Doris Ramsey’s routine at Cherry Village Benevolence illustrates the many options available in her newly remodeled suite.
Ramsey’s efficiency apartment is one of 12 that have already been remodeled in the assisted-living section at Cherry Village. Updates include flooring, paint and light fixtures; crews are finishing the last two suites.
Ramsey has lived at the non-profit Cherry Village, 1401 Cherry Lane, for about five years.
“I like all the new things in my suite and would definitely recommend Cherry Village to others,” said Ramsey, who is almost 89. “The care is good here and I love the staff; they are right here when I need them.”
Even though she enjoys interacting with other people, Ramsey noted she highly values her privacy too.
“I love to read, which is why privacy is important to me,” she explained. “I am certainly not a recluse but I do like to be alone to enjoy my books. I can have that privacy here at Cherry Village.”
In addition to her reading, Ramsey often helps one of her neighbors, who is a stroke victim. He plays bingo at the long-term-care facility and needs a guiding hand now and then.
“He has some impairments because of the stroke,” Ramsey said. “So, I help him with his bingo card.”
She is also a friend with Jake, the Cherry Village conure parrot.
“Jake is kind of interesting,” Ramsey noted. “He chose me. I talk with him and take him out of his cage. He walks around on me.”
Pam Lewis, Cherry Village administrator, said Ramsey’s experience in assisted living demonstrates how residents can strike the right balance in their lives.
“Our residents are encouraged to make decisions about their daily lives,” Lewis said. “For instance, they eat what they want and when they want in the dining room or their suites. We provide three nutritious meals a day, but if they want something else, we will do all we can to accommodate. They can also have visitors at mealtimes.”
Snacks, iced tea and fountain drinks are always available too.
The level of daily assisted-living care varies. Options include housekeeping, medication administration and bathing assistance.
Registered and licensed practical nurses that are assigned only to assisted living are available 24/7. In addition, Cherry Village residents who need physical, occupational or speech therapy don’t have to leave the building.
“Therapists from Turning Point here in Great Bend come to us,” Lewis said. “They are great to work with. And like us, they know the elderly can see health improvements with the right therapy. You don’t just have to live with whatever the problem is.”
Medicare often pays for therapeutic services.
Another assisted-living benefit is continuity of care. When someone needs additional services, there is easy access to Cherry Village’s skilled nursing unit and/or long-term care.
“If you need assisted-living, skilled-nursing or long-term care, it is available,” Lewis said. “This easy access to all services is crucial. It relieves so much stress for residents and their families.”
The main eligibility requirement for assisted living is that the person can perform at least half their daily living activities, such as getting dressed, bathing and feeding. There is no age restriction. Payment options include: Home- and Community-Based Services through KanCare; private pay; and private insurance.
Residents’ social needs are equally important at Cherry Village.
“National studies indicate that if the elderly are isolated, malnutrition and even starvation can result,” Lewis explained. “But the people here enjoy an environment that allows them to socialize easily with their neighbors down the hall or visitors who stop in.
“But, of course, like our friend Doris Ramsey, they can also ask for and receive their privacy,” she added. “Socialization and alone-time are both important.”
A local family manages Cherry Village, which is a non-profit entity.