“We are not a facility; we are a community.” -The Harborside resident Rhoda Finer
At the start of 2022, Port Washington’s senior living community rebranded as The Harborside. Once known as The Amsterdam at Harborside, The Harborside is a community for active and independent adults that offers over 200 classes and events monthly to the residents. There are beautiful apartments for residents to live in, a health center and multiple levels of care to ensure that each resident receives the attention they need.
Along with the name change came upgrades and additions to The Harborside to enhance the resort-like living that feels like home. On Jan. 10, 2022, the new wellness center opened on the lower level of The Harborside. Resident Connie Miceli played an integral role in facilitating the planning and construction of the wellness center over the past couple of years.
“The residents here desired an on-site wellness center so much that we had our own fundraising through a committee here,” Miceli said. “We raised close to $80,000, which is quite a substantial amount of money to help us pay the architects and contractors to do the work.”
Miceli described the lower level as a “dark, dank and ugly workroom” with exposed pipes on the ceilings. After the architect’s creative work, the lower level transformed into a bright and inviting wellness center where residents can make appointments to visit specialists.
The wellness center has two podiatrists and one geriatrician available from Mondays to Thursdays every week. Miceli makes up a monthly calendar for the residents detailing where to find the wellness center and how to make appointments. In the future, Miceli anticipates bringing in more specialists for the residents to see, such as an audiologist.
“The geriatrician comes from a service in Roslyn called Internal Medical Group, and she is affiliated with St. Francis Hospital,” Miceli said. “It’s a big plus having her here because she can visit a resident if they should end up in the hospital.”
On April 4, 2022, The Harborside’s own Harbor Mart opened for residents to shop for essentials such as toilet paper, toothpaste, fruits and, of course, ice cream. The Harborside previously had a small shop that closed due to COVID-19, but resident Mieke Bloomfield assisted in bringing the shop back as the Harbor Mart.
“You can see everything right when you step in, and there are a lot of items to pick from,” Bloomfield said. “Many of us here drive, but for those who don’t, you can get essentials here. We have garbage bags, laundry detergent, snacks and little containers of cereals.”
The Harbor Mart is run by volunteers that Bloomfield has gathered. More than 20 volunteers have signed up to help out at the mart, and every month Bloomfield creates a work schedule for resident volunteers.
“The reincarnation of the mart is well thought out,” Director of Community Programs Tracy Warzer said. “It is very high-tech with a scanner that sends the bill to the resident’s apartment, so there is no money exchange.”
“We’re a community that really works together with the residents,” Warzer said. “We have all kinds of committees for residents to get involved.” Residents are not only involved in various committees, but two residents sit on the board of directors for the Harborside to have input on the decisions and plans that affect the staff and residents at The Harborside.
Resident Rhoda Finer is one of the two elected representatives on the board of directors. Although The Harborside does have a small health center, the primary focus is on independent living. Finer’s involvement in the board of directors is one example that proves that The Harborside allows its residents the freedom to be as active in the community as possible.
“In addition to the board of directors, I served on the Residents Council as a member and its chair,” said Finer. “The Residents Council is extremely active here, and it has something like 20 different committees. We truly have our fingers in every pot.”
“Honestly, we are not quite retired,” Miceli said. “My children ask me when I’m retiring, and I say when I get old.”
What makes The Harborside stand out among all other retirement facilities is its title as a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community). When seniors move in, they sign a contract that promises continuing care for the rest of their lives. If you need nursing home care, enriched housing, memory care or all three, they are attached next door to The Harborside.
“When my husband needed some rehabilitation, he was right next door,” Miceli said. “I didn’t have to get in my car and drive somewhere, and I’d just go next door to visit him and oversee his care. We just pay rent for the apartment and not a penny for the extra care, which is a big factor in choosing a place like this rather than an assisted living facility that doesn’t have that extra level of care.”
There are only 12 CCRCs in the whole state of New York and only one in Nassau County, The Harborside.
“Here, couples are able to stay together under the same roof and everyone gets what they need,” Warzer said. “It is about helping everyone maintain an optimized lifestyle while staying engaged in all kinds of activities.”
And with 200 different events, activities and classes, there is never a dull moment around The Harborside. As the Director of Community Programs, Warzer organizes a weekly schedule with social events, fitness classes, intellectual stimulation activities, concerts, card games, Holiday parties and a weekly happy hour.
“Our fitness classes are quite remarkable. We offer something multiple times a day,” Warzer said. “The classes are in person and on the resident private T.V. channels. Our trainer instructs core-flex fitness, tai-chi and conditioning where he teaches the residents how to use the equipment safely.”
The Harborside has had an educational affiliation with LIU Post since 2014 and NYU since 2022 by providing internship opportunities for students on the career path to becoming registered art therapists.
The interns help out with the ‘Art for Health and Wellness’ program, which features weekly art studio sessions for all residents. The focus of the art sessions is to explore the creative process as a means of self-expression. Being actively engaged in making art brightens the spirit by inspiring senses and shifting one’s focus away from worries and negative thoughts toward feelings of hopefulness and connection to others.
The various programs, resident committees and new additions demonstrate the vibrant community of residents thriving at The Harborside. Visit www. theharborside.org to learn more about the wonderful amenities The Harborside offers.