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Village Newsletter
Coming in June
March Events
April Preview
Moving On & Staying Put

Edited by Laurel Baer 
Produced by Alejandra Povedano  

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Marian Anderson
Mary Corcoran
Olga Erwin
Rhona & Julian Frazin
James & Beth Hickey
Anne & Bruce Hunt
Jane Kaplan
Sara Kaplan
Marietta Mangialardo
Barbara Manning
Ron Mark & Connie Stuetzer
Vasumati Patel
Jan Rector
Ray Rusnak
Gerda Schell
Mary Ann Smith
Ben & Cynthia Weese



Register for these programs by calling 773.248.8700 or e-mailing



Village Members receive registration priority.


Payment is due in advance.

Let the Village office know if you need a ride!    


As the Village grows, from time to time events with limited attendance are fully subscribed with a waiting list.  If you wish to participate in any event, please sign up early. You can do this by calling the office at 773.248.8700 or e-mailing celebrate@lincolnparkvillage.org.


T'ai Chi 
Eight-session series:
10:00 - 11:00 AM
Whole Foods Lincoln Park
(1550 N. Kingsbury)
Members - $64 for the series of 8 sessions, or $10 per session;
Non-members - $15 per session

Join in anytime! 
here to visit instructor Arlene Faulk's website. 





Eight-session series:
10:30 - 11:30 AM
Church of the Three Crosses
(333 W. Wisconsin)
Members - $64 for the series of 8 sessions, or $10 per session; Non-members - $15 per session.

Join in anytime! 
For more information about NIA, click here.


Hatha Style Yoga
7:00 - 8:15 PM
Church of the Three Crosses
(333 W. Wisconsin)
Members & Guests - $15; no need to register; simply drop in.

Join in anytime!


To register for events, e-mail celebrate@lincolnparkvillage.org.


Click here to view the March calendar.


Galapagos Island Travel Lecture

Sunday, March 30 

3:00 - 5:00 PM

Hosts: Rick & Lois Stuckey 

Members Only - Free

Wait list only.


Come and hear Rick Stuckey speak about his wonderful trip to the Galapagos Islands and view the beautiful pictures he captured along the way. Wine will be served.
All groups welcome new participants. Please contact the Village office to receive notices on upcoming sessions.


Basic Meditation
Join this group, led and hosted by member Ellen Stone Belic, to learn and practice basic meditation techniques. Sessions are occasional Saturday mornings. This is a great opportunity to start or renew your practice -- and to experience the joy and the multitude of benefits of meditation. For information, please e-mail Ellen at assist@stonebelic.com.



This group meets most Mondays from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM in members' homes, usually with three tables. The next meeting will be hosted on March 31st by Laura McCormick. If you are interested in joining, please contact
Laura McCormick at lcormi@gmail.com.


Just About Restaurants
Enjoy good food and good conversation with this dining group. Contact Susan Hoeskema if you are interested in joining.


Knitting for a Purpose
The knitting and crocheting group meets most Wednesdays at Sister Arts Studio (721 W. Wrightwood). Beginners and experts are welcome to join. The group will be making hats, scarves and mittens for the Night Ministry -- or a project of your own interest. Bring your needles and yarn, maybe even some coffee or tea. Sister Arts Studio will be happy to supply needles and/or yarn, patterns and tips. For more information, please contact Beth Hickey at bethhickey37@hotmail.com.



Every Thursday when the weekend movie listings come out, Catherine Rategan e-mails a suggested movie for that weekend, along with a time for the group to meet. The group may follow her suggestion or decide by consensus on another choice. To add your name to the list, please contact Catherine Rategan at writercr@rateganwriter.com.

Click here to view the April calendar.

Village Women's
 Discussion Group 
Tuesday, April 1 
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM 
Chicago History Museum 
(1601 N. Clark) 
Members Only - Free 
Self-hosted lunch to follow at 
North & Clark Cafe

Join member Jackie Mattfield to discuss "Transitions and (Sometimes) Transformations in Women's Later Lives." There will be break-out sessions and a larger group discussion where participants can share stories of what they are experiencing in their own lives.


Bridge Basics for Intermediates

Tuesdays, Ongoing

5:00 - 6:00 PM

Host: Monika Betts

Members & Guests - $15 per session


This bridge group welcomes intermediate players looking to sharpen their skills. It's a great hobby and will help you with your memory. Call Coach Jane Kennedy to see if these lessons are for you.




Great Books,
Great Conversations
Wednesday, April 2
7:00 - 8:30 PM 
Hosts: Susan Stodolsky & David Cramer 
Monday, April 7 
7:00 - 8:30 PM 
Hosts: Kathy & Jim Zartman 
Members Only - $30 for the series

Discussions are led by Don Whitfield and member Mel Washburn. This month's reading will be "Roman Fever" by Edith Wharton.


