March 1, 2017


DanishWhile visiting Mormor at The Danish Home several months ago, I had inquired about the grand 125th anniversary celebrations. I had been hearing whispers in the hall about some ideas, and Mormor and I even had a few conversations brainstorming some different ideas. From hearing her stories growing up in Denmark, to my own trip to Denmark and Sweden last year, bridging the Nordic culture with our American culture adds some excitement!



To my complete delight, not only was I informed about the four phenomenal celebrations that were then in the organizing stages, but I was asked if I would like to be part of a committee to help plan them!


Since Mormor has moved to The Danish Home, I have made it a point to get to know the wonderfully beloved staff and Mormor’s neighbors, which are now dear friends. Never one to shy away from a grand fête, I jumped at the chance to show my gratitude! As you know, I am a lover of history, and these125th anniversary events are going to be ones for the history books!



The Danish Home of Chicago in 1912 (formerly The Danish Old People’s Home)


A few months later, I was excitedly sitting in a room full of individuals who had come together for one wonderful reason. The members of The Danish Home 125th Planning Committee had come from far and wide (and some not so far). As we made our introductions, it was apparent that we all share a deep love and appreciation for the legacy of the home. I knew that I would be in good company with familiar faces at that first meeting, but I did not expect to be in the same room with descendants of the Danish Home’s original 12 Founding Women! It was quite an honor, I must admit.


I think the most wonderful part about all of it is that many of us share a Scandinavian heritage. Mormor and many residents currently living at The Danish Home are from Denmark, Sweden, Norway and other Nordic countries. Many others are of Scandinavian descent. There is a shared culture there. A very proud Nordic pride you feel when you walk in the door. However, there are residents who are not of Scandinavian descent. Despite their backgrounds, the residents all call one another neighbors and friends.


You see, it is not necessarily where we are from, but the journey that got us where we are today. The admiration and adoration many of us have for the idea that Emma Thorsen and her 11 friends had 125 years ago, and the determination and tenacity they demonstrated during a time when elder care was non-existent. The beauty of The Danish Home’s celebration and the events they are hosting for this year is that, in the simplest explanation, it is to honor some extraordinary people, share a bit of Nordic culture, and celebrate together.


I cannot wait to keep up my correspondence with the friends I have made. In fact, a few of them have already offered to share their stories with The Hope Chest.  I know that we have only just begun 2017, however, I can’t help but look to the future. What will the next 25, 50 or 125 years bring to the legacy of The Danish Home of Chicago? I am not sure, but at least I know that it is in good hands!




Stay tuned for so much more in this next chapter of The Danish Home, and please join in on the 125th celebration! You can find out more here.