News & Events Archives - Lakeview Village

News & Events

Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community Right for You?

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs or “Life Plan Communities) can be a wonderful solution for older adults who are independent and active today, but who seek the peace of mind that comes with living in a community that can provide assisted living or health care services if and when needed.

But, how do you know if a CCRC is right for you? If you answer yes to most of these introductory questions, then it may be worth exploring your options further:

• Do you want to downsize your homeowner responsibilities? (interior and exterior maintenance and repairs)

• Do you like to plan ahead; to control, reduce, or eliminate the uncertainty about future housing and health care costs?

• If you ever need assisted living or advanced healthcare services, do you want assurance that such services are contractually provided by the community in which you live?

• Would you prefer a social and active community environment—with various services and amenities available to you—that also affords you privacy and independence?

• Are you interested in having easy access to a variety of wellness programs and other activities?

• Would you like to reduce the number of meals you prepare by having access to a meal plan and possibly bistro-style dining options?

• Do you want to reduce the chance that your adult children or other family members will be responsible to provide or coordinate assisted living or nursing care if you ever need it?

• Are you prepared to possibly pay an entry fee and monthly service fees in exchange for the above?

Explore this further at Lakeview Village. Please contact 913-744-2449 to speak or tour with one of our lifecare counselors.

Lakeview Village Recognized at the Kansas House of Represenatives

State Representative Brandon Woodard for Kansas, District 30 recognized the team of Lakeview Village on the floor of the House of Representatives today for receiving the U.S. News “Best of Nursing Homes” and “Best of Short-Stay Rehabilitation” awards. Congratulations!! March 12, 2019.

Pictured are Mary Schworer (COO), Pam Hermon (Administrator, Dir. of Healthcare, Rep. Woodward, Kathy Muraski (Dir. of Rehab) ), Zoe Ninon (DON), and Jamie Frazier, CEO.

New Villa Construction by the Lake

Lakeview Village is redeveloping near the community’s signature, three-acre lake. The site will include the addition of eight 1,600 square foot villas from Don Julian Builders. Five of these homes have already been reserved. They include custom finishes inside and out, such as 10-foot ceilings, walk-in showers, fireplace, eat-in kitchen with island and walk-in pantry, all at the base price. Each villa features two bedrooms and two fully accessible baths. A one-car garage is standard. All of these homes feature an optional basement finish.

The Stockholm

2 Bedroom, 2 Bath

At 1,598 square feet, this new floor plan is sure to become a favorite. A spacious hearth room and adjoining kitchen are the heart of this floor plan. The one-car garage is oversized, as is the walk-in closet in the master bedroom. The master bath offers double sinks. The covered porch is perfect for relaxing outdoors and has easy access to the backyard, which is a short walk to a three-acre lake.
Please let us know if you would like to learn more about this opportunity.

To learn how to get the most out of your retirement, call today to get your free information kit.
(913) 744-2449

Game On: Can Brain Games Improve Your Memory?

By | February 18th, 2019

There are a number of so-called “brain game” products on the market these days. These typically are computer or smartphone/tablet-based games that claim they can help improve seniors’ cognitive function and memory. But do they really work? Could playing video games be the secret to decreasing the prevalence of neuro-degenerative conditions like dementia? And what about things like crossword puzzles and sudoku—can they help seniors stay mentally sharp?

Aging and brain function

It is a normal part of the aging process to experience some decline in the number of neural synapses within the brain, which are imperative to memory and cognitive function. There are also conditions like dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease) or Parkinson’s disease that cause more severe and debilitating cognitive decline among older people.

Some of the causes behind cognitive decline may be preventable by making lifestyle changes like managing weight, staying physically active, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, and managing stress. Keeping the mind active—pursuing continuing education opportunities, or learning a new skill, a new language, or how to play an instrument—may even aid with the formation of new neural networks in seniors’ brains.

Inconclusive studies

You’ve heard the saying “use it, or lose it”; this axiom may be applicable to the brain.

