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Helping launch a retirement community in Columbia, Missouri has been one of the most fulfilling moments of my professional career.

The Village of Bedford Walk is bringing a one-of-a-kind senior living experience to Columbia. The independent, refined retirement community is accepting applications with residents moving in on Wednesday, June 1. Located on Bailey Drive, Bedford is the newest retirement community in mid-Missouri and the first of its kind from JES Prime Senior Living.

Lezlee Leonard, the Village of Bedford Walk coordinator,  has a master’s degree in gerontology and has used her expertise to help create refined services and amenities for Bedford residents. Her team of professionals cater to the needs of Bedford residents by combining the best services with the freedom and comfort of independent living.

BusinessInterviews.com: For those of us who may not know, please explain what an independent retirement community is.

Lezlee Leonard: An independent retirement community is a place where self-determined seniors can enjoy an active lifestyle. It provides physical, intellectual and social activities to enhance the living experience of its residents. Bedford is not assisted living, but is instead a community arranging the tedious details of owning a home, therefore allowing our residents to focus on their own interests.

BusinessInterviews.com: Can you describe your villas and apartments?

Lezlee Leonard: The Village of Bedford Walk will have 61 apartments and 27 villas, all of which combine sophistication and comfort to create a luxurious living experience. The villas feature classic architectural design, handsome stone exteriors, crown moldings and oil rubbed bronze fixtures. All of these pieces come together to create a truly beautiful home. Some floorplans offer an attached one car garage and gas fireplaces. Both the villas and the apartments have 8-foot doors and 10-foot ceilings for a more open and spacious living environment. What Bedford really aims for is a living space our residents can take pride in.

The apartments, which are located in a multi-story building just moments away from Bedford’s amenities, also include large closets with innovative storage and quality granite countertops. In addition to these features, we offer move-in specialists who can help residents measure their furniture and make the most out of whichever floor plan they choose.

BusinessInterviews.com: How does Bedford differ from other retirement communities?

Lezlee Leonard: Some retirement communities can feel institutional and restrictive, but the Village of Bedford Walk feels like home. We handle the details so our residents have the freedom to experience every amenity The Village of Bedford Walk offers. Each living space, common area and facility provide accommodations for relaxation and recreation, all while maintaining elegant architecture and modern interior design. The end product is an independent living community combining beautiful aesthetics, comfort and a vibrant culture in an innovative way.

BusinessInterviews.com: As we age, safety becomes more of a priority. Has the Village of Bedford Walk incorporated any safety features for residents?

Lezlee Leonard: Making sure our residents remain safe while being independent is our priority. In order to ensure this, the design features of our community make living safe and easy. Our villas and apartments have smooth entrances with no steps, slip-resistant surfaces, bright lighting and many other features. The grounds are also well lit and include a walking path and benches for a more accessible and integrated community. Bedford’s safety precautions allow our residents to enjoy their home as their needs change. In every unit, a system of motion sensors will send an alert to the community manager if motion is not detected by 11 AM each day, providing comfort for both our residents and their families.

BusinessInterviews.com: How does Bedford provide a luxury living experience for seniors?

Lezlee Leonard: Bedford residents are able to take advantage of our salon and spa services, private wine storage, library and business center, movie theatre and so much more. Our concierge can help residents make the most out of their experience by purchasing theatre tickets or scheduling transportation, spa appointments and dining. We want Bedford residents to experience quality amenities and services while still living life their way.

BusinessInterviews.com: I realize you have both villas and apartments. Can you give us an idea of the monthly pricing for these units?  

Lezlee Leonard: Pricing for the apartments can be anywhere from $1,505 to $3,995 a month, depending on which of the four floor plans the resident chooses. This monthly fee includes utilities, one meal a day, concierge services, wellness programs and many other amenities. Bedford aims to simplify living by incorporating various services into one easy payment.

BusinessInterviews.com: Tell us about Bedford’s continuing education programs.  

Lezlee Leonard: Through our affiliation with the University of Missouri, our residents are able to become premier members of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute. This is a guided program allowing people who are 50 and older to continue their education, challenge themselves and form relationships with new people. The great thing about this program is members can attend any course or class session tuition free. Other member-only privileges include a University of Missouri library card and free attendance to the Brown Bag Seminar Series and Friday Film Fest for our residents and a guest for a year. At Bedford, we believe learning never ends, and we want to be able to facilitate continuing education for our residents.

BusinessInterviews.com: What makes Columbia and mid-Missouri the perfect place for senior living?

Lezlee Leonard: Columbia was an obvious choice due to its ideal climate, youthful energy and vibrant sense of community. There has actually been a growing trend of people retiring to college towns for these same reasons. Columbia has also made Forbe’s Magazine’s list of Best Places to Retire and has been recognized by Money Magazine on several occasions as being one of the top places to live. JES | Prime Senior Living understands retiring to college towns is not just a growing trend but also the  norm for the future. People want to go back to places they know or stay in a community they love. Columbia has a youthful state of mind, and it is calling to all ages.

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