Instead of bingo, senior housing brings opera singers and Broadway insiders to residents


Then about an hour and a half later, Ms Eckfeldt found herself enjoying a concert in the lobby of the apartment building of Peter Kendall Clark, an opera singer who performed outdoors in Brooklyn Heights during the pandemic.

Three decades ago, retirement homes were places where older Americans could simply get health care, according to David Freshwater, president of Watermark Retirement Communities. Now, with many studies on aging finding that mental engagement leads to better health (and vice versa), older people want to participate in stimulating programs, he said.

Some of the residency program directors are artists themselves and have invited personal friends and professional colleagues to teach. Ms. Glandon is a former professional dancer. Not only did she bring in Mr. Amodeo, her longtime friend and collaborator, to teach Brookdale, but she also taught her own intergenerational dance and art program, which included a dance flash mob at Union. Square.

Aaron Feinstein, director of people, arts and culture at Watermark, is a former theater director and musician. He asked a college friend, Marielle Heller, screenwriter, actress and director, to come see his films with the residents and then organize a question-and-answer session.

“There is a level of sophistication in our classes, just because we are in New York City, the largest cultural center in our country,” he said.

Mr. Feinstein often sits at the Steinway piano in the lobby playing whatever comes to mind. And yes, he takes requests.

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