Perhaps one of our most significant decisions in life is how we’ll be cared for when we can no longer care for ourselves. This guide will help you to navigate those important questions, and will introduce you to some of the excellent care available within our region.
2170 Navajo Dr., Freeport
Quality living for all is the driving force behind Liberty Village of Freeport.
Perhaps that’s why it’s the only Medicare and Medicaid five-star facility in Stephenson County, says Stacy Thurman, director of sales and marketing.
This vibrant community on Freeport’s west side provides independent living, supportive care, short-term rehabilitation, long-term care and memory care in three buildings.
The resident/staff ratio is above state requirements, meaning residents receive better overall care. A 4,200 square-foot fitness room is equipped with the active older adult in mind. A new 21-bed expansion opened in January.
The nonprofit Liberty Village began as an assisted living facility 15 years ago, and has grown with the increasing demand for all levels of senior care. Because Liberty Village accommodates a full spectrum of senior needs, residents don’t have to experience as much disruption when moving to another level of care.
“Once you get to a certain age, it’s more and more difficult to make a move. You don’t want to be looking for a place to live when you suddenly need one. Here, it’s all connected and a resident can move through the system if they need more help,” says Thurman.
The community’s success is partly due to developer Don Fick, who has a passion for helping seniors to enjoy life. As part of Fick’s work, some retail businesses have been established in Liberty Villaage, to provide services and goods that can benefit seniors.
“Don is often in the building, knows the residents and staff, and puts money back into the business because his No. 1 priority is the needs of the people he serves,” says Thurman. “What we see and experience here, you don’t see everywhere.”
“The morale among the staff and residents is very high, and there’s a lot of family interaction,” she adds. “We have our goals to meet to keep the business running, but it’s never at the expense of the residents. It just goes to show that, if you do things right, everything goes well.”
The modern decor at Liberty Village is updated regularly. Nutritious meals are served restaurant-style, and transportation is provided to many off-campus activities. Residents in the health care center can go on a daily scenic ride.
“You walk in here and you think you are in a hotel,” says Thurman. “We are so blessed to have this place.”
Highview in the Woodlands
1000 Falcon Point Place, Rockton, Ill.
For such an intimate facility, Highview in the Woodlands, in Rockton, places a heavy emphasis on its skilled, experienced staff. Both the assisted living apartments and the Alzheimer’s/dementia unit have around-the-clock care, with supervision from licensed nurses and certified nurse’s aides, with support from social services, food service and activities staff. Even the administration has significant experience – CEO Carol Cox has spent her entire career in health care.
“We set ourselves apart because we’re smaller and more hands-on,” she says. “We have a lot of expertise when you look at assisted living facilities. We have a very advanced staff.”
Residents here can get as much or as little care as needed. While some still drive their cars, others find value in supportive services such as weekly housekeeping, laundry services, social activities, regular church services and physical support. As residents age, additional services complement their changing needs.
Opened in Rockford in 1904, Highview relocated in 1999 to its new home in the tranquil and scenic park-like setting in Rockton’s Woodland subdivision. The facility includes 36 assisted living apartments and 26 private memory care rooms. Rooms are equipped with call lights, and the entire facility has alarmed exits.
Within the secured Alzheimer’s unit, residents receive additional support in a secure environment. Residents keep their minds active with a Montessori-approach therapy, using a life skills program that enhances memory and function.
“Children use Montessori, an approach that says: ‘I’m learning to do this, so I’m going to the next step,’” says Cox. “When you think of the Alzheimer’s unit, it’s backwards: ‘I’m at this level, but I’m losing skills. So, now I can fold the laundry, but in a year I won’t know what to do with it.’ It’s an approach that’s therapeutic, and makes them feel they can still do this activity and feel successful.”
Cox also understands that families of Highview’s residents value this kind of support and care, because it’s one less worry for them. She makes it easy for families to get involved, through things like an Alzheimer’s support group for families and residents, and access to on-site laundry for loved ones.
