The decisions about where to spend our golden years is never easy, but it pays to be prepared. Explore some of our area’s top options and the amenities each has to offer.
Aging is a natural part of life, and it eventually comes with day-to-day challenges. So, why do we often feel unprepared to tackle the challenges and necessary choices in our later years?
Many families work together to carefully select what’s best for their loved ones well in advance, but it’s not something most are eager to discuss or even think about. Some people plan ahead to create a smooth transition into their retirement years; others may be forced into quick decisions after an unexpected hospital stay or diagnosis.
With careful research and consideration, it’s possible to find the highest level of comfort and care in our region.
Whether you face health complications or just need a little extra help with daily living, there are many excellent options that meet the housing and health care needs of seniors. The senior communities profiled in this guide provide state-of-the-art amenities and individualized plans to cater to your specific needs.
Each has its own unique amenities, but all focus on providing an experience that will continue to keep your loved ones happy and engaged throughout their later years.
This guide can assist your family in navigating the many options available in senior housing. Our area’s experts stand ready to help when the time comes for this often challenging, but important, conversation.
Alden Estates of Huntley
12140B Regency Parkway, Huntley, (847) 961-7500, aldenestatesofhuntley.com
When navigating your road to recovery following a surgery or hospital stay, Alden Estates of Huntley is a place you can call home while you’re recuperating and recovering.
Alden Estates of Huntley specializes in the delivery of post-acute care services and offers exclusive programming that meets orthopedic, cardiac, neuro/stroke, pulmonary and medically complex rehabilitation needs. With Alden’s specialized rehabilitative programming, each person’s medical complexities are addressed with the care and rehabilitation services needed to restore maximum functionality and independence to support a successful transition back home.
“Individuals come here for transitional care after being hospitalized for a planned surgery or an acute illness,” says Ashley O’Brien, administrator. “Before they can transition back home, they might need skilled care or physical, occupational or speech therapy.”
The facility offers a unique combination of quality clinical care and innovative therapies within a luxurious environment that has plenty of pampering amenities.
“Our approach to care places a distinct emphasis on the environment as having a vital role in the recovery process,” O’Brien says. “As a result, the layout and decor of the facility mimic an upscale hotel, and when paired with our upscale amenities, a post-acute rehabilitation stay can feel like a vacation centered around wellness and recovery.”
Resident rooms promote rest and recovery and feature en suite bathrooms with a private shower, custom-made furniture, beautifully appointed decor and flat-screen televisions.
Aside from luxurious private and semi-private deluxe rooms and a state-of-the-art therapy gym, amenities include a laptop loaner program, complimentary Wi-Fi, newspaper delivery, full-service hair and nail salon, ice cream parlor, coffee bar and upscale restaurant-style dining.
At Alden Estates of Huntley, four-course menus, a la carte choices, daily soups and a salad bar are prepared by an executive chef and a team of trained culinary staff. Residents are served by a professionally trained wait staff, offering a true, five-star restaurant experience.
“Nutrition is such an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to living a healthy lifestyle,” O’Brien says. “Our fine dining program goes beyond just nutritious meals and menu items. We offer an unparalleled dining experience for our residents.”
Patient-centered, compassionate care is coordinated by a clinical staff who provide expert care and services for each resident. This team of clinical staff manages medical conditions with a physician-directed, personalized approach that helps facilitate an expedient, yet safe transition back home.
Discover the perfect blend of industry-recognized therapies, luxuries and pampering amenities, offering you the best of everything during your stay.
Enjoy every day, your way at Alden Estates of Huntley.
The Garlands of Barrington
1000 Garlands Lane, Barrington, (847) 304-1996, thegarlands.com
Residents who live at the Garlands of Barrington are resilient. This “greatest generation” played witness to decades of world events, life experiences and many ups and downs. While a global pandemic is no picnic, their “stay-safe-at-home” pearls of wisdom and the many ways they continue to thrive throughout these times are inspirational.
Paint: Garlands member Betty Schmidt, an accomplished artist and the one-time president of Oil Painters of America, accepted an important commission during the COVID-19 quarantine. The project allowed her to focus on the positive and fill her days with something she loves.
Betty also created the perfect painting for a frame that was carved by her great-grandfather, and she invited interested Garlands members to paint “plein air” with her on Saturday mornings.
Write Haikus: Garlands member Barb Seaman, who performs with her acting troupe The Garlands Playreaders, took her show off-stage during COVID-19.
