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Dr. Firouzeh Naghdi of Premier Suburban Medical Group says community like Peace Village in Palos Park is best place to be in pandemic.

When COVID-19 forced Illinoisans into isolation in March, Rosemary Kazmierczak got a call from her children. “My kids wanted me to stay with them during the pandemic. I told them, “I love you, but I want to be with my friends,” she says. A resident of Peace Village, a senior living community in Palos Park, Illinois, it turns out that Kazmierczak made a very good decision for her health.

“Living in a community is better for seniors, especially now,” says Family Medicine Physician Firouzeh Naghdi, D.O., of Premier Suburban Medical Group.

Naghdi stresses that living within a well-managed senior community means residents are much less likely to contract COVID-19. “Residents don’t have to go out to get their groceries, or pick up medications, potentially exposing themselves to the virus.”

Naghdi says that seniors, especially those who are living in their own homes, are at risk for a variety of problems. “As we age, we begin to lose friends and family. Lack of socialization leads to depression, which leads to a decline in physical health and in memory.” Senior community activities, she says, engage seniors intellectually and emotionally, boosting their morale and “lifting them up.” Peace Village programs, such as Music & Conversation, Craft Classes and Game Parties, help residents stay connected safely, improve cognitive functioning with new ideas, problem-solving and excitement, and enhance health, both mentally and physically.

Naghdi also sees problems with decreased physical activity when her senior patients remain too long in their own homes. “Even before COVID-19 restrictions, they will stay home and sit on the couch all day. Exercise is necessary, especially as we age. It improves cognitive functioning and memory and improves mood. It’s another social activity too, with the benefit of toning muscles and improving balance to help avoid falls.” Peace Village resident Ron Budil says, “Having access to the fitness center with dedicated trainers is very helpful as they provide a routine that is individualized for each resident.” Even with physical distancing during classes, Budil says, “Being able to socialize with people is important.” Peace Village’s trainers provide custom exercises to help residents gain flexibility, improve strength, and expand mobility. The fitness center contains an innovative, out-of-the-ordinary treadmill that supports walkers as they exercise, free weights, exercise bikes and weight machines.

Residents can also enjoy flavorful and healthy meals prepared with the freshest and finest ingredients in Peace Village’s restaurant-quality kitchen. A choice of dining rooms gives residents another opportunity to socialize, or meals can be delivered hot and ready to eat to their apartments. Village resident Rose Marie Mustari finds the meals especially good, “We dine wonderfully – and they do so much for us here.”

That may be the most important part of senior living at Peace Village; the people who work here are deeply invested in taking care of all the residents. “There is nothing more important than supporting the health and happiness of the people who live at Peace Village,” says Roger Ellens, CEO of Peace Village. “It’s a job we take seriously, but we also have a very good time doing it. Our residents live among friends and neighbors, staying safe, healthy, active and engaged with live.”

Dr. Naghdi agrees. “In a senior living community, there are opportunities for exercise and engagement. There is better nutrition and better safety in place. There is help with daily living tasks at any time of day, and seniors have a rich social life that helps their mental and physical health.”

At Peace Village, residents find all these benefits – and make a real home in a safe, healthy and friendly neighborhood.