recently modernized rehabilitation suite and patient floors offer a feeling of lightness, brightness and homelike elegance.

Meals are delivered to residents' rooms but residents have the option to dine in common dining rooms, or even in a restaurant-style dining room on the seventh floor, with an outdoor patio facing York Avenue.

“It is nicely furnished, with a wonderful view and welcome breeze during the summer, which residents and families take full advantage of,” says Wanda Taylor, director of admissions. Executive Director Michael Monahan adds, “Oftentimes after a card game or concert, residents and families will enjoy wine or cocktails in the Emerald lounge, or coffee at our café,” both on the concourse level.

The Home offers an excellent recreational program including music therapy and concerts from classical to jazz every weekend. There is also a bridge club, beading and art classes and a wide range of other recreational activities. Some of the residents' jewelry goes on sale in their gift shop.

Brookdale Battery Park

455 North End Ave., near Chambers St.


Facilities: 217 apartments, from studios to two-bedrooms

Fees: $6,780 to $10,600 per month

Waiting List: High occupancy; first come, first served

Type: Independent Living

“Brookdale is like a cruise ship that isn't moving with lots of services in place,” says Gail Hochfeld, a Brookdale sales counselor. It has an impressive lobby featuring a huge arrangement of fresh flowers and beautiful common rooms. Large oil paintings hang on the walls (many of them painted by a current resident).

Built in 2000 with seniors very much in mind, hallways are wide with built-in ledges for extra support, and apartments feature low counter tops.

Brookdale Senior Living is the largest owner and operator of senior living communities throughout the U.S., running 1,100 of them.

Residents are given a pendant which works like a GPS so if they feel the need for assistance they will be easily identified and located. There are motion detectors in residents' room so if they sleep in later than usual, staff will check on them.

On the premises, there is a fitness and wellness center and a walk-in clinic with a doctor and a nurse and physical therapist. There are also two home aide agencies on the premises 24-7 that offer cluster care — “snippets of care,” says Hochfeld, “rather than the four-hour minimum most home-care agencies charge.”

Brookdale is located at Battery Park, giving residents the opportunity to walk and enjoy the river. There's also a small garden sanctuary within the complex.

Among the hundreds of activities organized every month, from lectures to musical events, “food-shopping trips are a big deal here,” says Hochfeld. “Many residents like to go to a Shop Rite in Jersey City ... They're a savvy group, they know that the Shop Rite has bigger aisles, is less congested than the Whole Foods, or the supermarkets in the city, it's a little cheaper, and they recognize the brands.”

Brookdale is one of the few senior living communities with a heated swimming pool (with a chair-lift and lifeguard).


305 West End Assisted Living

305 West End Ave. at 74th St.


Facilities: Upon completion, assisted living and memory care apartments – studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms

Fees: $7,800 to $17,000 per month

Waiting list: N/A

Type: Will be Assisted Living & Memory Care

305 West End is the new name of the former The Esplanade Manhattan senior luxury housing community, after being acquired in 2016 by Northwind Group and Engel Burman/Harrison Street in a joint venture. The purchase heralds structural and operational renovations and improvements. The 14-story pre-war building will comprise 191 residential apartments (with two floors dedicated to memory care).

New amenities, says, Jenny Zaun, marketing director of The Engel Burman Group, include a cinema, a salon, a country club-style dining room, a bistro grille for casual dining and a fitness center; in addition, there will be a card and game room, a performing arts center and a computer center.

The location, on West End Avenue between 74th and 75th Streets. has the particular benefit of being next to Riverside Park, near Central Park, Lincoln Center, the American Museum of Natural History, dozens of cultural spots and dining and shopping opportunities. With the Hudson River nearby, many apartments on the west side of the building have impressive river views.

