Life at the Episcopal Retirement Homes (ERH) communities is a family affair for some of its residents and employees.
For Judi Dean, Director of Nursing at the Marjorie P. Lee Retirement Community (MPL), it means that where she works is also where her father lives. That’s not unique, according to Dean: “Other staff members have parents here.”
Dean, who started as Assistant Director of Nursing 20 years ago and quickly rose to Director, is “basically responsible for the clinical care of all the residents here, in independent living, assisted living and the care center, our skilled nursing center.”
Her father, Julius Dean, a 90-year-old retired engineer, has been an independent living resident for about three years.
After her mother died in 1998, her father stayed in the home they had shared for about a year. He then moved into a condominium, but developed an increasing connection to the MPL community. “He came in to volunteer at the Corner Store here, and have lunch — they do have good food here,” Dean recalls. “He needed to be around people.” After some health issues, surgery and a stay in the care center, he came home to the retirement community for good.
“I had no questions about him coming here,” Dean says. “I know how the organization feels and cares about its residents. I know he’s well cared for and satisfied.”
Amenities include three meals a day and many programs for residents, she explains. “There’s a great deal to do, you can pick and choose — nothing is really expected. The physical therapy is wonderful, and transportation is available.
“Independent living residents have a large voice in how they want their home to be,” she adds, noting that her father participates in the Residents’ Council.
An added perk is that they can easily visit daily. “He stops down every day and brings his mail. I pay his bills,” Dean says. “I can also participate in events as a family member.”
For Jim Fisk III, a Wellness Coordinator for ERH at the Deupree House (DH) and MPL, his family connection involves both a MPL resident — his grandmother, Peggy Fisk — and fellow employees: his father, Jim Fisk Jr., who works as a part-time driver, and his sister, Marcy Fisk Galloway, who was a manager at MPL, and who now “still works in a small capacity making signs and posters for upcoming events” as she raises her children, Fisk explains.
“Dad actually suggested the job opportunity, and it sounded like my thing,” the 24-year-old Fisk continues, adding that he started at ERH last June. “I’m still at UC as an undergraduate, and they work with my school schedule.” Fisk is majoring in health promotion with a concentration in exercise and fitness, or exercise physiology.
“We plan events related to wellness,” he explains, such as a Heart and Soul Day which promoted heart-healthy habits around Valentine’s Day. “I also work one-on-one with residents on basic fitness, on land and in the pool,” he says, and teaches classes geared to various ability levels.
Fisk says that a major appeal of ERH for him is that, “pretty much in all departments, they’re all here for the residents. They lend a hand and extend their job descriptions.
“The residents are a joy to work for — it’s an appreciative and tight-knit community.”
For Cece Mooney, familiarity with that tight-knit community extends back to her own mother, who was a DH resident starting in the early 1980s.
“We were the first people in the new building, Deupree II,” on Feb. 1, 2007,” says Mooney of herself and her husband, Tom, who have made living in ERH a second-generation family tradition.
The Mooneys are not Cincinnati natives, she explains, but her husband came here in 1952 to work for Procter & Gamble and they were married in 1959. Both are “longtime” retirees; she was employed as a dress buyer by Rike’s Department Stores and McAlpin’s.
Her mother, Alice Scott, lived in DH for nine years. “We had her 90th birthday here,” she recalls, adding that “I have fond memories of her being here.”