Senior Star at Villa Ventura

Designed for Active Lifestyle of Today's Retirees

The term "rest home" has become as outdated as eight-track tapes, bell-bottom pants and lava lamps. With a jam-packed social calendar, challenging workouts and meals to rival fine restaurants, who has time to rest?

"This is not your grandparents' nursing home," said Peter Crane, executive director of Senior Star at Villa Ventura in south Kansas City. "That is the biggest misconception about senior living. In reality, it's a lifestyle, with a wide range of activities, both on campus and out in the greater community."

These activities include everything from secure walking trails to visits to cultural attractions around the city. Residents can exercise, get their hair done and even visit a pub without leaving the property. Above all, however, the experience is all about family.

"Children, grandchildren and other family members are here to visit every day of the week but especially on weekends," he said. "Our food is so good that many residents like to invite their families to eat with them instead of going out to a restaurant."

Villa Ventura, located at 12100 Wornall Road, was developed in the mid-1970s. Senior Star, which also owns 14 other facilities, acquired the property in 2003. It features 173 apartments, ranging from studios to two-bedroom, and from 400 to 1,200 square feet. Self-sufficient residents can choose independent living, while those who need extra help can opt for assisted living.

"We draw a wide range of people from both sides of the state line," Crane said. "Our average age is in the 80s. It typically is someone who has been retired for a while and is beginning to experience some of the challenges of growing older or lifestyle changes where housekeeping and cooking are better left to someone else."

Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Villa Ventura caters to individual needs. Home health services and therapy are available on site, so residents can get the care they need without leaving home. Villa Ventura meets the stringent accreditation standards of the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, so residents and families know they are receiving the best care available.

Other than the weather, food may be the most popular discussion topic at most retirement homes. At Villa Ventura, the talk is positive.

"I learned a long time ago that success in senior living come through the kitchen," Crane said. "Our dining program is one of the best in the area. I know that, because our residents comment on it. We have monthly meetings where they discuss what they would like to see on the menu. Once a month, we have a candlelight dinner with wine. Parents love to have their children come here for dinner. We not only serve healthy meals but also cater to specific dietary needs, such as low salt, whenever possible."

Residents can work off their meals through a number of activities, such as walking, Zumba Gold classes developed specifically for older adults and even an innovative stationary bicycle called BikeAround.

"This equipment combines exercise with a screen where you can input any address and bicycle through that neighborhood," he said. "You can ride through Paris, for example, and many residents like to bike through the neighborhood where they grew up."

All of the apartments at Villa Ventura are month-to-month rentals. Staff members will help potential residents determine how to fit the expenses into their budgets, and they also can assist veterans in applying for financial aid from the Veterans Administration.

Kansas City is fortunate to have an abundance of retirement living options for all lifestyles and budgets, Crane said. Doing a bit of homework well in advance of a potential move can be a good idea.

"The most common thing I hear is, `I'm not ready for this yet'," he said. "Start having a conversation with your children when you retire. It's never too early to visit and ask questions."

The staff at Villa Ventura is happy to show guests around the property and answer any questions with no obligation. For more information, visit SeniorStar.com/VillaVentura or call (816) 203-1260

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