Park Place of Elmhurst: An Active Community for Active Minds

Aug 16, 2023 | Blog, Life at Park Place

Park Place of Elmhurst is an active and vibrant community, but did you know it’s also home to many individuals who helped shape generations of young minds?

We sat down with several career educators to chat about their lives in academia and explore how Park Place of Elmhurst’s unique characteristics continue to attract seniors with ever-curious minds. 

Meet the Residents

Before their respective arrivals at Park Place of Elmhurst, residents Joanne M., Linda D., Cathy S. and Krishna C. taught in areas not far from the community. 

Linda was an elementary reading specialist with a career spanning over 30 years. Cathy started in elementary education, but after earning a master’s in philosophy, she taught philosophy and ethics at Elmhurst University and then at DePaul University. Joanne, whose area of expertise is business education, also taught at the college level but spent much of her career at Immaculate Conception High School, right here in Elmhurst. And Krishna is a retired biochemistry professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, but she continues to teach groups of medical students. She says, “Like a bad penny, I come back.”

Why Choose Park Place?

When we asked these esteemed educators why they chose Park Place of Elmhurst, their answers varied somewhat, but shared two common themes. The first was because a family member or spouse felt they’d have access to exceptional care, and the other was because there was a feeling of familiarity—the right place for their future. Connecting with other educators was a bonus. 

Krishna: I chose Park Place because my nephew lives in Elmhurst, and we’re close to Villa Park, so we’re in the same neighborhood as before. My husband was a very famous scientist and had plans to work after he retired, but because he was slowly losing his memory, we decided to move to Park Place. And Park Place also had fifth-floor apartments with a balcony.

Linda: (After an injury), I told my children I didn’t think I could stay alone any longer in my previous home. And that was 11 years ago. I wasn’t anticipating moving so soon. I think I was 69 at the time, and I really hadn’t thought about preparing for that, but I just walked in the door, and it seemed like a good place, so I said, “This works.” One of my children lived in the area, and I also knew about Elmhurst because my grandson worked here. 

Cathy: My husband was just very dedicated to thinking that our lifestyle in retirement would be a lot safer and would be a great comfort to our children if we made the big move; and so in 2012, one month after Park Place opened, we moved into our unit, and it’s been an excellent decision. My husband died 18 months ago, and with that life-shattering experience, because it was rather sudden, I just continued by saying, “I am so grateful to already be at Park Place. That I’m already settled, I have a very active life here. I have friends.” My family did not have to worry about me.

Joanne: Well, I lived up in town in Elmhurst by the college, and I was forever coming down in this area for social events and shopping, which were close by. So, I watched this community get built, never thinking I would be here one day. But then, on the other hand, I lived in Elmhurst long enough to know what was out there for senior citizens, and it didn’t compare with Park Place. The grounds are magnificent. I knew people already here; the activities director was my neighbor. It was just kind of the thing to do. And then, when my husband passed away, I felt like this was where I needed to be.

Hunger for Knowledge

Spending much of their lives in academia, they stressed that their passion for learning endures. If anything, that curiosity, desire to learn, absorb information and share with others is stronger than ever—and is still very much a part of who they are and what makes Park Place a standout community. With social events, lifelong learning classes and visits to historical sites and museums, there’s always something to do. 

Krishna: There are a lot of people here who give excellent lectures. This is the place where if you want to do something, you can do it, whatever that is. Right now, I’m learning how to play chess, and then I also started playing ping pong. And I’ve never played ping pong. I’ve been doing certain things that I never did before, like ceramics class. So now I produce this terrible artwork, but it’s fun.

Linda: I’m an artist, and one of the first questions I asked was, “Do you have art classes?” And they said “Yes.” There’s an art studio here, and I go to every art thing there. … And so, this was a built-in art studio for me. And there are not many things having to do with art at Park Place that I miss. There are so many opportunities for stimulation, especially for the former educators here. 

Cathy: There’s an interesting range of activities here through our life enrichment community and resident council. I participate almost religiously in the exercise classes, play several competitive games every week and attend an ongoing array of live lectures, films or video lectures that we follow up with discussion. It just fits with my desire to stay on top of things and learn new skills, but to do it all interacting with not only educators but engineers, authors, doctors … I find their perspectives challenging and interesting.

Joanne: I go to the gym every day. They’ve got a lovely pool here. You know, all you have to do is look at the calendar when you get up and ask yourself, “Where do I want to be today?” There’s always something going on—book reviews, club meetings. We have a wonderful chaplain who is just awesome. We’ve got a lot of musical things that come in from downtown Chicago and other places.

The Ongoing Pursuit of Knowledge

Finding a community that fits your needs can feel intimidating and isolating. However, at Park Place of Elmhurst, our gorgeous grounds, thoughtful amenities, friendly staff and residents, and packed social calendar can help you make the most of your retirement.

No matter your background, our educational programs offer residents plenty of opportunities to share knowledge, learn new things and feel connected to others with equally curious minds.

Think you can’t have it all? You can. Schedule a visit to see it all in action at Park Place of Elmhurst. Contact us today at 630-936-4504.