Atria resident Joan Jacobs, 90, a retired school librarian, enjoys...

Atria resident Joan Jacobs, 90, a retired school librarian, enjoys assisted living’s many activities. (Oct. 27, 2011) Credit: Uli Seit

Long Island's housing industry remains weak, but the business of housing the region's senior citizens in assisted-living quarters is healthy.

Atria Senior Living, the Island's largest assisted-living company, this week reopened its facility in Glen Cove, which had been closed for two years while the downtown building underwent renovations. There are once again 13 Atria facilities on the Island. Sunrise Senior Living, the Island's second-largest assisted-living company, has nine residences in Nassau and Suffolk counties. The residences all operate at 85- to 90-percent capacity.

Kathleen Johannsen, Atria's regional vice president, said the 80-apartment Glen Cove facility is already 35 percent leased and is expected to be fully rented in 12 months or less. A studio rents for $5,000 a month.

"I think that when you compare the costs of running a household and add up those costs, it becomes very cost-effective to live in an assisted-living environment," Johannsen said. The rent includes meals, 24-hour medical monitoring, apartment cleaning services and activities.

Atria has been growing on the Island. In the mid-1990s it bought Senior Quarters, and in 2007 it acquired the Sterling Glen facilities.

The Glen Cove Atria underwent close to $12 million in re-modeling, and residents were given a choice of living at another of the company's residences on the Island while the work was under way. The renovated building now includes an 18-seat movie theater, a new salon and a "brain gym" to help residents retain cognitive skills.

Privately held Atria, based in Louisville, Ky., does not issue financial results. MacLean, Va.-based Sunrise, however, is publicly traded. Its stock closed at $5.67 a share Thursday, with its 52-week high of $12.44 and 52-week low of $3.25 reflecting the volatility of the market in general.

Joan Jacobs may be typical of Atria residents though, at 90, she is a bit older than many -- the average age is 83. Jacobs put in a career as a school librarian on the Island. Not long ago she slipped and injured herself at 3 a.m. in her Mineola home. Her children live out of town. Assisted living may not have been her first choice, but sometimes, she said, there is no choice.

"It is not inexpensive, but it's not a hardship for me," she said. "I am going to be thoroughly absorbed by the activities here."

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