Chicago’s Western Suburbs are filled with quality living options for seniors looking to live out their retirement in style. Whether they want to receive assistance in their homes or move to a retirement community, Hinsdale and the surrounding suburbs have much to offer. From luxury apartments and homes with hardwood floors, granite countertops, and stainless-steel appliances, to amenities such as full-service restaurants, workout rooms and yoga classes, happy hours, and planned social activities, retirees may be surprised by the sophisticated lifestyle that is awaiting them. Many retirement communities offer a “continuum of care” including Independent Living, Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, or Memory Care options. The continuum provides continuity throughout the aging process. And, while many retirees choose a retirement community, some choose to stay at home and receive personal care from a licensed practitioner.
In addition to finding the right living environment, it’s important to find an expert who specializes in financial planning and Long-Term Insurance to ensure families prepare for the future. In our premiere Senior Living feature, we highlight some of the best retirement communities, as well as experts in personal home care and insurance, located right here in Hinsdale.
HELPING SENIORS AT HOME
While some seniors choose to live out their later years in a retirement home or community, most prefer to stay in the comfort of their own homes and receive care through a personal care services company. Sixty-one percent in fact, according to a survey by The Pew Research Center.
And while many personal care companies have been established in recent years, Hinsdale-based Independence-4-Seniors has been in operation since 2002, and offers high quality, in-home personal care services throughout the region.
“We help with what are called ‘essential services,’ getting dressed, taking a shower, walking, or preparing meals,” says Mike O’Brien, who owns Independence-4-Seniors in Hinsdale with his wife Joan. “As one ages or develops diseases, it will impair their ability to do all of those things safely, so we are hired to help clients throughout the day.”
As Mike tends to the business side of things at Independence- 4-Seniors, his wife, Joan, a registered nurse who holds a Masters of Science in Nursing, handles the day-to-day care for clients.
Personal care companies like Independence-4-Seniors do not offer medical care, but its employees must complete regular training and personal care companies in the state must be licensed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.
“We require that all of our caregivers have at least two years of experience, preferably in a home-like setting where they can’t always rely on others to be present to assist and must think on their own,” Joan says. “When you’re providing care at home, you’ve got to really make it on your own two feet, and our caregivers have a lot of experience. They all go through competency evaluations and screenings.”
In addition to Joan, Independence-4-Seniors Home Care employs one additional registered nurse and a number of staff members who have medical qualifications. While medical care is not included in the company’s service offerings, having staff with medical backgrounds gives it a distinct advantage, and it has been particularly helpful as the company continues to serve clients during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“We couldn’t take our clients out of their homes, so we had to be really creative in their homes. We did a lot of teaching with our caregivers and clients, like how to use Zoom and FaceTime, so they could connect with their family and friends,” says Joan. “It’s amazing that some of our clients, in their nineties, were Zooming every day, and continue every day to talk to their families.”
For more information, visit independence4seniors.com or call 630-323- 4665.
DEEP ROOTS IN THE COMMUNITY
Not many retirement communities can trace their history back to the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893.
It was there that Suzanne King, a well-known Chicago socialite, met Francois Edmond Bruwaert, who served as the French Consul General to Chicago and the United States.
The Frenchman and the Chicagoan soon fell in love and were married six months later. While traveling throughout Europe, the two developed an interest in medical facilities and how outdoor, landscaped spaces could be used to promote calm and tranquility.
Both Bruwaert and his wife passed away in the late 1920s, and Suzanne King Bruwaert left a substantial sum in her will to establish a retirement home for women in the Chicagoland area. The result was King-Bruwaert House (KBH), a nonprofit organization which opened its doors for women in 1933. In 1979, King-Bruwaert merged with the historic Godair Home to expand its scope, and the community has been serving women, men, and couples ever since.
“Our Manor Home has the historic charm of the 1930s, including original hardwood floors, beautiful chandeliers, and grand fireplaces. For example, the library has all the original built-in bookshelves but also offers high-speed wireless internet access,” says Andy Beltz, Senior Director of Development, Marketing and Communications. “Our movie theater has its original art deco theme, but we have updated the technology to offer our residents the level of services and amenities they deserve.”
Beltz says King-Bruwaert House’s programming for residents operates on multiple levels. There are programs designed to tailor to the needs of individuals, particularly important in its support of residents with memory care needs, and group activitiess that are designed for socialization and other dimensions of wellness.
“For some of our memory care residents, we look at what they did in their employed years and try to shape activities that fall in line with what they did professionally,” Beltz says. “Daily calendars drive group activities, such as morning exercises, brain games, trivia games, and bingo.”
King-Bruwaert House is currently going through a planned expansion. The Gardens of King-Bruwaert will offer opportunities for seniors 60 years or better, with 49 brand new apartment home residences.