Edward Steichen/Andy Warhol Exhibition at Block Gallery 
Friday, April 4
11:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Block Museum, Northwestern
(40 Arts Circle Dr, Evanston)
Members Only - Free
Self-hosted lunch to follow

Both Steichen and Warhol were both renowned photographic artists and considered to be the portrait photographers of their prospective times. Join in on a curator-led tour of this display featuring 49 vintage Steichen prints along with an earlier donation of 150 Warhol images and new prints from the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts.


Opera at the Movies:
La Boheme

Saturday, April 5
11:55 AM - 3:30 PM
Regal Webster Place
(1471 W. Webster)
Members & Guests - senior tickets are approximately $20 and should be purchased at the box office


Puccini's classic opera follows the trials and tribulations of a group of starving artists living in 19th century Paris. Plan on arriving at the theater in advance to secure your tickets and seating. A small snack will be provided by our hosts at intermission.




Memoir II with Beth Finke

Mondays, April 7 - June 2
(excluding May 26)
2:00 - 3:30 PM
Mb Financial Bank
(2401 N. Halsted)
Members - $60 for the series
Guests - $80 for the series
Memoir I with Beth Finke 
Thursdays, April 10 - May 29
2:00 - 3:30 PM
Host for April 10: Kathy Zartman

Participants write short pieces on various topics and share their writing - exploring events in their lives. Sessions are led by Beth Finke, an award-winning author, teacher, journalist and NPR commentator.


Coffee for Prospective Members 
Tuesday, April 8
10:30 - 11:30 AM
Village Office
(2502 N. Clark)
Members & Guests - Free

Members are encouraged to invite friends and family that may be interested in learning about Village life. This is a great opportunity to meet Executive Director Dianne Campbell and the rest of the office staff. Reservations are a must.



Village Men's
Discussion Group
Wednesday, April 9
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Chicago History Museum
(1601 N. Clark)
Members Only - Free
Self-hosted lunch to follow at
North & Clark Cafe

Member Michael Spock will discuss his experience reinventing the Boston's Children Museum.


Spring Potluck and Pete Seeger Memorial Sing-A-Long 
Wednesday, April 9
6:00 - 9:00 PM
Church of the Three Crosses
(333 W. Wisconsin)
Members Only - Free
Wait list only.

Join the Village for the annual spring potluck. Following dinner,  there will be a sing-a-long/hootenanny featuring your favorite Pete Seeger songs. Please bring a non-perishable item for donation to the Lakeview Pantry.


Poetry Writing Workshop 
Wednesdays, April 9 - April 30
6:30 - 8:00 PM
Host for April 9: Myrna Knepler
Members Only - $60 for the series;
$50 for the series if registering after
March 19

Whether you have been published in journals or have yet to set pen to paper, local poets Maureen Ewing and Todd McCarty will help you develop your skills to expand and tighten your work through in-class readings, exercises, and participant-directed critiques.


Scrabble for All! 
Saturday, April 12
2:00 - 4:30 PM
Host: Claire Moses
Members Only - Free

Come and join this fun and friendly word game. Both novice and skilled players are welcome to attend, and tables are set up by experience. Beverages will be provided by the hosts, but please bring a snack to share.

Silver Screenings:
Sunday, April 13
11:00 AM - 1:00 PM
The Admiral at the Lake
(929 W. Foster)
Members & Guests - Free;
Optional brunch to follow for $15

Join us as we continue the series "Films of Meryl Streep" with Silkwood, based on the true story of an Oklahoma plutonium plant worker and her quest to expose the dangerous working conditions at her plant.

Click here to see Mel's notes on the film.



Tools for Caregivers: Helping Others and Yourself 
Tuesday, April 15 
1:00 - 2:30 PM 
The Gratz Center 
(126 E. Chestnut) 
Members & Guests - Free

Do you help an older adult with personal care, errands, or housework? Join Robyn Golden, LCSW, Director of Health and Aging at Rush University Medical Center, in a discussion about helpful tools for care-giving and ways to take care of yourself as you take care of others.




A Revelatory View of Brain Health: Guiding Our Lives Down a Journey of Purpose

Thursday, April 17 

7:00 - 8:30 PM 

DePaul Art Museum 

(935 W. Fullerton)

Members & Guests - $10 in advance; $15 at the door  


Having a purpose to live, and a community in which to manifest and share that purpose, may be more essential than diet, physical exercise, and cognitive stimulation. Join us for an evening with Dr. Peter Whitehouse, a narrative-focused evolutionary physician & health coach. His main passion is developing innovative learning environments such as the The Intergenerational School to promote collective wisdom and contribute to individual community and planetary health.




Tiny Theater: Teatro Vista's
A View from the Bridge 

Sunday, April 27 

3:00 - 5:00 PM 

Victory Gardens Biograph Theater

(2433 N. Lincoln)

Members - $20 - Guests - 25

Self-hosted dinner to follow at

Zig Zag Kitchen

(2436 N. Lincoln) 


Teatro Vista presents a latino adaption of Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge", a tale of immigrants in New York City.




