Museums, the ballet and concierge medical services: Luxury senior living caters to wealthy city dwellers
Allen Lippman likes all the finer points of Manhattan, from good food and the museums and the ballet, to concerts at Lincoln Center — all things he continues to enjoy through his assisted living facility in a tony neighborhood in New York’s Upper East Side.
The center, called Sunrise at East 56th, is part of a new breed of luxury senior living communities that cater to well-heeled and discriminating older adults who want to stay in cities and keep enjoying all that the urban environment has to offer while receiving assistance with the activities of daily living or medical care.
The facility offers physical therapy, occupational therapy, as well as a partnership with Northwell Health for concierge medical services. If needed, hospice care partners can come to the center, as well.
The Sunrise at East 56th senior living community features 151 units and primarily serves affluent New Yorkers seeking to maintain their refined lifestyle while providing personalized services to improve everyday life. It has independent living, assisted living and memory care facilities. All residents wear a watch that tracks their steps, breathing and alerts staff if someone has fallen.
“The food is absolutely wonderful, which is unusual to find in similar facilities. The building is very attractive. And the upper level staff is very responsive,” said Lippman, 82, who moved in less than a year ago from his former home on 86th Street and Park Avenue.
More than 810,000 Americans currently reside in assisted living communities. There are more than 28,900 such communities in the U.S. with more than 996,000 licensed beds available, according to the National Center for Assisted Living.
The demand for care for older adults will only continue to grow. Every day in the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65, and the number of older adults will more than double over the next several decades to top 88 million people and represent over 20 percent of the population by 2050.
The U.S. Census Bureau projects that the country will hit a new milestone in 2034 when older adults over 65 will outnumber children under 18.
Read: These new retirement communities sound ideal, so why do so many towns resist them?
The promotional literature for Sunrise at East 56th sounds like a luxury hotel. The facility features interiors by Champalimaud Design, known for hotel design at the Plaza Hotel, the Carlyle, and the Waldorf in New York City, as well as the Beverly Hills Bungalows in Los Angeles, and Four Seasons and Ritz-Carltons around the world.
“What you’re seeing is the senior living market maturing and therefore we’re seeing some segmentation. Some companies are focused on the high end, especially in markets like D.C., San Francisco, New York and Boston,” said Beth Mace, chief economist at the National Investment Center for Seniors House & Care.
“They’re competing against pretty high-end apartments and really nice lifestyles, so the amenities at these places can be pretty nice, culturally-oriented and socially active,” Mace said. “There’s a lot of wealthy people who live in these markets. You don’t need that many to fill a residence.”
In a move to cater to the growing market for luxury assisted living residences, the Sunrise at East 56th and the Apsley, which is currently under construction on the Upper West Side, were developed by Welltower Inc., a healthcare infrastructure company, as well as international real-estate firm Hines, and Sunrise Senior Living .
“We’re trying to move to the nexus of hospitality and healthcare. We want to create communities where the adult daughter is envious, not guilty about having mom in senior living,” said Maria Davlantes, chief marketing officer of Sunrise Senior Living.
“For many years, luxury senior living has not been markets we’ve looked at before. The two in New York are unique to us,” said Denise Falco, senior vice president of operations at Sunrise Senior Living. “But luxury in urban settings – this is only the start.”
All of this luxury comes with an equally luxurious price tag, of course. A slot at Sunrise at East 56th starts at $15,000 a month. That compares with the national median cost of $4,500 a month or $54,000 a year at an assisted living facility in the U.S., according to Genworth Financial. The average monthly cost of memory care is $7,277, according to the National Investment Center.
Affluent seniors are willing to pay for the price of luxury, but have high expectations.
“The demographic absolutely has high demands. They have lived very quality lives and expect that quality to continue,” Falco said.
Other senior luxury residences exist, such as the Coterie venture between Atria Senior Living and developer Related, which feature centers in San Francisco (Coterie Cathedral Hill) and Manhattan (Coterie Hudson Yards) that boast one-to-one resident-to-staff ratios and in-house restaurants with chefs trained in Michelin-starred restaurants.
Lippman said he’s happy with the assisted living services at Sunrise at East 56th.
“I would like them to take 10 years off my life and they can’t help me with that. Other than that, I am pleased,” Lippman said.
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