Included in the rent, residents receive three meals per day with snacks in their “bistro,” daily housekeeping, weekly linens and laundry, town car service and motor coach transportation to and from outside activities, educational and wellness programs, and a full activity schedule of events every day. Concierge service is available to residents 24/7 to manage additional requests, says Zaun.

Some sample activities include: daily strength training or aerobics; painting or craft classes; trips to theaters, restaurants or museums; new or classic movies in the cinema; social hours with hors d'oeuvres or desserts; classical piano performances; cooking demonstrations; on-site religious services; creative writing sessions.

There is an “always available” menu, and the chef provides options for heart-healthy meals and sugar-free desserts, says Zaun. A sneak peek of a dinner option: Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Sauce, served with whipped Yukon Gold potatoes and peas, carrots and pearl onions.

“The residents maintain an independent lifestyle,” says Zaun, “with assistance and support available at all times.”

305 West End accepts long-term care insurance or private pay.

Representatives should be contacted for opening dates and more.


Inspīr Carnegie Hill

1802 Second Ave.


Facilities: 215 apartments, studios to two bedrooms

Fees: Starting at 15,000 per month

Leasing Gallery Opens in the Fall

Type: Independent Living, Assisted Living, Enhanced Care, Memory Care

This will be the first new senior housing to be built in Manhattan in over 20 years. The senior housing provider Maplewood has launched a “luxury senior housing brand in an urban environment” called Inspīr, New York City being the first one. The 23-floor, new construction located in the Carnegie Hill section of the Upper East Side, opens its doors in late 2019/early 2020.

A LEED-certified building, it is described by Andrea Ellen, vice president of marketing and communications for Maplewood Senior Living, as modern and simple, a “direct and essential architecture.” Many of the same materials on the outside of the building will be used within, enhancing a balance between street life and private life, indoor and outdoor.

The centerpiece and heart of the structure is a vast, two-level high atrium and terrace with interior and exterior seating, situated on their 16th floor, providing a connection to nature and light. “Residents who may not have ease of mobility, have both the opportunity to be indoors in a space with extensive natural light, and lush gardens, as well as access to the outdoors and nature, and sit amongst the greenery and enjoy the sunlight,” says Ellen. The complex is purposefully built for Manhattan's aging population and offers a continuum of lifestyle, allowing individuals who opt to or are no longer able to live in their own city apartments, to remain close to their health network and physicians, and family and social circles. The housing is also near cultural institutions, museums, universities and theaters.

Multiple levels of services are offered, a complement of independent living, assisted living, memory care, with concierge floors. 24-7 licensed nurses are on staff throughout the building available to all the residents.

Independent living residents are able to enjoy an active lifestyle with everything taken care of, including dining and transportation. Among the amenities are a beauty salon, a swimming pool and spa and fitness center.

To meet the expectations of a clientele with sophisticated palates, “the food options are healthy farm-to-table fresh menus, and haute cuisine experiences. Kitchens are also open-display, where residents have the opportunity to watch the chefs as they cook,” says Ellen.

In September, an Inspīr leasing gallery will be open to prospective residents and families to meet with Inspir reps, learn about their philosophies and levels of care in the building and to see models of the different rooms.


FiveStar Premier Residences of Yonkers

537 Riverdale Avenue, Yonkers


Facilities: 198 independent-living apartments; 76 assisted living. 36 memory care.

Fees: $4,000 to $8,500 per month

Waiting list: Call for availability status.

Type: Independent Living, Enhanced Assisted Living, Memory Care

FiveStar Senior Living is a senior living communities and services provider with 283 residences around the country. The facility in Yonkers took over management of an existing community senior residence six years ago. Their 18-story building, within a gated community, has a feeling of an upscale hotel. “The original company had that intention when they built it,” says Jane Kennedy, FiveStar Premier Residences of Yonkers Director of Sales, “and that's what most will say, 'like a luxury apartment in a Manhattan or grand hotel'.”

