women laughing

Nine Core Elements—How Care Happens at Inspīr, Part 4

Eleonora Tornatore-Mikesh

Inspīr delivers a transformative senior living experience that exceeds every dimension of senior care. The residence was purposefully designed to promote health and wellness as well as harmony and connectedness for residents, families, and staff. It was also built on a philosophy of vibrant, intentional living and meaningful connection, which we bring to life through our Nine Core Elements.

To explore these Nine Core Elements, we sat down with Eleonora Tornatore-Mikesh, Chief Experience & Memory Care Officer at Inspīr. Eleonora brings more than two decades of experience improving the lives of seniors, especially those with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia.

What follows is part four of our blog series, which provides a deeper look into the last three of our Nine Core Elements: Brain Health, Nature, and Laughter. If you’re looking to catch up on the series, read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

Female resident wearing glasses sitting at a desk focused on drawing


Caring for the brain is important at any age, and the lifestyle you live could make all the difference. What you eat and drink, how much you exercise, how well you sleep, the way you socialize, and how you manage stress are all critically important to your brain health. At Inspīr, we exemplify this notion in all that we do.

Q: What’s the Inspīr philosophy around brain health? Can you talk about how Inspīr’s programs can help with cognitive stimulation?

A: Our philosophy regarding brain health is simple: What’s good for the brain is good for the mind, body, and soul. It’s a constant cycle. And really, these days, brain health is relevant to people of all ages. The ability to remain aware and alert—keeping those synapses flashing. I mean, who doesn’t love a good game of sudoku?

But for our residents, brain health is essential, whether it involves memory, concentration, or learning. Brain health has a direct influence on full-body wellness, which is why we offer lifelong learning classes, stimulating cognitive activities, brain-healthy foods, and even fitness programs to keep the neurons active and maximize brain function.

Circle of trees viewed from the ground up to the treetops


Connecting with nature is elemental. Proven to enhance mental and physical health, nature is a key contributing factor to the wellness of Inspīr residents.

Q: When thinking about wellness, it’s hard not to think about how nature comes into play—how it stimulates the senses, relaxes the mind. How does Inspīr infuse nature into the senior living experience … even amid the city life of Manhattan?

A: You’re right. And nestled on the Upper East Side of Manhattan lies our little oasis. A step through our door is a total contrast to the bustling streets of our neighborhood. We recognize the importance of nature’s influence, as it has been scientifically proven to positively affect mental health and wellness. So we designed our building to let nature permeate the environment as much as possible.

Inspīr’s common spaces are lush with plants and gardens. Our floor-to-ceiling windows fill the interior of the building with an abundance of natural light, blurring the lines between indoors and out. We make ample use of organic materials and green spaces to infuse natural elements into the building, through and through. And our SkyPark hovers 150 feet above street level, placing residents in a vibrant green space with breathtaking views, right in the heart of Manhattan.

Q: Does the dining experience at Inspīr leverage nature in any way? Can you talk about the philosophy (and maybe even the science) behind nature and nutrition?

A: Absolutely. Nature is one of our best assets. To us, nature means nutrition. We offer a variety of dining experiences for our residents to choose from, all inspired by the philosophy of intentional living. Our menus feature locally sourced and flavorful superfoods—like leafy green vegetables, fresh fish, and whole grains—to support heart and brain health. We curate culinary offerings that incorporate plant-based protein sources along with fresh, locally sourced vegetables and herbs. Culinary delights from our kitchens spark the senses and rekindle memories.

The dining experience at Inspīr is just that—an experience. Our residents look forward to the varying nutrient-filled meals, curated by our talented chefs amid a lush and inviting atmosphere. Often juxtaposing global fusion and local inspiration, we offer cuisine that provides residents with exceptional and indulgent dining, while also prioritizing their well-being. Ultimately, we want our residents to be excited by the dining experience, as it exceeds every culinary expectation and offers a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

Female resident with her daughter, both overjoyed by the Inspire Carnegie Hill experience


Dau Voire says, “Laughter is, and will always be, the best form of therapy.” And we agree, which is why we incorporate a little humor into everything we do at Inspīr.

Q: They say laughter is the best medicine. Who are “they” anyway? And do you agree with them?

A: Whoever “they” are, they’re right! Studies have been conducted across the globe to confirm that laughter improves health. Laughter releases endorphins, proven to be one of the best forms of therapy. The latest research shows that laughter, humor, and happiness play a key role in good health and longevity. As it turns out, laughter can positively affect diseases and conditions as diverse as high blood pressure, the flu, heart disease, depression and anxiety, and even arthritis and diabetes. This is why our world-class staff is dedicated to fostering an environment focused on positivity and humor—because a little laughter can go a long way.

Q: Thinking about health issues that sometimes come with age—dementia and mobility issues, for example—does laughter have a place there?

A: Without a doubt. Laughter is known to alleviate some of the symptoms that go along with dementia, helping with frustration and depression while also improving social interaction. Our goal is to improve the quality of life for residents, or, put another way, to give them more good days. So we believe that for those with mobility issues or dementia, a good laugh could boost their mood and, in turn, generate a more positive outlook on life. For residents at Inspīr, the healing properties of laughter might be just what the doctor ordered.

We also partner with organizations like Hilarity for Charity, using comedy events to raise Alzheimer’s awareness—and the funds to help beat it. By pairing laughter and Alzheimer’s, Hilarity for Charity is able to spread awareness to younger generations and collect a significant amount of funding to push Alzheimer’s research forward. The benefits and healing properties of laughter truly make a difference, and Inspīr is embracing that.

Inspīr’s Nine Core Elements curate an environment and lifestyle that supports a philosophy of vibrant, intentional living and meaningful connection. We hope this four-part blog series has offered some insight into how we bring our elevated senior living experience to life.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.