Spotlight on Lakeview Pantry to Fight Hunger

Monday, April 28

2:30 - 3:30 PM

Lakeview Pantry

(3831 N. Broadway)

Members Only - Free


For over 35 years, the Lakeview Pantry has provided food and support services to hungry, vulnerable individuals, families, and seniors. Director of Volunteers, Erin Stephens, will explain its mission and the volunteer opportunities available. After the visit, enjoy a self-hosted coffee with member and Pantry volunteer Bonnie Kepplinger.




Tech Help from Walter Payton Students

Wednesday, April 30

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Walter Payton College Prep

(1034 N. Wells)

Members & Guests - Free


Students will share their time and expertise with those interested in learning more about the Internet and rapidly changing tech tools. They can even assist with setting up a profile for the members-only section of our website. You are welcome to bring your own gadgets or you may use the computers they provide.




Your Pelvic Health  

Wednesday, April 30

1:00 - 3:00 PM

Rush Professional Building

(1725 W. Harrison)

Members & Guests - Free


Join us for a discussion on the physical changes that accompany aging and impact pelvic health and the treatment options that are available. 

Board of Directors 
Ruth Ann Watkins, President
Charlotte Damron, Vice President
Mel Washburn, Vice President
Mary Ann Schwartz, Vice President 
Barbara Koren, Secretary
Robert Spoerri, Treasurer

Harvey Adelstein

Neelum T. Aggarwal, M.D.

David Baker

John A. Bross

Armand Cerbone

John Craib-Cox

Joan Goldstein 

Marjorie Freed

Jack Hartray

Hollis Hines

Kathleen Kolodgy

Alan Lougee

Joseph Loundy 

Charlotte Newberger 

Marcia Opp

Mary Ann Smith 

Lois Stuckey

J. Dirk Vos 


Advisory Council

  Henry B. Betts, M.D.

Robyn L. Golden

Robert B. Lifton

Warner Saunders

Joanne G. Schwartzberg, M.D.

Michael Spock


Immediate Past President  

Katherine Zartman


Dianne S. Campbell

Founding Executive Director   



Joining Lincoln Park Village

Lincoln Park Village helps members live life to the fullest by providing a vibrant array of stimulating activities, engaging events and, if needed, services from the most trusted resources. But, most important, the Village is a community composed of neighbor-to-neighbor connections that can enrich lives in new and unexpected ways. If you are interested in becoming a member, please call the Village office at 773.248.8700 or follow the links below.


Download Membership Application 


Download the form to pay via auto-withdrawal through your bank account.  


Application Process

Membership is available to adults 50+ living in Lincoln Park, Lake View, Near North and surrounding communities. A membership application is available above, or call the Village office for other options. A reduced-rate program, Member Plus, is available for those on limited fixed incomes.


After becoming a member, an informal conversation will be scheduled to acquaint the new member with the services, programs and events of the Village and to better understand each new member's specific interests and needs.

What is Lincoln Park Village?


Lincoln Park Village is a leader in the nationwide Village movement. As an innovative, not-for-profit membership community, we are creating new ways to thrive, to contribute, and to live well while living longer.

Our trusted services and resources are delivered with personalized attention. Our programs and events build the strong, lasting neighbor-to-neighbor bonds so essential to sustaining a grass-roots, volunteer-based organization.

Our Member-Plus program enables all neighbors, regardless of income, to join and integrate fully into Village life. 
Together, we are helping invent a different future for older adults in America.


Serving Chicago's North Side neighborhoods from River East to Edgewater and beyond,  our Village is a unique resource -- professional yet neighborly and close-by -- valuable to you right now and as your needs change.



Call us! Join us!



2502 N. Clark St.,  

Chicago, IL 60614

p. 773.248.8700  f. 773.248.8181




Village Sponsors

 New Admiral Logo    












IFM Logo      


MB Financial 

March 2014   

Life's second half contains an 'age abundancy ratio' in which older adults can apply their life experience to society's pressing social problems -- and contribute to a healthier economy."

-- Cal Halvorsen and Jim Emerman


Dear Neighbors,  


This newsletter focuses on the transitions many of us face with respect to housing and is the third in our series on life transitions as revealed in interviews with Village members and neighbors. Housing is a complex issue with many aspects to consider - but we have chosen to highlight a few that reflect innovative approaches Village members are engaging in. "Staying put" is one such approach and was the motivation of our three founding couples, featured here five years later! We hope this newsletter will further a dialogue in which ideas and experiences with both traditional and non-traditional housing options can be explored - particularly alternative living options. 

Our Village is committed to creating possibilities and choices for our members, always shaped by their needs and wants. We think of ourselves as an innovation incubator - always seeking new ways to solve age-old problems and support each other in and with community. Together we are inventing a new future for older adults in America. Join us!   



