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‘The perfect place’

All-inclusive community makes independent living easier

Created date

September 25th, 2012

Almost five years ago, George and Neta McCall decided to move from their Overland Park, Kans., apartment to Tallgrass Creek. Neta says she was sold on the concept of worry-free retirement living from the moment she first discovered an Erickson Living community was being constructed in Overland Park. One of her primary motivators in making the move was peace of mind, not only for herself and her husband, but also for their family. Our children have their own lives. We wanted to be responsible parents and grandparents and make the decision while we could do all the things that need to be done when you re making that kind of move, Neta says. Now we have time to develop a support system, not only of friends and neighbors, but doctors who are literally right here. At the time, George wasn t completely convinced that it was the right time to move to Tallgrass Creek. He thought he and his wife were too young and active to move to a retirement community. Neta used her powers of persuasion, and George quickly got on board with the idea. I said, I m going [to Tallgrass Creek]. You can stay in the apartment if you want, Neta jokes. He was reluctant, but once we got here, he loved it.

More quality time

The McCalls quickly learned that living at Tallgrass Creek enabled them to be even more active and independent. Now that they don t have to worry about things like grocery shopping, cooking, and all of the other chores that come with maintaining a house, George and Neta have more free time to dedicate to their many volunteer activities and to spend with their children and grandchildren. George has definitely changed his tune about the Erickson Living community he now calls home. How you live your life here is absolutely up to you, he says. There are all kinds of things people can do here, or you can live your life as you always have and work and do volunteer activities outside [of Tallgrass Creek]. For Neta, the change has been even more dramatic. She says no longer having to plan menus and cook three meals a day has freed up her time to pursue other interests. For me, my schedule is more free than it s been ever in my lifetime whether I had kids at home or was working, she says.

Super volunteers give back

George and Neta make good use of their newfound free time. Both are very active volunteers who give many hours of their time each week to charitable organizations. George spent his career as a Presbyterian pastor. He retired six years ago but just barely. He says he remains involved with the church by volunteering at the governing level. He also still preaches about 25 Sundays a year. I ve preached at 28 different pulpits since I retired, he says. In addition to his work with the church, George volunteers with Cherith Brook, a Christian residential community in Kansas City, Mo., that provides hot showers and warm meals to homeless people. He also works one evening every week at Newhouse, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City. George s third regular volunteer job is with the victim assistance unit at the District Attorney s office, where he volunteers six hours every week. I work with victims of crime in different ways, he says. I advise them, help them fill out forms, and help people who need orders of protection. For her part, Neta is an active elder in her church and serves on several committees. She also volunteers at a food pantry and clothes closet that is affiliated with her inner-city church. I work behind the scenes collecting the clothing, sorting it, and displaying it, Neta says. Neta has also found a volunteer opportunity very close to home. She works a shift every week at Tallgrass Creek s on-site convenience store, The Marketplace. She says Tallgrass Creek s on-site store, where community members and staff can purchase over-the-counter medications, greeting cards, a variety of food products, and other various items, is the only Erickson Living community store that is staffed entirely by resident volunteers. We re busy, but it s great because we still can be, Neta says of her life with her husband at Tallgrass Creek.

Rave reviews from grandkids

When George and Neta aren t busy giving back to their community as volunteers, they enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren. Neta says she and George try to spend some one-on-one time with each grandchild every summer a tradition she says the youngsters really enjoy. Sometimes they will take the kids on a special vacation. One beloved destination is New Mexico, where they visit a paleontology museum that has an intergenerational educational program. Other times, the grandchildren will come to stay with their grandparents at Tallgrass Creek. The community s indoor swimming pool, games room, restaurants, and hundreds of doting surrogate grandparents make it a big hit with visiting children. Neta says the first time her grandson, now 11, stayed with his grandparents at Tallgrass Creek, he didn t want to go home. He went home, and his parents reported that he announced he wanted to go and live with Nanny and Granddad. I think he loves Tallgrass Creek more than Nanny and Granddad, Neta jokes. In the small blocks of free time their busy schedules permit, the McCalls enjoy taking walks and playing bridge with their friends and neighbors. Almost five years after they made the decision to move to Tallgrass Creek, Neta says she and George agree that it is the perfect place for them. We re happy at Tallgrass Creek, Neta says. One of the things we like is the community has a basic support system, but we can still have an independent lifestyle.