The 1995 MacArthur Study, one of largest longitudinal studies of the aging process, found that among the octogenarians in their study sample, those who were more physically and mentally active—frequently doing activities like crossword puzzles, reading, and playing bridge—also had the highest cognitive abilities. However, a study conducted by neuroscientists at University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University found no significant difference between the memory function of seniors who played “brain games” and the control group that didn’t play the games.

Still another recent study found that it’s not enough just to use your brain; you have to challenge it by learning something unfamiliar.

University of Texas at Dallas researchers randomly assigned 221 adults, ages 60 to 90, to participate in a particular type of activity for 15 hours a week for a three-month period. Some were assigned to learn a new skill — digital photography, quilting, or both. Others were told to engage in more commonplace activities at home, like listening to classical music and doing crossword puzzles. And some seniors were assigned to a group that focused on social interactions, field trips, and entertainment.

At the end of the study, the researchers discovered that the seniors who were in the group that learned new skills showed quantifiable improvements in memory, as compared to those who engaged in the non-demanding mental activities at home or the purely social group.

So, while the research is thus far inconclusive on this topic, it appears that the most beneficial mental stimulation may involve learning new information or skills, rather than just recalling what we already know.

And this stands to reason. Think of the brain as being like a computer. Learning something new—like a new language or skill—stimulates the brain and helps form new neural pathways. It’s sort of like adding new software or a new hard drive to a computer, increasing its functional and memory capacity. By comparison, activities like trivia or crossword puzzles simply require you call upon data that already exists in the computer that is your brain.

Gaming for the senior set

Video and computer games are getting increasingly popular among seniors. Entertainment Software Association research from 2018 found that a quarter of people over the age of 50 play video games on a regular basis—a number that is trending upward.

If you’re a senior who is interested in diving into the gaming world with the goal of improving your brain health, again, games that teach new information—versus recalling data you already know—are believed to be best. However, there are also many fun games that get your body moving, offering the added benefit of improving your physical fitness, balance, and cardiovascular health (which is also good for your brain!).

Computer games and apps for smartphones/tablets

There are more and more computer-based games, as well as apps that can be downloaded to a smartphone or tablet (such as an iPad), that have educational value, which may be beneficial for seniors’ brains.

For example, programs like Rosetta Stone, and games such as Lingo Arcade, Influent, and MindSnacks can help you learn a new language, and Rocksmith can teach you how to play the guitar. If you’re interested in learning how to do computer programming, CodeMonkey will educate you on the basics of coding languages like HTML5 and JavaScript.

History buffs may enjoy games like Crusader King or Civilization VI, which combine strategic thinking with history lessons. There are even flight simulator games that can teach you how to fly an airplane!

Gaming consoles

There are numerous options when it comes to gaming consoles, from Xbox to PlayStation to Nintendo. Many of the games for these systems provide purely entertainment value, and there’s nothing wrong with that! But there are also several games that are effective at getting your body moving while you have fun. As an added benefit, these gaming systems are enjoyable for people of all ages and can be a great activity for grandparents to share with their grandchildren.

You may have heard of a Wii (pronounced like “we”). It is an interactive gaming console sold by Nintendo, and it’s become all the rage in many senior living communities. The Wii Fit system bundle comes with a balance board “peripheral” (add-on equipment) that is used in many Wii games to track your movements, allowing the game to make more personalized recommendations.

Wii Fit can be used for activities like yoga, balance games, and aerobic and strength training exercises. The Wii Sports Resort game offers numerous virtual activities that can get seniors moving like golf, tennis, and bowling.

Virtual reality

The lines are increasingly getting blurred between gaming and virtual reality (VR). VR is where a user dons headphones and a special mask that displays various simulations of three-dimensional images that can be interacted with by the user in a seemingly real way.

Such VR technology is another high-tech tool that is being used in several new applications for seniors. There are VR uses for memory care patients, with programs designed to stimulate the brain, spur memories, or encourage anxiety reduction. There are also physical therapy and pain management applications for VR.