Dianne S. Campbell

Founding Executive Director


P.S. Our February newsletter focused on what to do with the rest of your life and we are excited to host Dr. Peter Whitehouse on April 17 to talk about the connection between purpose, community and brain health. Read more here. 


When Village members were interviewed about life transitions, they identified the transition they might make in living arrangements and housing as a concern. Specifically, they wondered about when and how to make that decision and expressed interest in what new options there might be in living arrangements. Seeking to address these concerns, here is some of what was learned.   


I. Inter-generational Living

Three Success Stories
by Anne Hunt

Kathie and Bob Kolodgy/Joan and Jim Woods

When Bob Kolodgy took a job in Chicago four years ago, his wife Kathie was delighted. Kathie, who is a lawyer, wanted to live in the city, and planned to open an office where she could walk to work. As the plan unfolded, her parents, Joan and Jim Woods, who lived near them in the Toledo area, decided to move with them. Both families sold their homes and gave away considerable collections of items that had been in storage -- a freeing experience they both recommend.


Initially, Joan and Jim considered retirement/continuing care communities, but decided against them. "My mom and dad are at very different places in their needs," Kathie points out. "They would have been separated in a facility." The family rented a home in Lincoln Park, big enough for everyone until they purchased their current home. That previous experience helped them know what they needed.


The Kolodgys own and manage the property, with the parents paying rent. Joan and Jim live on the first floor -- a bright, pleasant space, with easy outside access. They regularly eat dinner together, with Bob helping Jim up the stairs. The Woods have a hotplate, microwave, refrigerator and small sink in their downstairs area for in-between meals and snacks.


Theirs is a close-knit family. Every other year, Kathie's three brothers and their families get together with the grandparents (and a caregiver) for a summer vacation -- a glorious reunion of three generations! Read more about the Kolodgy/Woods family here.

Judy Roth/Kaela and Kelly Rowe

Judy Roth's two children, daughter Kaela and her brother (now in San Francisco), spent their early years on Bissell Street. In 1975, the family bought one of the Fullerton Avenue "landmark" houses owned by McCormick Theological Seminary. They've been there ever since.


A few years ago, Kaela told her parents that if anything happened to either of them, she might want to come back to the house she grew up in. As fate would have it, her father died just a couple years later. Kaela now married to Kelly Rowe and with a son Davin, did return to her family home.


When the Rowe family moved in, Judy converted the first floor for her personal space. They all share the large, bright second floor family room with its comfy furniture, big screen television, and significant space for grandson Davin's amazing Lego creations, and Judy's much loved cats. The recently completed open kitchen is the site of all meal preparation. The Rowe bedrooms are on the third floor.


"This was not about them taking over the care or management of the building," Judy emphasizes. Key to out-of-pocket money management is a log that's reviewed every two to three months. The Rowes pay half the house expenses making it possible for Judy to travel. Judy sometimes cares for or picks up grandson Davin at school, but only if convenient, and his parents are quick to bring in a sitter if Judy is off to one of her many activities: memoir writing, Scrabble, movies or one of the many other Village offerings. "My family puts my needs first," she says. "I'm not surprised that it worked," Kaela says, "Judy and I had lived together before." "We really are best friends." Judy adds. Read more about the Roth/Rowe family here.


Bruce and Anne Hunt/The Prekop Family

When the last child left, Bruce and Anne Hunt sold their house in Lincoln Park and built a home northwest of the city. It was designed to accommodate children and grandchildren with wide lawns, a lake and beach. Sports, birthday parties, and jobs, in addition to the drive that was a little too long, limited visits. After 10 years, the Hunts moved back. They found a building large enough for them, daughter Mary, her husband Hank Prekop and baby Zoe. Another daughter and her family live nearby.


The proceeds from the previous house financed the work on this one. Each family designed their own living space. Hank, who has a degree in architecture, converted the bar in the front of the building into a workshop, and, with the help of colleagues in the trades, made it all happen. It was a great deal for everyone.


Mary, an experienced property manager, cleared out the eight month-to-month rental units, and the two families moved into a shared space over the shop during renovation (almost a year). It was a test (successful) of their ability to cohabitate until their individual units, each with two floors and a separate entrance, were ready.


This was also a time to work out management of the building. Bruce oversees the mortgage, taxes (senior discounts), utility bills and insurance. Mary and Hank handle rental and management of the two front apartments, building maintenance and repairs. Anne, who has gardening expertise, is responsible for design and care of the yard/garden in the adjoining vacant lot. The Prekops pay rent and utilities for the workshop/studio.


There is no plan as to what lies ahead, as grandparents age and children leave home. The experience of the past 17 years, including changes as children grow up, grandparents no longer have full-time jobs, Mary lost and finally found full-time employment, and Hank started catering for friends, gives them confidence that creative solutions will be found. Read more about the Hunt/Prekop Family living arrangements here.


