HESSTON — Secretary Shawn Sullivan of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services walked through the hallways of Schowalter Villa retirement community on Thursday afternoon, visiting with residents and hearing their stories about why they like living at the Villa.

Sullivan presented the Hesston adult care facility with an achievement award. The Promoting Excellent Alternatives in Kansas Nursing Homes (PEAK) award honors facilities offering "person-centered care" for their residents. It's the fifth time the Villa has won the award.

“Schowalter Villa has been recognized with PEAK awards before and has a long-standing reputation for person-centered care," Sullivan said. "With a foundation in Christian compassion, Schowalter has consistently demonstrated PEAK values by providing personalized and quality care to elder Kansans."

PEAK awards are issued annually to facilities that accomplish significant improvements toward person-centered care in the targeted areas of resident choice, staff empowerment, home environment and meaningful life. Person-centered nursing homes have moved away from the institutional model of nursing home care and toward a more home-like environment in which residents have more of a say in their day-to-day lives.

“The PEAK award is special recognition given to adult care facilities like Schowalter Villa that go above and beyond to provide the best medical care, as well as the best emotional care, in the industry,” Sullivan said.

Schowalter Villa regularly looks for ways to personalize care for residents. Artwork created by residents is displayed in the Villa, staff take the time to greet residents by name, and meal time is designed to make residents feel like special guests at a fine dining restaurant.

According to Diane Yoder, vice president of marketing, of the more than 160 not-for-profit aging service providers in Kansas that are members of LeadingAge Kansas, only two have won the PEAK award more than four times.

Executive Director Treva Greaser said Schowalter Villa also will have an opportunity to becoming a "mentoring facility" and help other nursing homes to provide a more personal level of care.

"Our mission is to create meaningful, purposeful existence for the people at Schowalter Villa," she said.