John Knox Village East: Easy Living Across the Continuum

Located in Higginsville, Missouri, John Knox Village East is comprised of a beautiful and tranquil 40-acre campus “where neighbors are truly neighbors.” At John Knox Village East, staff provides residents with a comfortable and hassle-free life that has all the conveniences a person could ever need coupled with the unmistakable feel of a friendly, small town.

As a Life Plan Community, John Knox Village East and its Meyer Care Center & Rehabilitation facility offer the full continuum of care and provide guaranteed access to assisted living (AL), skilled care and rehabilitation services. They employ licensed professionals who work with each and every resident to provide a personalized care plan based on each person’s unique needs. Many seniors enjoy a healthy, active senior housing lifestyle in one of their 136 independent living (IL) apartment homes. John Knox Village East offers a multitude of amenities allowing residents to remain independent in a social environment. Meyer Care Center offers an AL option for Life Plan residents, in addition to other seniors from surrounding communities. Skilled nursing is also available on the campus under the Life Plan and is both Medicare and Medicaid certified. In addition, John Knox Village East is governed by a local board of directors, comprised of local business leaders, two of which currently reside at John Knox Village East.

John Knox Village East is managed by Life Care Services, an LCS Company established in 1971. Based in Des Moines, Iowa, Life Care Services is the third largest manager of full-service senior living communities in the country. Life Care Services currently provides operations, marketing and sales management services for nonprofit and for-profit Life Plan Communities, as well as other rental IL, AL and memory care (MC) communities nationwide.

Expansion Financing

In 2015, leadership at John Knox Village East secured funding for a refinance and renovation. Specifically, the community wanted to renovate and expand its 5-star rated Meyer Care & Rehabilitation Center, which offers AL, skilled care and rehabilitation services. The plan was to increase the number of skilled nursing beds by adding 16 private beds in a newly renovated wing. In addition, leadership secured funds for a variety of other improvements and renovations.

John Knox Village East worked with its investment bank to structure a financing solution that consisted of construction funding from a local bank and permanent financing via a $7.1 million loan from the USDA Community Facilities (CF) program. The primary purpose of the USDA CF program is to create and maintain employment and improve the economic and environmental climate in rural communities. The program can be used to build or substantially rehabilitate nonprofit health care facilities in rural areas with a population of 20,000 or less. The CF program is a permanent debt funding mechanism rather than a construction mechanism. While bank loans can provide construction funding, pricing can be high without a loan guarantee, and a bank’s capacity to fund a loan can be limited by legal and internal lending limits.

“The USDA CF program provided an optimal solution for the permanent financing,” explained Mike Ashley, vice president with Lancaster Pollard, who worked with John Knox Village East on the transaction. “The bank financing allowed them to partner with a local bank and then initiate construction immediately, resulting in a low-cost capital structure when coupled with the $7.1 million USDA CF direct loan.”

A State-of-the-Art Renovation

The newly renovated rehabilitation center enhances the short-term skilled rehab experience while continuing to provide the 5-star rated quality of care that Meyer Care Center has long been recognized for delivering. The newly renovated nursing facility offers a state-of-the-art skilled rehab unit featuring a newly constructed therapy gym and private suites, among other additions.

“The addition of the dedicated rehabilitation suites allows the staff at Meyer Care Center to deliver on their commitment to providing high quality care and personalized therapy services in a home-like environment packed full of amenities and activities of personal choice,” said Paige Wheeler, executive director at John Knox Village East. “The top ranked staff and state-of-the-art furnishings contribute to shortened recovery times, allowing residents to more readily return home,” she added.

The project consisted of renovating and converting what was a licensed intermediate care facility built in 1965. In addition to the new rehab unit and therapy gym, the renovations included major improvements to the kitchen and a newly expanded activity room, both styled as a home-like environment designed to maximize comfort for both short- and long-term residents. Further, the project boasts a new grand entrance to service the entire campus where guests and visitors are greeted and directed to their desired campus location. The entrance features a reception area, training room and relocated administrative offices. The original entry will become part of the major expansion of the Meyer Care Center gathering room. Residents and visitors will enjoy the newly expanded multi-purpose room featuring ample space for hosting family functions and a variety of resident centered activities.

“Renovating the rehab unit at John Knox East and Meyer Care Center and building the new therapy gym and private suites is in line with our commitment to provide comprehensive and holistic services to the residents of John Knox Village East and the community at large,” said Kurt Lorenz, marketing director at John Knox Village East.

The new therapy gym will provide top-ranked physical, occupational and speech therapies. A relaxing atmosphere sets the tone for the spa room and its whirlpool spa baths. In addition, a new dining room delivers an upgraded culinary experience and connects to a renovated skilled care dining room, creating efficiencies for serving residents.

The new rehab suites feature private rooms fully furnished with a lift chair, spacious closets and private bathrooms. The hallways are single loaded, meaning the private suites not only have a view to outdoor space, but are serviced with sitting areas across from each room, allowing a more private experience. A private courtyard is also available for residents to enjoy outdoor amenities.

Lorenz notes that the new rehabilitation wing is an extension not only of the facility’s footprint, but also its overarching philosophy.

“John Knox Village East has long been a gem sitting in plain sight in Lafayette County,” he said. “Quality health care, dignity and independence are cornerstones of our care philosophy and the foundational reasons why our community was developed in the first place. Expanding our rehab services to meet increasing demand exemplifies our commitment to improving the quality of life for our residents. We truly want to help all our residents be the best selves they can be,” he added.

Residents are encouraged to participate in the many general community activities offered which includes social clubs, entertainment, fitness classes and more. They also offer transportation to medical appointments and a post-release home evaluation.

Christina Kanak, admission coordinator at John Knox, has heard a variety of positive comments from residents over the years.

“The residents here seem truly happy with the facility and all the improvements that have been made recently,” Kanak said. “Some of the more memorable comments I have heard are ‘when I came here, I thought I died and went to heaven,’ and ‘I would have come here sooner had I known this was here.’”

At John Knox Village East and Meyer Care Center, the residents are clearly happy with the comprehensive services and ample amenities the community has to offer. Thanks to the recent renovations and the continued efforts of the facilities’ leadership, folks residing at the community are able to truly embody the John Knox Village East motto—“Easy Living. Beautiful Life.”