Construction continues at American House Oak Park, 711 Madison St. The senior living community will feature fitness centers, landscaped outdoor areas and a seventh-floor “sky bar.” | Alex Rogals/Staff Photographer

Oak Park’s newest senior living community is slated to open in September, and as American House Oak Park at 711 Madison St. is nearing the finish line, we take a look at what the development will bring to the near west suburbs.

Dale Watchowski, president and CEO of American House Senior Living Communities, says one of the hallmarks of American House, which has 70 communities in operation or in development around the country, is the continuum of care the community offers. 

“You can come in as a resident who doesn’t need any type of assistance in our independent living space, and can move up to assisted living with nursing and medical care or to our memory care unit,” Watchowski said. “You can stay throughout your lifestyle.”

To that end, the building is set up to provide a number of different living options through its seven floors. There will be 76 independent living apartments of one or two bedrooms; 66 assisted living spaces, which include studios, one- and two-bedroom units; and 35 memory care units which include studios and some shared options. There will be over 20 different floor plans offered. 

Independent living programs will provide enrichment opportunities and upscale dining and hospitality options. Assisted living will accommodate residents’ medical needs with licensed nursing staff to manage medications, care needs and chronic conditions. The Love is Ageless program is a physician-backed memory care program that allows residents with dementia to live with dignity.

Watchowski says each of these categories of care has a separate dining room and its own enrichment activities tailored to the needs of residents. He says each American House development focuses on three pillars for residents: a great clinical or wellness environment; life enrichment and culinary venues.

The amenities are part of what Watchowski says gives the development the feel of a five-star hotel. Both independent and assisted living sections will have fitness centers and outdoor spaces featuring fire pits, barbecue areas and landscaping with plants and flowers. A sky bar on the seventh floor will offer city views and a place for residents to enjoy a craft beverage or bite to eat.

Life enrichment programs will include crafts, guest speakers and dinner theater venues. Watchowski says staff will work to engage residents intellectually and on a personal level. A Time Traveler program engages residents with different periods of history. Come Fly With Me is a program feature lectures, films, plays and foods based on travel. A residential choir and theater program are available for residents who want to continue to take part in the dramatic arts.

Residents in memory care take part in programs aimed at improving cognitive function and remaining engaged with community.

Oak Park was a natural home for this development, according to Watchowski, who says he anticipates many residents will be people who made their homes in and around Oak Park for years and who are looking to stay local for the next step in life. 

“People that live in Oak Park, they to want to stay there,” he said.

Watchowski says that the demand is being seen not only in Oak Park but across the country, pointing out that 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. By 2030, all of the baby boom generation will be 65 or older. 

“The pandemic has raised awareness of quality of life as it relates to socialization,” Watchowski said. “American House enables residents to have that level of socialization that they might not get at home.”

While some of the development’s neighbors voiced opposition to the building’s presence on Madison Street early in the development process, American House responded to concerns.

Watchowski says the building’s height was reduced to be well-below the legally permitted height and says the design of the building was stepped to allow more light and air into neighboring areas. In addition, the designers relocated some areas of service that nearby neighbors were concerned about.

As the exterior of the building takes shape and attention turns to the interior details of the building, Watchowski says “We’re really pleased with the elevation of the building and how it looks and feels. Oak Park is known for architecture. We created what we think is an attractive building.”

In Oak Park, independent living rentals will start at $4,200, assisted living at $5,400 and memory care at $8,200.

American House recently opened a leasing office at 1100 Lake St. in Oak Park. Those interested in obtaining more information can make an appointment by calling Shannon Hopp at 331-201-0881 or emailing to oakparksales@americanhouse.com.

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