One of the more striking signs of Highview’s high-care approach is its pleasant scent – it doesn’t have that unpleasant nursing-home odor of yesterday’s care facilities. That’s a sign of quality and good care, says Cox.
Another important sign is the longevity of Highview residency. Some on the assisted living side have been here since 2009. On the Alzheimer’s side, one resident arrived in 2002. That’s a good sign, says Cox.
For families unsure about the right time to locate a loved one to a care facility, Cox says it depends on that person’s safety, security and wellness. When those things consistently slip, it’s time to start “shopping around,” perhaps for about six months to a year. Bring the prospective resident along, and let them see for themselves.
“You’d be surprised,” says Cox. “The families think, ‘Oh, she’s going to be so upset, she has to leave her own home,’ but sometimes it’s a relief to this person, because they’ve been trying to protect their children and not burden them. Once they’re here, they’re relieved. They then enjoy what is here for them.”
The costs of living at Highview depend upon the services needed. There’s a wide menu of options, so Highview offers a free consultation. Fees are kept to a minimum – no gimmicks, and no entrance fees, community fees, holiday meal fees, application fees or invasive financial questioning.
For more than 110 years, this nonprofit has cared for our region’s elderly, and the commitment continues, in a safe, friendly and caring environment.
“I know all of the families, I see them going in and out, and we know all the residents,” says Cox. “Everybody’s hands-on here. In a larger complex, we can’t do that. It’s just too big to do that. So you do have an advantage when you have this smaller-sized residence.”
4141 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford
Happiness, peace of mind, security and financial stability are especially important in our later years. That’s why Wesley Willows, in Rockford, promises to provide a comfortable, care-free lifestyle for its more than 700 residents on two campuses.
Across its 234-acre main campus, this senior community welcomes seniors of all lifestyles and needs, from independent living homes and apartments to assisted living and nursing care. The growing property has nearly 250 homes, 77 independent apartments, 166 assisted living apartments and more than 91 beds dedicated to long-term nursing care, memory care and Medicare-certified rehab.
“We provide the most comprehensive continuum of care in the greater Rockford regionl,” says Andrea Luke, sales manager. “We have unmatched amenities. Residents enjoy a very active, care-free lifestyle, with a sense of security because of the health care services we also offer.”
The heart of life at Wesley Willows is its Town Center, a hub that serves mind, body and spirit. Its fitness centers have senior-friendly equipment and its pool is home to many classes. The center also boasts a library/media center, game rooms, conference rooms, dining options and an Alpine Bank branch, in addition to a constant stream of resident-driven social and educational activities.
This summer, the Town Center welcomes a new addition that includes dining areas, fitness classrooms and group meeting spaces. Inside the atddition are 36 new suites, with one- and two-bedroom options ranging from 800 to 1,400 square feet. Reservations are currently being accepted.
The nonprofit Wesley Willows is supported by a financially minded strategic plan that emphasizes annual campus improvements. One of the community’s latest projects is the addition of four new homes, expected to open this spring.
Wesley Willows recently celebrated its first anniversary of ownership and operation of the Peterson Meadows Community, a 34-acre independent living community on Rockford’s east side. The Peterson Meadows campus includes 59 town homes and 75 apartments, along with programs to support an active lifestyle. Since the acquisition, several spaces have been updated – all in an effort to create the same sense of community that’s inherent to Wesley Willows.
“This is very much an independent living community,” says CEO Bill Pratt. “These residents prefer their lifestyle, and they are welcome to the Wesley Willows campus to enjoy any of our programs and amenities at any time.”
Wesley Willows is accredited by CARF-CACC, an international group that recognizes responsible management at an elite number of retirement communities.
“We tell people that once you move to Wesley Willows, we will take care of you for the rest of your life,” says Pratt. “We believe it’s two-fold. As your needs change, we have facilities and staff who are committed to serving you. And, we make a commitment that, if you run out of money, you can count on us to take care of you.”
