Archive for the ‘Senior Recreation’ Category

Oak Park Arms Adult Day Care opens a life enrichment program for senior citizens

Adult Day Care at the Oak Park Arms

Adult Day Care at the Oak Park Arms

The Oak Park Arms Adult Day Care, a life enrichment program for older adults, opens Monday, Jan. 7, at the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park.

“The purpose of Oak Park Arms Adult Day Care is to provide personal attention and to promote social, physical and emotional well-being to seniors in a private, structured setting,” said Moses Williams, executive director of the Oak Park Arms.

“Participants will spend their daytime hours with their day care family, then return home in the evenings,” he explained.

A nurse consultant works with each program participant, his or her family and the staff to design individualized care plans that will optimize the adult day care experience. Among the array of activities will be educational programs, presentations from experts, performances, arts and crafts, current events, games, reminiscing opportunities and health maintenance.

Oak Park Arms Adult Day Care will operate from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Continental breakfast, a hot healthy lunch and a nutritious afternoon snack are served daily.

The program is housed within the award-winning Oak Park Arms Retirement Community in a safe and secure private area.

“Our adult day care is a healthy and safe place for a loved one,” Williams said. “Our promise is to enhance the lives of the people we serve. We are very proud to offer this new enrichment program.”

For more information, visit or call 708-386-4040.


About the Oak Park Arms
The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides senior housing in the form of independent living and assisted living apartments. Additional services include short-term stays, a transitional care program, and an adult day care. “The Arms” opened as a luxurious hotel in 1922 and for decades, it was the scene of wedding receptions, proms and ballroom dances. In the mid-1970s, two friends bought the hotel and created an active retirement community that was – and remains – full of life, service and spirit. Today, the same two friends remain involved and committed to excellence, ensuring that The Arms continues as an industry leader with a legacy of eminence and distinction.


Yoga for seniors in Oak Park

Yoga for Seniors at th Timbers of ShorewoodYoga: a young person twisted up like a pretzel with apparent ease. That image is not necessarily the complete story. In fact, yoga is for all ages; no one is too old or too young for yoga.

One of the great things about yoga is that it is so adaptable to different populations with various physical abilities and needs. Most seniors are doing what they can to maintain and improve a sense of health and wellness. Many of the 36 million or so Americans who are 65 or older (stat provided by: are turning to yoga to keep them stay agile and in shape.

Although the trend is to become more sedentary, retirement is actually the perfect time to pick up healthy habits that will promote longevity. Yoga is well-suited for seniors, because it is low-impact, and risk of injury is minimal because the discipline does not require any contact with anyone or anything. In addition, yoga’s weight-bearing postures help build or maintain lean muscle mass, and its focus on balance develops coordination.

Yoga also helps combat many of the health conditions that come with age such as high blood pressure, arthritis and incontinence, because it keeps the body toned, strong and flexible..

An added benefit (and an important one) is the sense of community seniors find at yoga classes. As many elders live in isolation, the group setting of a yoga class offers seniors a way to connect.

According to, there are many yoga postures that can be safely performed by seniors. Such postures have both a restorative and therapeutic benefit to them. Of course, adaptations and adjustments should be made according to the person’s health status and their physical ability.

  • Easy Pose (Sukhasana): The simple act of sitting down and breathing deeply and fully has an enormous capacity to tone the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems while also lengthening the spine, resting the mind, and cultivating a sense of peace. The beginner can do this posture for a minimum of 10 breaths and gradually work up to maintaining this posture for five to 10 minutes.
  • Cat Pose (Bidalasana): This grounding posture helps tone the arm muscles while also strengthening the core and alleviating tightness in the low and upper back and neck. The beginner can do this posture for a minimum of five breath cycles and gradually work their way to doing more.

Older adults should get clearance from their doctor before starting a yoga practice. This is especially relevant for those who take medications or have a prior or current history of cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions. In addition, individuals should also seek out classes specifically designed for seniors, as they will take into account the unique health issues affecting them

Yoga classes especially for seniors are becoming increasingly available: check local senior centers, retirement communities, religious organizations and even health clubs.


More Exercise, Less Sickness?