Independent seniors occupy the sixth through 18th floors, with one- and two-bedroom apartments with views of the Hudson River (some face the George Washington Bridge, others the Tappan Zee Bridge). The grounds feature gardens with walkways. The location has the double advantage of feeling rural but benefiting from close proximity to New York City, about 1/2 hour with easy access to the Henry Hudson Parkway and several buses. The BX7 bus stops right in front of their location. They are also a stone's throw from Wave Hill, the Bronx Zoo, the Bronx Botanical Garden and historic homes.

Activities programming is a highlighted feature for FiveStar where they've developed what they call Lifestyle360, “not just about living in a senior living community but about thriving in a community,” says Kennedy. She adds that FiveStar takes a holistic approach, addressing “five dimensions of wellness: intellectual, physical, social, emotional and spiritual.”

In addition to a full calendar presented by outside vendors, FiveStar modifies programming based on residents' wishes and suggestions. Both the Independent and Assisted Living residents share in the activities. Memory Care, occupying one floor of the building, follows the Montesorri Method, “where each person is an individual and their life is important,” says Kennedy.

FiveStar will cull talent from within the community of former teachers, professionals and artists. A former NYPD detective presented a class on criminal investigations. A former Broadway director runs a theatrical group featuring other residents that performs on a regular basis. “They're working on a Cole Porter number now,” says Kennedy.

Outings take place every weekend to shopping centers, museums and restaurants; there are classes for art, horticulture and jewelry-making, as well as walking clubs. A popular group, according to Kennedy, is a meeting about news of the day, where many points of view are enthusiastically and sometimes heatedly aired.

Pets are welcomed in the Independent Living apartments, but must weigh 25 lbs. or less, and the owner must be able to care for the pet themselves.

Each month is assigned a theme: in June it was Pursuit of Happiness, and residents were encouraged to write on a daily basis what makes them happy. July is Pearls of Wisdom, with programming that includes residents' storytelling.


Five Star Premier Residences of Teaneck

655 Pomander Walk Teaneck, NJ


Facilities: Over 200 One and Two Bedroom Apartments (Balconies Available)

Fees: Starting at $3,695. One Bedroom - $4,995. Two Bedrooms

Type: Resort-Style Independent & Assisted Living

Five Star Premier Residences of Teaneck is a suburban, resort-style senior living community right over the George Washington Bridge, located on 5 ½ acres of expertly landscaped grounds. Over 200 residents call these award-winning apartments “home,” where they enjoy access to a wealth of amenities, a booked calendar of activities and outings, top-notch dining, and a genuinely, devoted staff.

The professionals at Five Star are known for their kindness—from the bus drivers and housekeepers, to the executive sales team. “My husband and I have lived here for three years and we love it,” notes resident Hilda Lauria, “We do not rate the staff as excellent, but superior.”

The community is both elegant and comfortable, with a focus on wellness. Five Star Teaneck's “Lifestyle360,” approach, based on “Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs,” harmonizes the essential dimensions of wellness by focusing on the intellectual, social, physical, emotional and spiritual needs of each individual.

While New York and the neighborhood's surrounding shops are available right at the residents' fingertips, there is much to be enjoyed on-site. Daily events and programming range from art classes, music events, and Tai-Chi lessons to compelling lectures and religious services. Their restaurant-style dining is led by celebrity chef Brad Miller, and supported by an executive culinary team that works hard to create rich, diverse menus to please any and all dietary restrictions.

For many, moving to Five Star's Teaneck location proves to be an exciting, new chapter. “For the past four years, I took care of my husband as his illness progressed. He died six months ago. Several of my friends have died and several have moved far away. Life as I knew it would never be the same again. I moved to Five Star feeling I had come to the end of the line,” says resident Joan Posage. “But that's not so. Living here for just 7 weeks has given me a new found hope. There are so many activities to choose from. The staff are extremely caring and helpful. I am meeting so many warm and welcoming people. This is not the end of the line. It is just the beginning of a new line!”