For an article on home ownership options when parents and children live together click here  

II. Alternative Housing and Living Arrangements

Some Innovate Alternate Housing Options 
by John Craib-Cox 

After living in the same place for many years you eventually achieve an effectively functioning and sympathetic setting for your individual life style. But eventually as your body starts to lose agility and strength, your surroundings start to tax your abilities. Your laundry is in the basement two flights of stairs away from the bedrooms. The front walk has several steps that you find it difficult to climb without a railing. The kitchen cabinets require a step ladder to get up to the top shelf.


What do you do next? The Village Movement was created to enable people, while aging, to remain in their current residences. However, there are some problems that Villages can do nothing about. Apart from moving to the suburbs, or relocation to a high-rise elevator apartment (where affordable options are limited), or buying into a retirement community, there are few solutions to the housing problem in the area where most Village members live.


But two other innovative possibilities exist which merit further investigation: 1-Co-Housing Communities; 2-Non-traditional redevelopment of existing high-rise elevator apartment buildings.



The Co-Housing Community movement began in Denmark where a group of 20 to 30 people created a development designed around their unique needs and wishes. A major feature is centering the development about a communal dining house where members provide the meals. Community residents can choose to eat in this central facility whenever they wish. The  shared participation in preparation, eating, and clean up effectively create a sense of belonging to the community. This carries over into other areas; shared gardening, joint maintenance of community property, administration and policy, as well as actively providing for the needs of other members. Co-Housing Communities try to be diverse demographically and are either multigenerational or restricted to seniors. Most communities are planned on a condominium model of individual unit ownership with shared ownership of the joint elements and Community House. Read more about co-housing here.


Non-traditional redevolopment

The other possibility for senior housing is the non-traditional rehabilitation of existing high-rise elevator apartments that would combine certain common facilities such as dining rooms and shared recreational facilities. Chuck Thurow in Hyde Park has been actively seeking this sort of development. He feels that it could provide an effective alternate to the continuing care retirement community model but at a lower cost. He feels, based on his career in Chicago government as well as first hand experience in finding a retirement facility for his parents, that it would be possible to create such a facility in Chicago. Read more about non-traditional redevelopment here.


A Roadmap to Successful Communal Living: My House Our House 
by Bruce Hunt

In the 70s, I played with the idea of moving with my young family into a rural commune. Those early fantasies, never acted on, may be the reason I was fascinated by the experience of three self-described "fifty-something boomers," who established an experiment in cooperative householding twelve years ago and wrote about it in their book, My House Our House. Louis Tenenbaum, founder of the Aging in Place Institute, writes in the forward "their book is a template for a good process."


The authors, Karen M. Bush, Louise S. Machinist, and Jean McQuillin, write engagingly and honestly about their experience of transition, from living alone to living together. The title of one chapter, "What We've Learned about Sharing from Sharing" communicates exactly how they went about this process; they learned by doing, they made their path by walking.


They knew each other to begin with, though they were not intimate friends. In retrospect, their chapter, "Serious Business: Money Mortgages and More" is a cautionary tale about not moving precipitously and carefully selecting advisers (I kept thinking about the Village's vetting process) and about sharing information lavishly.


They drew up a general partnership agreement addressing the concerns each one had about entering into such an arrangement. It covers a lot of ground, but they are quite adamant that you need to do this for yourself, for your state, for your community, for your expectations, for your values. Still, it is a template.


The way they addressed interpersonal issues, with awareness, courage and humor is the heart of the book: How to provide for common space and privacy; how to balance independence with a willingness to help (when asked); how to merge the stuff from three different households; how to decide these things: by consensus, by voting, by wrestling it to the ground. Click here to read more.


Click here to see a brief video of the authors talking about their experience. 


Click here to find the book on Amazon.


III. Making the Decision


How Do You Know When It's Time to Make a Change?

by Bruce Hunt

We asked Nancy Siegel at Senior Living Experts for two kinds of advice: "What are the questions one should ask when considering a move to an assisted living community?" and "What are the mistakes that often get made in this consideration?" Nancy was quite clear about the two biggest mistakes: "People don't have a plan in place for the 'next step' if they ever need it and they wait too long to do the research until there is a crisis."


Nancy provided two sets of questions for beginning the research: "an independence checklist" that suggests warning signs that should provoke a direct and non-threatening conversation about next steps. The second is a 40 item checklist of things to investigate when comparing facilities.


There is a wealth of additional material on this subject available here.


Deciding to Stay Put

by Bruce Hunt

Kerstin and Joe Lane downsized ten years ago when they moved from the northern suburbs to a Chicago high-rise. Now, over the past year and half, they considered whether it was time to make another move. "We're in our early seventies, in good health and active, and we thought it would be a good thing to explore this business of retirement living." A visit with good friends who had moved to the Admiral and were very pleased with their experience inspired Joe and Kerstin to explore that option.


