Several times a month, Sales Counselor Elaine Bahr accompanies prospective residents as they tour Tallgrass Creek's spacious campus. When Bahr and her guests stop to chat with community members they pass along the way, one particular question comes up.
"Guests want to hear from those who live here why they chose Tallgrass Creek," says Bahr. "Our residents are happy to tell them."
Bahr can answer that question herself, as her mother, Doris Waller, chose the Overland Park, Kans., Erickson Living community before Bahr began working at Tallgrass Creek.
"What great personal testimony that my mom lives in this wonderful community where I now work," says Bahr. "It says more than any conversation or sales brochure."
Taste of Tallgrass
About 50 Tallgrass Creek guests learned firsthand why so many have chosen Tallgrass Creek, one of 20 retirement communities developed and managed by Baltimore, Md.-based Erickson Living.
Tallgrass Creek's sales team hosted a chef-prepared luncheon that included a fresh salad with strawberry, almond, and blue cheese; entrée choices of pecan-crusted chicken or Kansas City-style ribs; roasted Yukon potatoes and grilled asparagus; and a delicious slice of homemade strawberry layer cake.
Dining Services Director Doug Ohliger notes one of many things that differentiates Tallgrass Creek from other communities is food preparation.
"Food is prepared in our restaurant-grade kitchen at time of order rather than in large batches, or brought in and kept warm," says Ohliger. "It's fresher, hotter, and a more personal dining experience."
There are several dining venues at Tallgrass Creek, including the spacious Blue Sky Restaurant where residents select from more than 20 made-to-order entrée choices each evening, along with multiple sides and desserts.
Something for everyone
Guests touring Tallgrass Creek enjoy seeing the large fitness center, temperature-controlled swimming pool, beauty salon, meeting rooms, library, private dining room, comfortable movie theater, art center, well-stocked woodshop, and more.
Bahr will often show guests the 30-page monthly activity calendar that details the unique social, educational, and fitness opportunities at the active community.
Tallgrass Creek boasts about 70 resident-driven clubs that explore everything from nature to ballroom dancing to technology. Interesting trips are always on the calendar to destinations such as orchid farms, wildlife preserves, hummingbird and butterfly gardens, casinos, museums, city tours, and restaurants.
In addition, Tallgrass Creek's fitness team leads 28 land-based fitness classes each week along with 10 water aerobics classes. Classes address all levels of fitness.
The resident life team adds to the action with fashion, craft, and talent shows; entertainment events; walkathons; fitness competitions; poolside gatherings; and weekly happy hours where the bar is open and the tunes are plentiful.
The management team hosts informative town halls for residents and other events such as a recent celebration for National Pancake Day. Residents enjoyed a complimentary pancake breakfast catered by Chris Cakes, a local catering company that specializes in pancakes and other breakfast items. The event took place at Milo's Café, Tallgrass Creek's casual lunch spot and mini-market.
"It's impossible to be bored here," says Judy Turner, who coordinates a monthly book club, a meditative coloring group, and attends fitness classes. "You can do as little or as much as you want, but there is something for everyone."
A major plus
People also choose Tallgrass Creek because of its fully staffed on-site medical center. The center staffs two board-certified internists along with a nurse practitioner, podiatrist, social worker, and several medical assistants. A board-certified cardiologist is also associated with the center.
Additionally, the center serves residents of Blue Sage Pointe, Tallgrass Creek's continuing care neighborhood, which provides a full continuum of lifetime care.
"We are unique," says Practice Administrator Janel Southard. "No other community in this area has an on-site medical center with a dedicated provider team."
The center schedules 30-minute appointments and reserves same day appointments each day. A provider is on call 24/7, including weekends and holidays.
Southard notes residents can keep their own primary physicians but still utilize the center for flu shots, strep tests, and urgent care needs.
"Our medical center is available for all residents from the moment they move to Tallgrass Creek," says Southard. "The convenience is wonderful. No parking or weather worries because we are steps from your door."
Bob Butterworth recently benefitted from this convenience when he developed painful bursitis in his elbow. Though Bob and his wife, Janet, had seen the same physician for 25 years, the practice had changed, and Bob knew an appointment would not be available for several weeks.
Luckily, Bob saw Southard in the hall, and she encouraged him to go to Tallgrass Creek's medical center that day. He took her advice, saw Royce Dunn, D.O., one of the center's physicians, and was soon on the road to recovery.
"It was a night and day experience," says Bob. "We switched everything over to Tallgrass Creek's medical center after that."
Though the Butterworths are very active, Bob says having the medical center so close gives great peace of mind.
"I don't want to be sick," says Bob. "But if I am, this is the place to be."
Planning ahead pays off
Prospective residents always hear about the community's priority list, which is composed of people planning to move to an Erickson Living community such as Tallgrass Creek. All it takes is a fully refundable $1,000 deposit and a $150-per-person, nonrefundable application fee to join.
When prospective residents submit their deposit, that date is noted as their priority list date. Once their preferred floor plan becomes available, the sales team gives first right of refusal to priority list members based on their joining date. If they are not ready to make a decision, they retain their spot on the priority list.
Priority list members are invited to special events, seminars, and social gatherings, and are first to hear important community announcements. They are also invited to spend a weekend in Tallgrass Creek's guest suite so they can experience the community's active lifestyle firsthand.
Carole and Al Pugsley were on the priority list for several years before they moved to Tallgrass Creek.
"Because we were on the priority list, we heard about a new residence building [Hummingbird Square] that was planned and were among the first to select the floor plan and location we wanted," says Carole. "It made a big difference."
Carole is now a resident ambassador for Tallgrass Creek and frequently chats with prospective residents.
"I tell people the lifestyle here is wonderful," says Carol. "By day two, we loved it."