Submitted Photo. Walk for Peace walkers have a pre-walk stretch.
In 1989, when Peace Village in Palos Park opened its doors to the first resident, average life expectancy was just over 71 years. Now in 2013, it is nearly 79 years of age. In keeping with an average retirement age of 65, that increase doubles the amount of time people spend enjoying their senior years. With increased interest in health and fitness, coupled with advances in medical technology, the years to enjoy life post-retirement will only continue to increase.
The Village held its first Walk for Peace on its grounds on Oct. 19.
Jayne Miller, Director of Fund Development at Peace Village said: “Sometimes seniors live longer than the financial resources they’ve saved for their entire lives. Or, due to an unanticipated catastrophic illness or other serious life event, it is possible that they can deplete the funds they thought would be adequate for the remainder of their lives.”
However, at Peace Village ensuring that residents can stay in their homes is part of their mission. The Peace Village Benevolent Fund was established with the goal of assisting residents who have experienced medical catastrophes or, even though they’ve carefully managed their income and due to no fault of their own, find they have simply outlived their money.
“This year we wanted part of our fundraising focus to be on new things we have never tried,” Miller said. “We wanted to do something that would involve our entire community of residents, staff, families of our residents and the general public, as well. Our walk made that possible — and we were happily amazed by the out-pouring of support.”
Joan Dietmann was happy to offer her support — along with her whole family.
“I kind of twisted their arms,” she said with a laugh. Dietmann, a Peace Village independent living resident, moved into the Village 15 months ago, but is already so committed to her new home that she convinced all of her children, who are scattered around the country.
Support didn’t just come from current residents and their families. Maria Powers and Liz Pardo walked in honor of their sister Lydia Irwin, who lived at the Village for about seven years. “Lydia loved it here. Not just the other residents but also the staff and the kids in the dining room. They were all very special to her and she was very special to them. Lydia loved crafting and made many “God Bless This Apartment” signs. When we were walking through today, we saw that many of those signs are still hanging. That is so very nice to see.”
Powers and Pardo said they have “suffered Peace Village withdrawal” since Lydia’s passing, and the Walk gave them a chance to support the cause and also to visit and catch up on news. “These weren’t just Lydia’s friends. They are our friends too.” Pardo remarks, “Really, Lydia might have needed this help too. Any one of us might someday.”
Walkers checking in received a wristband for lunch, a T-shirt and water bottle. Participants and all residents enjoyed ample opportunity to enjoy the sponsor booths, including free neck massages by Loreta Ternet of Alvyday Spa, gifts from the UPS Store, Chiro One Wellness Centers and more. Harvey Leffring, Peace Village CEO, opened the event with a prayer, welcomed the crowd of just over 100 all-age walkers, then thanked sponsors such as Chick-fil-A, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Remax 10 In The Park, Walgreens, Palos Health and Fitness and many more.