The future of gaming in senior living communities

As I visit continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs, or life plan communities) across the country, I’m witnessing first-hand the popularity of gaming among seniors. Based on this growing trend, gaming may play a bigger role in the future of the CCRC industry.

I can even foresee a time when CCRCs might create on-site gaming centers where residents can enjoy some friendly competition with each other. Whether it’s innovative uses for Wii Fit exercise groups or a fierce Crusader King virtual battle, CCRC residents can benefit from the physical activity and/or mental stimulation offered by these games in a fun and social atmosphere (interpersonal interactions which offer their own health benefits for the seniors).

But the bottom line is that, based on current research, the types of games that are believed to be mostbeneficial for seniors’ cognitive health are those that involve educational elements. So instead of a word puzzle, sudoku, or fantasy-adventure game, chose one that will help you learn Italian, take up the virtual guitar, or try your hand at computer programming.

And also don’t underestimate the “old-fashioned” way of learning: from a book or in a classroom-type setting. Most CCRCs provide residents with opportunities for this type of continuing education on an array of topics. Some even have lifelong learning partnerships with nearby universities, allowing residents to audit college courses. It might not be as snazzy as the latest computer or video game, but this type of learning still offers seniors potential benefits to their brains.

6 Key Considerations for Your CCRC Decision Process

By | January 21st, 2019

Financially, emotionally, and from a practical perspective, choosing a continuing care retirement community (CCRC or “life plan” community) is a big decision. Here at myLifeSite, we strive to provide information and create resources that can help seniors make a more informed decision about whether this particular senior living option is right for them, and if so, which CCRC may be a good fit. After all, this is a choice that will impact your quality of life, health, happiness, and wallet for years to come.

To help make the CCRC decision process a little easier and more manageable, we have simplified the sometimes-overwhelming list of deciding factors into six key areas that consumers should evaluate when considering a CCRC.

Residences and amenities

When looking at a CCRC, among the easier things to assess are the physical campus and the various amenities provided by the community. I recommend you take several tours of the community’s residences, considering different floorplans and features, and then contemplate what is important to you. Be sure to do this at different times of the day so you can see how lighting impacts your potential residence and to get a feel for what goes on in the community at different times.

There is also an assortment of amenities that will be provided by a CCRC, though these offerings can vary widely from community to community, from basic services to high-end conveniences. You will need to determine which are essential and which, in your opinion, are just nice-to-haves.

Some amenities to look for may include: technology that helps residents stay safe as well as keep in touch with other residents and family; community gardens, libraries, walking trails, and manicured grounds; transportation services and planned excursions; resident-led activities and programs; multiple dining options like cafés and bistro-style settings; a fitness center, concierge-style services, move-in coordinators, and more.

Contract details

Generally speaking, there are five common types of CCRC contracts offered among communities: Type A (lifecare), Type B (modified), Type C (fee-for-service), Rental, and Equity/Co-op. And when it comes to entry fees (which almost all CCRCs require), some are refundable and others are not (or are only partly refundable).

Because they aren’t apples-to-apples, comparing the cost of these various types of CCRC contracts, especially in different parts of the country, can be challenging. A lifecare contract in Seattle may be substantially more than a fee-for-service contract in Cleveland. Or, suppose one CCRC’s campus and facilities are older and it has fewer amenities than another community.

Bottom line: It is critical that you have a thorough understanding of which contract is right for your particular situation, what is included in your monthly fee and what is not, stipulations regarding entry fee refunds (if applicable), and more.

Quality of care

CCRCs offer numerous attractive services and amenities for those living independently, but let’s keep sight of the primary reason for considering a CCRC: access to a continuum of care services. You want to be sure that the care services—both assisted living services as well as long-term skilled nursing care services within the on-site healthcare center—will be up to your expectations, should you one day need them.

You will want to do your due diligence research on the care provided by the CCRC, and there are a number of resources you can and should explore in order to do this. If the CCRC’s healthcare facility is Medicare-certified (as opposed to private pay only), you can check out their Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rating. You also can reach out to your state’s long-term care ombudsman program to see if the CCRC has had any complaints filed.

