Around the Cross
How quickly the world can change. Over the past five years, this country has seen dramatic shifts in terms of finance, politics, technology, and philosophy. We have seen a major financial downturn and the beginnings of a recovery. We’ve witnessed two wars, and even the start of a fundamental shift in our industry which will ultimately determine the way health care will be managed in this country.
Change is nothing new to Lutheran Senior Services. Our tradition of stable, reliable serving stretches back more than 150 years. In that time, we’ve seen wars. We’ve seen changes in the health care field. We’ve seen recessions — and depressions! But the challenge unique to the 21st Century is to adapt to change at a pace unprecedented in the history of the world.
We respond to this challenge as we respond to every challenge — by joining our hearts around the cross. This idea is at the core of our operational philosophy. It’s even reflected in our logo. We gather together individuals with servant hearts, we pool our collected efforts, and we keep our focus squarely on the model of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our methods may change to suit the times, but what will never change is our devotion to providing the very best service for the people we serve. Supported by God’s loving grace and the dedication of many, many devoted team members, we are prepared to rise to the challenge of the 21st Century, and beyond.
LSS exists not to support our bottom line or to satisfy stockholders. We exist because we believe we have a vital role to play in the lives of older adults, both as an organization that provides housing and care for thousands of seniors every year, and as a collection of individuals who find great joy in helping older adults live life to the fullest. As the gospel spiritual says, “We’ve come this far by faith.” And by faith, we will continue.
Our Promise To You
At Lutheran Senior Services, we help older adults improve their lives through a wide array of resources and options. We deliver value and security through our network of senior living communities, affordable housing, and in-home services. In living our Christian mission, we offer seniors a complete continuum of life choices in loving, person-centered environments. Whether a person lives in one of our communities or at home, we offer multiple levels of care.
More about Lutheran Senior Services
- Learn about our Strategic Imperatives.
- Meet our senior leadership and board of directors.
- Like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest LSS news.
“Clarence [Vollmar] and I hit it off right from the beginning,” said Julie Bayless, a staff member at LSS’ Breeze Park community. “He has a great sense of humor. And we both love baseball.”
Julie met Clarence during one of the hardest times of his life — after some medical setbacks, Clarence found himself in a wheelchair and living in Breeze Park’s care center, feeling more than a little defeated. “He would lay in his bed all day,” Julie remembers, “but as our bond got stronger, he slowly became more sociable. He started going on out trips and talking with his neighbors more.”
But the turning point for Clarence was last year’s LSS Night at the Ballpark. Each year, an LSS resident is selected via an essay contest to throw out the first pitch of a Cardinals game. “I told Clarence about the contest, and he said, ‘I’m going to win this.’”
So that’s just what he did. With Julie’s help, he got his thoughts down on paper. He got back into shape, tossing a baseball back and forth with the care center’s staff every morning. And when Clarence’s big moment came, he walked out to the mound in front of a cheering crowd at Busch Stadium, arm in arm with Julie.
To this day, Julie can’t help but tear up when she thinks about it. “To actually be there to experience that,” she said, “to see him accomplish something that he’s always dreamt of doing … it meant more to me than words could ever say. I’m so grateful I could be a part of that.”
19th Century orator Robert Ingersoll once wrote, “You will rise by lifting others.” Julie experienced that. Every day, more than 2,500 Lutheran Senior Services employees experience it. The joy of serving others in pursuit of a mission — it’s what helping older adults live life to the fullest is all about. It’s what Lutheran Senior Services is all about.
Over our 150-year lineage, LSS has grown to become the 10th largest senior network of its kind in the country, and the largest not-for-profit organization in St. Louis. We have done so, not to make a name for ourselves, but in the hopes of expanding our reach, so as to serve even more older adults in the years to come. In this, we serve as Christ would serve, with a boundless, unconditional compassion and a desire to touch the lives of everyone we can.
You can see this in the communities we build, the programs we create, and the care that people like Julie provide. Thanks to her, the barriers in Clarence’s life that had once seemed so insurmountable had come down. Suddenly, anything was possible again. Within months, he was packing his things and getting ready to move out of 24-hour nursing care and into an assisted living apartment.
The day he moved out of the care center, music was playing. Clarence got up to dance with a friend of the family. “I was there behind him, holding him by the belt loop because I was afraid he was going to fall,” Julie says, smiling through tears at the thought of that day. “When he shooed me away, I stood back and just watched in amazement to see how strong and determined he’d become.”
“It was just breathtaking.”
The needs of older adults are always changing, and LSS is constantly adapting to meet those needs. In 2011…
- Our Laclede Groves and Lenoir Woods communities broke ground on major expansion projects valued at $50 million each, bringing new services and additional living spaces to each campus.
- LSS continued to invest in its household-model care centers, which create environments modeled after family-style homes. As Concordia Village prepared to open its new care center in late 2011, Laclede Groves began breaking ground on households as part of its campus-wide expansion.
Laclede Groves resident Ken Crecelius never thought he’d find purpose in life at the bottom of a sundae cup. And yet, several years into his retirement, he’s found exactly that.
