Northwest Quarterly’s 2024 Senior Living Guide

One of the most significant decisions in life is how we’ll be cared for when we can no longer care for ourselves. Explore some of our area’s top communities for senior living.

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.

(The Garlands of Barrington photos)

The Garlands of Barrington

1000 Garlands Lane, Barrington, (847) 304-1996,

Q: What encourages collaboration, stimulates brain health, ignites long-term memory, facilitates friendships and is just plain fun?

A: Trivia Night!

Trivia nights are an engaging way for people of all ages to dredge up old memories, historical facts or absurd details. Participants spark curiosity and boost their knowledge, all while having a great time with their besties.

This is particularly true at The Garlands of Barrington, where what started as a one-time event attended by a few has grown into a heated battle of the brains for many.

Teams of six to eight Garlands members – including The Patio Pals, The East Coasties, The Thoughtful Thinkers and The Firecrackers – summon their collective knowledge to answer random trivia questions in an attempt to win prizes and bragging rights at The Garlands’ monthly think-off.
The Garlands clubhouse tables are set with pens and paper as well as motivational rolls of pastel and rainbow-colored Smarties candy as the trivia questions begin.

The East Coasties, a group that ironically all moved at the same time to The Garlands from Boston, North Carolina and the Atlantic coast of Florida, met at Garlands orientation. They recently shocked themselves when they came from behind in the rankings.

“We meet for dinner first and then have a glass of wine,” says East Coastie team member Pam Wilson. “The wine helps.”

The team boasts Ph.D.s in agriculture and applied physical science, and their spirit animal, Rich, picks their double score category.

“He nails it every time,” says Wilson.

While it appears to be a good time for all, Trivia Night is also a good workout for the frontal cortex.
“Group-think triggers and exercises the mind differently in this team sport,” says Lynn Adams, director of lifestyles at The Garlands. “People are astonished by what they remember when they collaborate with one another. They start feeding off each other, and the memories just pop out. The camaraderie and hit of dopamine when teams pull a correct answer from thin air is the best prize of all.”

The Garlands of Barrington is a world-class retirement community that offers older adults award-winning design, the finest in resort-style services, convenient amenities, stunning homes, engaging activities, and great friends with whom they can enjoy it.

To learn more about The Garlands lifestyle, go online to, schedule a tour by contacting Michelle or Tracy at (847) 304-1996, or RSVP to an educational event.

Heritage Woods

4609 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry, (815) 344-2690,

Celebrating its 16th anniversary this August, Heritage Woods of McHenry stands as a vibrant and nurturing supportive living community for seniors.

From housekeeping and laundry services to meals and health monitoring, Heritage Woods provides a comprehensive range of amenities designed to assist residents in their daily lives. The community’s holistic approach ensures that residents’ physical, emotional and social well-being are all considered.

With an emphasis on the importance of overall happiness, Heritage Woods focuses on seven dimensions of wellness: intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, vocational, emotional and environmental. Residents have access to a wide array of activities and programs that cater to each dimension, lead to a more enriching life, and include games, educational and volunteering opportunities.

“You could live in an apartment somewhere, but you don’t have those connections to your peers,” says Susan McCoy, director of marketing and sales at Heritage Woods. “Here, there are opportunities every day to build friendships and make connections with people.”

Residents actively participate in the decision-making process through a resident council that ensures their voices are heard and their concerns are addressed.

Managed by Gardant Management Solutions, Heritage Woods offers 100 private apartments in studio and one-bedroom units. Each apartment, which can be personally furnished, features a kitchenette and a bathroom.

Health monitoring and nursing assessments cater to residents’ specific needs, while assistance with daily activities, medication management, scheduled transportation and access to communal spaces like activity rooms, gardens and lounges further enrich the living experience.

From chair exercises to therapy dog visits, entertainment is always close by. Heritage Woods’ Life is a Journey program offers cultural experiences and allows residents to explore different countries through food and traditions. Live entertainment, guest speakers, outings to parks and shopping centers, and regular events like bingo and happy hours help contribute to the vibrant atmosphere.
Heritage Woods exudes a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, with country-style decor that helps to create a homey ambiance.

“You walk in and it looks like a house,” says McCoy. “However, it’s the people inside that make us like home. The people who live here are happy and the employees are happy.”

Among the notable amenities at Heritage Woods are the resident-managed library, garden and country store. These spaces offer residents even more opportunities to actively participate in the community and connect with others.

“Our residents aren’t just a part of our community because they live here,” says McCoy. “They’re a part of our community because they’re participating in the actual function of day-to-day, and that makes it special. Whether it’s the library, country store or resident garden, it feels like family.”
For more information or to schedule a tour, call (815) 344-2690 or visit

White Oaks at McHenry

4605 W. Crystal Lake Road, McHenry, (815) 344-2970,

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. White Oaks focuses on abilities rather than limitations, because they understand that as we age, our heart’s hopes and desires do not. White Oaks is 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. 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 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. They 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. Ask about on-site tours, or personally guided virtual tours.

(Encore Memory Care photos)

Encore Memory Care

215 Bartlett Road, South Barrington, (847) 844-1205,
495 Alexandra Blvd., Crystal Lake, (815) 459-7800,

Your Story Matters When You’re at Encore Memory Care

Encore Memory Care communities in South Barrington and Crystal Lake provide safe and comfortable living for older adults living with Alzheimer’s and other related dementia.
Encore residents enjoy a social environment, healthy lifestyle and access to reliable nurses and caregivers who offer around-the-clock care and personal attention. Encore families rest assured knowing their loved one is being cared for in an engaging and supportive community.

Honoring Personal Legacies

What sets Encore apart is the delivery of highly personalized care and engaging programming.
“Our caregivers really take the time to get to know your family and your loved one’s history, interests, personality and preferences,” says Jennifer LaPorte, director of sales and marketing at Encore Memory Care in Crystal Lake.

Both Encore communities additionally provide individualized programming for every resident.
“Our programming is tailored toward helping preserve the memory of our residents by meeting them in whatever stage they are,” says LaPorte. “We want to make sure we’re meeting their engagement needs and providing meaningful experiences throughout the day.”

From pet and music therapy to festive celebrations of holidays and seasons, Encore Memory Care’s team delivers a diverse range of appealing experiences. The goal is to adapt to residents’ changing abilities and interests and enable them to do what they can while maintaining a sense of comfort and familiarity.

A Family-Like Setting

A welcoming, home-like environment awaits residents at Encore’s Crystal Lake and South Barrington communities. The bright, single-level design features cozy spaces for engaging with caregivers, families and fellow residents in living rooms, game rooms and dining rooms. Residents stay in private studio apartment homes or companion suites.

Encore Memory Care communities each offer outdoor courtyards with walking paths, gazebos and gardens where programming encourages residents to tend to raised garden beds, nurture plants and cultivate a sense of purpose. The culture at Encore Memory Care revolves around a strong sense of family.

“Our staff and residents forge close bonds, which creates a warm and loving environment,” says Kelsey Burback, regional director of sales and marketing.

Monthly Support Groups

Monthly Alzheimer’s Support Groups are offered at Encore’s Crystal Lake and South Barrington locations. These gatherings provide an opportunity for families to find connection, insight and encouragement while their loved one participates in a guided activity.
To learn more or schedule a tour, visit or call Encore Memory Care in South Barrington at (847) 844-1205 or Encore’s Crystal Lake at (815) 459-7800.