On my way to our retirement community this morning I was flipping through the channels on my radio and landed on NPR. I heard a report about the common cold that I thought I would pass on. The findings of the report said one thing you might expect – Get more than eight hours of sleep a night.

The other finding was to exercise on a daily basis. Researchers recruited about 1,000 volunteers between age 18 and 85 to complete a daily log of symptoms throughout cold and flu season.

At the end of the three-month study, the researchers found that the more the participants exercised, the less they reported getting sick. Those who exercised five days a week for 20 minutes or more experienced about 40 percent fewer days of illness compared with those putting in less than one day a week of activity.

For those seniors who live in the Oak Park area, (River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Chicago, Riverside, North Riverside, Cicero, Brookfield, Maywood, Melrose Park, Broadview, Lyons, Galewood, River Grove) feel free to come to the Oak Park Arms to get your daily exercise. We have free classes almost every day for our residents and seniors in the Western suburbs. Classes include Sit and Be Fit, Chair Yoga, Tai Chi for Seniors, monthly ballroom dances with a live orchestra, and more. Check our calendar of events for seniors.

Here is the full report from NPR. Or click here to listen to the story.


Seniors in Oak Park take a ride on the information superhighway

It’s a fact that many seniors are intimidated by computers, the Internet, Facebook, etc., but that number is growing smaller every day as more and more older adults embrace a whole new world of communication.

Computer use can help seniors connect in ways that older generations simply couldn’t imagine. The Internet helps make and maintain vital relationships with family, friends and grandchildren. Think about it – computers are available 24/7. The Internet can rekindle confidence and independence, and improved contact with others can ease isolation.

As Gill Adams, of Digital Unite says, “The internet is curiosity’s best friend.”

The latest survey data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that 42 percent of individuals 65 years and older actively access the Internet; 53 percent live in a setting with Internet access. The 42 percent statistic represents a 50 percent jump in Internet use among this age group since 2000, when only 21 percent of 65+ individuals were actively online.

The U.S. Census Bureau goes on to report that many older adults use the Web for three specific reasons:

  • to read e-mail,
  • to use a search engine to find information, and
  • to access news items.

According to, online visitors 65 and older participate in a variety of activities, from e-mail to bill paying. Neilsen found a slight variation for online activity:

  • Personal E-mail
  • Maps online
  • Weather online
  • Pay bills
  • View or post photos
  • Read general news
  • Researched personal health sites
  • Planning travel
  • Searched recipes
  • Read business/financial news

The No. 1 online destination for people over 65 in November 2009 was Google Search, with 10.3 million unique visitors. Windows Media Player and Facebook were No. 2 and No. 3, with 8.2 million and 7.9 million visitors, respectively. Interestingly, Facebook, which came in at No. 3, ranked No. 45 just a year ago among sites visited by senior citizens.

Top online destinations for adults age 65 and older:

  1. Google search
  2. Windows Media Player
  3. Facebook
  4. You Tube
  5. Amazon

Seniors who are ready to jump in and learn about computers and the Internet can contact SeniorNet. The mission of SeniorNet is to provide older adults education for and access to computer technologies to enhance their lives and enable them to share their knowledge and wisdom.

SeniorNet classes are offered in communities throughout the United States.


Seniors in Oak Park ask, ‘What’s your hobby?’

Living in a retirement or assisted living community provides precious time to pursue hobbies. But you know what? Sometimes finding a hobby isn’t so easy. Hobbies for seniors need to fit certain guidelines. They need to be entertaining, but they also need to be inexpensive. They need to be exciting enough to be enjoyable but not too strenuous.

The good news is there are hundreds of hobbies out there just waiting for seniors to participate. For example, how about walking? No equipment necessary, no new wardrobe to buy. Walking can be enjoyed anywhere, especially with a walking buddy. You can take a shortie or a long walk. You can walk the halls of the retirement community or you can go around the block. You can go five steps, because chances are in a few days, you’ll be able to go six steps.

According to, Phyllis McGinley said, “A hobby a day keeps the doldrums away.” Research shows that seniors who participate in group activities are less prone to depression and health problems. They also live longer than people who are not associated with like-minded friends and acquaintances.

In a nutshell, staying socially active in some kind of group activity helps seniors stay happy, make new friends, and also helps utilize one’s time in a productive and satisfying manner. Besides, it’s just plain fun.

