The exploits of today’s older adults have been well documented in literature, most notably in the journalist Tom Brokaw’s 1998 book—The Greatest Generation— about the men and women who survived the Great Depression, went on to contribute to and ultimately win World War II, and subsequently re-built and innovated afterward.
They are known for their self-sacrifice during the war, their unwavering commitment to their families and their country, the frugality that helped them get through the depression, and their humility, to which subsequent generations should aspire. Personal responsibility was and continues to be an important attribute shared by them.
We recently spoke with directors of retirement communities throughout the Chicago’s suburbs, and what we found is that the COVID-19 pandemic has, once again, brought out the best in the Greatest Generation. The residents of these communities are, with help from leadership and staff, doing the right thing, making the right decisions, and complying with safety guidelines, all with the same resilience that helped them through the challenges of their earlier years.
A disproportionate number of seniors were, and continue to be, the most vulnerable demographic to the COVID-19 virus, which is why the leadership of retirement communities and homes throughout the nation stepped up to take every measure possible to keep their communities safe and healthy. In addition, they implemented new programs and activities to ensure residents had opportunities to socialize and continue to connect with their families.
Technology has, in many ways, been the key to helping people stay connected—with work colleagues, with family, with friends—especially during the pandemic. Directors of retirement communities recognized this early on, and staff developed plans to help residents use Zoom, Facetime, and other tools to help residents stay connected to family and friends. Unsurprisingly, many directors said residents were already fairly adept at using technology tools on their own, a development that was perhaps derived from the Greatest Generation’s survival instincts.
Staff and families arranged window visits so that residents could see their loved ones and continue to connect. Some communities even set up speakers and microphones so residents and families could communicate through the barriers. The window visits were particularly critical for residents in Memory Care, where seeing familiar faces can bring comfort. When the Illinois Department of Public Health updated its guidelines, outdoor areas were opened up and residents and families could meet with social distancing.
Directors of retirement communities also implemented new activities for residents to be able to interact with each other safely while they couldn’t venture out. Some staff stepped up, bringing their talents to work with them to assist residents. A staff member at one community, who worked part-time at a nail salon, offered residents manicures because the in-house salon was closed and some of the residents’ favorite salons were not open.
The resilience of residents was also evident in the hobbies they honed and new interests they developed while they were staying safe at home in their retirement communities. Residents took up new exercise regimes to stay active and tapped into old passions and hobbies such as woodworking, writing poetry, scrapbooking, and photography. The Greatest Generation has no interest in being idle.
While directors and staff adapted to help residents stay safe and active during the pandemic, residents exhibited an enormous respect for their own health and the health of others by complying with guidelines to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing from their fellow residents and staff. They understood from dealing with past challenges the value of self-sacrifice, and that even minor inconveniences are a small price to pay for the well-being of their neighbors.
For communities that serve residents with a broad range of needs, the pandemic posed a complex set of challenges. Independent Living and Assisted Living residents needed activities and interactions to keep them busy, as well as opportunities to socialize. Memory Care residents needed activities that fit in with their treatment programs, and residents with more serious health care needs required care in a setting that would keep them safe.
Luxury retirement communities throughout the Northwest Suburbs, including The Garlands of Barrington and Lake Barrington Woods, went the extra mile to pivot so they could continue to provide impeccable service and hospitality, while also adding to an already robust list of amenities to help residents stay healthy, active, and comfortable. Among the abundance of services and top-notch options offered at these communities are a variety of floor plans, opportunities to socialize in a vibrant community, on-staff nursing, on-site restaurants and fitness centers, and more.
Through it all, the COVID-19 pandemic, while certainly no picnic, is just another bump in the road for some retired seniors who offer a wealth of experiences and who are rightfully living out their later years in a healthy and comfortable environment. We invite you to explore two world-class communities right here in Barrington.
The Garlands of Barrington celebrates community members in the “COVID Accomplishments” section of its newsletters and blog.
Here are just a few:
WELCOME TO THE GARLANDS OF BARRINGTON
1000 Garlands Lane, Barrington, IL 60010
The Garlands of Barrington is an award-winning lifeplan community for people ages 55 and older that offers an uncompromising lifestyle in a resort-like setting with unprecedented amenities and services. The Garlands unmatched quality, innovative design and world-class lifestyle earn the highest honors from many top national and international organizations, and most importantly, from the people it serves.