“The Gardens will expand our independent living options,” says Beltz. “The expansion plans also include the addition to, and renovation of our current skilled-nursing wing.” KBH has also remodeled part of its Manor Home creating Carrington Hall—luxury assisted living suites with additional amenities and support services.
Other amenities and activities include Bistro ‘33, an indoor restaurant for residents and families which also hosts TED talks and Wine Wednesday, a chapel, multiple dining rooms, putting green, and 1-1/2 miles of paved walking paths.
It’s all part of King-Bruwaert House’s mission, with its panoramic setting, to be a place where residents can come together to celebrate an active lifestyle, surrounded by compassionate, caring staff, engaging activities, delicious food, and personalized care.
King-Bruwaert House is located at 6101 S. County Line Road in Burr Ridge, 630-323-2250, kingbruwaert.org.
OPEN FOR BUSINESS
Thirty years ago, Senior Lifestyle founder Bill Kaplan discovered there were few good housing options for Chicago-area seniors where they could 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.
The company’s newest Signature Collection community, The Sheridan at Oak Brook is the pinnacle of sophistication. And although it won’t be move-in ready until spring of 2021, that doesn’t mean those looking at their retirement options need to wait. The Sheridan at Oak Brook is open for business. Seniors and their families can join the Diamond Charter Membership. Benefits include priority pricing and first selection of apartment homes, exclusive monthly events, and a grand opening preview prior to the community being open to the public.
Nestled in the highly desirable community of Oak Brook, The Sheridan offers upscale living along with all that Oak Brook has to offer, including top restaurants, entertainment options, and shopping.
Among the top-tier amenities offered are a full-service salon, the communities’ pristine Be Fit exercise space, The Reel movie theater, and the opulent Fireside Terrace.
This luxury, best-in-class community also offers a choice dining program, featuring sumptuous chef-prepared meals at a variety of dining venues which are sure to delight even the most refined palate. Adding to The Sheridan’s vibrant social lifestyle, chefs will host tasting parties and cooking demonstrations in The Epicurean room.
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 The Sheridan at Oak Brook. Families are encouraged to stay connected with their loved ones, and despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the community has made innovative changes to keep residents in touch with their loved ones. Programming is focused on helping residents to connect, contribute, feel, grow, move, and reflect.
The Sheridan at Oak Brook offers three living options, including Independent Living, Assisted Living, and Memory Care. Independent Living allows residents to come and go as they please and take advantage of staff and community services when they need to.
The Sheridan’s Assisted Living focuses on helping residents maintain a vibrant, active lifestyle. The community offers a wide array of opportunities for residents to socialize, and spaces where they can rest and relax.
At Senior Lifestyle’s network of communities, residents live life to the fullest each day. The company’s goal is to create better lifestyles through innovation, compassion, and a love for the people it serves.
The Sheridan at Oak Brook is located at 2055 Clearwater Drive in Oak Brook, 630-394-5055, sheridanoakbrook.com.
PLAN FOR THE FUTURE
Tom Walsh tells potential clients and their families that long-term care is not a place, such as an assisted living facility or nursing home. It is also not insurance. It’s a disabling event that happens as we age, and if we don’t plan for it, the results can be catastrophic.
“A long-term care event is a longevity risk,” Walsh says. “If you live into your 80s, 90s, or even to 100, it’s reasonable to assume that due to the ‘fragility of aging’ you might need some stand-by assistance for a period of years.”
The consequences of not being prepared for such an event impacts not just the individual requiring care but also family members who might be called upon to step in and provide care.
“The issue is not the risk of someone needing care,” says Walsh. “The issue is the severe consequences—emotionally, physically, and financially—to families if there is no plan.”
Walsh says providing care for a chronically ill individual often makes healthy caregivers chronically ill themselves, and if a child has to step in, it may require them to change the way they conduct their own life, limit time with their own families, and alter their careers.
Paying for care is often the answer, but families need to be prepared.
“I want to create a ‘Plan of Care’ for clients that allows them to remain safe in the comfort of their own homes, protects the wellbeing of their spouses and children, and protects their financial commitments that have been established to help them maintain their lifestyle,” Walsh says.
While Medicaid is a viable solution for clients with limited financial means, it is limited to care in a skilled nursing facility, not in the home. And Walsh points out that self-paying for care creates a monthly cash flow issue.
“The only way you can consider self-paying is if you can come up with an additional $4,000 to $8,000 a month, sometimes more, without disrupting your previous financial commitments,” he says. “Even if you can cash flow the new monthly expense, do you really want to pay the full retail cost for care?”
The solution is Long Term Care Insurance, which entails transferring some funds and some or all of the long-term care risk to an insurance company. The insurance is not the plan, Walsh says, but helps pay for it.
“A reasonable person should realize that Long Term Care Insurance is a very viable solution to help pay for their ‘Plan of Care’,” Walsh says. “It should at least be considered.”