It’s wise to do some shoe-leather investigating yourself as well by visiting the healthcare center and observing how residents are being cared for, if the facilities appear clean and well-maintained, and if the staff appears to be content. I also recommend you get some first-hand reviews from the CCRC’s residents to see what their impressions have been of the care they and their fellow residents have received.

Management/Operations

A CCRC is home to its residents, but it is also a business, and like most businesses, CCRCs are usually only as good as their administrators. You want to ensure the CCRC you are considering is well-managed and in good financial standing.

The financial viability of the community is important in order to ensure that it will be able to provide residents the quality of care and services that they expect and have paid for into the future. Consider consulting with an accountant or financial professional who is well-versed in CCRC contracts and finances to ensure you will be getting what you expect and have paid for.

It’s also wise to understand the leadership structure of the community; get a feel for the expertise and experience brought by members of the board, and ask if residents are involved in a leadership capacity. A good relationship between the leadership teams and the residents can be highly beneficial to the overall success of the organization.

Financial impact

If you are considering a move to a CCRC, it’s crucial that you understand exactly how it will impact your personal finances in the long-term. Since cost and contract terms vary dramatically, it can be challenging to determine if you will be able to afford the cost of a CCRC over the long-haul.

Affordability is a common and understandable concern among those considering a CCRC. In fact, our recent 2019 myLIfeSite Consumer Survey revealed that this was one of the top reasons that prospective residents put off a move to a CCRC.

If you are comparing multiple communities, you want to be sure you are doing a true comparison of what each will cost so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you. The myLifeSite financial projection tool (a premium myLifeSite feature that you can utilize for less than $30 for 30 days of access) can simplify these calculations for you. Alternatively, many CCRCs across the country have access to a more advanced version of this tool and can run various projections and comparisons for you. And of course, always consult with your accountant and financial advisor to better understand how the cost of a CCRC will fit into your financial future. But in this case, it’s important to make sure they have a thorough understanding of how CCRC contracts work, and the intangible benefits.

Lifestyle and wellness

The concept of “lifestyle” relates to the factors that will impact your daily living experience within the community. It makes up the answer to the question, “Will I be happy and comfortable living here?” The CCRC you choose should foster your lifestyle preferences so that you can live the life you want to live.

“Lifestyle” is a highly individualized concept, so the priorities of one person may be different from another person’s, but important lifestyle-related considerations may include aspects such as lifelong learning opportunities, dining choices and meal plan flexibility, community involvement and volunteer opportunities, size and location of the CCRC, and general vitality level of the residents who live there.

CCRCs are changing their approach from a focus on reactive healthcare to proactive wellness and prevention, and are often touted for the many social and wellness benefits they offer their residents. In fact, a recent study found that CCRC residents are in fact happier and healthier than those who do not live in such a community. From fitness classes to continuing education to nutritious food offerings, a CCRC’s wellness programs should be designed to nurture residents’ minds, bodies, and spirits.

Many communities will allow you to stay on-site for a night or two to get a feel for what it’s like to live there and the lifestyle and wellness opportunities offered by the CCRC. I strongly encourage all CCRC prospects to take advantage of this option!

Six factors to streamline your CCRC decision

There are a variety of reasons making the choice to move to a CCRC more complex than most other senior living options. This is a BIG decision; there is no denying that! However, as you explore various CCRCs and consider different contract types, these six key factors above should remain top-of-mind.

There are countless checklists that have been created over the years, but most are either overly extensive and, therefore, impractical, or too vague to be helpful. That’s why the CCRC experts at myLifeSite are in the process of developing “The Ultimate CCRC Checklist,” which strikes the perfect balance between comprehensive and usable. We exclude the most obvious questions but list those that are important, though easy to overlook.

Lakeview Village to be included in a landmark study on Life Plan Communities

Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging is partnering with Northwestern University in conducting the Age Well Study, a five-year analysis of the impact of living in a Life Plan Community.

