A Hundred Years And Counting
The Early Years
Village Shalom traces its lineage to 1902 when a small contingent of Orthodox Jews met in a Kansas City storeroom to discuss care for the elderly. Ten years later, their vision began to assume tangible form with the chartering of the Moshav Zkeinim Home for the Aged Society in 1912. In 1919, a 14-room house at 29th and Troost was donated to the society by an oil magnate named Herman Appleman. What followed was the Michael Appleman Home for Aged Jews – a home that would serve Kansas City’s Jewish elders for more than 30 years.
By the late 1940s, several generous donors had provided enough funding for a much needed expansion. On September 3, 1950, the Home for the Jewish Aged was dedicated. This new facility at 78th and Holmes would provide accommodations for up to 76 men and women. This number would increase to 90 after a 1954 expansion. The home underwent a subtle name change to the Jewish Home for the Aged in 1967, as the organization had begun to care for a larger number of non-Jewish residents.
As the range of its services grew, the institution changed its name yet again in 1970 – becoming the Jewish Geriatric and Convalescent Center. A main reason for this change was the addition of short-term rehabilitation and convalescent care – a component that remains an essential part of our organization today. Thanks in part to funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Shalom Plaza Retirement Apartment Complex located adjacent to the JGCC’s campus was dedicated on April 30, 1978. This $3.3 million, 125-apartment project was intended for older adults who were not dependent on institutional care. By the mid-‘80s, shifting demographic trends generated increased demand for senior housing throughout the nation. The JGCC underwent a major renovation and expansion project to better serve the growing population of older adults. It also underwent another name change to Shalom Geriatric Center. The moniker was adopted to simplify the name and to make clear that the geriatric center and Shalom Plaza were part of the same organization. The project included a 65-unit expansion for Shalom Plaza as well as a 15-bed Alzheimer’s and Related Dementias Unit.
Much of the Kansas City area’s Jewish community had migrated across the state line to south Johnson County by the early 1990s. Many area Jewish institutions had followed suit and made the move to Kansas, and Shalom Geriatric Center leaders envisioned constructing a state-of-the-art facility close to their constituency. A major capital campaign that raised nearly $20 million would bring this vision to life, and ground broke on a 26-acre continuing-care retirement community (CCRC) located at 123rd and Nall in October of 1998.
Village Shalom opened its doors in June 2000. The CCRC featured 64 independent living villas, 54 assisted living apartments, 52 skilled nursing rooms and 36 suites for those experiencing Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related illness. Within the next decade, Village Shalom would receive numerous awards of excellence from state and national organizations. Village Shalom celebrated a century of service to Kansas City families in May of 2012.
In 2018, Village Shalom will break ground on a major campus expansion and repositioning project that will nearly double our footprint. The plans include a four-story independent living apartment community, a new 48-residence free-standing memory care community, a repurposed short-term rehabilitation center with expanded therapy space, and a “Main Street” with dining and service amenities that will serve as the corridor from the new apartment community to the existing continuing-care campus. Completion set for the fall of 2019.