Now she writes haikus in measured syllables to remember good times, to cope with the pandemic and to exercise her creativity. Count the lined beats and enjoy her succinct messaging:
Doctors and nurses
Work day and night to fight the
Exercise: Garlands member Harriet Ahr chooses to have a wonderful day every day. A key component to her daily attitude adjustment is movement. Harriet walks outdoors and indoors, takes fitness classes, exercises in The Garlands Fitness Center and works out virtually with The Garlands trainers. She’s at it every day and says exercise is what keeps her as strong as she can be in both body and mind.
Pandemic or not—there’s no keeping Harriet down!
Get the Job Done: Upon moving into The Garlands 11 years ago, Joyce Carlson thought she’d have some free time to organize and preserve photos and other lifetime memories, but her busy schedule of activities at The Garlands and beyond postponed those projects until COVID-19.
Throughout the stay-at-home quarantine, scrapbooks from school days, weddings, and baby albums were scattered around Joyce’s apartment. Sorting and labeling the content helped the quarantine days go by for Joyce. It took a global pandemic, but now the project is mostly complete.
Write a Novel: A longtime English professor who taught technical writing at Iowa State University, Garlands member Dorothy Winsor pursued her desire to write fiction in retirement. Winsor’s fifth young adult fantasy novel is currently with her publisher, and she’s eyeing a sixth. Meanwhile, she has blogged regularly at thegarlands.com throughout the pandemic.
Her advice to others who are considering pursuing their dreams in retirement: “Don’t doubt yourself. Be brave enough to try new things, no matter your age.”
Engineer Peace of Mind: A guy like Garlands member Sam Jeffers, who, for example, designed warheads for the Pershing II and Trident weapon systems, is unlikely to sit around watching movies all day during a global pandemic. As soon as he saw PPE shortages on the horizon, Sam set about engineering effective, comfortable, cool and good-looking facemasks for family and friends.
Look for Beauty: Lifelong photographer and Garlands member Bill Lawton says, “Beauty surrounds us every day. All you have to do is take the time to see it.”
The first-ever public display of the beauty of nature as seen and photographed by Bill was featured in a live and virtual “Gallery at The Garlands” exhibit during the pandemic.
Read more COVID-19 accomplishments at thegarlands.com.
Huntley Springs Retirement Resort
11700 Samantha Lane, Huntley, (847) 961-4575, rlcommunities.com/illinois/huntley-springs-retirement
Huntley Springs Retirement Resort is an all-inclusive, resort-style independent living community that gives residents the comfort and convenience of daily living without the hassle of cooking, cleaning and daily upkeep.
That means residents are able to spend extra time enjoying more of the things they love, such as seeing family, socializing in the billiards room or learning a new skill, like painting with watercolors.
Parent company Resort Lifestyle Communities opened the Huntley Springs property last year. Residents who are at least 55 years old are able to enjoy the perks and amenities available at this worry-free community.
One of those perks is the Freedom Dining program, something this community hangs its hat on. Residents are treated to three made-from-scratch meals each day, all prepared by an experienced chef. Snacks are available between meals, which always feature fresh and healthy ingredients.
Tableside dining, casual buffets and a Sunday brunch are some of the additional meal options. If you prefer to dine in your room, there’s room service available.
This senior living community offers 128 apartments in studio, one-, two-, or three-bedroom units. Each apartment is decked out with a full kitchen, custom cabinets, spacious walk-in closets and paid utilities.
Residents also have regular access to an on-site professional staff, live-in managers, an emergency call system, concierge services and valet parking.
Some units have patios, while others have balconies. The best part is residents don’t have to pay a buy-in fee or sign a long-term lease. There’s also no fee for pets, so your furry friends are always welcome.
“When residents move in, everything is included in their monthly fee, just like an all-inclusive resort,” says Kelly Jo Hinrichs, vice president of marketing for Resort Lifestyle Communities.
To ensure residents remain happy and socially connected with others, a full-time activities director maintains a busy events calendar. Fun events include Happy Hour Fridays, fitness classes, shopping trips and other fun outings. Residents are free to participate in as many activities as they’d like.
Of course, residents can also take advantage of various health and wellness programs as well as a fitness center to help maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The main corridor inside Huntley Springs, known casually as “Main Street” to residents, is a common gathering place. It has an in-house bank, pharmacy, salon/barber shop and a gift shop. Guests can also unwind in the computer center, library and game room. And, they can kick their feet up and enjoy a movie inside the community’s 150-seat theater.
