Posts Tagged ‘retirement community River Forest’

Seven simple steps for aging well
for seniors in Oak Park

If only there was a recipe for aging well – a little of this and a little of that, and voila! Perfect old age.

Well, according to the National Institutes for Health’s magazine, “Medline Plus,” there are seven important “ingredients” to aging well. There are no concrete promises that it will turn out perfectly, of course, but these seven steps are everyone’s best shot.

First, quit smoking! It is never too late to quit, especially because smoking is a leading risk factor for lung cancer. Quitting smoking may be challenging, but there are resources to help. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has guidelines for quitting in its Cancer Topics online. The American Lung Association’s “Freedom From Smoking Online” program describes smoking cessation program and offers support from many other smokers and former smokers.

Second, lose some weight! Studies show that being overweight increases the risk of many diseases in seniors including type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, some types of cancer, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, and other health-related problems. Losing as little as 5 to 15 percent of body weight can significantly improve health. A safe, healthy rate of weight loss is half a pound to two pounds per week.

Third, get moving! It’s a fact that exercise burns calories. Generally, seniors have less muscle mass in the body, but strength exercises can help to restore strength and muscle mass, often fairly quickly. To get started on an exercise plan, talk to the doctor about what is right for you. Working up to exercising 4 to 6 days per week for 30 to 60 minutes will work wonders.

Fourth, control blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension can lead to stroke, heart disease, eye problems and kidney failure. High blood pressure is defined as a blood pressure of 140 over 90 or higher at two different checkups. What helps is a healthy weight, regular exercise, healthy diet, watch the salt, watch alcohol, and listen to the doctor!

Fifth, control cholesterol levels. The body needs some of this waxy substance, but an excess of it in the blood can clog arteries and lead to heart disease or stroke. To reduce levels of LDL and increase HDL, it’s vital to eat well and exercise. If medications are needed to control cholesterol, they will be used in combination with a good diet and exercise.

Sixth, don’t drink too much. Drinking more than the recommended amount (two drinks per day for men and one drink per day for women) can increase the risk of certain cancers, cirrhosis of the liver, problems with the immune system, and brain damage. In other situations, irresponsible drinking can lead to car accidents. The best advice is, if you drink, drink responsibly.

Seventh, practice prevention. Stay with the same doctor if possible, that is if you like him or her. Keep up to date with flu shots, and use sunscreen. Take medicines on time, and stay informed. Trusted, up-to-date information can be found at and


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


Long distance grandparenting for seniors in Oak Park

Some of us remember when elder grandparents lived in the same household with their children and grandchildren. It’s a rarity these days. Today, many families are scattered and separated by distances both great and small. The website says that no matter how far grandparents and grandchildren live from one another, there are two things working in their favor that can help to keep their bond alive and well:

First, young children have the ability to expand time. Remember when you were younger how time moved more slowly, and your house seemed enormous? This means the time you spend alone with your grandchild can nourish your grandchild for quite a while.

Second, technology is a marvelous asset in helping to encourage emotional connections over distance. True, technology can’t go fishing with a grandchild or help out a harried parent, but it can be a godsend to foster ongoing communication

In fact, communication is the most indispensable factor in keeping grandparent and grandchild as close as possible no matter how far apart they live. Today, there are lots of ways to communicate. reminds us that the “old” ways are still extremely meaningful: letters to an individual grandchild, letters with sketches or drawings, photos of yourself, greeting cards, a note with a stick of chewing gum, packages with several small items, or send something hand-made like a birdhouse or quilt. Young kids like the thought more than the content. Just the fact they receive a letter is more important than what is in it.

Technology has given everyone even more options. Lots of kids are computer literate, and now’s the time to have someone show you the ropes of email. There’s also videoconferencing (you can talk with your grandchild real-time, face-to-face). E-Mail, computer games, and the ability to send notes back and forth (or recipes, jokes,) can keep your contact loving and lively. You can even establish your own home page on the world-wide-web.

Faxes can be fun. One grandmother gave all of her grandchildren fax machines so they could keep in touch on a daily basis. Children can fax jokes, report cards, drawings etc. to their grandparents and vice versa. This grandma faxes her grandchildren individual notes several mornings a week.