Residents who outlive their resources are guaranteed a place to stay, as part of the Wesley Willows Commitment, through its Good Samaritan Fund. “This gives you the peace of mind that you won’t have to leave, and it won’t affect your programs or services,” says Pratt.
Costs of living ultimately depend upon the resident’s lifestyle option. Lawn care, home maintenance and housekeeping are covered. Meals are served at numerous dining rooms three times a day.
It’s never too early to reserve a spot at Wesley Willows. Pratt has seen people make reservations nearly 15 years in advance. But, he says, it’s always easier to plan ahead than to wait for an emergency.
“None of us knows what’s going to happen tomorrow,” says Pratt. “The longer we live, the more likely we will experience some life changes.”
Fairhaven Christian Retirement Center
3470 N. Alpine Road, Rockford
Fairhaven’s mission statement is “to provide a comfortable lifestyle and exceptional care which enhances quality of life in a manner that glorifies God.”
More than 375 residents enjoy a comfortable lifestyle with many opportunities. The property includes more than 100 duplexes, nearly 100 independent living apartments, a supportive care center and a health center.
“We’re very committed and never lose sight of why we’re here and who we’re here for,” says Chris Hintzsche, director of marketing and resident services at Fairhaven. “When people ask me what sets Fairhaven apart, I tell them our Christian focus, continuum of care, wonderful views from large windows letting in lots of natural light, and our dining experience.”
Although affiliated with First Free Evangelical Church, Fairhaven offers a lifetime of care to people of all faiths age 62 and up. For those who want to attend a Sunday morning worship service at First Evangelical Free Church in Rockford, transportation is available each week.
“When people talk about why they have chosen to live at Fairhaven, our spiritual focus is among the reasons why they are here,” Hintzsche says.
The Sjostrom Center chapel, which opened in 2012, is just one example of Fairhaven’s God-centered priorities. Residents enjoy various kinds of spiritual services throughout the week, along with a vespers service on Sunday. Some services are led by one of the two pastors on staff; others are led by community pastors or volunteer residents.
Fairhaven’s part-time staff chaplains lead services, meet and pray with residents, lead Bible studies, communicate resident needs and help them stay in contact with their home church. The administrative team prays before staff and business meetings. They also serve at the monthly Communion service.
Now, the ala carte dining options will remain open to duplex residents five days a week. Inside the 24-hour coffee shop, volunteers serve up home-baked goods. More choices are offered in the main dining room.
“We have expanded our food offerings to give people choices and more options for socializing and getting the most of meal time,” Hintzsche says.
A hallmark of Fairhaven’s dining experience is its quality food and chefs, helpful wait staff and attentiveness to comfort foods. “The home-style cooking is what our residents were used to in their own homes, and so we want them to enjoy home cooked meals here, too,” she says.
Inside the main building, where the dining hall is located, residents enjoy an engaging atmosphere that includes a family room with computers, a video-chat unit, a library, restaurant-style dining, a gift shop and a fitness center with classes guided by a fitness coordinator.
Residents are invited to participate in special activities such as choirs, bell choirs and educational sessions, and to attend picnics, musical performances and other events. Pets are welcome to visit and may live with duplex residents.
Hintzsche counsels people to visit the retirement communities they are considering, enjoy a meal there, talk to residents and ask them about their experiences. “Fairhaven residents enjoy a loving, supportive and active community,” says Hintzsche. “They’re genuinely excited when someone new is moving here. They love to share their personal stories and to listen to the stories of others.”
5601 E. Rockton Road, Roscoe, Ill.
When the loss of independence, family and friends makes a person’s world grow smaller, it’s difficult to begin anew.
But at NorthPointe Terrace, in Roscoe, Ill., community is an essential component of the assisted living environment. With 24 large apartments on a prairie setting, and a cozy, family setting, residents can maintain social connections with other older adults.
“Residents become like sisters and brothers,” says director Deidre Bennett. “They form close friendships with each other and the staff, and a new family is formed. In a health center or hospital, you feel you are being cared for in someone else’s world. In assisted living, you are home. Fun and passion are important in assisted living. Fun is something we strive for on a daily basis. We always are laughing, singing, dancing and doing activities.”
