Elmhurst Residents Offer Back-to-School Advice

WHEELING — As residents of Elmhurst, The House of Friendship assisted living residence in Wheeling, were gearing up for the annual National Assisted Living Week festivities this week (Sept. 8-14), they also took the time to offer some sage advice to students as they headed back to the classroom.

These “seniors” extolled the value of getting an education by sharing their feelings about everything from getting enough sleep to being kind to one another, according to Jamie Crow, executive director of the 129-year-old non-profit organization located on the former estate of Bloch Brothers’ Tobacco magnate Samuel Bloch in Wheeling’s Pleasant Valley neighborhood.

The highlight of this week will be an elegant evening that begins with an auction of items, Crow said, adding, “This year’s theme is A Spark of Creativity. Our program staff have slated a week of activities that will tap into each individual’s creative spirit. We’ll experience arts and crafts, dance, music, and more.”

Elmhurst – Model for the Future

Crow also noted that Elmhurst’s smaller, homestyle residence may become a trend, nationwide according to an article by Susan Saldibar, a senior marketing professional author, on the Senior Housing Forum website.

“We’ve been fortunate to be able to maintain an intimate atmosphere as we’ve grown and expanded to meet the demands for our services by older adults in the community over the past century,” Crow explained, adding, “Families are quick to say how much our style of living and care model are important to them. They love that we are just like ‘home’, from our architecture and decor, to the shared meals in the beautiful Bloch dining room, to the expansive front porch and gardens.”

According to Saldibar’s interview with Gene Guarino, president of Residential Assisted Living Academy, “the large senior living communities are striving to more like a home, more personal.” Saldibar noted that in the next 10 years it might be “ironic” to find many senior living models to be located as a residential home situated in the middle of an established neighborhood with and eclectic mix of families and young couples, libraries, shops.

Guarino mused that many people would rather move into a smaller residence than the larger communities with hundreds of other residents. His organization, he noted, is aiming for a residential assisted living model that he refers to as a “boutique” senior living option. He points to some of the changes larger assisted living operators are considering, such as fewer and more familiar faces as caregivers, an actual “home” environment, locating in residential neighorhoods closer to stores, services, parks, etc.

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