The Age Well Study is the only national longitudinal study evaluating the impact of living in a Life Plan Community on residents’ cognitive, physical, and psychosocial health and well-being. The Age Well Study measures residents’ self-reported health and wellness metrics through a survey taken annually for five years. Results will be compared to a demographically similar sample drawn from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS) conducted by the University of Michigan.

This invaluable information will be used to improve the senior living industry.

First-year results are in and they spell good news for Life Plan Community residents. Initial results show:

  • 69% of residents reported that moving to a Life Plan Community “somewhat or greatly improved” their social wellness.
  • Life Plan Community residents tend to have greater emotional, social, physical, intellectual, and vocational wellness than their community-dwelling counterparts.
  • Residents report significantly more healthy behaviors than community dwellers (not just more exercise).

Lakeview Village was approached by Mather Lifeways Institute on Aging, to be a part of “The Age Well Study”.   Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging is seeking Life Care Communities to join 80 other such communities (like Lakeview) across the country in a landmark longitudinal study that will determine the effects of living in a Life Care Community on residents’ long-term health and wellness.  They are currently working with other communities from 30 states, but Kansas was not represented, so they chose Lakeview and offered us the spot to join the study.   In return for participating, Lakeview will receive information and insights, including an individualized report comparing our Lakeview data with all of the other participating Life Care Communities, as well as older adults living in the community-at-large.

You can learn more about it at www. theagewellstudy.com

Lakeview Village achieved top marks from U.S. News

Superior service and care by U.S. News and World Report named Lakeview Village as Best Nursing Home and Best Overall & Short-Stay Rehabilitation on a national evaluation.

U.S. News evaluated more than 15,000 facilities throughout the country and rated most of them in two different areas: overall care and short-stay rehabilitation.

Facilities were considered Best Nursing Homes if they were rated high performing in either the Overall or Short-Stay Rehabilitation rating and not rated worse than average in the other.

A total of 2,975 facilities were recognized by U.S. News as Best Nursing Homes – 1,837 in overall care and 1,874 in short-stay rehab. 736 nursing homes received this designation in both overall and short-stay care.

Lakeview Village is one of 736 that received both honors out of 15,000. Lakeview Village CEO, Jamie Frazier said, “This doesn’t just happen – it is because of the service and dedication of our Lakeview employees on a daily basis! What a great accomplishment for everyone here at Lakeview Village!!”

Best Nursing Homes Link: https://health.usnews.com/best-nursing-homes/search?location=66215

Jim & Mary Birkhead Had Every Intention of Staying in Their Overland Park Home

After Touring Retirement Communities, They Changed Their Minds

Jim and Mary Birkhead called Overland Park home for 50 years. Expecting to stay in their house for the duration of their retirement, the Birkheads purchased a home with a master bedroom on the first floor, so, if needed, they could live on one level of their residence as they aged.

“We really thought we would stay there,” Jim said.

As time passed, however, the BIrkheads were spending a lot of time maintaining their residence.

“We had a lawn service and a housekeeper, but it was still a big job,” Mary said.

When Mary started to experience some back pain, she no longer wanted to cook every night or clean up the kitchen. It was at this point that, despite their prior plan to remain in their home, Jim and Mary realized they hadn’t done enough research to rule out a move to a retirement community.

“We picked five retirement communities to visit, near our church and St. Luke’s South, where our doctors practiced,” Jim said.

As the couple visited communities, Jim started to put together a spreadsheet evaluating each option available, including staying put in their home in Overland Park.

“When all was said and done,” Jim said, “Lakeview Village was the best.”

The Birkheads liked Lakeview’s location on 100 acres in a residential neighborhood. As proud dog owners to their pooch, Corky, the couple was pleased with the green spaces for exploring. They appreciated the convenience of attached garage parking, and were comforted with the knowledge that future healthcare is available on-site, should they need it.

But at the end of the day, it was the people at Lakeview Village who sold Jim and Mary on their move.

“We were here, just walking around, and people would be out on their balconies reading a book and say hello like they’d known us forever,” Mary said.

