Mill Creek and GreenFields: Keeping Three Generations of One Family Together
Feature story in Mill Creek Living Magazine

Family Photo

There are three generations of one family living within blocks of each other, and they couldn’t be happier about the proximity. Dan and Idy Siegel Spezzano live with their two daughters Shayla and Rebecca (Becca) in the home they had custom-built in Mill Creek 14 years ago. 

Last October, Idy’s parents Ann and Melvin Siegel moved from Connecticut to GreenFields of Geneva, the senior living community in the heart of Mill Creek, and just a mile away from the Spezzanos’ home.

“I remember when GreenFields was first being built seven years ago,” said Idy. “I called my parents and said, ‘do you want to come live near me and see the kids all the time?’ but they kept saying ‘no.’ They wanted to stay in their home. I asked them about 10,000 times!”

The answer changed when last year, Ann started showing a short-term memory deficit and her doctor suggested that she’d benefit from full-time care. “Idy wanted us to come here. I came to town and visited a bunch of places, but GreenFields was absolutely the best of the bunch. The apartments are beautiful, the staff in memory care is so well trained and sophisticated, and the other people who work here are extremely friendly and helpful,” Mel said.

GreenFields provides a complete continuum of care including independent living, assisted living, memory support, skilled care and rehabilitation. Ann moved into a private apartment in Reflections Memory Care at GreenFields, and Mel chose a corner independent living apartment with breathtaking views of Tanna Farms Golf Course. Best of all, the apartments are under the same roof so the couple, who has been married for 64 years, is easily able to spend time with each other. “We at least have dinner together every night, but also go to activities and on outings with each other,” Mel said. “We go to Elgin Symphony Orchestra performances and on field trips and like to go into Geneva.”

Ann is very active at GreenFields, participating in arts and crafts and reading, and kicking everyone’s butt in trivia. “I was a history teacher and am very good at games,” she boasted. Mel, an avid tennis player for more than 70 years, likes to take advantage of the neighboring amenities including a nearby tennis court. “I go there about four days a week. Sometimes there’s someone there who will hit balls back and forth with me. Other times, no one is there, so I hit against the backboard. Unfortunately, the backboard always wins,” he quipped.

In addition to what the family describes as outstanding service and care, “the food at GreenFields is great,” said Idy. “It’s funny because while I’m glad about that, there are so many wonderful restaurants in Geneva that I want my parents to try out. But the food is so good here; it’s hard to pry them away.”

Idy has been in Illinois for 26 years, having worked as VP/Operations Director for Leo Burnett for the first 15 years. Living in Schaumburg at the time, she and Dan were going through the adoption process and wanted to live in a community with a charming downtown area, great schools and lots of neighborhood amenities. Dan hoped for a nearby golf course; both Idy and Dan wanted to build on a cul de sac. Mill Creek granted all of their wishes and more. ‘We moved in 14 years ago,” Idy said. The family enjoys the feeling of Mill Creek being a tight community that truly cares about each other. They love the walking/biking paths, the market, and the beauty of the neighborhood.

Idy and Dan both work at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in Geneva. “My commute changed from an hour and 45 minutes to 12 minutes door-to-door,” she said. This is particularly convenient with their daughters’ busy schedules. Shayla, who just got her driving learner’s permit, plays basketball and lacrosse. Becca is involved in musical theater, track and cross country. “They both also babysit and take care of neighbors’ dogs and cats. It’s good that they have the opportunity to take on some responsibility but still stay close to home,” said Idy. Best of all, she said, Mel and Ann are able to attend all of the girls’ programs and activities. “I drag them everywhere,” said Idy. “Even the first night they moved here, they went to a choir performance.”

Idy said that having three generations within close proximity is a gift to all of them. “My kids can interact with their grandparents in person, all the time. They never had that before. Their friends always had grandparents around, but this is my girls’ first time. It’s been great for them. We celebrated my mom’s birthday and Mother’s Day and even had generational photos taken. It’s been wonderful. And I know that my mom is getting the very best care,” she said. “My mom and I have always been really close. For years we’d talk on the phone every day, sometimes for three hours at a time. Now we can do that in person.” 

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