Retirement Archives - Lakeview Village

Posts Tagged : Retirement

Family discusses move to a retirement community.
Moving to a Retirement Community: A Family Discussion

A free e-book with tips on how to discuss a retirement community with your children.

If your children are at least 40 years old and you are at least 70, it’s time to start talking to your loved ones about your next move. If you are anxious about broaching the topic, consider that according to the AARP, more than 75% of children with parents reaching retirement age have already considered their parents’ independent living options, even if they’ve never talked about it before. If you find yourself struggling with finding the right way to begin the conversation, download our free e-book. It contains helpful tips for initiating conversations about the big move as well as ways to help children feel comfortable with the decision.

You’ll learn:

  • Tricks for getting the conversation started
  • Phrases you can use in your conversation
  • How family traditions continue after your move to Lakeview VIllage
Complete the form below to download your free e-book.
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Choosing the Right Retirement Community

Finding the perfect fit among available retirement lifestyles isn’t easy. From 55+ homes associations to senior living apartments and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) like Lakeview Village, it is important to make the right choice, for you.

Lakeview Village President and CEO Jamie Frazier offers three tips for active adults trying to narrow down their retirement choices.

  1. Get to know the reputation of the communities.

    Online reviews on Google+, Yelp and other online review sites are helpful in hearing what other people are saying about the community you are investigating. Many communities will also arrange for you to dine with residents in a community dining room. This not only gives you an opportunity to ask residents about their personal experiences, but is a way for you to observe resident and staff interactions, resident interactions with each other, and, of course, sample the food!

  1. Make sure the community is financially secure.

    Ask questions so that you understand the community’s financial position as well as what aspects of the community are priorities. Non-profit communities may be able to reinvest residents’ services fees right back into the community, while communities run by for-profit corporations or venture capitalists may be more beholden to shareholders than the residents they serve. Many for-profit companies in senior living own multiple communities, so more-profitable neighborhoods may see money leaving their community to help support struggling communities or to build new communities.

  1. Ask yourself: “Is the community the right fit for you?”

    There is a big variety among senior living neighborhoods. Most offer some services and amenities, but they will vary in scope considerably. Some communities will offer health care on site, through all levels of care, while others may require residents to move outside of the community if they need skilled nursing or assisted living. Some communities are exclusively for apartment living, while others include cottages or high end villa homes in addition to apartments. It is important to visit communities until you are comfortable that the one you choose will satisfy your needs.

Retirement community living can be very rewarding and fulfilling. Doing your research before you make a final decision will find you in a senior neighborhood where you can thrive for many, many, many years to come.

International Residents add Flair to Lakeview Village

Austrian Brigitte Roschitz experienced a tumultuous journey to the United States

By Shellie Sullivan

Austrian Brigitte Roschitz now lives at Lakeview Village in Lenexa

Lakeview Village resident Brigitte Roschitz at 18 in Austria.

A retirement community in Lenexa, Kansas may not sound like a place with much international flair. Perceptions can be deceiving. Lakeview Village is home to residents from three different continents, including Brigitte Roschitz who was born in Austria.

Austria is a land-locked European country bordering the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. Brigitte was 11th out of 12 children in her family. Her father was a master tailor and ran his own business in their home, where her mother helped, as she was a seamstress. Brigitte remembers being happy growing up, that is until 1945.

Post-WWII Austria was a tough place for German Austrians

After WWII, Austria was divided into American, British, French and Soviet zones. Brigitte’s family, the Steins, lived in the Soviet zone. In the Soviet zone, Yugoslavian Partisans gathered up all the German Austrians, and put them in concentration camps. Brigitte was 10 years old in the spring of 1945 when soldiers came to her home in the middle of the night and took her father and oldest brother. The family didn’t know what had happened to them or where they were taken. A week later, more soldiers returned for the rest of the family.

When the soldiers started to come into the house, Brigitte said her mother had the children layer their clothing and wear their coats, since they were not able to pack a bag or take anything but what they had on their bodies. Her mother had the children roll money up in their sleeves and hide some small jewelry in their clothes. She told them they would need it along the way. The soldiers checked everyone for money and jewelry, but because of how smart Brigitte’s mother was, they missed their hidden treasures.

Everyone from her town, minus the able bodied males, was moved to town churches or schools. The soldiers then released all the non-German people, of which Brigitte’s family was not included. The people who remained, which Brigitte estimated to be around 8,000 or so, marched to the next town. Once they arrived, they were moved into the town church. A woman, who was a friend of the family, arrived in town looking for the Steins. She brought Brigitte’s family to her house where she cared for them until the Partisans came a week later and took everyone in the house to the train station. They were loaded on the train and rode for two hours. When they arrived at the other end, there were more Partisan soldiers waiting to shuffle them to their new residences.

