One year after the hard work of constructing, landscaping, and decorating the new Oak Hill Supportive Living Community at 76 East Rollins Road in Round Lake Beach, IL, it was time to celebrate. And that’s exactly what the more than 250 attendees, including residents, their families, staff, dignitaries, development team members, and owners did on Tuesday, September 10, with champagne, toasts, hors d’oeuvres, awards, speeches, dinner and, of course, cake.
There was much to celebrate. In 2012, the development became the first senior housing community in the country to meet the International Code Council (ICC) 700 National Green Building Standard™ criteria and earn the “Gold” certification from the National Association of Home Buildings (NAHB) and the ICC, enabling ownership to pass on the cost savings to tenants.
In August, the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition announced the winners of its annual Photo and Testimonial Contest, awarding first prize for a photo of Oak Hill resident, June Sphen, helping Sebastian Reyes read at the ongoing program Oak Hill has with the kindergartners at the Early Education Center in Round Lake, IL.
Awards were presented to Oak Hill’s Elaine Brown, Audrey Roettiger and Lucia Mazulis whose referrals resulted in new residents. Oak Hill’s state-of-the-art theater with its twinkling-stars ceiling, comfy chairs and popcorn machine served as the venue to introduce a new promotional video illustrating life in Round Lake Beach.
Among the guests was nine-year-old Caleb Vackar, grandson of resident, the Rev. Lynn Vackar, and his father, Neil Vackar of Engleside. “We visit Oak Hill too many times to count. I like all the dinners, but my favorite is the prime rib,” said Caleb. He also likes the fact that all the activities at Oak Hill are well planned and enjoys the walking path, the game room, bingo, and the playground. In addition to their regular visits, the Vackar family also attends special events such as the anniversary party. On September 18, the family and their friends had their own special event when they celebrated Lynn’s 75th birthday at Oak Hill.
Also in attendance were Dorothy and Frank Lutchen, who have been married for 65 years. They moved into a one-bedroom apartment at Oak Hill in July. When asked why they decided to move, Frank, 91, answered, “I didn’t decide. My boys did.” According to Frank, he had lost his strength, and his wife could not take care of him. “The boys helped us a lot and would even deliver a week’s supply of sandwiches,” said Frank, a former Chicago police officer.
“I like the routine at Oak Hill the best. All the meals are on time, and I don’t have to cook. It’s also more fun to live here – lots of people to talk to,” said Dorothy, 88.
Dominick Salvato, 81, who was a dental technician for 53 years, lost his wife at Christmastime last year. “We were so happy living in our home, but when she died, it was like all heaven broke loose,” he said. “My son introduced me to Oak Hill. I moved here in August and have liked it ever since. It’s a great place to hang out. All the people here seem very happy. All of my new friends are elderly, but then, so am I, although I don’t feel like it,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.
“One of the biggest advantages to living at Oak Hill is the social life. Our goal is to make sure nobody feels lonely or left out,” said Martin F. Jablonski with Landmark Realty & Development, one of the Principals of the Oak Hill ownership entity, Round Lake Beach, L.P., along with Principals, Mark Lambert, CCIM, SIOR, CPM, President, and Craig Whitehead, CCIM, CPM, Executive Vice President, both with Hoffman Estates, IL-based The Crown Group, Inc.
“We offer a wide spectrum of programs and encourage the participation of our residents,” he said. One example is “Walk Across Illinois,” a free health and fitness program, instituted in 2012 by the State of Illinois to get people moving and improve overall health. The challenge is to walk the 167 miles across Illinois, which is equivalent to walking from the Mississippi River in Rock Island to the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago. “Our residents can complete the challenge right here at Oak Hill using our walking path that surrounds a beautiful native prairie. They log in the number of feet they walk online at www.WalkAcrossIllinois.org, and when they complete 167 miles, they receive a certificate of achievement from the state,” said Jablonski, who points to this and many other programs, designed to provide Oak Hill residents with experiences rather than just activities.
View the story as it was run in the Daily Herald