When Village Shalom opened its doors, Taft was president and the Girl Scouts were in their first year. One hundred years and a few relocations later, the Johnson County continuing care community is keeping pace in the evolving field of senior care.
Starting with seven residents in 1912, it was originally located in a house at 29th Street and Troost Avenue in Kansas City and called the Michael Appleman Home for Jewish Aged. After several moves in Kansas City, it headed south to Johnson County in 2000.
The current location, which includes several buildings, is at 5500 W. 123rd St. in Overland Park. Village Shalom presently has about 230 residents, almost all of whom have private rooms, apartments or villas.
Moving to a brand new facility allowed Village Shalom to provide more modern equipment and rooms for its residents, but it was also following a general migration of Kansas City’s Jewish community to the south suburbs.
“That’s a very important element — being able to serve the Jewish community where it is, and if you evaluate the Holmes corridor, the number of Jewish institutions (that were) on Holmes somewhat parallels the number of Jewish institutions on Nall today,” said Rod Minkin, chairman of Village Shalom’s board of directors.
Just before moving to Overland Park, the facility stood at 78t h Street and Holmes Road and was known as the Shalom Geriatric Center. It was in this incarnation that it began to offer more services, such as occupational, physical and speech therapy.
Back then, it was still more of a skilled nursing center than the tiered model of senior care that is so prevalent today in elder care. Now, Village Shalom offers independent and assisted living, short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and full-time and day programs in Alzheimer’s care.
“We try to keep (residents) in their apartment or their villa as long as possible … although we have this continuum, we promote aging in place,” said Village Shalom President and CEO Matt Lewis.
The facility provides a wide array of activities for residents, such as a college course experience week called Village Shalom University and trips to casinos, the Overland Park Arboretum and other local sites. A few times a year, they arrange for group outings for residents of the Alzheimer’s section.
Although some of the amentias at Village Shalom are geared toward Jewish residents, Lewis estimates that about 30 percent of Village Shalom’s residents are from various Christian denominations. Today there are religious services for all faiths available at the facility.