Here's what they found "We liked everything about it. We liked it so much we decided to go through with the application process. And we liked that process: they established tests for physical, mental, and financial health. We passed and that was good. It was important to have a bench mark, a kind of measure of how we are doing. We were accepted."


"Why aren't you there then?" I asked them.


Kerstin and the Village's own Dianne Campbell have known each other for some time and Dianne helped them consider the pros and cons of moving just now. And they have determined that so far, it is right for them to stay put.


I asked them in what ways the Village might be a resource for them and the metaphor of "insurance policy" came up; they have a pretty clear idea of the catalogue of services available to them, if and when they need them. They appreciate the range of programs and Kerstin is looking forward to discovering what she can learn from the technology assistance program at Walter Payton.


So the Lanes are pleased with their exploration; they know more than they did when they started. Long-term care remains a concern for them but they are much more aware of the options available to them. In the meantime, there are many fine threads holding them in place.


Read more about the Lanes decision-making process here.


Reverse Mortgages 
by Tom Hall

A reverse mortgage empowers retirees in their twilight years - when living costs imperil life savings - to borrow from the equities in their family homes, which usually are their largest remaining assets and sometimes their last.


Advocates say a reverse mortgage is a boon for the house rich and money poor. Critics view it as an economic oxymoron, a debit-driven line of credit. Cynics call it the loan of last resort. But for some, it can be the right answer. 

It works like this. Seniors over 62 put up their homes as collateral. Banks calculate equities, check markets, consult actuarial tables, and approve or reject. If accepted, the homeowners get to keep and occupy the family homes, and to have ready cash. Their reverse mortgage payments are deferred, and other monies are lent promptly and painlessly. The reckoning doesn't happen until elderly homeowners move out or die, and then all the funds lent and deferred come back as cumulative debts to be paid with interest. Then the family homes are sold to settle accounts.


One Village member's family experienced the process this way: "The funds can be disbursed in monthly payments, a line of credit, or both.  My family decided to go with 'the line of credit' to access only as they needed - getting charged interest solely on the portion they used.  My family was relieved to know that they still retained ownership to the house, and after the sale of the property at a future date, after the loan is paid off plus any interest accrued, they (or their heirs) would receive the difference."


It can be argued that elderly folk live better with reverse mortgages than if they took the alternative - selling their houses, banking the money, and living more simply and self-sufficiently in cottages and condos (and leaving significantly more to their heirs). But that argument goes nowhere definitive; it comes down to anecdotes and sentiments and what works for whom.


"There is more than just that to consider," says Terry Bivins, a broker of reverse mortgages. "If you sell a big house and shop for a small one, your best deal on the small one, all things considered, could well be a reverse mortgage"


And if it works for you, it can be life-changing. A Village member says, "My parents lived 40 years in their house but then it got to be more than they could afford. But they couldn't leave it: they were so deeply bonded to it. So we got the reverse mortgage, and now they are here there for life, and they'll never worry about money. We did the right thing."


For more information and to read more of Tom Hall's assessment of reverse mortgages here.

IV. Downsizing

Lightening Your Load 
by Catherine Rategan

There are many reasons why people choose to downsize. Sometimes it's because of physical challenges or budget limitations - and sometimes it's for the sheer relief of getting rid of all that "stuff" or to start fresh with a clean palette. Some Village members were queried about their experiences with downsizing and here is what they said.


Madeline and Peter Brownstone

Madeline and Peter Brownstone moved to Chicago from Queens, New York in 2012 to be close to their daughters and  grandchildren. They downsized and consolidated into a 2-bedroom at Fullerton and Lakeview. "The view is just what we'd been looking for," Madeline recalls. A year later the Brownstones joined the Village. "Again, it was just what we were looking for."


"Before we left, we used an app called Floorplanner to make a floor plan of our Chicago apartment and realized we'd have to leave behind several pieces of furniture that we loved but that didn't fit so we had garage sales and sold furniture on Craigslist."


A major problem still is what to do with thousands of books and mementos. They'd given away 30 boxes of books before the move and thought that would be enough. "Now we're going through another cleansing. Do we want to keep tchotchkes and books just because they bring back memories?" Madeline asks. But she's found a solution. "I've decided to create photos of my mementos and write about the memories that they hold before we give them away. I've settled in. I know now what to get rid of, because I know what my life is like and what I need to have around me."


For others who are facing these downsizing decisions, Peter Brownstone advises, "Don't try to do it all yourself. Ask for help from friends and family. We're grateful for the advice we're getting from Village members Biba and Peter Roesch, who live nearby. They're helping us create a more modern and peaceful environment." (In exchange, Madeline is helping Biba become more at home with her new iPad!)


