About the Chicago Region

Chicago skyline photoChicago and its neighboring suburbs are a large vibrant metropolitan area. The entire region offers an incredible diversity and depth of services in many industries including senior services. It may seem intimidating in its size but once you take the time to learn your way around the city, along with taking advantage of the transportation infrastructure that connects the entire region it becomes a stellar place to live at any age!

Defining the Chicago area is the close proximity of Lake Michigan. Lake Michigan borders the Chicago area on the east and its effect on climate either mitigating or at times intensifying weather patterns, does not detract from the pure beauty of having a large fresh water lake nearby. Lake Michigan defines Chicago and makes a lasting impression on visitors and long time residents.

The city of Chicago and the suburbs are an attractive region for seniors due to their size, which offers a multitude and variety of senior services and housing. The suburbs and the communities within the city of Chicago provide the smaller neighborhood and quaint village-like settings that give Chicago a small town atmosphere. Chicago is actually well known for its ethnic and historic neighborhoods that still exist such as Andersonville, Bronzeville, Hyde Park, Greektown, Lincoln Park, Ravenswood and many more.

Chicago's Climate

Chicago has defined seasons with cold and windy weather in the winter and hot and humid days in the summer. Lake-affect weather patterns can mitigate some weather extremes but the area still has high precipitation with 33 inches annually. Heavy snows can make the area a tough commute in the wintertime and the humidity in the summer can be high. The bright spot behind the defined seasons is the lovely fall colors from the hard wood deciduous trees, red maples, a variety of oaks, sycamore to ash trees. The fall season and vibrant fall colors in the Chicago are spectacular!

History of the Area

The area that became the city of Chicago was originally a low, swampy, glacial plain at the mouth of what is now the Chicago River. The Sauk, Mesquakie, and Pottawatomie tribes originally inhabited the area. The first European explorers in the area were Jacque Marquette and Louis Joliet in 1673. They called the area Checagou. This word was from the indigenous Americans' language and meant wild onions, which were abundant in the area. The transition to the name Chicago is evident in the similarity of the sound and spelling of the two words. The first permanent settlement was started in 1790 when Jean Baptiste Point du Sable started a fur trading post. In 1804, the US Army constructed and operated Fort Dearborn. It was destroyed in the war of 1812 and rebuilt in 1816.

With the proximity of Lake Michigan to the east and the Mississippi River to the west, waterways were the defining geographic cause for the development of Chicago. Early settlers recognized the potential of water transportation, and in the early 1800's financed and built the canal system to link Lake Michigan and the Mississippi River. Once completed the canal flow was changed to flow to the west. This early water works project shaped Chicago's rapid growth into a major metropolitan city and transportation hub for manufactured goods moving east and west.

Defining the character of the city in the past has been the rich culture brought to the Chicago area by immigrants, religious ethnic groups and others from Ireland, Sweden, Poland, and Germany,. Chicago was an attractive place to settle, where immigrants could live in sections of the city re-establishing their ethnicity in the United States. Remnants of this cultural movement still exist in areas of Chicago such as Andersonville the first settlement of Swedish immigrants, Ukrainian Village settled by Ukrainian immigrants, Little Italy settled by Italians and Lincoln Square home to early German immigrants to name a few of these neighborhoods.
Today Chicago reflects its early history in its wonderful cosmopolitan atmosphere and flavor. From the striking visual of the Chicago skyline to the bustling large metropolitan area with a wide range of commercial business and services available to residents, in a few words - Chicago is large and spectacular.


Chicago has attractions! From the extensive park system to the arts, Chicago has something to appeal to everyone. Shopping, theatre, art museums, famous architecture, jazz and blues, science museums --- whatever you are looking for, you will find represented in Chicago. Visit our Local Links section for quick links to some of Chicago's attractions.


Chicago has a host of transportation options readily available to the visitor and resident alike. Ground transportation includes city buses and rapid transit operated by the Chicago Transit Authority. Available for easy access are fixed bus routes, Para transit, and vanpools (PACE). Para Transit is an excellent resource for seniors and persons with disabilities providing curb-to-curb service. The PACE vanpool System is also a good way to get around Chicago as is the popular Chicago Regional Rail System known a METRA, both are good alternatives to driving alone. The Chicago Trolley Co. and the Chicago Double Decker Company offer Sightseeing and specialty tours. For air transportation, Chicago has two airports the Chicago O'Hare International and Midway airport. Whatever your desired mode of transportation Chicago has it, along with the traditional taxi, limousine, and shuttle services. Please refer to our Local Links section for further transportation information in the Chicago area.

Senior Services in Chicago & Neighboring Suburbs

In large metropolitan areas like Chicago and its neighboring suburbs, there are many choices in senior services and housing. As in any large urban area, the price for services and senior housing also vary due to location. The entire area has a wide range of prices for continuum of care, independent retirement communities, assisted living, skilled nursing, and Alzheimer's care senior housing. Some communities do cost substantially more for senior housing.

A positive note is that Illinois is becoming proactive with their Supportive Living Program to aid low-income seniors in assisted living housing. Another positive point for the area is the well-developed transportation system that includes highways, subway lines, elevated trains, buses, and commuter trains serving the suburbs. The entire region also offers an extensive healthcare system, which includes many well-known medical oriented universities.

Other senior services in the area include a wide choice of home health care. From home health agencies to home companions to home medical services and senior support services, the Chicago area offers a variety of senior services both from home health industry to community resources. Use our Search Senior Services link to learn more about the variety of senior housing and senior support services located in the Chicago, Illinois and neighboring suburbs. Visit Resources to learn more about the Chicago & Neighboring Suburbs Region.