Not that there’s anything wrong with solo hobbies such as reading, watching TV, meditating, or gardening. Each of these hobbies is therapeutic in its own way. After a while, however, boredom can set in. You could always expand a reading hobby and join a book club or a library, exchange books with other book lovers and have interesting informal discussions. In fact there are many reading groups on the internet.

In addition, it has been proved that hobbies are good for the brain. Now who needs any more convincing than that …? provides some A to Z ideas:

  • Antiques
  • Art
  • Auctions online
  • Beer collections
  • Bird watching
  • Blog writing
  • Bridge
  • Card games
  • Chess
  • China collectibles
  • Coin collections
  • Computers
  • Cooking
  • Crafts
  • Crochet
  • Crossword puzzles
  • Dancing
  • Doll houses
  • Exercise
  • Family scrapbooks
  • Geneology
  • Ham radio
  • Journaling
  • Knitting
  • Longaberger baskets
  • Money
  • Music
  • Paper arts
  • Pen pals
  • Photography
  • Poetry
  • Quilts
  • Radio
  • Scrabble
  • Sewing
  • Solitaire
  • Stamp collecting
  • Theatre
  • Travel
  • Volunteering
  • Walking
  • Wood working
  • Writing
  • Zoo visits

Would seniors in Oak Park rather do sit-ups or dance?

Dancing at the Oak Park Arms Retirement Community“There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them.” ~Vicki Baum.

Ms. Baum is right. Dancing also can be a short-cut to health – both physically and mentally. According to Brain Fitness For, dancing is a boon to health because it stimulates different areas of the brain. How? Well, it often requires learning new steps, and it keeps seniors connected to others. It involves balance, coordination, listening, rhythm, motion, emotions, and physical touch.

Present day seniors grew up dancing. There were grand, lavish ballrooms, and people in cities took the streetcars to dance the night away. Ballroom dancing was a popular choice for a date. Big Band orchestras under the batons of Tommy Dorsey or Harry James toured the country playing in these wonderful ballrooms.

Today’s seniors are still dancing. Seniors’ dances are everywhere, and there are even exercise classes of “seated” dancing. If an entertainer performs the “old favorites” at a senior center or assisted living community, the audience instantly responds with toe-tapping and probably a rush of memories.

Health-wise, a dance routine for older adults can improve fitness in a low-impact way. More specifically, the physical benefits of dance from include:

  • Improves cardiovascular fitness – Even light dancing will increase the heart rate and give the heart a good workout.
  • Builds muscles – Through dance, seniors work their muscles and help to combat the effects of age.
  • Improves social outlook – By joining a dance class—no matter what type of dance—they can enjoy the company of being with other dancers.
  • Increases balance and control – The improved balance that comes from dancing helps prevent slips and falls.
  • Increases bone mass – Both men and women begin to lose bone mass as they age, leading to more broken bones when they fall.
  • Improves flexibility – A good dance workout will include stretching time which can help senior citizens increase flexibility and reduce muscle aches.

Again, from Brain Fitness For, by improving the social interactivity of seniors, dancing increases social harmony, understanding and tolerance in the community which is important because aging requires people of sometimes diverse backgrounds to live closer together in retirement homes and communities.

Music and rhythm have measurable effects on the brain and are the subject of multiple studies of brain-fitness benefits in both the young and old. Listening to music itself can have clear effects on the brain, stimulating different areas, changing brainwave patterns, and relieving stress.

Some believe that just watching dance stimulates the brain – mental stimulation that may be almost as powerful as performing the activity first hand. Even seniors who are too physically restricted to move freely can still participate and gain brain fitness benefits from social dance groups.

In summary, the lyrics of country music star Lee Ann Womack’s signature song say it all:

“I hope you still feel small when you stand behind the ocean.
I hope whenever one door closes, another opens.
Promise me that you’ll give faith a fighting chance,
and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance…
I Hope You Dance.”


Seniors in Oak Park enjoy inspiring ‘super seniors’

It’s never too late. Go for it. Give it your best shot. Are these words purely clichés? This blog post is devoted to a few stories of seniors who found their bliss, their muse, and/or their talent late in life. They are an inspiration to all of us. Perhaps the most famous is Grandma Moses.

