The Rental Market

Where seniors can find independent living residences in Brooklyn

  • Monthly rent ranges from $3,250 for a shared room to over $15,000 for a private three bedroom
  • The cost is all-inclusive of amenities, activities, and meals provided on the premises
By Evelyn Battaglia | December 20, 2022 - 12:30PM

Scheduled group enrichment activities like horticultural therapy are one of the perks of living in a senior living residence in NYC. 

Courtesy of The Waterford at Brooklyn Heights

Brooklynites who want to age in place have a slew of senior living residences that aim to serve them in their own neighborhoods. 

One new option is The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights, which like luxe independent living communities in Manhattan, is pioneering a stylish alternative to traditional facilities with a higher standard of living. Because these are licensed as assisted living facilities by New York State (which covers memory care for people with dementia), they offer the same level of 24/7 personal care while also catering to self-sufficient seniors seeking a lifestyle-focused experience. So independent living residents get all the amenities (housekeeping, transportation, fitness center) and social enrichment (group classes and outings), plus three meals a day in communal dining spaces. 

Then there are Brooklyn's traditional senior living communities—several of which have been recently renovated and also tap into the cultural offerings in the neighborhood.

Need a place like these? Start your search with Brick's guide to senior living communities (emphasis on community).

 The rooftop lounge at The Watermark offers dining with views. 

The rooftop lounge at The Watermark offers dining with views. 

Courtesy of The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights

Raising the bar 

Watermark Retirement Communities, which has a long track record of managing locations across the country, opened The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights in October 2021. It's the company's first in NYC and part of the Élan Collection that offers a luxury lifestyle. 

"The owners most definitely identified a number of income-eligible residents in Brooklyn Heights who would thrive in an environment created by Watermark," says Rocco Bertini, executive director. 

The neighborhood was also chosen for its tree-lined streets and landmark status. Indeed, Watermark inhabits a historic "society residence" and later hotel dating to the 1920s. (It was also home to the Jehovah's Witnesses for a spell.) Even though every Watermark community has the same basic offerings, those are individualized to resonate with local residents. 

For example, The Watermark University rolls out enrichment activities and programs in the seven dimensions of wellness—spiritual, emotional, vocational, physical, social, environmental, and intellectual. "We are partnering and affiliating ourselves with a lot of businesses from the community, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, and Brooklyn Heights Association," Bertini says.

Two floors are devoted to amenities and engagement space, including a gallery exhibiting local art and a performance center for immersive shows.There's also an indoor pool and movement studio for yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi. 

 The private dining room is popular for holiday gatherings. 

The private dining room is popular for holiday gatherings. 

Courtesy of The Watermark at Brooklyn Heights

Three dining options use produce from the rooftop garden and offer a variety of settings: Gustoso & Family is a Mediterranean-style restaurant; Willow + Clark features fresh-roasted coffee, sandwiches, light bites, and baked goods; and The W Room’s classic comfort food—pasta dishes, burgers, and savory sandwiches—is popular for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For cocktails, there's The Biblio Library and Wine Bar. A private dining space is available for family gatherings. 

Other amenities include housekeeping and laundry, a concierge for booking dinner reservations and excursions "so residents can make the most of NYC," and transportation within the city.

There are 275 studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments (145 for independent living), all with designer kitchens or kitchenettes and private bathrooms with zero-threshold walk-in showers (for accessibility).

Independent living studios start at $6,465, one bedrooms at $7,845, and three bedrooms at $15,220. There's a second occupancy rate of $1,495 per month for each additional person in a shared unit. There's also a one-time membership fee, currently equal to one month's rent. A fully refundable $5,000 deposit is required to hold a unit for up to 30 days; lease termination is refunded on a prorated basis with a 30-day written notice.

 Residents can grab snacks and play games at the bistro at Sunrise at Mill Basin.

Residents can grab snacks and play games at the bistro at Sunrise at Mill Basin.

Courtesy of Sunrise at Mill Basin

Established residences

Other senior living residences have been operating in Brooklyn for years. These places offer similar amenities and activities in more traditional buildings.

Sunrise Senior Living has two waterfront locations in Brooklyn: one at Sheepshead Bay and the other overlooking Jamaica Bay in Mill Basin. (It also manages two brand new residences in Manhattan: The Apsley by Sunrise and Sunrise East 56.) Both pet-friendly buildings offer 24/7 hospitality, weekly housekeeping and laundry, scheduled transportation, and monthly wellness visits by a registered nurse.

There's a dining room for breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus a casual "bistro" for snacks throughout the day. Sunrise's Living With Purpose program includes art and painting, flower arranging, gardening, music and singing, live performances, and yoga/Tai Chi classes. Studios, one bedrooms, and two-bedroom "companion suites" have kitchenettes and bathrooms with safety features. Prices start at $4,750 for a shared room, $5,700 for a private room, and $6,175 for a studio with a kitchenette. 

The Waterford on the Bay (also in Sheepshead Bay) sits right on the water and offers daily housekeeping, weekly laundry, 24/7 hospitality, resident lounges on each floor, a communal dining room, and organized activities. It offers three types of units—shared suites (from $3,250), private suites ($3,900), and deluxe studios ($4,225)—all with private bathrooms and some with bay views. 

Newly renovated Signature Senior Living offers 24-hour concierge and personal care, daily housekeeping, weekly laundry, fitness and cooking classes, live entertainment, and religious services in its on-site synagogue. Glatt kosher meals are provided in the fine-dining hall. It's conveniently located on Ocean Parkway, within walking distance of eateries and other community attractions. The furnished semi-private rooms start at $1,313 a month.

At The Belvedere, which has also been recently updated and lies in the Ocean Parkway neighborhood, "seniors find the right balance of independence and assistance" (per the website). Amenities include daily 24/7 security, daily housekeeping, personal laundry services, and courtesy transportation, plus a tea room with afternoon refreshments and landscaped garden and courtyard. Residents also can participate in a full slate of educational activities, creative arts, multicultural programs, and trips and outings. Its furnished units start at $4,000 for a studio and $5,000 for a one-bedroom suite based on single occupancy. A security deposit is required and cancelation requires a 30-day written notice. 

All of these communities invite personal visits and tours and many offer trial stays to ease the transition and make sure you find the right spot.


Evelyn Battaglia

Contributing Writer

Freelance journalist and editor Evelyn Battaglia has been immersed in all things home—decorating, organizing, gardening, and cooking—for over two decades, notably as an executive editor at Martha Stewart Omnimedia, where she helped produce many best-selling books. As a contributing writer at Brick Underground, Evelyn specializes in deeply reported only-in-New-York renovation topics brimming with real-life examples and practical advice.

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