St. Ann’s Community marks 150 years of caring for seniors - Catholic Courier

St. Ann’s Community marks 150 years of caring for seniors

IRONDEQUOIT — Michael McRae, chief executive officer at St. Ann’s Community, feels strongly about caring for those who — literally — paved the way for him to be where he is today.

“I’m feeling very confident that the road you drove in on here today was probably paved by somebody that we care for,” McRae remarked during a May 8 interview at St. Ann’s Home in Irondequoit. “What better way can you say thank you to the generations that came before us than caring for them at this stage and this chapter in their life?”

St. Ann’s Community has grown and expanded over 150 years

St. Ann’s Community has been caring for people of the Rochester area for 150 years. Founded in 1873 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester, it first was known as The Home of Industry and served as a shelter and trade school for young immigrant women without families.

By the early 1900s, its focus had shifted to the elderly population and in 1904, its name changed to St. Ann’s Home for the Aged, a residential care facility for the elderly.

By the 1960s, St. Ann’s Home had become one of the largest nursing homes in the Rochester area. It later expanded to offer retirement communities for independent seniors.

Today, St. Ann’s Community offers a wide range of services at campuses in Irondequoit, Webster and LeRoy and an affiliate in Canandaigua. It offers independent living options in apartment and cottage settings, as well as assisted-living and skilled nursing.

St. Ann’s Community also offers:

  • memory care for those with dementia;
  • hospice care;
  • rehabilitation and transitional care for people recovering after hospital stays;
  • a Wound Healing Center that focuses on complex wounds; and
  • adult day services.

St. Ann’s strives to maintain mission moving forward, build foundation for the future

St. Ann’s Community has maintained a connection with the Sisters of St. Joseph throughout its evolution, McRae noted. Sister of St. Joseph Mary Louise Mitchell is director of pastoral care at St. Ann’s, and another Sister of St. Joseph is on St. Ann’s board of directors.

“I think the worst thing we could ever do is lose our roots. … We’re standing on the foundation that they built, and then the question becomes not only how do we keep that ministry and mission moving forward, but what groundwork or foundation are we laying today for the next generation?” McRae said.

Part of that foundational work was completed in December 2022 with completion of a $40 million renovation of St. Ann’s Home on the Irondequoit campus. The project is a testament to St. Ann’s commitment to the population it serves and to the local community, McRae said.

“Think about the number of jobs we created, the economic impact,” he remarked.

St. Ann’s employs many, offers unique benefits

Construction-related jobs aside, St. Ann’s Community employs approximately 1,100 people across its various campuses, according to Eileen Ryan-Maruke, vice president of marketing and community relations. These employees fill such diverse roles as HVAC mechanics, therapists, accountants, bus drivers, aides, nurses and chefs. Regardless of their roles, St. Ann’s employees are able to take advantage of unique benefits programs.

Through its popular diaper program, for example, St. Ann’s purchases diapers by the pallet and sells them to employees for just $3 per case, which is a fraction of their retail price. Other programs enable employees to purchase monthly Regional Transit Service bus passes and prescription medications through St. Ann’s pharmacy at heavily discounted prices. St. Ann’s also offers scholarship and tuition-assistance programs for employees who are furthering their educations, McRae said.

Happy employees show respect and compassion for elders, St. Ann’s CEO says

Employees who are taken care of and happy will, in turn, do a better job of caring for others, McRae said. Senior care is labor-intensive work that depends on personal contact and cannot be automated or outsourced, according to the CEO, who said he believes the quality and compassion of St. Ann’s front-line staff is one of the things that sets it apart from other senior communities. Their respect for the people they serve is evident in the way they refer to seniors as elders rather than as patients or residents, he said, noting that the term “elder” doesn’t necessarily mean elderly.

“It means someone I can learn from,” he said. “I think it does strike the right tone of respect, and it positions us to say, ‘What else can we learn?’”

Tags: Life Issues
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