Telephone contact is important, too. It’s a live voice. But make sure that you call your grandchild alone. Your grandchild wants to feel special and individual. It’s best to call at a regular time when your grandchild is not rushed or a parent is not harried about getting a meal on the table.

Some suggestions from

  • Videotape yourself reading a grandchild’s favorite story. If possible, have someone else record you and your spouse, especially on birthdays or other special occasions.
  • Bake and send favorite cookies. Include the recipe, and videotape yourself making the cookies for a personal cooking lesson.
  • For a far-away grandchild’s birthday, buy party hats, favors, balloons, etc. and send them to the grandchild to use at their party.
  • Create a video family history using old slides and pictures. Narrate it or just set it to music. Or create a scrapbook with copies made from the original pictures.
  • Watch a television show or rented movie “together.” For instance, at Christmas, plan to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and share your thoughts via a phone call, letter or e-mail.
  • Have a prearranged time on New Year’s Eve for you and your children and grandchildren to each light a candle and make a special wish for the coming year.
  • Make up a quiz about you and your spouse. It can be a fun way for your grandchildren to get to know you better.

Most importantly, be there when your grandchild is born and be there for the important events; graduations, religious passages, recitals, holidays, whatever events your family values highly. With a little time and ingenuity, connections can be strong and loving in spite of the miles between you.


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.


Healthy smiles for seniors in Oak Park

Senior Teeth and Oral Health in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Chicago, Riverside, North Riverside, Cicero, Brookfield, Maywood, Melrose Park, Broadview, Lyons, Galewood, River GroveIt’s an old stereotype – You will lose all your teeth as you age, and all seniors have dentures. Not so! Teeth are never too old to be repaired or replaced, and dentures aren’t the only game in town. Dental implants are a new option that many older adults are choosing.

But let’s not talk about repairing or replacing. Let’s talk about keeping the mouth healthy in the first place.

According to WebMD, daily brushing and flossing of natural teeth is essential to keeping them in good oral health.

It’s important for all individuals – regardless of age -to:

  • Brush at least twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Visit the dentist on a regular schedule for cleaning and an oral exam.

The Mayo Clinic says the state of oral health can offer lots of clues about a person’s overall health.

The mouth is normally teeming with bacteria. Brushing and flossing can keep these bacteria under control. Saliva also is a key defense against bacteria and viruses, because it contains enzymes that destroy bacteria in different ways.

But harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and lead to periodontitis, a serious gum infection. This disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque, which if not removed through daily tooth brushing and flossing, results in red or swollen gums that bleed easily. And, if plaque remains on teeth too long, a hard deposit called tarter or calculus forms. This deposit is removed by a dental hygienist or dentist when the teeth are professionally cleaned.

Left untreated, periodontal disease can destroy the gum tissues and bone around teeth, and eventually teeth can be lost. Periodontitis also may provide bacteria a port of entry into the bloodstream. Medications or treatments that reduce saliva flow or disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in the mouth also may lead to oral changes.

To summarize, oral health is connected to many other health conditions beyond the mouth. Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in the mouth. Simply said, oral health is important for overall health and vice versa.


Mastering the art of aging well in Oak Park

Mastering the art of aging well in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Chicago, Riverside, North Riverside, Cicero, Brookfield, Maywood, Melrose Park, Broadview, Lyons, Galewood, and River GroveToo often, the term “aging,” invokes negative images which can stigmatize older adults. But more and more, leaders in the healthcare field, the media, and seniors themselves are focusing on the positive elements of healthy aging over a lifetime. Perhaps the aging Baby Boomers have wrought this change, but it is indeed refreshing to think of post retirement years as a time to consider new roles, new relationships and creative ways to communicate.

Let’s think of the advantages older adults have. At last there is time to stay engaged in one’s social life which can lead to greater health and longevity. I’m convinced isolation and loneliness age people faster than the years going by. Remaining social, especially being helpful to others, promotes wellness by keeping older adults physically active and mentally connected.

