Fun and games

Resident Life keeps things hopping at Tallgrass Creek

Created date

July 20th, 2018
Esther Dritley (left) and Joann Harper pot plants, one of the activities during Tallgrass Creek’s Senior Fitness Days celebration.

Esther Dritley (left) and Joann Harper pot plants, one of the activities during Tallgrass Creek’s Senior Fitness Days celebration.

If you ask Resident Life Manager Jan Magee what her position at Tallgrass Creek is all about, she is quick to respond. 

“All the fun stuff,” laughs Magee. “And there’s a lot of it.”

Magee is referring to the many resident-driven clubs and committees (there are about 65), social activities, fitness opportunities, and aquatics classes available at the Overland Park, Kans., retirement community.

Magee’s able assistant Ellen Neyman helps coordinate the many happenings at Tallgrass Creek and compiles the community’s monthly, jam-packed activities calendar.

“It just keeps growing,” says Ellen. “Last month’s was 18 pages long.”

Out-of-the-box activities

The clubs and committees reflect the interests and talents of Tallgrass Creek’s several hundred residents. The dazzling array of choices focus on everything from woodworking to playing the ukulele to gardening to learning about art, history, and technology.

Several additional activities were added to the lineup this past year. New resident Jim Neihart, a retired musician, started a hand chime choir with chimes he borrowed from a small church.

Retired psychologist Barbara Hise began a mediation class, a practice she used professionally and personally.

Former schoolteacher Judy Turner introduced meditative coloring, a relaxing pastime that is popular among all ages. Judy also leads a monthly book club.

Keeping fitness fun

Additionally, Resident Life oversees Tallgrass Creek’s well-equipped fitness center, temperature-controlled indoor pool, and a multitude of land and aquatic-based fitness classes.

Residents enthusiastically take advantage of 25 different exercise classes taught each week by fitness experts Camin Bell and Dawn Aronoff. Their classes address all levels of fitness, promoting muscle strengthening and improving flexibility, balance, and stamina.

Bell and Aronoff also coordinate other fitness activities such as the Commit 2 Fit Challenge where teams of participants committed to walk 75 miles during the month of May. The pair recognized 64 residents who met the challenge and walked a total of 4,400 miles.

Currently, the Fit 50 challenge is under way, which encourages residents to attend at least 50 exercise classes between June and September. Upon completion, participants will be members of the Fit Club Hall of Fame and featured on the community’s wellness bulletin board.

Bell and Aronoff also host the annual Senior Fitness Day event with a half day of energetic activities. This year’s celebration included demonstrations of tai chi, line dancing, playing the ukulele, and meditation, all performed by community members.

Residents also enjoyed lawn and table games and a gardening station where they potted plants for themselves and others. Everyone stayed hydrated with healthy fruit smoothies.

And there’s more

Resident Life plans other social events such as afternoon mixers, craft shows, and the annual Spring Fling Dance. Upcoming events include a Bordeaux wine tasting and a “how to” for both Android and iPhone users.

Resident life also sponsors a yearly activity fair where residents see for themselves all the different activities available at Tallgrass Creek.    

“To see all the activities together in one room is amazing,” says Neyman. “There is something for every interest.”