Downsizing for Health Reasons - And Finding a New Life  
by John Craib-Cox 
Experiencing medical problems, Sharon Hart realized that although she was fond of her home of forty years, a three-story carriage house, she could not continue to live there alone and would have to hire live-in help.  She was not enamored of having another person living with her so she made the very difficult decision to sell her beloved carriage house and find one floor living that also had medical care available whenever needed.
Sharon checked out three local places offering continuing care.  The Clare had the facilities, interesting residents and location in its favor -  near places important to Sharon like the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony, the Lyric Opera, and favorite shopping areas  Although the highest residence floor had spectacular views, all available apartments were broken up into very small rooms.
Never daunted Sharon asked if she could tear down many of the existing walls in the apartment she wanted.  The Clare suggested contractors, Sharon signed the papers and demolition began.
"From the minute the walls came down I knew that I was going to like living there," said Sharon. "Every time I come in the door and see the breathtaking view framed by some of my very favorite objects, I feel happy.  I know that it was a good decision to relocate here."

does not feel that her life has ended moving to continuing care but instead feels that she has opened another exciting chapter of her life in Chicago. Sharon says, "It feels like a new beginning to me." Read more about Sharon's experience at the Clare here.


Downsizing for Economic Reasons - Subsidized Housing
by Catherine Rategan 

Housing that's subsidized by the government or by private charities is an option for those who need housing assistance.


Carole Howard

Carole suffers from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple chemical sensitivities. For the last four years, she has lived at the Margaret Day Blake Apartments on North Clark Street, an 8-story subsidized housing unit for seniors that's managed by the Chicago Housing Authority.


Carole has a small one-bedroom but has no external storage. Rents depend on residents' income - in most cases, it's one-third of their income adjusted for out-of-pocket medical expenses. Building amenities include a community room for meetings and entertainment, an adjacent parking lot for residents and their visitors, 24-hour security and an on-site manager.


"It was devastating when I found out I couldn't bring all the belongings from my previous residence," says Carole. "I had to buy new smaller furniture for the living room and bedroom. On the other hand, I do have friends in the building. And I appreciate the great location near the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Conservatory, the access to three different bus lines, and the parkway surrounding the building where we can sit outside in the nice weather. But more important, I became a member of Lincoln Park Village as soon as I moved here and the social connection and help I have received from the Village have made all the difference."


Catherine Rategan

As a contribution to this article I can also share my own experience with subsidized housing. After open-heart surgery followed by a business downturn, I needed to restrict my expenses. I leased out my 2-bedroom 2-bath Sandburg condo and moved to a nearby rental building, Maple Pointe. It is a 20-story independent living facility managed by Urban Innovations. Residence is restricted to those with a limited income who are over 55 or who have a disability.


The rents are affordable, and the apartments are all alike - small one-bedroom places with floor-to-ceiling windows and a stand-up kitchen. There's a 24-hour security desk, and many of the apartments face south and offer views of downtown and some of Chicago's most spectacular high-rise buildings, such as the Hancock Center, Willis Tower and Trump Tower.


Living with neighbors in various stages of aging is a good incentive for me to keep exercising, and I'm grateful for the great location and the affordable rents.


Read more about Maple Pointe here. 


To read more about qualifying for subsidized housing, click here. 


Resources for Help for Downsizing

When it's time for you to downsize, you need to ask yourself:

- where do I want to live?

- how much can I afford to pay?

- what amenities must I have?

- where can I turn for help?


Village members can be connected to individuals who help with these tasks associated with downsizing:

  • Paperwork organizing service
  • Removal of records from deep storage for shredding
  • De-clutting and organizing
  • Packing and unpacking
  • Home staging for living, selling, interior design, re-design and organizing
  • Assistance with donation or resale of unwanted items
  • Preparing for a move
  • Move management
  • New home set-up
  • Organizing work spaces

V. Staying Put


Staying Put - The Village Founders Reflect on Their Decision

by Marjorie Freed

Now that the Village is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary, the three founding couples have been involved with the Village  concept for virtually seven years and their idea worked. With the help of the Village they created, they were all able to stay put. The six founders range in age from 78 to 85 and true to form, they are still planning for the future.


Jim Zartman

A house is good. Fifty four years in the same house makes it feel like home. I'm a homebody and intend to stay.


A house holds memories. There's blood, sweat and tears invested in a house: history writ in bricks and mortar.


A house takes maintenance. It has to be painted and caulked, washed and pointed, scraped and sanded, shoveled and mowed. Those are all good things to do -- they're active and useful, keep you healthy, instill a sense of pride,


I like my house. The Zartman family grandfather clock from Lancaster County, PA, almost 200 years old, and keeping perfect time (it is wound every Monday morning); the stained glass windows; the solid cherry banisters. Mounting three flights of stairs from basement to third floor keeps me young. Having a house to care for will help me live longer e.g., my back porch - screened in summer, paned in winter. It takes a lot of maintenance. I love it. It's indoors outdoors.