Leaning out the window at the community’s volunteer-run ice cream parlor, Ken hands over a pair of cones to a nurse in green scrubs. “Two chocolate…” he says, then produces a cup of ice cream for a care center resident in a wheelchair. “…and one vanilla.” The resident, of course, smiles.
There’s no charge for her — the purpose of the parlor is to add a little extra sweetness to life in the care center. It’s funded by the care center’s auxiliary, and it’s manned by residents like Ken, who enjoy the sense of belonging. “It’s great,” he says. “I think it’s what’s so nice about living at a place like Laclede Groves. For me, it’s been a real joy.”
One of the most important functions of Lutheran Senior Services is the building of communities. Not just communities of bricks and mortar, brass and glass, but communities of people, bound together by friendship and common purpose.
Need proof? Take a walk through the halls of any LSS location. Look at the decorations surrounding the doors of each apartment. Listen for the sounds of laughter and fellowship in the lounges and activity rooms. Smell cookies baking in the kitchen. Feel the warm welcome in every resident’s smile.
Our Continuing Care Retirement Communities provide residents with the ability to “age in place” — to move smoothly from one level of care to the next should they need it, so that they can always access the care they need as their needs change.
Active seniors can find an engaging lifestyle in our independent living apartments and patio homes. Residents who need a little extra help to maintain their independence can find it in our assisted living and residential care neighborhoods.
Our care centers welcome older adults who require either short-stay rehabilitative care after an illness or injury or long-term skilled nursing care. And our memory care neighborhoods are there to comfort and serve seniors with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive impairments.
Plus, older adults with fewer financial resources can find comfortable, rent-subsidized apartments at our Affordable Housing campuses. With a wide array of opportunities for social, cultural, and spiritual activities, these communities, like all LSS communities, quickly become homes to our residents.
That’s because LSS doesn’t build “housing for seniors”. We build homes for families — places where people who genuinely care for one another can live together in comfort, fellowship, and joy. That’s what LSS communities are all about.
How We Serve with Heart
The needs of older adults are always changing, and LSS is constantly adapting to meet those needs. In 2011…
- LSS communities continued to grow their REACH Short Stay rehabilitation programs, which bridge the gap between hospital and home following an illness or injury.
- The Village at Mackenzie Place, LSS’ first mixed-income community, opened its doors to the people of Affton, Missouri. A combination of
market rate, low-income tax credit, and HUD 202 rent-subsidized apartments, this community is a response to the changing financial needs
Katie Ritchie has a smile that’s infectious and never far from her lips. But there was one day, not so long ago, when even she had a hard time maintaining her trademark positivity.“I was in a hurry to get to a bridge game,” she said, sitting on the couch in her home. “I caught my heel in a mat on the way out the door.” She grimaced and made a ‘smack’ noise with her hands.
A tumble to the sidewalk broke her shoulder and split her wrist bone down the middle. “I was not a pretty sight,” Katie said.
It was at that point that Katie got to know the caregivers at LSS In-Home Services. Home Health provided nursing care and personal support to help get Katie back on her feet again. “They were so caring,” she said. “They didn’t treat me like an old lady. They treated me like a friend. And now I’m fine.”
“And,” she added with a twinkle in her eye, “I’m playing bridge again.”
Senior living communities are only one way LSS touches the lives of older adults. We offer a full spectrum of medical, non-medical, and
social services that support seniors wherever they call home.
Through LSS In-Home Services, older adults and their families can find comfort and solace, as the help they need can come right to their front door. That includes in-home therapy and nursing care from Home Health. It includes personal assistance with tasks around the home from Private Duty. It includes technology-based household safety solutions, including The Button urgent response system. And, thanks in part to funding from the United Way, it includes a wide range of social services that connect seniors with helpful resources from LSS and other local providers.
While many of our programs help meet seniors’ physical needs, we offer a number of others that help meet their spiritual needs. For example, our Volunteer Program assists older adults in finding purpose in retirement, through meaningful opportunities to give of their time, talent, and experience.
The chaplains of LSS’ Pastoral Care program touch the lives of not only our residents and clients, but their families as well, offering comfort and counsel in trying times. And our accredited Clinical Pastoral Education program works to train the next generation of ministry workers, putting them in direct contact with those we serve — for the betterment of both the minister and those to whom he or she ministers.
And, in the final months of life, LSS Hospice Care is there to help seniors make the most of the time they have been given. Our team of caregivers, social workers, and chaplains work with both the patient and their family on many levels — physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.
Wherever you are on life’s journey, Lutheran Senior Services is there to help, every step of the way.
Volunteering at LSS
In 2011, supporters of LSS donated more than 86,650 volunteer hours to help us pursue our mission of helping Older Adults Living Life to the Fullest. If you, too, have a servant heart, visit LSSLiving.org/Volunteering to see how you can help seniors through gifts of your time, talent, and experience.
The needs of older adults are always changing, and LSS is constantly adapting to meet
those needs. In 2011…
- LSS launched its Aging Answers Line (314.446.2475), a one-stop resource for a whole host of aging-related topics, from finding helpful local resources to arranging for comprehensive geriatric care management.
