The thing Wes Bainter wants tenants at Ellis Estates to have is freedom.
The ninth senior living center his construction company built in western Kansas as part of Bainter Housing, Bainter operates each the same as the others.
“Seniors need to know when they come here they’re not giving up anything,” Bainter said. “They get to continue to be in charge. Here we say we don’t have any rules except my rules, and I don’t have any rules, so everybody likes that.”
Opening the Ellis Estates, 1301 E. 33rd, three years ago with a 12 apartment complex, phase two was recently completed. The 50,000-square-foot building more than doubles the number of living quarters as the original complex consisting of 16 two-bedroom and four one-bedroom apartments. Tenants have begun to move into the new complex, with apartments still available.
“Our residents are able to make decisions about how they live and who helps them if they need help,” Bainter said. “If they want someone to clean their apartment, they can pick that as well.”
Following the blueprint of what he sees as accommodating to the resident at the previous complexes, Bainter wants the place to be as close to a home environment as possible. He said if some of the residents need home health care or Hospice, that is all welcome at the facilities without any restrictions. It’s simply all about giving tenants the freedom to feel as though they’re not being watched over, or restricted to anything.
The residents are given a one-vehicle garage if they would like. The complex is completely wheelchair and scooter accessible on one level.
“This was like 15 years ago, but what I noticed was a lot of times seniors were going into long-term care, not because they really needed to, but there wasn’t anything that was available,” Bainter said. “We started doing this in Hoxie, and you just cannot believe how much improvement we’ve been able to have for seniors. They can do whatever they want to here. If they need a family member to help or hire someone to clean their apartment, they don’t have to ask. I’ve learned a lot more about this.”
Each apartment has its own washer and dryer, and there is a utility room with another washer and dryer tenants can use in case of problems with those in their apartment. The two-bedroom apartments have two bathrooms. Everything about them is handicap accessible. Each place has a patio area on the back side of the apartment and gardening area.
The new complex, like the original building, has a commons area with dining room, and there is also a community kitchen. Bainter said it is available to the tenants at any time.
Vince Newell is the manager of Ellis Estates.