In 1860, as the Civil War was about to start, Anna Mary Robertson was born in upstate New York, according to She was raised on a farm and only very briefly attended school. At age 12, she left home to be a hired hand at another farm. At age 27, Anna Mary married Thomas Moses, a fellow hired worker. The couple rented different farms and finally was able to buy a farm of their own. Anna Mary and Tom had ten children, five of whom survived.

Despite farm duties and a huge family, “Mother Moses” was a whiz at needlework. With thread she would make wonderful pictures on fabric until arthritis took away her ability to push a needle through material. So, at age 75 she took up painting mostly because it was easier on her hands. Her first work of art was created with house paint.

She continued to dabble, learning by trial and error. In 1938, a local drugstore displayed some of her paintings, and an art collector from New York happened by. Anna Mary’s daughter-in-law told the man that Grandma had ten paintings to sell. When she counted the paintings, there were only nine, so Grandma cut a large picture in half and reframed it as two pictures.

The man, Louis Caldor, introduced Grandma’s work to a New York art gallery owner who opened an exhibit titled, “What a Farm Wife Painted.” At age 78, Grandma had a following. She appeared on the Edward R. Murrow’s television show and demonstrated how to paint a picture. She said she painted from the sky down; sky first, then the mountains, then the land, then the people. Her people were shown doing anything she might have seen someone do in her long, active life and were rich in color.

According to, between the start of her painting career at age 75 and her death in 1961 at age 101, Grandma Moses painted approximately 1,600 paintings. Some 250 of those were painted after her 100th birthday. Her family never took her work seriously, but the art world certainly did. Her paintings continue to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Other amazing seniors from

  • Two months after her 100th birthday, Estrid Geertsen, born in 1904 in Denmark, made a tandem parachute jump from an altitude of 13,000 feet.
  • Charin Yuthasastrkosol began ballet lessons at the age of 47. In 2002 at age 71, she performed for Sakthip Krairikish, Thailand’s Ambassador to the USA, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • Greek runner Dimitrion Yordanidis ran a 26-mile marathon. At age 98, he finished in 7 hours, 33 minutes.
  • The oldest person – and the oldest male – to summit Mr. Everest is Katsusuke Yanagisawa, a former school teacher, on May 22, 2007. He was 71 years old.
  • Ruth Hamilton was born in 1898. She died in 2008 at the age of 109. Toward the end of her life, she became an avid blogger. The woman who used to be a school teacher in Iowa was given a new lease in life through her video blog:

18-piece Freenotes Big Band performs for seniors in Oak Park

The Freenotes Big Band will perform at a dance at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 28, in the Grand Ballroom of the Oak Park Arms, 408 S. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park. Refreshments will be served.

Freenotes Big Band

The Freenotes is an 18-piece band that plays music from 1940s through the 1960s. The name “Freenotes” originated 30 years ago when the band’s founder, the late Art Mertz, gathered a few musical friends to perform at an outdoor fundraiser. The group didn’t charge – hence The “Free”notes. The musicians had a blast that day, and the band has been growing ever since.

Today’s 18 members range in age from 30 to 70. They perform in blue blazers with red ties. Twenty year Freenotes’ member Ron Chocola is the band manager, taking care of bookings and other business tasks. He plays trumpet in the band.

“This is the very first time we’ve played at the Oak Park Arms,” Chocola said. “We have a repertoire of several hundred songs, all very danceable. We play at concerts, parties and dances such as the one at the Oak Park Arms.”

Another member of the band – Dr. Bob Beiter – has his business, CAA-The Hearing Place, located within the Oak Park Arms, so he knows many residents.

The Oak Park Arms is a rental retirement community which provides independent and assisted living apartments and a full schedule of activities and services. Furnished apartments are also available for a short-term stay – a weekend, a week, a month or longer.

The program is free and open to the public. For more information call Jill Wagner at 708-386-4040 or visit


Narrow Gallery Artist: Mary Kay Weiderman

The Oak Park Arms is proud to welcome artist, Mary Kay Weiderman to the Narrow Gallery. Weiderman is presenting her collection entitled Gone To The Dogs, which will be available to view until April 27th. Weiderman is a local artist who uses pastels as her medium and enjoys drawing realistic representations of animals. She bases most of her work off of pictures her clients submit to her of their pets.

