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Lake Forest Place Seniors Give Warmth and Kindness to Local Mothers and Children

skeins of yarn and knitting needles on a table

For Lake Forest Place resident Betty Wood, knitting is a large part of her identity. “I’m 91, and I’ve been knitting for 75 years. That’s my therapy,” she shares. So when she and her husband moved into Lake Forest Place 10 years ago, she was excited to find new friends who might also enjoy her favorite hobby. 

A new home for a new chapter 

Betty and her husband, who come from Springfield, Illinois, were attracted to Lake Forest Place for a variety of reasons. They knew it would be a safe and comfortable place to live for their senior years, and appreciated the security of the continuum of care should their needs change. Additionally, Betty knew she could do as much or as little as she liked, with plenty of opportunities to be involved. What she didn’t know is that she herself would create one of those opportunities. 

Not long after their move, Betty had coordinated a group of senior women who would meet twice a month for several hours to knit and crochet. “We also do a lot of socializing,” she shares with a smile. In terms of finished products, the ladies were often making items for children, such as baby hats, blankets, and even some little sweaters. Betty knew there had to be something meaningful to do with these handmade garments. 

Finding a home for tiny clothes 

Betty connected with fellow Lake Forest Place resident Dr. Bill Cape, a retired cardiac surgeon and a volunteer at Erie Family Health – Waukegan. Betty asked if they would be able to use what she was making and received a resounding yes in reply. She made her first donation in 2019. The feedback from the mothers who were given the beautiful pieces for their babies was moving. “One mother said she was so happy to get something brand-new for her baby after having so many hand-me-downs,” Betty shares. The women knew they had to keep knitting, crocheting, and making an impact.

lake forest place donations   

Making an impact on families 

At the end of 2022, Betty coordinated the most recent donation of knitted clothes to Erie Family Health. To date, more than 900 items have been donated, and Betty is aiming for 1,000.  

“Betty’s coordination of this project not only benefits the families at Erie Health; she is also providing Lake Forest Place residents the opportunity to actively contribute to their larger community. Philanthropy is strongly valued at our community, and Betty’s project helps residents continue to engage in meaningful pursuits,” remarks Beth Welch, director of community programs for Lake Forest Place.

The coordination of this effort to give back to families resonates with residents, staff, and citizens of the Greater Chicago area. Betty and her team exemplify the purposeful life one can enjoy at a senior living community, and we’re inspired by their dedication. 

About Lake Forest Place    

Lake Forest Place, located in the Chicago suburbs, is owned and operated by Presbyterian Homes, a not-for-profit company with more than 100 years’ experience in senior living. 

The Life Plan Community provides seniors with a unique lifestyle experience and a variety of residential options, including maintenance-free apartment homes and cottages. Assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, rehabilitation, and respite care are also available as part of the full continuum of care. 

Residents enjoy a full range of services and amenities, such as a fitness center, pool and exercise room, arts and crafts studio, library, bird sanctuary and wetlands area, and several dining areas. And of course, there are many auxiliary groups such as Betty Wood’s knitting group for residents to get involved in the community. Learn more about independent living at Lake Forest Place.