So - the Admiral, Mather, Westminster Place - they're all very nice BUT they're too easy and everybody there is old. Kathy and I and our house on Belden are all I need of old.


Kathy Zartman

We've spent 54 happy years in our house on Belden. For about a year prior to beginning to think about the Village we, and our close friends the Spocks, visited several continuing care communities with a wide variety of offerings including both good and bad meals. The Village is a product of the Founders thinking of alternatives that can make staying put more feasible.


At present we can manage it satisfactorily ourselves by using and appreciating the Village and its resources. I've noted that natural aging leads to a dramatic change in energy level. Jim and I differ on the subject of moving. I fantasize about the joys of smaller living quarters and fine meals prepared by others. Enforced downsizing is appealing. Pruning away the excess of belongings is easier to do while healthy. (I've another fantasy of renting our house for a year and returning with much less.)


I want to be in a place with energy and our present neighborhood is perfect. But I consider The Admiral a good alternative. It has a good working relationship with the Village and a nucleus of my friends live there already. I am confident we could remain active in the Village from The Admiral.


Judy and Mike Spock

We love our recently 'Landmarked' house. It was built in 1891, as a 'workingman's cottage' for a barrelmaker, Joseph Schnitzius and his wife and eight children. Some of the Schnitzius' grandchildren, our age now, came by to reminisce in the house. With a 'Queen Anne' front, and a 'Mary Ann' behind, (a joke of the day), most of it is genuinely 'dated': stairs, large windows (one stained glass), a classic terra cotta frieze.


We do have enough room for our lives as they are, and appreciate that, though we are considering modifications as our needs change. For safety, Mike has added teak 'boating handholds' to our interior stairs and we also have plans to possibly insulate our present back porch, creating interior studio space, a small deck, and new stairs through the green yard to the present two-car, brick garage. We also consider further adapting the basement guest rooms into an apartment.


Our children understand our wish to remain here but they have asked us to decide on a Plan B, just in case. We have no illusions about hanging around long enough to see every possible improvement, but we do think the house is adaptable to more than one kind of lifestyle...over several more years, if we're lucky!


Marjorie Freed

Time and age are conspiring to change our lifestyle. We knew when the Village began that remaining in our home was going to be a challenge - that's why we did it.


The truth is I rarely visit the third floor of the vintage townhouse that I used to check out weekly. We do use our stairs and consider them a boon for maintaining mobility.  


Village resources have helped us with the garden and occasional light bulbs and some heavy lifting as needed. Some of these tasks were formerly done by Harvey so we are both grateful for this crucial assistance. Harvey found a trainer via the Spocks and the Village and we consistently use the Village for rides.


Friends and I have found that Dianne Campbell is extraordinarily resourceful with members' widely varying issues, sometimes "firsts" for the Village. Her staff is consistently and pleasantly on the job as well.


I've noted that some people may at first hesitate to ask for help but once they've made a connection their eyes open to a range of other possibilities.


Harvey Freed

I love our house. We've had a 100 acre farm, a house on Sedgwick, two houses in Santa Fe and two in Michigan. I like this house best of all. We've raised our 2 sons here and they both love it as do their wives and children. Our small family gathers here every Thanksgiving. Our grandsons especially value our proximity to Allende on Lincoln just north of Fullerton, making pilgrimages there even when they arrive from the airport at 2:00 AM.


Our neighborhood with its group of 55 townhomes is a special place. At first I worried that it would be too incestuous but I was wrong. Especially in the last seven years, friendships and relationships among our neighbors have formed some of the core of Lincoln Park Village.


I love our house. So many memories. Our art collection, the many special touches Marjorie has added, the dinner parties, political events, my current affairs discussion group that has been meeting here intermittently since the late 70's. Am I a dreamer? I hope not. I hope I never have to leave this house and that if necessary we'll be able to make the requisite alterations to enable us to stay here as long as possible.


More information on "Staying Put" here


Affordable Housing for LGBTQ Seniors Will Allow Them to Stay in the Neighborhood

Construction of an affordable housing development designed to welcome LGBTQ seniors will get underway soon on the site of a historical police station in Lake View. The $26 million project entails rehabbing the old Town Hall station on the northwest corner of Addison and Halsted, and building a six-story, 79-unit apartment building north of it, where defunct police garages now stand. It's a joint effort of the Center on Halsted, whose main facility is at the north end of the same block, and Heartland Housing, a longtime developer of affordable homes. The Village has recently formed a strategic partnership with the Center on Halsted and we look forward to developing programs with them.

Read more

More information on LGBT housing for seniors here.

Additional Resources

CJE/Senior Life http://www.cje.net/ 


A Place for Mom  http://www.aplaceformom.com/ 


Alternatives for Seniors www.alternativesforseniors.com 


PrimeLife Home Improvement - An affordable resource for home maintenance. For more information, click here.