- This was supplemented in 2012 by the launch of LSS Aging Answers tips on healthy aging. A series of public service announcements, these short messages appear on broadcast television, in print newsletters, and through social media.
Betty Dissen did everything right. “My parents ran out of money. They just didn’t save for the future,” she said. “So one of the very first things I did when I started working was to build my savings. Because I knew I would need it someday.” But sometimes you can do everything right and everything can still go wrong.
After 30 years of marriage, Betty found herself in a bitter divorce that left her savings decimated, just as she was approaching the need to retire. “I really didn’t know what to do,” she said, tears beginning to well up in her eyes at the thought of it. “I thought I’d be one of those people who worked until she dropped. That was my future. I was lost. Just beaten before I tried.”
“Benevolent Care saved my life,” she said, smiling through the tears. Thanks to the generosity of LSS supporters, Betty is able to continue living in the place she calls home. An avid crafter, she spends her free time making toys and baby blankets for child cancer victims through Basket of Hope. She calls it her way of giving back. “I feel safe and secure here,” she said.
“Benevolent Care gave me a future. A good future.”
You can do everything right. You can save your whole life, make educated investments, lay a sound foundation for tomorrow … and you can still end up outliving your financial resources.
The costs of aging continue to go up. Between fixed incomes, financial downturns, stagnant investments, and the unpredictability of life in general, it is becoming all-too common for people like Betty to find themselves without options, and without hope for the future.
No one should regret living a longer life simply because they can’t afford to pay for it. That’s why Lutheran Senior Services’ Benevolent Care is here to help. Last year alone, LSS provided more than $5.1 million in uncompensated care to support seniors who could no longer support themselves.
But the need for Benevolent Care increases every year, and we cannot provide this assistance for the people we serve without your help. Every gift made to LSS Benevolent Care goes a long way toward restoring the hope and preserving the dignity of seniors who are too easily lost in the “new normal” of today’s financial landscape.
There are many ways to give. Creating a gift annuity helps you plan for your own future while supporting the futures of those in need. Including LSS in your estate planning can help ensure your legacy. And making planned or one-time gifts can make an immediate impact in the lives of people in your area.
There are a lot of people out there just like Betty who need your help. Visit LSSLiving.org/Giving today to see how you can help us touch lives.
The Case for LSS Benevolent Care
those needs. In 2011…
- LSS’ Home Conversion Program continued to grow, helping seniors move into our communities by converting a record high 38 unsold properties into long-term income streams that also benefit LSS Benevolent Care.
- The LSS Living Foundation was created to further promote the growth of LSS Benevolent Care through the coordination of grants, large gifts, fundraising events, and more.
We thank each and every individual, business, and organization who gave their financial support to Lutheran Senior Services this past year. The following are donors and estates of donors that gave directly to the mission and ministry of LSS in 2011. Gifts given to any of our supporting organizations are recognized by that organization.
Thanks to the gifts of our supporters…
- Lutheran Senior Services was able to provide $5.1 million in Benevolent Care for residents, clients, and patients who outlived their ability to pay for the entire amount of their care.
- The LSS Christ Care Fund provided $70,843 in one-time gifts to staff members experiencing financial emergencies.
- LSS Hands of Care purchased $6,200 in grocery gift cards to enhance Christmas celebrations for less-fortunate LSS staff members and their families.
- LSS Hospice Care received $9,756 in financial support.
- LSS communities and programs supported local United Way agencies, raising more than $104,000 organization-wide.
- LSS’ Big Blue Mob presented more than $40,000 to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s.
- The LSS MS150 bike team raised $20,000 to support the fight against Multiple Sclerosis.
- Lutheran Senior Services was able to better support LSS Clinical Pastoral Education, the purchasing of Christian artwork for LSS locations, Pastoral Care, Outreach Social Services, the Good Samaritan Program, and many other designated needs, assisting us as we help older adults live life to the fullest.
2011 Financial Report
A Message from
LSS Chief Financial Officer
With the housing market still in flux, 2011 was a challenging year for many organizations, and LSS was no exception. Our average occupancy for the year was approximately three percentage points below the budgeted amount (93%), resulting in lower revenues. Additionally, our investment portfolio, while positive in 2011, yielded less than we’d hoped. Through a number of cost-saving initiatives, we were able to recoup most of this shortfall, but even so, LSS ended the year behind budgeted operating revenues.
Even with these challenges, however, LSS is greatly optimistic about 2012. We continue to maintain a strong financial foundation. Our investment-grade credit rating allows us to access the capital markets to fund improvements and expansions. And thanks to our commitment to continually enhancing our locations and programs, we are already beginning to see improvements in occupancy and operating results.
About Our Financial Stability
Because of our financial stability, Lutheran Senior Services maintains an investment-grade credit rating from Fitch & Associates. LSS is part of a very small percentage of organizations in its field to match that level of financial strength.
As a result, LSS was able to raise more than $47 million through a bond issuance in 2011, securing very favorable interest rates and exceptional buyer satisfaction in the process. Funds raised have been earmarked for improvements to LSS communities.
Click here to view LSS’ Financial Report for 2011.