She writes, “With all of my clients, my motivation and mission is to paint for them a portrait which goes beyond simply an accurate rendering of the physical features and reflects the personality and characteristics of each beloved pet.” For more information please check out her website here. The Oak Park Arms is very excited to include Weiderman in our growing collection of spotlighted artists. We hope you’ll come over and check it out!

The Oak Park Arms Narrow Gallery is a wonderful space we’ve dedicated to housing local artists. Collections are rotated every couple of months and range from photography, watercolors, oils and sculpture. We’re constantly on the look out for new artists to highlight. Inquiries or requests for more information should be directed to Desi Vasquez at (708) 368 – 4040 or


‘Bingo!’ is heard in senior communities all over, especially in Oak Park

Bingo CardPeople love to play Bingo, and it’s especially popular with seniors. This age group enjoys the game for entertainment and companionship, and added benefits are brain power and enhanced focus. And who isn’t excited to win? Most senior communities have Bingo as part of their weekly activities. Some feature Bingo every day.

Did you ever wonder who invented Bingo?

According to, Bingo’s history can be traced back to 1530, to an Italian lottery game called “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia.” Travelers brought the game across the Alps to France where it was called “Le Lotto.” The Germans also played a version of the game in the 1800s, but they used it primarily to help students learn lessons.

Fast forward to 1929 in America. A game called “Beano” was introduced at a carnival near Atlanta, Georgia. A pitchman selected numbered discs from a cigar box, and players would mark their cards with beans. When they completed a line of beans horizontally, vertically or diagonally, they yelled “Beano” and won a prize or money.

Edwin S. Lowe, owner of a very small New York toy company (two employees), had a sales call near Atlanta. As he drove down the road, he happened upon the bright lights of the carnival. He was early for his appointment, so he stopped. There was a huge crowd filled with people wanting a turn at a game called Beano. Lowe knew his games, and he had never heard of it.

While he was waiting for a seat (which he never got), he noticed that the players seemed addicted to the game. The pitchman wanted to close up, but every time he announced the last game, nobody moved. The game finally shut down at 3 a.m. After locking up, the pitchman told Lowe that he had run across a game called Lotto while traveling with a carnival in Germany the previous year. He thought it would make a good tent or carnival game. He called it Beano.

Returning to his home in New York, Lowe bought some dried beans, a rubber numbering stamp and some cardboard. Friends were invited to his apartment, and Lowe assumed the pitchman’s duties. Soon his friends were playing Beano with the same tension and excitement as he had seen at the carnival. During one session Lowe noticed that one of his guests was close to winning. She got more excited as each bean was added to her card. Finally there was one number left – and it was called. The woman jumped up, became tongue tied, and instead of shouting “Beano,” stuttered “B-B-B-BINGO!” The name stuck.

Lowe realized the game’s potential and started to market it. He hired a math professor to help him increase the number of combinations in bingo cards. By 1930, Dr. Carl Leffler had invented 6,000 different Bingo cards. It is said that Leffler then went insane. Who can blame him?

By 1934 there were an estimated 10,000 Bingo games a week, and Ed Lowe’s firm had 1,000 employees frantically trying to keep up with demand. The company took up nine entire floors of its New York office space, and 64 presses printed 24 hours a day.

According to Wikipedia, the Lowe Bingo Game had two versions; the first a 12-card set for $1, the second a $2 set with 24 cards. Bingo was a huge success. By the 1940s Bingo games were all over the country. Lowe had many competitors, and all he asked was that they pay $1 a year to conduct the games and to use the name Bingo.

Bingo was off to a fast start, and at the same time, it had reserved itself next to baseball and apple pie – thanks to Ed Lowe and the loss of Professor Leffler’s sanity.

Then, a Catholic priest from Pennsylvania approached Lowe about using Bingo as a means of raising church funds. It caught on like wildfire.

The rest, as they say, is history.

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Communities we serve:
Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Chicago, Riverside, North Riverside, Cicero, Brookfield, Maywood, Melrose Park, Broadview, Lyons, Galewood, and River Grove