Active & Involved: Glenaire Celebrates 20 years of making a difference in Cary

There’s always something going on at continuing care retirement community Glenaire. That’s especially true this year as the CCRC marks its 20th anniversary with new projects and multiple celebrations. 

“People are thinking differently about aging,” said Laura Lowe, director of sales and marketing for Glenaire. “They want to stay active and be involved.

“The environment that you age in is huge. Socialization, laughter, good food — having choices and quality of life helps people live longer, healthier and happier.”

In the CCRC concept, people age 62 and older move into the community while they’re active and independent, enjoying meals, housekeeping help and activities with the assurance of assisted living and skilled nursing care should the need arise.

Dr. Ed Stocks, one of the founders of Glenaire, which falls under the umbrella of nonprofit corporation The Presbyterian Homes Inc., is now a resident here.

“It’s important to provide an environment for older adults where they are able to live to the fullest,” he said. “It’s a faith-based community where everyone feels like he or she is part of a family.”

Sue Briggs and her husband, artist Garrett Briggs, also live at Glenaire, after witnessing the “wonderful” welcome received here by Sue’s late mother.

“I would not be surprised if our own children would even be considering this,” for their retirement years, Sue Briggs said.

Indeed, Lowe notes that Glenaire’s three-year wait list is growing with the names of adult children whose parents have lived here.

“That’s a testimonial,” she said. “Their parents have been so happy here and received great care, and they want to give that same gift to their kids. It’s a long-term commitment, a contract for care, and a great way to enhance your retirement plan.” 

The anniversary celebration here will be yearlong, with residents’ input, and includes an April luncheon honoring early supporters of Glenaire and a large party planned for July. 

“It’s what are we doing, not just the management of Glenaire,” said Lowe. “We want to celebrate everyone who is a part of this.”

That sense of collaboration between residents and staff permeates Glenaire, where some 20 committees meet to decide issues from food to financial.    

“I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, and I’ve never seen residents take ownership of a community like this one,” Lowe said. “They’re invested with their volunteering and ability to make decisions for the community.”

Having served more than 860 residents to date, Glenaire is currently home to 380 people living in 212 apartments and freestanding homes, 49 assisted living apartments, and 71 nursing rooms, and offers a fitness and aquatic center, 200-seat auditorium and library.

Executive Director J. Paul Gregg also notes Glenaire’s annual economic impact of more than $20 million, and the 240 jobs it adds to the local economy.

Capital dollars spent total nearly $60 million in construction since Glenaire became operational in July 1993. New buildings were added in 2000, cottages in 2004, wellness center and café in 2006-07, and an $8 million health center renovation is now under way.

A resident-founded scholarship fund has awarded $73,000 to college-bound students employed as waitstaff at Glenaire. On-site internship programs range from nursing to social work and more.

“We’re more than a retirement community,” Lowe said. “We’re making a difference in Cary.”

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