Corky, the couple’s dog, made a smooth transition to their new apartment. Jim had been worried that she wouldn’t adjust, because she was used to a large, fenced-in backyard and a doggie door that allowed her access to the outdoors whenever she wanted. Happily, Corky is thriving in her new home, where neighbors bring her treats, and she receives lots of extra attention from fellow residents.

Jim is quick to point out that the couple didn’t have to move, they chose to move once they discovered the friendly community at Lakeview Village.

Don’t move to Lakeview Village too late!


When considering a move to Lakeview Village, the question of timing often arises. Lakeview Village is designed for residents to move in when they are still independent, before there is any need for assistance. Lakeview LifeCare™, the hallmark of life at Lakeview Village, requires residents to pass a medical and financial screening. Because of this, the greater risk to potential residents is moving too late.

Resident Story: Jane & Ed Hitzelberger

My husband was tired of the G’s: The grind of cleaning gutters, mowing grass, taking out the garbage and buying groceries. We put our name on the waiting list for Lakeview Village, the place we knew we wanted to be…eventually. We had heard, “sooner rather than later,” and “don’t wait too long.” It made sense, but excuses kept interfering with our plan. The economy didn’t seem quite right, the thought of a move sounded overwhelming, and/or the children would be upset if we sold the home they grew up in.

We procrastinated, and gambled on our health holding steady. Unfortunately, a sudden stroke changed everything. We had waited too long. Now what?

The problem was that now only one of us qualified for unlimited Lakeview LifeCare™. We were still able to move to Lakeview Village, but the security of LifeCare – for both of us– had always been part of our plan, and it was no longer available.

Our children jumped right in to help with everything. The house sold, the move went smoothly and the responsibility of taking care of a home was off our shoulders.

Today, we urge prospective residents to decide to move in time to enjoy the activities and friendships of an active community. Being a part of a nurturing community helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle, and our children are relieved that we are settled where we want to be, and they didn’t have to make decisions on our behalf.

Be aware, there is a point where you have waited too long to decide. We were guilty of not following our own advice, but now we are moved in and settled. We are just glad.

Resident Receives Award

Dr. Mani Mani, pictured with his wife Rebekah, is a 2018 Honoree for the 70 over 70 awards.

We are pleased to announce that Lakeview Village resident Dr. Mani Mani has been selected as a 2018 Honoree for the Shepherd’s Center of KC Central inaugural 70 over 70 awards.

Mani Mani, M.D. is professor emeritus in the KU Department of Plastic Surgery. Born in India, Dr. Mani graduated from Christian Medical College in Vellore in 1961 and completed general surgery training there in 1964. While training under the renowned Paul Wilson Brand, M.D., he crossed paths with David Robinson, M.D. That relationship led to an invitation to visit KU Medical Center in 1969 for plastic surgery training and decades of partnership and innovation.

Upon completing his residency, Dr. Mani returned to India. In 1972, Dr. Robinson visited Dr. Mani and asked him to join the faculty at KU. After moving his family to Kansas in 1974, Dr. Mani was selected the medical director for the Gene and Barbara Burnett Burn Center. The protocols for contemporary burn care he developed at the burn center were ultimately adopted as the standard of care by every city, hospital, ambulance, and fire department in the state of Kansas. It then became the standard of care in many parts of the U.S. and abroad including Malaysia, Australia, Kyrgyzstan, and India

Although Dr. Mani officially retired in 1999, he remains active on campus including as a regular lecturer and with his involvement in telemedicine initiatives for the Department of Plastic Surgery with residents around the world.

Dr. Mani and his wife Rebekah have been active residents of Lakeview Village retirement community since August 2015. The Mani’s continue to travel periodically to Vellore, India where he consults on the programs and further development of the Christian Medical College. He is active in the Lakeview community, recently giving presentations on end-of-life issues and addressing the high school graduates who receive college scholarships from Lakeview Village residents. He has also presented travelogues about the countries he has visited and their distinctive cultures.