Despite Disease Progression, Couple Stays Together Thanks to the Springs at Monarch Landing in Naperville, IL

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When Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, John worried about how difficult would be for him to care for her, so they moved to Monarch Landing, which offers independent living, and now thanks to the recently opened The Springs provides complete continuing care including assisted living memory support.

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“It was very important for us to stay together. This is the next best thing to living at Monarch Landing together,” said John. “I love the care. I’m truly amazed. It feels like family here, it really does.”

After 62 years of marriage, it was important for them to stay together. John and Barbara Baber of Naperville who are now both 82 years old, were childhood sweethearts. “We knew each other from the time we were little, and the high school yearbook said we were a couple,” said John. When Barbara started showing symptoms of Alzheimer’s in 2005, John worried about how they could stay together as the disease progressed. The opening of Monarch Landing in 2006 and The Springs at Monarch Landing in 2014 made their dream for continued togetherness a reality.

John started what would be a lifetime career with the FBI when he was 18 years old. “We were both born and raised near Charlottesville, Virginia. The FBI was recruiting clerical employees to work in DC. We went, and I took 6 ½ years of night school classes to graduate college. In 1961 I became an agent and we began to move around the country,” John said. “I didn’t intend to be an agent for all my life. I thought it would be an opportunity to get a better job. After two years I had the chance to switch but decided not to give it up. It just seemed like a challenge to figure out what a criminal was doing in terms of embezzlement or fraud. That was fun for me.” When John eventually took an early retirement from the FBI in 1983, he had reached the rank of Assistant Special Agent in Charge of Chicago.

Barbara and John have two children and four grandchildren. “It’s a wonderful journey that Barbara and I have been on. We’ve always been active and gardened and traveled, and we’ve done so many different things,” John said.

John and Barbara were living in their two-story Naperville home when Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and John worried about how difficult would be for him to care for her. In 2006, they moved to Monarch Landing, which at the time offered independent living, with the commitment to eventually provide complete continuing care including assisted living memory support. That promise was delivered upon when The Springs at Monarch Landing opened late this summer. “My goodness what they’ve done here is just wonderful,” said John. Barbara moved from the couple’s independent living apartment, to her own private apartment where she receives additional care.

The private suites at The Springs boast spacious bedrooms and baths, and open onto a cozy common living area with a full kitchen and all the touches and conveniences of home. “Barbara can come and go to activities as she wants. And they give her so much attention, it makes all of the difference in the world,” said John. “That’s the beauty of this.”

“I’ve got a sister in Virginia who just turned 95 and I haven’t seen her for ten years. It was just too difficult to travel. Now I feel like I’ll be able to go see her and Barbara will be fine,” John said.

Barbara’s apartment is just a short walk from John’s. “I visit Barbara at least twice, sometimes even three times daily,” he said. “It’s nice that I’m able to walk over here easily. I can get there through our hallways but if the weather is good, I walk outside.”

John said that he’ll occasionally dine with Barbara at The Springs, but in general, he tries to “stay connected with people at Monarch Landing. Goodness knows there are so many committees and things to do. I have to be careful or I’ll find myself over-extended.” John is on Monarch Landing’s TV crew and political awareness committee. “I also do yoga twice a week,” he said.

Barbara is also very busy, participating in games, arts and crafts, and cooking. She also exercises and attends church services with John.

“It was very important for us to stay together. This is the next best thing to living at Monarch Landing together,” said John. “I love the care. I’m truly amazed. It feels like family here, it really does.”

Monarch Landing is a continuing care retirement community located on a scenic campus in Naperville, Illinois-named “one of America’s best places to live and retire” by Modern Maturity, and “the best city for early retirement” by Kiplinger. Monarch Landing offers independent living, promoting a vibrant life style for active seniors. The Springs at Monarch Landing offers assisted living memory support and will soon offer rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, thus providing complete continuing care for seniors. Monarch Landing is owned by Senior Care Development and managed by Life Care Services. For additional information visit http://www.WelcomeToMonarchLanding.com or call 630-548-0400

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Bridget Machalinski

Bridget Machalinski
@monarchlanding1
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