Monthly Archives: December 2014

Local Events and Activities Give Chicago Retirees Plenty of Reasons to Get Out of the House

Helping an old man
The weather may be getting colder, but that isn’t keeping many of Chicago’s senior citizens from partaking in all the activities and events the city has to offer in the days leading up to the holidays.

In Clarendon Hills, residents at the Birches Assisted Living center recently embraced the giving spirit of the holidays by holding the second annual “Hearts and Heroes” campaign that benefits members of the military.

According to a December 15¬†Chicago Tribune¬†article, Birches residents created a giving tree, decorating the tree with ornaments that suggest gifts and donations to give to deployed military personnel. All the donations will go toward Valentine’s Day care packages, and usually include luxuries that deployed members of the military don’t have access to.

Activities like the “Hearts and Heroes” campaign help retirement community residents branch out and interact with one another. That’s why studies have actually shown that retirement living communities that give residents their own private living space with shared social areas are good for seniors in more ways than one.

According to the ProMatura Group’s 2009 Independent Living Report, seniors who live in an independent living retirement community have an easier time making new friends and trying out new things. As a result, these seniors have a better overall experience with their living situation, the study found.

There’s certainly no shortage of things to do in the Chicago area for seniors looking to try something new.

In just the last week or so, seniors were able to check out The Second City That Never Sleeps 2014, a comedy event featuring musical performances from Chicago natives like Jeff Tweedy, JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, and more.

Or they could have headed out to the HoliDose, a holiday-themed market with food and plenty of shopping opportunities, or a performance from the Dee Alexander Quartet.

With a thriving atmosphere of arts and culture, there’s always something to do for seniors looking to expand their horizons and enjoy a night out on the town. Chicago might just be one of the best places for retirees to live in the country.

Intentional Chlorine Gas Leak Disrupts 2014 Midwest Furfest in Chicago Hotel

Pressure Gauge

The annual 2014 Midwest Furfest had an unfortunate interruption this year as the animal aficionados joined several thousand other guests staying at Rosemont’s Hyatt hotel (right outside Chicago) in evacuating the building because of a chlorine gas leak.

The leak occurred at about 12:40 A.M. on Sunday, December 7, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare hotel on West Bryn Mawr Avenue. The Rosemont Fire Department and other first responders were contacted when guests and hotel staff started noticing a noxious smell spreading across the ninth floor of the hotel.

Upon investigation, law enforcement officials found that toxic amounts of chlorine gas had been leaked into the hallway — and they believe it was intentional.

Technicians in HazMat suits were deployed to find the source of the gas leak, which ended up being chlorine in powder form, sitting in the ninth floor stairwell. The Chicago Tribune notes that the technicians were able to clean the hotel thoroughly, and after about three hours, the building was deemed safe enough for re-entry.

What remains to be seen, however, is whether this intentional gas leak was an attack on the Furfest itself. The festival, which celebrates “art, literature, and performance based around anthropomorphic animals,” according to organization chairman Toby Murono, still managed to raise about $31,000 for an animal sanctuary at this year’s event, and about 1,100 people in animal suits were able to lighten the mood for the 4,600 people affected by the evacuation.

The Tribune reports that 19 people were transported to nearby hospitals after experiencing severe nausea and dizziness — two surefire signs of chlorine poisoning, which is one of the lesser-known medical conditions that warrants immediate care at a hospital emergency room facility, as well as the subsequent average $1,500 hospital bill. Luckily, no fatal injuries have been reported thus far, and participants in the Midwest Furfest have managed to keep a positive outlook on the situation.

“The furry community has been exceptionally supportive of our convention in the wake of this criminal act,” Murono states, “and our resilient staff and remarkably understanding and sympathetic attendees helped us finish the weekend on many positive notes.”