NorthPointe Terrace opened in 2007, and was soon followed by the construction of the adjacent NorthPointe Health and Wellness Campus, a unique destination that includes immediate health care, doctor offices, physical medicine and a wellness center with a spa, gym, warm-water and lap pools, a hot tub and classrooms. The wellness center is open to the public for a monthly fee, but is free for the assisted living residents.
The entire campus is situated on a large prairie, a serene landscape that not only preserves the environment but provides many scenic views. Inside NorthPointe Terrace, large windows offer a shining glimpse of the rolling hills outside. Three-room apartments range in size from 550 to 681 square feet.
Assisted Living is most appropriate for someone who can live independently, but finds it increasingly more difficult to keep up with home maintenance and self-care.
“The signs that someone needs more help include not eating right, not paying attention to personal hygiene, and not having the energy to do the things around the house that need to be done,” says Bennett, a registered nurse.
“We take a difficult lifestyle and make it better,” she adds. “With help, those people can get stronger and healthier, and begin to excel in ways they didn’t think possible, because they are around people and have plenty of activities to choose from.”
Sometimes, those activities include trips off-campus, for activities such as watching movies or dining out.
“Every time we are in Culver’s, the manager sings to us,” says Bennett. “We just try to enjoy life wherever we are.”
Every year, NorthPointe Terrace hosts an Easter Eggstravaganza, with a cupcake walk, appearance by Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny, face painting, games, photos and music. This year, it’s scheduled for March 28.
“These family events get people into the building, and the residents have fun handing out Easter Eggs and watching the kids play games,” says Bennett. “It’s a chance for our family to operate as a family with the public and make good memories.”
Presence Saint Anne Center
4405 Highcrest Road, Rockford
Presence Cor Mariae Center
3330 Maria Linden Dr., Rockford
Presence Saint Anne Center and Cor Mariae Center feel almost like a hospital, but that’s an important signal of what’s inside these sister communities.
At both places, a consistent staff of nurse practitioners is available around-the-clock, and often coordinates with patients’ personal physicians. An in-house physiatrist sees patients several days a week, as does a certified wound care specialist. Many diagnostic services are performed in-house, such as EKG, X-Ray and ultrasounds. Because so many services are available in one place, Humana and Personal Care insurance companies have given both centers a Tier 1 status for efficient patient service.
“Our status as Tier 1 makes everything easier for patients, and they have a better chance of things getting done,” says Brian Thor, admissions and marketing director at Saint Anne Center. “If families look at this facility, they know that it’s an indication that the insurance company and your loved one have everything they need.”
While Saint Anne Center offers long-term nursing care and short-term rehab, Cor Mariae Center covers a continuum of care, from supportive living to sheltered care. Both facilities participate in the Interact 3 program, a new staff training program that helps to avoid re-hospitalization of patients.
“We strive for high-quality care,” says Veronica Coronell, billing and marketing specialist at Cor Mariae Center. One signal of that quality, she says, comes from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which consistently rates Presence among the best in the nation for staffing, quality and regulatory compliance.
Inpatient rehabilitation units at both locations serve short-term, post-operative patients in a comfortable environment, where they have access to regular physical, occupational and speech therapy. Rehab may include planting a garden box or lifting groceries.
Part of the emphasis on care comes from Saint Anne Center’s and Cor Mariae Center’s parent company, Presence Health, one of the largest Catholic health systems in Illinois. Built from a merger between Provena Health and Resurrection Health Care, the Catholic-owned organization operates 12 hospitals and 27 senior living facilities.
“We care for patients and residents of all faiths,” says Coronell. “We are a Catholic organization, and our mission is the foundation of our philosophy of care.”
Saint Anne Center includes 179 licensed beds; of them, 119 are Medicare-certified, and 60 are Medicaid-certified public aid beds. Each wing has its own community room, dining room and activities, and residents can visit chapel several times a week.
