They say there’s no place like home, and when it comes to rehabilitation and old age, it’s definitely true. After many years on our feet, living and loving, the time comes for many of us when home isn’t enough: we need medical care and resources around the clock. But there’s no good reason to give up the comforts of home when this time comes.

In New York City, home to the country’s highest amount of senior immigrants, many older residents come from rich cultural backgrounds and colorful pockets of the city that reflect them. Moreover, many don’t speak English as a first language. For them, nursing homes can seem like an exile to clinical conditions, cold corridors and confusion.

At The Allure Group, we believe that there is another way. As I wrote about our program Salud Latina, research has proven that environment plays a huge role in the rehabilitation process. It follows that nursing homes should cater to the cultural needs and comforts of its residents in order to be truly beneficial.

That’s exactly what we’ve done for Chinese seniors at our Hamilton Park Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Bedford Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, which is home to our program The Longevity Garden. Because seniors of Asian descent overwhelmingly have a limited grasp on English (92 percent of Chinese seniors in NYC speak English less than very well), bilingual staff is not just a benefit, but a necessity.

Those admitted to the Longevity Garden will not only find exemplary care, but a nostalgic atmosphere provided by culturally sensitive staff members who speak your language and understand your traditions. This begins with a bilingual staff familiar with various Chinese dialects, but does not end there.

Many of our Chinese residents enjoy playing Mahjong along with a group of their peers.  Other accommodations, such as numerous Chinese television stations and newspapers, enable residents to connect with the world with which they are familiar.  Hamilton Park and Bedford Center serve authentic Chinese cuisine prepared by a specialty chef, served in an intimate setting where residents can dine as a community.

In the end, there’s no reason any senior should be deprived of the cultural comforts of their home environments, because identity does not end at the door of the nursing home. It is the force that keeps us happy and thriving, and the sooner healthcare professionals realize this, the better off all seniors and their families will be.

—Joel Landau

Joel Landau is a leading expert on healthcare innovation. An entrepreneur and visionary who is dedicated to enhancing the healthcare delivery system , Joel has founded several companies including The Allure Group and Pinta Partners. Follow Joel Landau on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn to stay up to date on his latest blog posts and relevant news articles on the changing healthcare landscape.