Another advantage is a senior’s vast accumulation of experiences, skills and knowledge. It’s like a very deep toolbox. From showing a grandson how to use pliers to adjusting, yet again, to setbacks and losses, older adults have the benefit of knowing they have coped before and will again. Many seniors have developed solid confidence because of this wisdom. It’s almost as if they now truly believe, “If I got through that, I can get through this!”

More older adults see their lives as valuable resources that should not be wasted by passivity. Even older adults with physical limitations can find activities and social events that suit their needs and challenge them to remain engaged.

In conclusion, thinking of aging in positive terms can help prevent the well-known pitfalls of lost ability, relationships, and autonomy. By remaining engaged socially, mentally, and physically, older adults can make post retirement some of the “best days of their lives.”

Visit the Oak Park Arms website to learn more about how we engage our residents.


February Book Club: The Kite Runner

The Oak Park Arms Book Club announces its February selection: The Kite Runner. Written by Kahleed Hosseini, The Kite Runner is a story of friendship, tragedy and reconciliation taking place in 1970s Afghanistan and modern-day California. The book has won multiple awards and has been featured on the New York Times Bestseller List.

Members of the book club will begin reading the selection this week and meet for discussion and review on Friday, February 26 at 2pm. This month’s discussion will be facilitated by Arms’ resident Adrian Jackson. We’re excited to be offering another fantastic opportunity for our readers!

The Oak Park Arms Book Club is free and open to the public. Those interested in joining should contact Judy Peterson, Life Enrichment Coordinator at Oak Park Arms at (708) 386-4040. For additional information on the Oak Park Arms Retirement community, give us a call at (708) 386-4040 or email at You may also visit our website for a full listing of our activities and events.


Oak Park Retirement Community Is Here

Hello blog readers, welcome to Oak Park Retirement Community dot com, The Oak Park Arms’ blog. We’ll be blogging about a variety of senior related topics, and we hope you find the posts interesting. We invite you follow us on our social networks and subscribe to the RSS Feed. We currently maintain pages on Facebook and Twitter.

Here is a little background on our retirement community:

The Oak Park Arms is an independent and assisted living rental retirement community located in Cook County’s historic Oak Park, Illinois, just minutes from downtown Chicago.

Oak Park Arms Retirement Community provides independent and assisted living for seniors in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park, Chicago, Riverside, North Riverside, Cicero, Brookfield, Maywood, Melrose Park, Broadview, Lyons, Galewood, River Grove, ILThe Oak Park Arms was once a luxury hotel in the middle of Oak Park. In the mid 1970′s, the Arms was purchased by two friends who wanted to create active retirement living in a community that would be full of life, service and spirit. That vision and their experience have created the Arms of today. Now, with more than 30 years of experience, the Oak Park Arms has been the leader of senior living. By combining exceptional senior care in an ideal setting, the Arms has been used as a model in developing many other senior communities.

The Arms houses the Oak Park Township Senior Services and the Lifelong Learning Center (the local Senior Center). In addition, it offers office space to ten other providers of senior-centered care. The winner of many awards, the Oak Park Arms has maintained its original charm while realizing its vision of being an affable and affordable home for older adults and a great resource to Oak Park and surrounding towns such as River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Cicero, Riverside, Elmwood Park, Maywood and Chicago. The Oak Park Arms’ events and activities draw people of all ages. The large scale ballroom is frequently alive with “the sound of music” at monthly ballroom dances for residents and the public. The Oak Park Arms, an industry leader, provides unsurpassed services, amenities and programs.

The original vision continues to this day as the Oak Park Arms is still owned and operated by the same two partners who created it. They remain involved and committed to excellence. Their strong support to the management staff ensures that the Arms continues its legacy of distinction.

Connect with us
Click here to visit to The Oak Park Arms Website and learn about senior care in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park. Click here to send an email to the Oak Park Arms Retirement Community. Click here to follow The Oak Park Arms on Twitter and learn about senior care in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, Elmwood Park. Click here to visit The Oak Park Arms Facebook Page and learn about senior care in Oak Park, River Forest, Forest Park, Berwyn, and Elmwood Park. Click here to subscribe to the Oak Park Arms blog RSS Feed.
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