Cor Mariae Center is located in a former convent on 26 wooded acres, and includes 162 beds, community areas and a memory care unit. The large complex includes a large-screen theater that hosts Friday night films, and a chapel with daily Mass and Thursday Protestant services.
Each unit has its own common spaces and nurse station; the rooms are small and cozy, while the Msgr. Wahl Courtyard has a waterfall, walking path and seating area.
“Our resident rooms really offer a community style of living,” says Coronell. “You have what would be your home or your apartment, and everything else is a shared environment, to help promote socialization. You have a shared dining room, shared living room, and shared common areas.”
Both facilities offer respite care, a temporary residence for seniors who need daily assistance.
“We have no duration that’s too short,” says Coronell. “We’ve done one to two days, up to a month at a time. If you’re a caretaker, it’s important to take care of yourself, just as much as your loved one.”
As families prepare for a move to retirement living, it’s important to know the services your loved one can obtain.
“Request an assessment to determine the level of care that you qualify for, and the benefits and services available to you,” Coronell says. “Not many people know what they qualify for, including Medicare and veterans benefits. Don’t be afraid to ask what your rights are.”
Siena on Brendenwood
4444 Brendenwood Road, Rockford
Walk through the doors of Siena on Brendenwood, in Rockford, and you get the feeling there’s no place like home.
Take a closer look and you’ll understand why.
Life at Siena is all about quality of life through choices, connecting with others, caring, learning and sharing, says marketing director Vinni Cavallaro Torrisi.
“Our residents tell us it’s the best move they ever made,” says Torrisi. “It’s been proven, people in independent living wish they had made the move sooner. They need the sense of purpose, fellowship, communication, spirituality, engagement and stimulation that we all crave in our lives,” she says, adding that most people take three months to three years to contemplate a move.
Siena on Brendenwood is a nonprofit independent living building owned by Diocese of Rockford. There are 105 apartments, with a choice of seven floor plans, ranging in size from 672 to 1,944 square feet.
Apartments are regularly updated and are totally renovated when a longtime resident moves out. There are various payment plans and residency plans, including arrangements for those who want to live at Siena just six months out of the year.
The biggest challenge people face when wanting or needing to make a move is they seldom feel “ready.” Siena is unique in meeting that obstacle head-on.
Torrisi authored a step-by-step guide to help people make the transition to Siena on Brendenwood. The book, titled “Navigation to NowSizing,” explains the process of sorting, saving, packing and moving what is important to an individual in the present moment. Torrisi is so passionate about the term “NowSizing” that she had it trademarked.
A certified Senior Relocation and Transition Specialist, Torrisi is using her expertise and experience to help people to make the transition as smooth as possible.
In the guide, Torrisi discusses decluttering, and how to make decisions while going through personal items. She suggests moving room by room, holding onto good memories and letting go of those that have faded. She also provides checklists, contact sheets, packing information, a moving timeline, and a room-by-room chart to help seniors stay organized.
Helping people to get past emotional barriers so that they can enjoy life to the fullest is what inspired Torrisi to compile the information for Siena residents-to-be.
“This is our mission. We are here to help people move from their home of 60 years to an apartment that better meets their needs today,” she says.
Torrisi first went through the moving process with her own mom, before watching others with the same struggles. She has clear evidence that she and the staff at Siena are making a difference.
“We see the relief, the engagement and appreciation on the faces of people we help,” she says. “The residents know we get it and understand the scope of what needs to be done and that we are here, willing to help them navigate the move.
“It’s all about lifestyle and purposeful living,” she says. “We give residents choices and we have a lot of events on- and off-site to entertain people and help them keep current with what’s going on in the world. It’s important to empower seniors by letting them do what they can for as long as they can, even if it means getting some help from family and friends.”
Atrium Memory Care
2885 McFarland Road, Rockford
At Atrium Memory Care, in Rockford, everything is in place to ensure that a difficult time of life doesn’t have to get in the way of having a good life.
