From May 12-19, Celebrating Seniors Week Comes to Oak Park, River Forest & Forest Park
Inaugural Scavenger Hunt highlights not-for-profit group’s latest round of honoring, supporting community’s older adults
In mid-May, Celebrating Seniors Week returns with dozens of events throughout Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park.
Organized by the Celebrating Seniors Coalition, a not-for-profit group, the events from Thursday, May 12 to Thursday, May 19 will raise awareness of older adults’ value and impact while raising money for some older adults who are in financial need.
This year, after a two-year layoff because of the pandemic, the week’s marquee event is the inaugural Celebrating Seniors Scavenger Hunt. The brainchild of longtime volunteer Nick Preys, the hunt happens on Saturday, May 14 and showcases over 60 of the cultural, civic and architectural gems in a one-square-mile area of north Oak Park.
The adventure begins and concludes outside The Beer Shop in Downtown Oak Park. First comers can arrive as early as 9 a.m., with walk-in registration available until 2 p.m.
On bicycle or on foot, individuals and teams of up to four people will track down the answers to questions that correspond to 60-plus locations designated on a specially designed map.
All who participate will receive a Celebrating Seniors Scavenger Hunt keepsake item; in addition, there will be prizes for the top finishers in both the competitive and leisure categories
“Folks can be super-competitive and try to complete the entire challenge in under two hours,” said Preys. “Or they can go at a leisurely pace.”
Those who are unable to participate on May 14th are encouraged to enter the leisure category and embark on the hunt on a subsequent, more convenient day.
“One helpful aspect of this event is its flexibility—we can make arrangements to get the map and clues to someone any time after that Saturday,” said Preys. “The whole idea is to honor the older adults in our community, celebrate our vibrant history together and have fun while doing it.”
The event’s lead sponsor will be American House Oak Park, a new senior living community being built at 703 Madison Street. Serving independent, assisted and memory-care residents, American House Oak Park will open in the late summer or early fall of this year.
Other activities throughout not only Oak Park, but also River Forest and Forest Park, will span a variety of topics that are educational and/or entertaining. Among them:
- ”Smart Aging: Using Our Brains to Thrive,“ at 2 p.m. on Thursday, May 12th at the Forest Park Public Library, 7555 Jackson Blvd. In the session, Diane Wilson, a peak performance coach and applied neuroscientist, will share insights on harnessing memory, focus, and the ability to connect with others.
- A housing forum, ”Aging in Our Communities: Housing Affordability, Accessibility and Possibilities.”
Held on Saturday, May 14th, from 9 am to 1:30 p.m. at Concordia University Chicago, 7400 Augusta St., the event is hosted by Arbor West Neighbors and River Forest Township, in addition to Concordia University Chicago's Center for Gerontology. The session will cover creative ways to stay (or age) in our communities.
- A Golden Girls Trivia event at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17th at The Sheridan at River Forest, 800 N. Harlem Ave., where contestants have a chance to win the finest of Golden Girls swag. Photo booth props will also be available for picture taking, and light refreshments will be served.
The full slate of events can be found at https://celebratingseniors.net/events/ Generally, they are open to people of all ages.
Founded in 2010 and with its first Celebrating Seniors Week in 2011, the organization is fueled by a dedicated core team of volunteers who support the group’s efforts to dispel outdated and inaccurate myths about what it is to be a senior in our society.
In light of their focus on serving older adults through the shared Senior Services agency, Oak Park Township and River Forest Township are key partners. In addition, Celebrating Seniors has built robust partnerships with other government bodies throughout Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park, as well as Dominican University, Concordia University Chicago, social service agencies, businesses, and individuals.
Celebrating Seniors has helped dozens of people to meet the basic needs of daily living such as a new refrigerator, help with repair work around their home, or the addition of a necessary piece of furniture.
In addition, the organization has honored over 650 older adults who have made, and continue to make, significant contributions to the community. That tradition continues in 2022, with about 30 men and women selected for this year’s “Seniors Over 60” Class.
Ranging from 60 years old on up—some past honorees have been over 100 years old—these individuals have long been featured on the Celebrating Seniors website and in other community outreach.
The Celebrating Seniors Scavenger Hunt is $15 for individuals, $25 for couples, and $50 for teams of up to four people. All proceeds will go toward helping older adults in financial need.