// Photos by George Rubaloff
This past year, for example, PRS landed management contracts for two Quaker facilities in California: Quaker Gardens in Los Angeles and Friends House in Santa Rosa. “These are small, stand-alone retirement communities that lack the capital to upgrade programs and services,” McLemore says. In a tough economy, relying on a lone executive director to handle finance, food service and health care issues can be a struggle for many small communities, he says. “We see a continued big opportunity for other nonprofits needing assistance.”
The nonprofit is also remodeling and expanding its affiliated properties, which include nine continuing-care retirement communities. To meet demand in that market for larger apartments and more activity space, the nonprofit recently rebuilt Cascade Manor in Eugene, a seven-story facility constructed in the 1960s. The remodel included 50 one-bedroom den apartments and a new wellness center. PRS also remodeled the University Retirement Community in Davis, Calif., adding an indoor pool and spa, and larger assisted-living and retirement apartments.
As part of its mission, PRS provides housing and services to seniors at all economic levels. On the lower end, the nonprofit has already built 25 HUD-financed low-income senior communities. Today, says McLemore, the biggest challenge is how to provide “midmarket” care and services for seniors impacted by the recession. Many baby boomers are also living longer, healthier lives and are avoiding the expense of moving into a retirement community until absolutely necessary. Responding to these trends, PRS is exploring new in-home and cooperative care arrangements. The nonprofit is also working to address problems on the recruitment end, partnering with universities to address the national nursing shortage and trying “to get people excited about the special benefits you get from caring for someone at the end of life.”
Getting motivated about senior care is not a problem for McLemore, who started working in the field in 1986 as an employee for Rogue Valley Manor in Medford, the PRS flagship property. Twenty-six years later, he works with all manner of communities and organizations: urban and rural, Quaker and Catholic, the Masons and the Independent Order of Oddfellows. In each case, McLemore says, the goal is to “entrench ourselves in the organizational culture and work with the board to find innovative solutions that fit their mission.”
“Pushing paper in the office is one thing,” McLemore adds. “My favorite thing is meeting with residents, hearing about their dreams for retirement and trying to incorporate them into our next big project.”