Living the Golden Years—Families Have Many Choices for Their Loved Ones

May 2012 View more


It’s hard to watch a spouse or parent, who once took care of us so lovingly, begin to struggle with life’s daily activities.  While it’s not always easy to seek help for them, it’s nice to know there are plenty of options.

At Home with Help

An increasing number of seniors in their 80’s and 90’s are living independently but occasionally need a little help, says Kathy Wetters, owner of Right at Home, a Naperville home care provider. Families contact her when an event, such as a fall, has occurred, or when a health professional makes a recommendation. “I also get calls after the holidays, when out-of-town children visit parents and find them looking unkempt, sitting in an untidy home with stacks of unpaid bills and an empty refrigerator,” she said. “We provide help with non-medical activities such as showering, dressing and even making meals, shopping and light housekeeping.  We also provide essential companionship, and remind them to do important things like eat, exercise and take their medications.”

In-home care is also available for seniors requiring skilled nursing, physical, occupational or speech therapies.  Agencies like Residential Home Health provide licensed medical personnel for medical services such as assessments, injections, intravenous therapies and prescription medications.

Some families prefer to hire an in-home nurse or care provider on their own. Wetters warns them to screen applicants carefully for qualifications and references.  Agency employees are typically licensed, bonded and insured and have had a criminal background check.

Seniors who require less daily supervision can attend Ecumenical Adult Care which meets daily at the Riverwalk Community Center.  The group of 20-30 adults gathers each day for structured program, which includes exercise, games, music, arts and crafts, lunch and snacks, and occasional local outings.  “Many of our seniors come from a busy, very social, professional background. One lady happily thought of coming here as ‘going to work’,” said Executive Director Laura Milligan.

Making a Move

When it’s time to move, there are many options for independent and assisted living in Naperville, including the Tabor Hills campus.  Tabor Hills provides living arrangements for three different stages of life:  The “independent living community” for ages 55 and over, comprised of ranch-style homes, some with a view of the private lake; The “supportive living community” offering assisted living in apartment-style residences that include meals, housekeeping and other senior services; and the Health Care Center. “Supportive living is a parachute for the seniors in independent living since we never know what the future will bring,” said Dee McHale, Marketing Director at Tabor Hills.  The Health Care Center offers skilled healthcare and rehabilitation, including a specialized mid and late-stage dementia care unit with a wandering safeguard system. “We are very good for spouses,” said McHale.  “If one spouse needs to be placed in the Health Center, the other spouse can reside elsewhere on the campus and visit each day.”

Choosing the right place for healthcare is a critical decision that should always be made from a personal visit, says Sr. Jeanne Haley, administrator at St. Patrick’s Residence, a nursing home that also offers short-term rehabilitation and end-of-life care. “Observe the staff and how they are interacting with you and the patients. Be aware of odors and look for cleanliness.  Ask about everything,” she said. “It is hard to place your spouse in a facility, but it is a great joy to spend time with them as a loved one, rather than a caregiver.”


Local Eldercare Resources

City of Naperville Senior Services —

The County of DuPage Senior Citizen Services —

DuPage Senior Citizens Council —

Association of Senior Service Providers —

Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging —

Illinois Department on Aging —