The Garlands private residences, which range in size from 800 to more than 4,000 square feet, offer up to three bedrooms plus a family room, dining room, den, or office. In addition, Garlands one- and two-story villa homes feature cathedral ceilings and a two-car garage. Each Garlands home features open floor plans and spacious rooms that are perfect for entertaining, plus gourmet kitchens, walk-in closets, laundry rooms, additional storage space, convenient underground parking and an emergency call system.
The Garlands convenient amenities include a fitness center, indoor pool, four restaurants, walking paths, a library, a performing arts center, a surround sound theater, art studio, wood shop, raised garden beds, a full-service salon and barber shop, and more.
Peace of Mind
The Garlands services include maintenance, landscaping, housekeeping, concierge care, dining, and access to a continuum of healthcare services. “Most Garlands members agree that, by planning ahead for a maintenance-free lifestyle, services and a continuum of healthcare options, means they have more control over life’s choices now and in the future,” says Dawn L. Kempf, Chief Operating and Compliance Officer.
In addition to beautiful homes and convenient amenities, an overwhelming feeling of hospitality pervades at The Garlands. “Sometimes people refer to it as ‘resort-style living’ or ‘like living at The Ritz,’” says Director of Hospitality Nancy McCaffrey. “While flattering, that doesn’t really do it justice. It’s actually far more comfortable and personal than that. Knowing our members’ personal preferences and executing on them on a routine basis is what we do best!”
However, beyond a lovely home, convenient amenities, and hospitality services, perhaps the most interesting aspect about The Garlands is the people. “Garlands members come from far and near and offer a variety of backgrounds, life experiences and stories—each more fascinating than the next. Getting to know the neighbors can be the greatest joy of living at The Garlands!” says McCaffrey.
For more information, please visit thegarlands.com or schedule an in-person or virtual tour at [email protected] or 847-304-1996.
LIVE LIFE TO THE FULLEST AT LAKE BARRINGTON WOODS
22320 Classic Court in Lake Barrington, IL 60010
Thirty years ago, Senior Lifestyle founder Bill Kaplan discovered there were few good housing options for Chicago-area seniors where they could both live comfortable, enriching lives, and socialize with friends and family. So, Kaplan founded Senior Lifestyle and built The Breakers in Edgewater on Sheridan Road in Chicago. A revolution in how seniors retire began. Senior Lifestyle’s properties now dot the Chicago landscape, and its communities can be found nationwide, including in Lake Barrington. Lake Barrington Woods offers luxury retirement living options in an idyllic setting.
At the center of Senior Lifestyle’s approach to serving its residents is family. The company remains family-owned, and it makes a point to include families in the day-to-day life of its communities, including Lake Barrington Woods. Families are encouraged to stay connected with their loved ones and the community has made innovative changes to keep residents engaged with their family and friends. Programming is focused on helping residents to connect, contribute, feel, grow, move, and reflect.
Personalized Living Options
For retirees, Lake Barrington Woods offers two excellent living options, which include Independent Living and Assisted Living. Both are designed to help residents live life to the fullest, regardless of their ongoing daily physical needs.
The Independent Living community is all about residents maintaining a vibrant, active lifestyle, making social connections, and embracing interests they might not have had time to explore. They maintain the freedom to get out and about, and also to take advantage of the top-notch amenities offered by Lake Barrington Woods, including excellent dining options and opportunities to socialize.
The Assisted Living community allows residents to continue living a healthy and active lifestyle, and to receive extra assistance when needed. Staff tend to residents’ every need, and services include personal laundry, 24-hour emergency response, and on-staff nursing. Personal care, critically important as residents continue to age, is included in monthly fees.
A variety of floor plans are available at Lake Barrington Woods, all with kitchens. From studios to two bed/two baths with den, potential residents can find just the right amount of space for their needs.
At Senior Lifestyle’s network of communities, including Lake Barrington Woods, residents live life to the fullest each day.
As Lake Barrington Woods Executive Director Chris Andersen says, “Living life your way with a dedicated team to provide outstanding services for your way of living.”
For more information, visit seniorlifestyle.com or call 847-857-6117.