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Belmont Village assisted living community opens
The 100,000-square-foot Madison Street complex offers studio and one-bedroom apartments, with a few two-bedroom units also available. Floor plans vary; some one-bedrooms have two bathrooms, for example. All units have a kitchenette, which includes a microwave, sink and refrigerator. Bathrooms have walk-in showers with a place to sit.

Prices range from $3,475 to $7,750 per month, with an $850 per month second occupancy fee and $150 to $250 extra for a view of the Chicago skyline, visible from some sixth floor apartments. There's also a one-time "community fee" of $1,500 (or $2,500 for a couple). Leases are one year, but can be ended by the resident with 30-days notice. Some long term care insurance will pay a percentage of the cost.

Out of the 127 units, 25 on the second floor are in a separate section, dubbed the Neighborhood, for residents with memory-related disorders, including Alzheimer's disease. It has a secured, key pad entrance, its own dining room, kitchen, and day room, and a higher staff-to-resident ratio. Prices for studio apartments in the Neighborhood range from $4,800 to $6,300 per month.

When comparing those prices to other assisted living communities, it's important to understand what's included, says John Denkert, community manager at Oak Park's Belmont Village. Some places start with a flat fee and then charge for each additional service. "Our rents include all services except for medication administration and incontinence management," he explains.

So what do you get at Belmont Village for your money?

With monthly rent, residents receive three meals a day served restaurant-style (an average menu includes salads, sandwiches, nine entrees, desserts and beverages); a nurse on duty at all hours, seven days a week; regular monitoring of residents, including periodic health and wellness assessments; personal care assistance with bathing, dressing and grooming; escort assistance to meals and activities; senior-focused social, recreational, educational and gardening activities, a 24-hour emergency call response system; transportation to shops, doctor's appointments or events seven days a week; weekly housekeeping and laundering of bed linens; daily trash removal; all utilities except telephone; and cable TV.

Medication management costs an extra $375 a month, $475 if it includes insulin injections. All medicine is administered by the licensed nurse on duty, a service Pat Porter says is "critical to our residents."

"We've found that a 24-hour nurse is what our families want," adds Denkert. The nurse in charge?#34;her title is director of resident care services?#34;assesses residents when they move in, and periodically thereafter.

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