Transitioning to Senior Care: An Interview with Community Relations Manager, Karen Immell

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Transitioning to Senior Care: An Interview with Community Relations Manager, Karen Immell

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No one likes to think about the loss of independence that often accompanies the aging process. However, it’s very much a fact of life for many seniors. While putting off senior care may seem easier in the short-term, it can have serious long-term repercussions.

As the Community Relations Manager at Marjorie P. Lee (MPL), Karen Immell has seen these repercussions firsthand. We recently sat down with Karen to discuss how families can plan ahead and ease their loved one’s transition into senior care.

Q: Can you briefly describe your role at MPL? 

KAREN: As the Community Relations Manager, I market to the Cincinnati area getting information to the communities regarding Marjorie P. Lee and our services. I work with families in the community to establish a plan for moving to MPL and assessing the correct level of care and services if any are needed. This could be an immediate plan or a plan for years down the road.  I also maintain relationships with residents and their families to assure they are at an appropriate level of living for their changing needs.   


Q: When is the right time to join a senior living waitlist?

KAREN: In order to ensure you have access to apartments at MPL when you are ready to move, you need to plan ahead. We have waitlists in all levels of care ranging from six months to three years. You are never penalized for not taking an apartment when one becomes available. Your name stays at the top of the list for the next available apartment.  Also, if your health changes and you need a different level of care unexpectedly the date you joined the waitlist moves to another level of care at any time.


Q: What do you think are the biggest barriers that stop people from joining a senior living waitlist? 

KAREN: Most people are unaware premier communities have waitlists.


Pictured: Karen Immell walking down a hallway at Marjorie P. Lee.

Q: What is the biggest regret you hear from families when it comes to their loved one’s transition into senior care? Also, what can people do to avoid this regret?  

KAREN: If you ask the independent and assisted living residents, they would be quick to answer “I should have done it sooner.” To avoid this regret, you can get on the waitlist and have access to getting acclimated before committing to a move. Our waitlisters receive the monthly events calendar and are encouraged to join us for any of the activities and/or outings. Also, as part of being on the waitlist, you have open access to our fitness zone, heated swimming pool, and exercise classes as well as social activities with our independent residents. These benefits take a large part of the unknown out of the moving experience. 


Q: What can people do today to reduce stress and improve their loved one’s transition into senior living? 

KAREN: Tour many communities for the future to find the one that finds right. Get as involved in that community as you can.

Downsizing can be overwhelming. Begin cleaning out closets making plans for everything in the house your loved ones will not be moving with them. There are companies you can hire to assist you in this process.


Q: Why do you think proactive planning is important for seniors and their families? 

KAREN: Having a plan gives both the seniors and their families a sense of security. When the time comes and they want or need to move, there’s no scrambling to find a last-minute solution and regret when they find out the premier communities of their choice have waitlists that are too long for their needs. 


Q: Do you think proactive planning has any effect on seniors’ quality of life once they do move into a retirement community? 

KAREN: Proactive planning makes the transition easier for both resident and family. They are aware of Marjorie P. Lee’s levels of care, services, and quality in advance. The resident will move into the apartment they have chosen in advance and not what first becomes available. 


Q: What do you like most about being the Community Relations Manager at Marjorie P. Lee? 

KAREN: I enjoy the relationships I build with the potential residents and their families as they make these important plans for the future. The longer we plan, the better we get to know each other. Once the resident moves, I get to watch him/her settle in and become a part of our family.

You can reach Karen Immell at (513) 871-2090 or For more information on admissions, joining a waitlist, or Marjorie P. Lee’s levels of care, you can also fill out an information request form here.

Kristin Davenport
April 28, 2020
Kristin Davenport is the Director of Communications for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Kristin leads ERS’s efforts to share stories that delight and inspire through social media, online content, annual reports, magazines, newsletters, public relations, and events. Kristin earned her BFA in graphic design from Wittenberg University. She joined ERS in 2014 after a 25-year career as a visual journalist and creative director with American City Business Journals. Her role at ERS has ignited her passion for making Cincinnati a dementia-inclusive city, and she spends time with residents as a SAIDO® Learning lead supporter. Kristin is the executive producer and co-host of the Linkage Podcast for ERS. Kristin and her husband Alex live in Lebanon, Ohio, with their two daughters. She also serves as a Trustee and the President of the Lebanon Food Pantry and is a board member for ArtScape Lebanon, where she teaches painting and has an art studio, Indium Art.

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