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Wellness Blog

The Esquiline Named Best Retirement Community for 6th Year in a Row

For the sixth year in a row, The Esquiline has claimed the Belleville News-Democrat’s Reader’s Choice designation of Best Retirement Community in the Metro-East for 2018.

For The Esquiline President Barb Prosser, the award speaks to the Life Plan Community’s focus on the people who call it home.

“It’s about more than the building and the physical space. It’s the heart of what we do, and it’s great to see it appreciated,” she said.

This is the sixth consecutive year that The Esquiline has been named the best retirement community by the Belleville News-Democrat.

“To me, the most gratifying part of winning this award is that even though there are many fine options around us, we continue to come out on top,” she said. “We’re not necessarily the newest and shiniest, but we’re still considered the premiere, the top of our class in the Metro-East area. That tells me it’s our grounds, our heart, our care. It’s the culture we’ve cultivated and that to me is very important.”

grounds of a statue with beautiful fall red trees

Enjoying Serenity on the Grounds of One of the Largest Outdoor Shrines in North America

The Esquiline, a Life Plan Community in Belleville, Illinois, is located on the grounds of The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows. The location and its inherent serenity are major attractions for residents, as four-year resident Cynthia explains.

“With not getting outside traffic, it’s really a destination place. … Other places are busy, and they may be the same size, offer the same services, but it’s just not the same character as you have here,” she said. “No matter where you are, whether you’re sitting in your room or walking down the hall, you always see the beauty from outside and it is always so encouraging. It is one of the biggest reasons my friends and I love it here. There are windows and access to the grounds and we just love it.”

dining staff presenting a resident with a birthday cupcake

A Place Where Everyone Says Hello

Cynthia also complimented the staff at the faith-based retirement community, where she says she loves that everybody says hello.

“Every employee is wonderful, and I mean that—from the custodians all the way up. The dining staff is young but they are totally, totally outstanding. The housekeepers are clean and efficient,” she said. “Everyone is kind and thoughtful. Everyone is courteous and willing to help.”

She feels that the staff at The Esquiline takes the time to get to know residents and form relationships.

“My husband is restless and loves being outside. The maintenance team gave him a lawnmower so he can continue his hobby of mowing. And he does a great job to this day. He just lets the staff know when he will be gone so they can cover for him,” Cynthia said. “That’s awesome. That’s not something you get everywhere.”


seniors with seniors - senior students visiting and getting to know senior residents at the esquiline

A Retirement Community That’s Part of a Larger Community

Community support has long been vital to The Esquiline. Winning the award for best retirement community demonstrates a certain amount of trust, Prosser said.

“We’ve been in the community for 52 years and have provided high-quality services for those years. I think we’re the preferred choice because we’re the trusted choice, and we value that,” she said. “I’d like to think that we walk the talk. People trust that and respect it and honor it. And in the case of the Reader’s Choice, award it.

The Esquiline has played host to a variety of community events over the years, from senior health fairs to holiday gatherings to flower shows. Recently, representatives from various community organizations came together at The Esquiline to discuss the local Be a Santa to a Senior program.

“The hospitality here is palpable,” Prosser said. “We hear that from residents, family members, visitors, and vendors.”

The Esquiline also recently launched a community outreach program, Sole to Soul, which provides meals and community for older adults in the greater Belleville and O’Fallon area who might be subject to social isolation and might not have access to nutritious meals.

Read more: Sole to Soul: Building Community in the Greater Belleville Area

outside of building with beautiful trees entering into the esquiline, formerly known as the apartment community

From “The Apartment Community” to “The Esquiline”

Prosser admits she is a little surprised that people voted for The Esquiline this year—not because of any drop in quality, but because earlier this year the community underwent a name change.

Originally, The Esquiline was known as The Apartment Community. When the community first began, it truly was an apartment community. However, it has since grown to include a full continuum of care. To better reflect the community, its lifestyle, and its offerings, the name was changed to The Esquiline: A Life Plan Community at the Shrine.

“I think the new name is starting to resonate with people,” Prosser said.

More exciting changes are on the horizon. Recently, The Esquiline announced plans for a redevelopment project. The campus refresh will include luxurious new independent living homes, upgraded common spaces, and expanded accommodations in the St. Francis Center for Assisted Living and the Dammert Care Center.

To learn more about the project and how to become a priority member, visit The Esquiline’s redevelopment page.

beautiful image of the grounds grass and trees with sunset at the esquiline

Thank You, Voters!

Prosser has a message for all those who voted in favor of The Esquiline, from residents to staff to family and community members.

“We value their support but it’s bigger than that. It’s a privilege to be serving on the Shrine grounds and to be with the residents and their families and employees. We lift each other up every day. For the broader community to recognize that is extremely valuable,” she said. “We don’t take it lightly. We are appreciative and grateful for community support. Ultimately, we’re here to serve the community.”

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