Their new residences were homes that belonged to other Germans. Brigitte explained that most homes at that time had two sections.  One was larger and designed for a growing family with children, while the other was smaller and typically housed grandparents. When Brigitte’s family arrived, the current owners were moved to the smaller part of the house, and several other families were put in the main house to share. Essentially, they were imprisoned in this house and town. The town was heavily guarded and referred to as “camp.”

Young and old started to die in the camp. Throughout these moves, the Stein family still didn’t know what had happened to their father and brother. As it turned out, they had been working in a lumber prison camp not too far from the rest of the family. The prisoner “grapevine” allowed Brigitte’s father to learn where his family was being held, and he and her brother were able to sneak into the home and stay there with the family.

“Oh that was a happy day!” said Brigitte with smiling, misty eyes.

Sister Engelfriada smuggled Lakeview VIllage resident Brigitte Roschitz out of an Austrian camp.

Brigitte’s sister, Sister Engelfriada, smuggled her out of an Austrian internment camp.

Brigitte’s older sister smuggles Brigitte and her little sister out of the camp

After a few months, Brigitte’s older sister, a nun who had not been living with the family, Sister Engelfriada ( meaning angel of peace), was permitted to visit her family inside the camp. She had heard about all the prisoners in the camp being sick and dying, so she talked her way in with a suitcase full of medicine and food to give her family. Little did she know how perfect her timing was as her family was suffering from Typhus and very, very sick. Brigitte says that within three days of eating and taking the medicine, the entire family recovered.

Sister Engelfriada was able to return again, and this time Brigitte’s father told the older sister that she was to take Brigitte and her youngest sister Agnus with her when she left. He wanted to save them, and he told Engelfriada that they would die if she didn’t get them out, because they were too young to survive at the camp. Sister Engelfriada smuggled Brigitte and her sister out of the camp and onto the train. Once on the train, they sat on a bench and were not allowed to make a sound for fear someone would hear the girls speak German and put them in danger. Her sister took them to the house of someone she knew, where another sibling, Sister Evelina and their brother, who was a priest, met them. Brigitte’s brother took her to Zagreb, Croatia and Sister Evelina took little Agnus to her home. They were separated for a year,  then were reunited in Croatia  and stayed with Engelfriada in her “Mother House” where they lived for four or five years. While in Croatia, Brigitte attended school. Brigitte said it was difficult because they did not know the language. “It was not fun,” she said. “But we had to learn because it was not good to be a German during this time.”

Several years later, the rest of her family finally succeeded in escaping the camp by crawling on their bellies in the snow under fences in the middle of winter. They were able to make it to the border into Austria and to one of the refugee camps where the Red Cross helped them.

Brigitte is reunited with her family and meets her future husband

Eventually Brigitte and her little sister were reunited with the rest of family in the Austrian refugee camp. It was there that she met her husband, although she didn’t know he would be her husband until years later. The Steins lived in the same barracks as his family and were in youth group together. Brigitte continued to go to school, eventually attending seamstress school where she learned sewing and business. She took a bus every day and finished when she was 18.

It was hard to find a job, but a priest friend told her that the children’s surgical hospital needed nurse aids. She was able to get a job there and, even though she had to move away from home, she really liked it!  Brigitte worked for three years, and then heard about a seamstress job for a hospital in her family’s town. She took that job for better pay!

Brigitte and her future husband had stayed in touch over the years, but then his family moved to America. He didn’t want to leave Brigitte, but he went with his family and came to visit her. He missed her so much that on one of his trips in 1964 he asked her to marry him, and he stayed so they could be married.

It took a while to get the approved paperwork for her to leave the country and move to Kansas City. Her husband Ernest was a home builder. They lived with his family in Strawberry Hill until they could afford an apartment on their own. She loved Strawberry Hill, which she described as ethnic and community-oriented. It was so different starting a new life and only knowing German and a little Croatian. She learned English from evening classes, citizenship classes and everyday living. She liked that she had to learn about the United States. Even though it was to pass her test, she thought it was so interesting. Brigitte was happy to come to this country because, “the U.S. had so much opportunity for jobs,” she said. Eventually Ernest and Brigitte were able to buy a house, fix it up and raise two daughters, who still live in the area.

Ernest has been gone for 17 years. Brigitte moved to Lakeview in 2014, and said she loves her apartment and being served, loves that her church is across the street and she can hear the bells, and loves that her grandchildren go to school across the street. Once you meet Brigitte, you will see that she is full of love and joy!  She told me that it comes from the great gift her parents gave her – faith. “I thank the Lord every day for living here at Lakeview,” she said.

Brigitte and Agnus were smuggled out of a camp in Austria

Ernest, Brigitte, Agnus and Agnus’ husband

The Gentlefolk is a barbershop quartet.
Dynamic Duo: Fred and Grace Holmes Live Their Passions
The Gentlefolk is a barbershop quartet.

Fred and Grace Holmes, with Arlene and Rex Raudenbush, perform in a barbershop quartet – The Gentlefolk.