“Change is difficult for anyone,” Debi Sanchez, community relations manager. “Add dementia or another form of memory loss and it makes the going even tougher. So, helping people keep their dignity and self-respect, while knowing they are loved and safe is our mission.”
To qualify for residency at The Atrium, one must have a diagnosis of memory loss, dementia, or Alzheimer’s disease. A married couple can live together, so long long as one person is diagnosed with memory loss. The Atrium is a totally secured building and has accommodations for 40 people in early and later stages of memory loss.
Many components of Atrium’s care guide residents through their memory loss.
“Socialization is so important with memory loss disease, because those living at home with the disease have been living in the dark,” says. “We are here to brighten up their world.”
For their first 30 days at The Atrium, a new resident works with an assigned staff member one-on-one, in an effort to get acclimated to their new surroundings. The Atrium uses the Montessori educational method that puts an emphasis on individualized learning and has been successful with children since 1907.
The concept of using Montessori with older adults began about five years ago, says Terri King, director of Montessori programming for Meridian, The Atrium’s parent company. Individualized attention, based on what the resident is familiar with, has proven successful.
“When it comes to memories, they often say the first memories are the last to leave,” says King. “So, by our reminiscing with residents, they can feel comforted. It’s all about discovering individual talents, gifts, likes and dislikes.
“The activities we do makes them feel purposeful, because they are able to express themselves better,” King adds. “The goal is to make our residents feel good about life by helping them to feel they have a purpose because they can identify with what they are doing.”
Although The Atrium is now owned by Meridian Senior Living, its mission and goals remain the same, even as the methods for achieving those goals evolves with staff training. Meridian also brings to The Atrium its Moments in Time program, which is designed specifically for memory care residents.
It largely means an enhanced dietary plan, with more nutritious snack options, new activities, and updated and more age-appropriate activities, which are located in baskets and cubicles throughout the building.
Each basket holds one or more activities and is clearly labeled with items meant to stimulate the senses. The activities can be done alone or with another person, and include puzzles, tools, artwork, baby care, laundry, books, stuffed animals, flowers, music, checkers, shapes and balls.
About two years ago, Sanchez created Love and Sharing, a family support group for people who have parents or loved ones suffering from memory loss.
“I saw the grief on the faces of the family members and realized they were all going through the same thing and they were all the same age,” says Sanchez. “I decided it would be great for them to share their struggles and coping skills with each other, so they could be comforted and feel less lonely.”
The monthly group is open to anyone in the community who has a family member with memory loss.
7130 Crimson Ridge Dr., Rockford
The decision to enter assisted living is rarely easy, so the folks at Crimson Pointe Senior Living, in Rockford, hope it’s the last time a family will have to decide where a loved one will live.
“The phrase you’ll hear is ‘aging in place,’” says Mike Barr, sales director. “It means that this is such an emotional and complicated decision that you don’t want to do this again, for the family member, for the family, for the family member’s relatives.”
With studio and one-bedroom apartments, this community offers many ways to keep its residents in an independent and comfortable environment for as long as possible. Nursing staff is available around-the-clock, and can assist with simple daily reminders or provide significant personal care. An outside provider offers additional services, such as physical and speech therapy, and in-home care.
“The resident doesn’t have to go out for rehab – they can participate in those services here, through our partners,” says Sherri Whitmer, executive director. “We can offer that assistance to help folks age in place and stay within our community.”
Crimson Pointe also helps veterans and their surviving spouses to age comfortably, by connecting them with financial support through the federal Aid-in-Attendance program. Depending on the resident’s situation, assistance can range from $1,100 to $2,600 per month, and can help make the cost of assisted living more affordable.
Barr often meets with local community groups, to share the importance of planning ahead for retirement living. He offers suggestions about how to narrow your options, how to plan with a relative and when it’s the right time to move.
“None of us have a set idea or guide for how this process should work,” says Barr. “Understand that it is such an emotional process for both the potential resident and family, and that everyone handles it differently.”
