Ron Schlegel has been supporting the seniors of his communities since he was a boy serving meals in the small seniors home his parents operated in London, Ont. The values instilled in his heart at a young age have guided his path through life, and the retirement Villages he has built that today bear his family name are a testament to his ongoing quest to offer the best of service in retirement living and long-term care.
At a banquet dinner and awards reception in Blue Mountain, Ron was recognized by the Ontario Retirement Communities Association (ORCA) for a lifetime of contributions to the sector with the Donna Holwell Legacy Award. ORCA created the award “to honour individuals who, through their dedication and commitment to Retirement Community Living, have created a legacy of work resulting in positive change and measurable difference for the sector.”
For those that have worked with Ron and been inspired by his vision for age-friendly communities, the recognition was well deserved.
“Ron’s true contribution to the retirement sector is the example of servant leadership he lives every day,” wrote Schlegel Villages Vice-President of People Christy Parsons in her nomination submission. “He is in the Villages constantly, meeting with team members and residents alike, asking questions about what is working and where there are strengths to be built upon.
“His example inspires others to act upon their passion and discover what they can contribute towards the betterment of the sector. He understands the importance of physical design in a retirement community, but he also knows that genuine, authentic relationships create a true home for the people he serves.”
Ron’s commitment to the sector and his push for a new understanding of what it means to age in today’s society goes far beyond life within the Villages, and he shows that through his commitment to aging research and innovation.
As a philanthropist, he pledged $10 million in seed money to launch the Schlegel-UW Research Institute for Aging in 2005, and nearly 15 years later the marriage of research and its practical application is seen in all aspects of Village life, from the unique Program for Active Living, which helps residents maintain strength, mobility and independence, to the physical design of the living environment. Knowledge gained through the partnership between the RIA and the Villages serves seniors in all communities by promoting healthy aging and helping today’s seniors maintain an independent lifestyle.
Ron’s commitment to the social approach in retirement living has created opportunities for countless residents to not only find security and comfort in a true continuum of care, but new opportunities for growth, joy and meaning in their lives. The difference he has made is seen in the people whose lives have been transformed, even in their last months, because they live or lived in a Village filled with caring friends that truly understood them as an individual.