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The Bluestem Post
Lakeside Village residents Twyla White, Lois Leinbach and Mary Detweiler tie a comforter. Apartment-style living at Lakeside Village creates an atmosphere for many group events and activities. Photo by Gavin Peters Photography.

Tailoring the independent living experience

What could be better than having lunch in a restaurant every day with a group of friends, walking down the hall for a pool workout, or an unexpected afternoon conversation with a neighbor in a comfortable lounge? 

It’s more than just a dream for residents living at Bluestem Communities Lakeside Village Catered Independent Living neighborhood – it’s reality.

The beauty of life plan communities is that they offer living options that fit a variety of personal and health needs, and offer higher levels of care as individuals journey through life – independent living, assisted living and health care.

The baseline living options are perfect for many, but sometimes people want a few more conveniences built into their everyday life. Enter catered independent living – a lesser known living option that provides amenities and services in addition to regular independent living services to make life as convenient and comfortable as possible.

Bluestem Communities only catered independent living neighborhood is Lakeside Village at Schowalter Villa in Hesston, which features apartment-style living along the Lake Vista waterfront and several campus amenities under the same roof. 

“Lakeside Village Catered Independent Living is a unique program and living option that offers enhanced resident services to keep them independent for as long as possible,” said Alex LeFevre, Catered Independent Living Manager. “The goal of the program is to enhance quality of life and provide additional resources, services and engagement to help individuals thrive. There is a certain charm and warmth that comes with living here – friendly neighbors and everything you need under one roof.” 

On any given day, residents can be found enjoying each other’s company at Water’s Edge Restaurant and Catering for their noon meal, participating in weekly resident-led events like pinochle, dominoes and quilting, working on puzzles in the lounge, visiting one another in their homes or taking an outing into the community for an activity or sporting event at the local high school or college.

“We love the family environment at Lakeside Village,” said resident Gerald Leinbach, who lives at Lakeside Village with his wife, Lois. “Residents interact frequently – sometimes planned and sometimes impromptu.”

Residents living in Lakeside Village get all of the same benefits as other independent living residents, such as maintenance-free living, membership to Bluestem Wellness Centers, and life enrichment and social activities. In addition, they get a standard package of extra services, including personalized concierge services for the little things that come up day-to-day, included utilities, a flexible dining program that includes one to two prepared meals per day at any Bluestem Communities dining location, bi-weekly housekeeping and an on-call home health nurse, as well as even more service options from an a la carte menu. 

“We chose to move to Lakeside Village after living in another area of independent living for a while because we wanted the extra services like meals, housekeeping, nurse on call and a personal emergency response system to go along with our independent living lifestyle,” said Leinbach. “We have an elegant full-service restaurant, wonderful exercise room, swimming pool, hot tub, physical therapy, hair salon, pool table, library and available transportation all in the same building in which we live!”

Lakeside Village residents Buck and Helen McClain were also drawn to the ability to relinquish even more household tasks than regular independent living would provide – particularly when it came to not needing to prepare meals regularly. 

“We enjoy everything about living here - staff, meals, our beautiful home and making new friends,” said the McClains. “We have the freedom to do anything we need or wish to do, and help is available whenever we need it.” 

Sometimes people confuse catered independent living with assisted living, but there are significant differences. Primarily, assisted living includes staff on-site around the clock, a full dining plan and medication administration services that aren’t available in catered independent living. Homes in Lakeside Village also include laundry appliances and a full kitchen as compared to kitchenettes in assisted living. 

“People should choose catered independent living if they want life to immediately get simpler with practical support systems and the independence to choose what they want and need” said LeFevre.

For anyone who has ever witnessed the Lakeside Village crew filling multiple tables to have lunch together at the Water’s Edge Restaurant, it’s clear that they enjoy the company of their neighbors and having friends and staff to walk alongside them for whatever comes along. 

“Just enjoy it; you’ve earned it,” said the McClains. “It’s the most friendly, helpful and lovely place to live.”   

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