A Brief History of Kansas City, Senior Living, and the Wise Women who founded the WCA of Kansas City, Missouri
Many of us familiar with Kansas City History are well aware of our founding fathers of KC: Loose, Troost, Gillis, Armour, etc. The beautiful thing about Armour Oaks Senior Living Community is that we represent the wives and female family members of these wise men: Mrs. S.B. Armour (Margaret Klock), Mrs. Mary Gillis Troost and Mrs. J.S. Loose were a few of these women. Originating with only 20 ladies of Kansas City, these determined ladies, far beyond their time, created and expanded upon over a century of compassion, respect, and a sense of family/friendship by establishing the Women’s Christian Association of Kansas City, Missouri.
Armour Oaks Senior Living Community is a 25 acre campus, proudly celebrating its 87th year in the Historic Waldo Community at 81st Street and Wornall Road. It is the oldest continuously operating non-profit organization in Kansas City. Though the Women’s Christian Association originally established Armour Oaks (formerly Margaret Klock Memorial Home for Aging Couples) in 1928, their legacy goes back almost 60 years prior. On January 13th, 1870, at 12th and Main, they held their first meeting. Their original goal was to “relieve the needy and distressed in this new and struggling city,” (1870, Founders of the Women’s Christian Association). They did this by sheltering widows and orphaned children during/after the Civil War.
In the early 19th Century, multi-generational families were common. When an individual was no longer able to care for themselves, they would move in with grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, etc. Two factors that occurred mid 19th Century implemented a decline in that typical structure. The first was the rise in industrialization labor wages. When the wages changed, there was less incentive to house their elders. The second was the Civil War. This war left behind many widows, orphaned children and elders with no family to help care for them. With nowhere else to go, many moved into Almshouses, (poorhouses and later to be known as ‘old age homes’). Kansas City had yet another factor: population.
Since the Civil War, the population in Kansas City had risen from 6,000 to nearly 30,000 in 1870 and then to 130,000 in 1889. There were hard economic times in Kansas City with little assistance available. Churches were one of the only means of relief. The Women’s Christian Association was the first of its kind to not be church affiliated. They started out with assisting women in need to women and their daughters in need, to women and all children in need. In 1895, on the 25th Anniversary of the Women’s Christian Association, Mrs. Armour gave $25,000 toward the concept of a home for aged couples. Her passion behind the project was to find a comforting, loving, nurturing home for her husband who was failing in his health. The home was the first in the nation established for aged couples.
Armour Oaks, Kansas City’s oldest continuous operating not-for-profit entity in Kansas City, is still part of the Women’s Christian Association. The plaque that still adorns the Legacy House, “At evening time it shall be light” is a reminder of the Women’s Christian Association’s passion and drive; to be compassionate, kind, meek and gentle to those in need, no matter what their walks of life.
Not-For-Profit entities structure their organizations first and foremost on the clientele that they serve. A volunteer board of directors gives freely of their time, talents and experience to ensure quality in management and integrity in financial expenditures. All financial information is made public and readily available. Not-For-Profits additionally do not have stock holders nor investors that they feel the need to increase their bottom line, so monies made by Not-For-Profit entities are invested in the community that it serves. The focus and intent of a Not-For-Profit is to provide a mission-driven, person-centered, competent, hands-on care community.
Today, Armour Oaks offers a three-level adult living community. In the Legacy building is our Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing (accommodating both Rehab and Long Term Care). Independent Living is offered at The Parks apartments and our maintenance free Garden Villas. Armour Oaks is dedicated to providing a secure, homelike environment where seniors can live with dignity and independence while receiving the very best in personalized health and social services to meet their needs. The staff and Board of Directors share a commitment to the person-centered approach to senior care without regard to race, national origin, gender, age, handicap, disability or religious belief.
As we move into the future with a new generation of baby boomers embracing senior services, Armour Oaks has been moving away from the institutional model of nursing home care and toward a more homelike environment. This concept is a national movement for the transformation of older adult services commonly known as ‘Culture Change’. It is a movement that gives respect to the voices of elders and those working with them. Armour Oaks is in the process of finishing a remodeling of our Garden Villas and Skilled Nursing Unit to give it an elegant sense of home. We are consistent with advocating for the rights of our residents, such as decision making being returned to the residents, loving and compassionate staff, accommodating routines for the individual, family styled dining, and welcoming pets.
We have seen many changes through the decades: war; depression; diseases & epidemics; Civil Rights Movement; and the ever evolving transportation & technology. We are proud to say that we lived through it, cared through it, and are still standing tall with our values of yesterday’s Women’s Christian Association of Kansas City, Missouri still holding true today.
Free Open House and Tour
We are confident that when you choose Armour Oaks as your new home for Kansas City senior living, you will experience the same quality of care that our seniors have received for decades. To learn more or to schedule a tour of Armour Oaks Senior Living Community, please call Melissa Stivers at 816-363-5141. You may also attend one of the Free Open Houses at our Garden Villas, every Sunday during the month of August, 11 am – 2 pm, at 8117 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO 64114.
About Armour Oaks
Senior Living Community
Armour Oaks Senior Living Community in Kansas City, Missouri, Kansas City’s oldest continuous operating Not-For-Profit entity, is located in eclectic Waldo neighborhood at the corner of 81st and Wornall Road with easy access to I-435. This historic senior living community, just 15 minutes from the famous Country Club Plaza, offers a unique urban oasis with all levels of care, acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and a service minded staff to meet the unique needs of each one of our residents.
FREE OPEN HOUSE!
Garden Villas at Armour Oaks
Senior Living Community
Every Sunday in the Month of
11:00 am – 2:00 pm
Kansas City, MO 64114
Follow the balloons!!
Mention this article for $500 off your first month’s rent!
8100 Wornall Road
Kansas City, MO 64114