Next time there is an open seat beside Fred and Grace Holmes in the dining room at Southridge, I’d suggest you take it. The Holmes’s have certainly led fascinating lives, including long stints abroad doing medical missions in developing countries. Grace was one of only three women in her medical school class; certainly she broke down barriers for those that came after her. Fred researched cancer epidemiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. They raised six children, five of whom were adopted.

What is most engaging about Fred and Grace, though, is their energy. They carry with them the aura that follows people who are living out their passions; it draws you in, inspires you, and, with luck, you can take a little bit of that energy with you to pursue your own passions.

In 2012, the pair published their first book, Tumbili, under the pen name Anne Miller Johnson, M.D. It is a medical mystery set in Africa, combining two things the Holmes’s know well: medicine and life in Africa. Fred has since gone on to write three more books, a series, about a doctor in the Pacific Northwest, where the Holmes attended medical school.

In addition to his medical degrees and designations, Fred earned his MA in British History from the University of Kansas. For his thesis, he researched medical problems of the Stuart monarchs of England; it was published in the UK as “The Sickly Stuarts.”

The couples’ interest in medical history isn’t limited to the British. They have also done extensive research into medicine during the First World War. The pair teamed with other medical historians to delve into the archives at the WWI museum, pouring through medical records from Base Hospital #28 in Limoges, France. Essays they wrote as part of this research, and more information about Base Hospital #28 are available online.

Spurred by this research, Grace decided to write a book about the role female nurses played in WWI. So the pair took to research across the country, trying to dig up whatever they could on WWI nurses. During their research they stumbled across the name of a nurse in North Dakota. They called a library in the state looking for information about her. After affirming that there were two pages on the nurse in question, the voice on the other end of the phone said, “Would you like the others?”

A one-time president of an American Legion Auxiliary in North Dakota had many years before collected information on 270 women from the state who had served in some capacity during WWI. Fred and Grace quickly took to digitizing the microfilm and sorting through the interviews. When it was over, there were interviews with 225 North Dakota WWI nurses.

“There were a lot of tender stories,” Fred explained. “They (nurses) made a huge impact. They were the last face someone saw as they were dying.”

For French and British soldiers, there was always the possibility of visits from family who lived near enough to get to travel to the hospital. For U.S. servicemen, the nurses filled the role of family.

Grace recently signed a contract with a publisher for “North Dakota Nurses Over There” which will be available in April 2017, on the 100th Anniversary of America’s declaration of war on Germany.

When not writing or researching, Fred and Grace sing in a barbershop quartet with Arlene and Rex Raudenbush called the Gentlefolk. They both have had a life-long interest in music and have been singing in various choirs and groups for most of their lives.

Whether researching, singing, writing or entertaining, Fred and Grace Holmes live full, rich lives. They are a delightful couple and a wonderful addition to Lakeview Village.

Lakeview Manager’s Fun Events Encourage Community, Vanquish Boredom

Chinese New YearSince Shellie Sullivan came on board as community life manager about seven years ago, residents at Lakeview Village have come to expect a full schedule of fun, even fantastic events. Armed with a hospitality background, the former teacher and Lakeview volunteer puts her experience and energy to work orchestrating events that range from wine tasting to casino parties.

 “Anything that goes on here, Shellie helps with and you know it will be fun,” said resident Barbara Joiner. “You can’t be bored at Lakeview unless you want to!” read more

Why Lakeview LifeCare? Peace of Mind, Fun Times

It might be an understatement to say Lakeview Village resident Ken Smith has a full dance card. He’s part of a book club, volunteers for various organizations and is admittedly coming to the realization that he must pass on events more often because he has more social options than time to do them all. It’s a nice problem to have and quite different from his situation a little more than two years ago, when Smith was spending the lion’s share of his time alone, reading or performing tedious maintenance on an aging and oversized home. Still, all the rediscovered fun and fulfillment is not the primary reason Smith is happy with his decision to move into the Kansas community two years ago—at best, it is a distant second best to the peace of mind he gets from the community’s LifeCare contract. 

“What I feel best about is the lifelong healthcare,” Smith said. “I don’t have to worry about healthcare if I can’t be independent anymore at some point. My son and my family don’t have to worry about it. I’m so happy to be able to tell him he doesn’t have to worry about taking care of my health if I ever have a fall or become ill. I’m going to be OK.”

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Not Your Cookie Cutter Grandma
Eunice Litchfield

Eunice Litchfield

During her days as an elementary school teacher, Eunice Litchfield maintained control of her classroom. Now in her retirement years, Eunice continues to take charge of her life.

In 1998, Eunice made one of her best decisions. She packed her belongings and moved to Lakeview Village.

“I didn’t want my kids to worry about me and I didn’t want the troubles of maintaining a home,” says Eunice. “I’m glad I made the decision on my own.”

Eunice also made a decision to be a participant in everything available to her.

“I involve myself in as much as I can,” says Eunice. “I feel if you’re bored, it’s your own fault.” read more