Working and living at Tallgrass Creek

When Elaine Bahr, a busy sales counselor at Tallgrass Creek, needs a "mom fix," she doesn't have far to go. That's because her mother Doris Waller is a short walk from Elaine's office in her own, very comfortable residence at the Overland Park, Kansas retirement community.

"I love having Elaine right here," says Doris, who moved to Tallgrass Creek three years ago. "It's such a comfort knowing she's close by."

Elaine echoes that sentiment. Her day includes giving tours to prospective residents and when she and her guests happen to pass Doris in the hall, Elaine's casual, "Hi, Mom" always surprises them.

"What great personal testimony that my mom lives in this wonderful community where I work," says Elaine. "It says more than any conversation or sales brochure."

Elaine adds that her mom is a great ambassador for Tallgrass Creek.

"I am grateful to be here and don't mind sharing it," says Doris. "There are so many positive things about Tallgrass Creek, from all the activities, physical fitness programs, onsite doctors, and more."

A great fit

Doris and her late husband Bob first visited Tallgrass Creek along with several other retirement communities, about five years ago. The couple lived in nearby Olathe, Kans. and decided they still were not quite ready to move from their large villa.

"We did our homework early," says Doris. "We knew Tallgrass Creek was the clear choice when we were ready."

The Wallers did decide to move to Tallgrass Creek two years later. Coincidentally, Elaine had accepted a position as a sales counselor at the retirement community just months before.

"I'd worked in senior living for about seven years and really enjoyed it," says Elaine. "When a recruiter contacted me about the sales counselor position at Tallgrass Creek, I was excited."

Elaine was offered the position and says she knew immediately she and her mom and stepfather were all in the right place.

"I was surrounded by very helpful, genuine co-workers and my parents found it so easy to acclimate," says Elaine.

To simplify their move, the Wallers utilized a unique program offered by Baltimore, Md.-based Erickson Living, the owner and manager of 19 retirement communities, including Tallgrass Creek.

The program, called the Erickson Realty and Moving Services (ERMS), offers complimentary coordination of all realty and moving needs for future residents such as home staging, packing, downsizing, and selection of a real estate professional.

"About 75% of our residents have worked with the moving-related businesses who qualify for the ERMS program," says Elaine. "They are proven performers and know how to simplify and 'de-stress' the entire moving process."

Doris utilized the services of Gentle Changes, a local, Erickson-recommended downsizing organization, which helped determine what furniture and other belongings would best fit in her new home.

On moving day, the team from Gentle Changes worked with C & C Relocation, an Erickson-recommended moving company, to place furniture and organize the kitchen, bedrooms, and bathrooms.

"It was the best money I ever spent," says Doris. "I walked in and there were no boxes or mess in the apartment. They had everything moved in and in its place in one afternoon."

Lots to like

One of many things Doris enjoys at Tallgrass Creek is the wide array of fitness classes, including water aerobics in the community's over-sized, temperature-controlled pool.

"I don't even swim," laughs Doris. "But the water aerobics classes are invigorating and easy to follow. There are quite a few in the class and we all have a good time." 

Additionally, Doris participates in body balance and chair pilates classes each week.

"The two fitness instructors here are wonderful," says Doris. "They know how to work with all levels of ability and keep the classes entertaining. You want to come back."

Because she enjoys the classes, Doris tries to attend some kind of exercise class four or five times a week.

"That's way more than I was doing before moving to Tallgrass Creek," she says.

Doris also enjoys other activities listed in Tallgrass Creek's monthly activities calendar.

"It's about 18 pages long each month," says Elaine. "There is something for every interest - lifelong learning, day trips, restaurant outings, clubs, community outreach,  entertainment, and much more. You can do as little or as much as you want."

A touch of Hawaii

When you enter Doris' sunny apartment at Tallgrass Creek, you are drawn to three beautiful, canvas photographs that fill her living room wall. They depict the view from her former home in Kauai, Hawaii where she lived for 24 years.

"I fell in love with Hawaii while on a trip and picked up and moved there," says Doris. 

Within a year after her move, Doris purchased an H & R Block franchise in Kauai and enjoyed a long, fruitful career in tax accounting. She also taught accounting classes and was well known throughout the community for her volunteer efforts.

"It was a wonderful time for me and my entire family," says Doris. “They visited often and loved it, too."

Doris makes occasional trips back to her beloved Hawaii and will return again next year. She says it is a relief to leave with no worries about taking care of a home or anything else.

Elaine adds that is just one more reason her mother's move to Tallgrass Creek was a wonderful gift to their entire family.

"We know our mother is well taken care of," says Elaine. "We have peace of mind knowing she's so happy here."