This week, Laura and Joelle are joined by Bill Lowe, CEO and President of Chicago Methodist Senior Services (CMSS). At CMSS you’ll find an inviting community ready to support you in all the ways you need. They offer older adults a full range of services and residential options provided by expert staff who take an innovative, person-centered approach to care. With their life-enriching programs, a network of support that caters to you as a person, and a staff of caregivers that feel like family, you’ll know you’re in the right place at 1415 W Foster.


Bill Lowe recording Episode 56 of #AlwaysAndersonville: The Podcast

“As a 120 year old organization, I always say I’m managing to the 200th year. I won’t see it, but I think that’s the way we ought to think about an organization.”
– Bill Lowe

Listen to Episode 56!

Here are some references from this episode you may want to check out:

  • Bill is coming up on celebrating his 30th work anniversary at CMSS this year. He is also a lifelong Chicagoan and Cubs fan.
  • CMSS flagship Wesley Place was opened in 1896 by Mrs. E.E Hartwell, the Methodist home was established in 1898 on Foster and Glenwood. Their other locations include Hartwell Place, which is a renovation of the old St. Gregory’s convent at Paulina and Gregory. They also have a low income housing facility for seniors; The Winwood Apartment and the Glenwood Apartments.
  • As CEO, Bill very rarely has regular days. He speaks to new hires at their orientation once a month to set the tone. Because of his accounting background he also prepares and presents the budget, goes over financial statements, and maintains leadership practices.

    CMSS garden

    The CMSS Garden (photo by CMSS)

  • Wesley Place has 24/7 care including Nurses and CNAs, dietitians, housekeepers, people in charge of laundry, event planners that have consistent activities, financial experts, marketers, and more. CMSS has a lot of opportunity. This is also the case for young people – there are several entry level positions, usually filled by high schoolers, that can help young people find a specialty before entering college if they’re not sure what they want to do.  View employment opportunities here
  • CMSS also holds a variety of events for all ages. There’s story time for kids, musical performances, and lectures covering topics like memory care. The goal with these activities is the bring the world in to people that have trouble getting out, providing them with some relief from isolation or their cabin fever.

    CMSS Outside

    Outside of the Covenant Home (photo taken by CMSS)

  • One program that has been started recently is the Sounds of Healing. CMSS is partnered with Civic Orchestra of Chicago, Music Institute of Chicago, Old Town School of Folk Music and more to make this program a reality. Music can touch people’s hearts like nothing else; if someone is having issues with isolation, depression, or they just aren’t coming out of their shell, the CMSS staff will try music therapy. The early returns on this program are really good. Read more about their music therapy efforts here.
  • To make sounds of healing work, CMSS has partnered with longstanding but small musical organizations. One of these partnerships is with Nashville-based Nonprofit, Musicians On Call. They operate out of 17 different American cities, and recently moved to Chicago and have partnered with three different agencies in the city: the Shirley Ryan Abilitylab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago), the Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital, and CMSS. 

    CMSS musicians

    Musicians playing at CMSS (photo taken by CMSS)

  • Every Tuesday evening, just after dinner, a strolling musician goes to play for short-term patients. Normally, short-term patients are isolated and think of the community as a hospital. It’s lonely; they often don’t think they want to socialize until they do. The music improves their well being.
  • CMSS Wesley Place also has a living room space on their second floor. It has wide windows, a balcony, and excellent acoustics. It’s ideal for musical performances.
  • The residents of Wesley Place also participate in Andersonville’s annual Arts Week. There are several musicians, writers, and other artisans in CMSS. One man teaches piano lessons; a lady that lives in the Covenant Home is a songwriter, she writes comical songs about her Parkinson’s disease. The talent and creativity of these seniors gives them a vehicle for creative expression.


    CMSS residents visit the Andersonville Farmers Market (photo taken by CMSS

  • Another interesting recent addition to CMSS partnership roster is virtual reality specialists Embodied Labs. Embodied Labs provides simulations that put caretakers in the shoes of their patients. Bill says this has been extremely effective.
  • Another strong partnership they have is with White Crane Adult Day Programming, a senior daycare center that provides the seniors with activities and opportunities to socialize.
  • CMSS is hosting a Benefit Brunch at Saddle and Cycle (900 W Foster Ave) on Saturday April 27 from 11AM – 2PM; all proceeds will be in support of the Sounds of Healing program, with the goal of fully implementing music therapy into CMSS’s care regimen.
  • If Bill could swap with any Andersonville business for a day, he would choose any one of our lovely antique stores, listed below:

Visit Chicago Methodist Senior Services on the following platforms:
Online: cmsschicago.org
Facebook: facebook.com/cmsschicago
Twitter: @CMSSChicago
Linkedin: linkedin.com/company/covenant_methodist_senior_services