Maple Crest Care Centre
4452 Squaw Prairie Road, Belvidere
Northwoods Care Centre
2250 Pearl St., Belvidere
These sister facilities in Belvidere, Members of the Symphony Post Acute Network, are a popular destination for Boone, Winnebago and McHenry County residents who need skilled nursing care, long-term or short-term rehab and respite care. Both locations offer a professional and caring nursing staff.
General therapy including physical, occupational, respiratory and speech are available, as well as orthopedic short-term care. Northwoods offers a secured memory care unit, while Maple Crest maintains post-hospital cardiac care rehabilitation services.
“We’re one of the few skilled care centers in Illinois to offer this service,” says Marc Bright, public relations director. “We work very closely with Rebecca Behling, RN, APN, and cardiovascular surgery nurse practitioner at SwedishAmerican Heart Hospital.”
Our professional staff is both skilled and experienced. Their expertise has also helped to create a surprisingly low hospital re-admission rate.
Northwoods Care Centre is among the first in the region to attain Joint Commission Certification for the new Post Acute Care Programming, a validation of their commitment to care.
Both MapleCrest and Northwoods are meticulously maintained, and in 2014 went through a major renovation that improved the aesthetics of the buildings and the comfort of residents.
“Our goal is to help our residents succeed through treatment and return home to an independent and fulfilling life,” says Bright. “Working with our medical directors, Dr. Anthony Molinari and Dr. Thomas Michalsen, as well as nurses and therapists, our facilities offer residents the quickest possible recoveries and optimal results.”
Oakley Courts Assisted Living Community
3117 W. Kunkle Blvd., Freeport
Oakley Courts, in Freeport, prides itself in having a hometown approach to meeting the needs of its residents. Located just north of Highland Community College, Oakley Courts is just one story tall, nestled into a neighborhood full of ranch-style homes.
Its small scale makes this residence feel like a cozy, family-oriented, locally run organization, says Cheryl Johnson, admissions and marketing coordinator. What visitors may not realize at first is that this community of 46 assisted living apartments is owned by Tutera Senior Living and Health Care, a group that maintains facilities throughout the Midwest.
“We have a local, hometown feel – even though we’re corporately owned,” says Johnson. “Our building looks like someone’s home, like a place any of our residents could have lived. When you walk in the front door, you feel at home.”
Oakley Courts maintains restaurant-style dining, spacious apartments, and many community spaces, including a library, a salon, an ice cream parlor, a coffee shop, a fitness studio and an outdoor patio. “Each facility has its own local flavor, each one grounded in the community where it’s located,” says Johnson. “Freeport doesn’t fit into the same box as a facility in Missouri, or even in another part of Illinois.”
Oakley Courts hosts an annual Strollathon, which raises money for the Senior Resource Center. Grocery Bingo collects non-perishable food items for the Freeport Area Church Cooperative, while the Art Club invites student and professional artists to lead workshops. Johnson says there are plans to invite the general public to join in Oakley Courts’ wellness and exercise programs, as a way of encouraging good health, socialization and friendships among seniors.
1234 S. Park Blvd., Freeport
As its name suggests, Parkview Home in Freeport provides great views of Krape Park, and is ideally located near Highland Community College, the YMCA, a hospital and medical clinics, country club, dining and shopping.
But that’s just the beginning of a community that provides a continuum of care through maintenance-free homes, individual apartments, assisted living, a health care center, and restorative care.
This community is dramatically growing. This spring kicks off of a capital campaign that will expand the memory care building from one to three levels, add 15 private rooms in the skilled health care center and build 15 more assisted living apartments, says Chris Kempel, director of marketing and human resources.
In 1914, a group of businessmen pledged $200,000 and challenged the community to raise the rest. The building opened in 1926. For this latest addition, Parkview management is looking to match $500,000 already raised.
“The demand is here, with residents aging and needing more care, people living longer and baby boomers looking to place their parents and thinking about their own options for future living,” says Kempel.
“People used to bring their parents home to live with them, but now people are working and they don’t have time to provide the constant care,” she adds.
