Senator Turner Visits McGregor, Hears the Mounting Challenges of Delivering Senior Care

Randy Carpenter |

McGregor is not your typical COSE member.  It has a 32-acre facility and more than 500 employees.  But, McGregor likes to think of itself as small business that treats its customers like family.

You see McGregor, is a non-profit assisted living and retirement facility located in Cleveland Heights.  For over a century, McGregor has been servicing the assisted living needs of the greater Cleveland area.

Today, COSE hosted Ohio District 25 Senator Nina Turner (D) on a tour of the McGregor facilities as well as informal discussion on the evolving challenges of senior care with the onset of the “baby boomer” generation hitting retirement age. 

McGregor has been a COSE member for many years and benefit greatly from participation in our energy programs across their multiple facilities. 

The McGregor story starts in 1877 when Amasa Stone, the legendary capitalist and preeminent Cleveland philanthropist, and his wife, Julia, built and endowed one of the first private organizations in Cleveland specifically for the care of seniors — the Home for Aged Gentlewomen, later to be renamed the Amasa Stone House.

The first building at the current campus in Cleveland Heights was the A.M. McGregor House, built in 1908.  The McGregor facilities were transferred to the Foundation via a family endowment in 1912.  McGregor’s first assisted living/independent housing facility was built in 1941.  Men were allowed as residents at McGregor starting in 1974.  The current campus was completed with the construction of the Gardens of McGregor and Amasas Stone (2004), McGregor at Overlook (2009) and McGregor PACE (2010).   

One of the most interesting things we learned about McGregor that most people don’t know is that actress Margaret Hamilton (Wicked Witch in The Wizard of Oz) is a benefactor at McGregor.  Hamilton, born and raised in Cleveland, made the donation after the death of her mother Jennie, who was a resident at McGregor.  

Today, McGregor facilities are a mix of units among short term rehabilitation, private nursing, assisted living and independent apartments.  “We are unique in that we can house multi-level residents on the same property that allows a husband or wife or siblings to stay close together even though they need different levels of care,”  says Mary Beth Cappell-Bovee of McGregor. 

McGregor has some 557 units across all of its facilities, which are running at 96 percent-occupancy.  That is in sharp contrast to just 15 years ago (1999) when they owned just 146 units and were running only at 85 percent occupancy. 

“The baby boomers are creating a real concern for the care of seniors in our country,” said Ron Hilton, the CEO at McGregor.  “There is and will continued to be a real shortfall in affordable senior housing with services.” 

Senator Turner says she is impressed with the facilities and the quality of the care given at McGregor and would like to have her senate colleague see it for themselves.  “I would like to bring all Cuyahoga County legislators to McGregor to see this facility and discuss the challenges of delivering and paying for senior care so they make educated decisions on legislation pertaining to it,” said Turner.  “This facility goes against our preconceived notions of what a nursing home is.  This isn’t a place where people go to die, rather it’s a place where people extend their quality of life.”

“We try to create an environment at McGregor that says family,” said Cappell-Bovee.  “We want to create an experience that people would want to put their grandparents in.”