“Our research indicated there was a significant need for additional independent senior living communities in Huntley,” says Phil Benjamson, COO of Resort Lifestyle Communities. “Huntley Springs offers a life-enriching lifestyle with all the conveniences of home and provides peace of mind to residents’ families and loved ones.”
Lexington at Lake Zurich
900 S. Rand Road, Lake Zurich, (847) 726-1200, lexingtonhealth.com
Lexington at Lake Zurich offers skilled nursing, rehabilitation services, long-term living and memory care to residents in a “family-oriented” facility with comfortable suites, the latest equipment and state-of-the-art therapy gyms.
The facility is one of eight operated by Lexington Health, headquartered in Lombard. The three-story building houses rehabilitation on the first floor, long-term care on the second floor, and memory care on the top floor.
Serving the community since the 1980s, this facility has been gradually remodeled over the past five years. More private rooms are being added and additional upgrades are planned, says Administrator Susan Dulaca.
“We have been around a long time, are very family-oriented and have a lot of support from our corporation and the community, resulting in longevity of the staff and management team,” she says.
From the moment a person arrives, their treatment and recovery plan are discussed with a care team to create an individualized plan that’s tailored to each person’s needs and desires. Communication is offered every step of the way as progress is made toward those goals.
Many patients come from the hospital to strengthen themselves after a surgery or illness. Others can no longer live alone, due to an inability to take care of themselves or a diagnosis with a form of dementia, Dulaca says.
An on-site chef prepares three meals a day, accommodating special diets, as needed. There are many specialized services available.
Cardiac Rehabilitation is designed specifically for heart patients and includes education, exercise, lifestyle changes and emotional support. The program is designed to help patients live a more active life after a heart attack, heart surgery or coping with a long-term heart problem such as congestive heart failure or another cardiac disease.
Stroke rehabilitation is the next specialty department being planned at Lexington at Lake Zurich, Dulaca says, and will include the collaboration of other specialty doctors on site.
The facility also offers pulmonary rehabilitation, testing and diagnosing of sleep disorders, wound care, and Lex Connect Telemedicine, which gives patients and residents around-the-clock access to physicians and medical specialists. The physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapy programs have state-of-the-art equipment and technology to help patients gain back the most function possible.
White Oaks at McHenry
4605 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry, (815) 344-2970, gardant.com/whiteoaksatmchenry
When your loved one moves into White Oaks Memory Care, in McHenry, they will be greeted with several services and amenities to help create a smooth and seamless transition. This memory care community welcomes older adults with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.
Assistance is available for daily living activities including bathing, dressing, personal hygiene and grooming. White Oaks provides opportunities to maintain a sense of purpose and belonging throughout the different seasons of dementia. We focus on abilities rather than limitations, because we understand that as we age, our heart’s hopes and desires do not. We are continuously seeking innovation through a variety of philosophies to sustain the aspects of life that really matter.
Located next to Heritage Woods of McHenry, a supportive living community, White Oaks offers private studios, semi-private and companion suites. Each apartment includes a spacious bathroom with a handicapped-accessible shower, ample closet space and an emergency alert system.
The community utilizes Caremerge, a HIPAA-compliant family engagement app. Families can check on their loved ones anywhere, access their calendars, manage appointments, and stop playing phone tag. The app allows families to message authorized community staff, share photos from wherever they are, and receive photos from care staff. A monthly virtual support group offered to families is another way to stay connected. People can also follow happenings on the building’s Facebook page.
Despite having their own space, most residents spend as little time as possible in their apartments. Throughout the day they are busy interacting with staff members and other residents in common areas such as the spacious dining rooms and multi-purpose rooms. The community also has a cafe, salon, library, fitness area, sunrooms, and several cozy TV lounge areas. Our residents can get fresh air by enjoying one of the attached flower-filled courtyards.
Other amenities include three restaurant-style meals served each day and ongoing health monitoring and nursing assessments. Nursing assistance is available around the clock.
The dedicated personnel at White Oaks help to separate the senior living facility from others in the area. All of our staff members receive 16 hours of Alzheimer’s and dementia training annually and 2 hours of education monthly on related Alzheimer’s and dementia topics.
Residents at White Oaks keep their bodies and minds active with a wide range of activities, including seated chair exercise, current events, puzzles, art, musical therapy and socials. We use one’s life story to create a tailored, personalized approach to serving the individual and family.
Call (815) 344-2970 for more information or to schedule a visit. We offer on-site tours, or personally guided virtual tours if the family prefers.