Programming That Keeps Residents Moving, Learning, and Growing

BY: 

INSPĪR SENIOR LIVING TEAM

At Inspīr Carnegie Hill, we strongly believe that when residents are engaged and enjoy what they are doing, they experience a higher quality of life. That’s why we have developed amazing partnerships and designed uniquely inspiring programs that keep residents moving, learning, and growing.

Every month, we offer “On the Town Experiences,” where residents head out into New York City to visit iconic landmarks and new hot spots. And, when we are not out exploring, we bring talent in to deliver awe-inspiring Broadway-caliber performances, educational lectures, provocative political debates, and more.

Color Theory

Artist, teacher, and new author Eric Hibit recently gave a lecture on color theory to a full house in the Inspīr theater. During his first presentation, Eric focused on the history of color, giving examples of how specific colors were originally made, such as using lapis lazuli to create dark blue and Murex snails to create a vivid Tyrian purple. It was the Phoenicians, as early as 1200 BCE, who began this dye process using snails, and the Greeks and Romans continued it until 1452 CE. Purple fabrics, as a result of the processing methods, were worth more than gold at the time.

We spoke to him about his passion for color and why it resonates so much with him. “Color makes me feel alive. When I see a bright color, I’m energized. The vividness of color is a constant source of inspiration. Even walking down an ordinary block in NYC, there is so much color to take in: signs, cars, fashion, trees, the sky!”

Eric has just completed his first book, Color Theory for Dummies, which can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The book was spurred by his curiosity to learn more about color. “Even though I studied color theory and have taught at the college level, I wanted to know more. It was a blast doing the research.”

Eric currently teaches at Drexel University, The Cooper Union, Suffolk County Community College, and 92Y. You can view his artwork on his website, Eric Hibit.

Broadway and Political Series

As Inspīr Carnegie Hill is home to our residents, they are not only part of the community within the residence but also outside in their New York City neighborhood. In mid-June, we launched a three-part political series beginning with a visit from Wilfredo (Wil) López representing the 68th District for the NY State Assembly. That was followed by a visit from Senator Liz Krueger for a State Senate forum. And this past weekend, we welcomed NY-12 Congressional candidates Rep. Carolyn Maloney and Rep. Jerry Nadler to discuss pressing matters facing our country, including the Supreme Court’s recent decisions, protecting democracy, and restoring the public trust. They also graciously addressed a variety of questions from our residents.

Residents, many of whom have spent time volunteering for political campaigns, enjoyed the opportunity to meet the members of Congress and candidates throughout the series and discuss civic matters related to New York City and our nation.  

Our Broadway Series, introduced a few months ago, kicked off with an uplifting evening with Broadway stars Laurel Harris, most recently in Jagged Little Pill, and Rob Marnell from Tina: The Tina Turner Musical.

Hosted in our 1802 restaurant just after dinner, Laurel and Rob talked about their roles on Broadway and sang several pieces to enthralled residents. Prior to Jagged Little Pill, Laurel was the Elphaba standby in Wicked on Broadway. She toured the country as Elphaba and was with both touring companies for a total of three years. Other Broadway credits include Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, Evita, and In Transit.

Before Tina, Rob originated the role of Joe Perry in Broadway’s Getting the Band Back Together. He has also appeared on Broadway in the company of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, the regional premiere of Rock of Ages at the Gateway Playhouse, Jersey Boys at the Paris Las Vegas, as well as its musical film adaptation directed by Clint Eastwood.

Flower Power

Residents in all our care programs benefit from the horticultural therapy we run with NYU Langone Health’s Rusk Rehabilitation. The program at Rusk began in the mid-70s and is one of the nation’s first programs of its kind. Many seniors have enjoyed gardening and flowers throughout their lifetime and have fond memories of tending their own gardens.

Patricia, who has worked for NYU Langone Health since 2017, left the corporate finance world to become a horticulture therapist. Her arrival at Inspīr each week is met with great enthusiasm as residents join her in the conservatory on the second floor. Who knows what assortment of flowers she has brought this week. Organized with vases, trays, and scissors, Patricia leads each session, discussing the flowers, their textures, colors, and scents. Residents work with her to create personalized arrangements, often reminiscing about bouquets they made with their mothers or children.

The power of arranging and smelling flowers has been shown to lessen anxiety, improve mood, and nourish engagement, especially when working together. Researchers at Rutgers University performed a fascinating study using several blind studies gauging peoples’ reactions to receiving one of three gifts, a candle, fruit basket, and floral bouquet.

“In every case, the recipients responded to the flowers with what is known as the Duchenne smile—a heartfelt ‘true smile’ involving the mouth, cheeks, and eyes; neither the candle nor the fruit elicited that kind of across-the-board positive response,” said Jeannette Haviland-Jones.

These experiences and programming are an integral part of the transformative experience we offer residents.