At the same time, there’s far less aversion to the idea of retirement community living.
“People are realizing it’s not such a bad thing,” says Kempel. “In fact, the next generation heading into retirement is looking forward to maintenance-free living, so they can enjoy life by having more time and freedom for leisurely and entertaining activities.”
414 S. Wesley Ave., Mount Morris, Ill.
The cozy community of Mount Morris, Ill., is home to Ogle County’s premier retirement community. Founded by the Church of the Brethren in 1893, Pinecrest Community is rooted in faith, but is open to all. Pinecrest is a safe and comfortable living environment for seniors.
Residents at the 40-acre continuing care retirement community can move through its four residential settings as their needs evolve. Pinecrest offers independent living duplex homes and apartments, in addition to all-private rooms in intermediate and skilled nursing, specialized memory care, and in- and outpatient rehabilitative care.
In 2014, Pinecrest was recognized as one of the best nursing homes in Northwest Illinois by U.S. News & World Report. In addition, Pinecrest has consistently garnered national accolades in recent years by being named a five-star community with the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Pinecrest’s in-house therapy program has repeatedly won Best in Class customer satisfaction rankings from Pinnacle. The awards reflect consistently high praise from therapy clients in both in- and outpatient care for physical, occupational and speech therapy. While attending inpatient rehab, residents reside in a special wing with private rooms and a private dining room.
Presently, an innovative grant-funded art communications program for memory care residents is being launched in The Terrace, Pinecrest’s memory-care community. Color Me A Memory uses watercolor painting to help residents to recapture their lost memories.
Pinecrest is also home to Grove Community Center. This center is open to the public and houses a wellness center, cafe, chiropractor, hair salon, and an auditorium – a perfect venue for elegant or casual weddings, reunions and family gatherings.
A nonprofit that is independently owned and operated, Pinecrest supports its residents even in the event of financial hardship. Nearly 48 percent rely on public aid; many also benefit from Pinecrest’s Good Samaritan Fund, which was established in 1988 to help cover the cost of care.
Mount Morris is a short drive from larger communities. Located between Chicago and the Quad Cities, Pinecrest is about 15 minutes from Dixon and 35 from Rockford.
Serenity Hospice & Home
1658 S. Ill. Route 2, Oregon, Ill.
The comforts of home should only increase toward the end of one’s life. That’s the mission of Serenity Hospice and Home, in Oregon, in business for more than 30 years.
“Our name reflects how we feel about making comfort our focus in a serene, peaceful environment,” says Lynn Knodle, executive director.
Set on 10 acres in a beautiful country setting, Serenity is located next to the wooded Lutheran Outdoor Ministry Center, and offers patients and families a unique home-like environment designed for those who want to remain close to their loved ones.
Six years ago, the nonprofit organization ramped up its services to provide Illinois’ second live-in hospice facility for patients and their families. Each of these eight rooms is known not by a number but by its name: Peace, Hope, Mercy, Love, Grace, Glory and Trust.
All patient rooms are private and include an alcove with a sitting/sleeping area and private bathroom for a family member. Each room has a remote-controlled fireplace, ceiling fan, television and patio that provides pleasant views of the woods and a variety of gardens. A spa room for patients has a Jacuzzi and massage. For loved ones, there’s a child’s play room, a fully equipped kitchen, laundry room, chapel and more.
The medical director and 70 percent of the staff are certified in Hospice and Palliative Care, which means they have additional training in pain control, the process of dying and grief support.
“People who work here have a sincere commitment,” says Peggy Richard, education manager and compliance officer. “They deliver one-on-one care and believe they are making a difference for patients and their families.”
Serenity now serves families across Stephenson, Winnebago, Boone, Carroll, Ogle, Whiteside, Lee and DeKalb counties, as well as the towns of Walnut and Ohio in Bureau County.
“Serenity believes that life continues until the moment of death, and our focus is to provide optimal living on the final leg of the journey, knowing our goal is to care, not cure, a patient,” Knodle says.