2023 TKO Inductee into the Ohio Senior Citizens Hall of Fame – Kathyrn McGrew

Kathryn B. McGrew is an impressive woman.  Miami University Professor Emerita of Sociology and Gerontology, Dr. McGrew has spent her career researching and teaching others about our aging population, elderly services, long term care policies, caregiving, and support networks, but that is only the beginning. 

When you meet Dr. McGrew, or “Kathy” as she prefers to be called, it is impossible to ignore her energy and intellectual curiosity, her down-to-earth personality, and her genuine beauty.  Kathy has done more than just teach about navigating the “fourth season of life”—she is living it.  McGrew explains, “My professional world, filled with teaching and research about aging, long-term care and caregiving, is now my very personal world.”

McGrew followed a clear path in her education by completing a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology in 1969, a Master of Social Work in 1971, and a Ph.D. in 1990 from The Ohio State University, College of Social Work.  Her career also evolved to demonstrate not just an intellectual interest in social work and psychology, but a true desire to help others improve their lives and relationships.  Career highlights include:

  • Residential group home counselor for adult women with developmental disabilities
  • Psychiatric Social Worker and Clinical Instructor
  • Hospital Social worker for patients and Alcoholism out-patient clinic
  • Family Group worker for range of clients including incarcerated women, parents of teenagers, single parents, abusive parents, parents of disabled children and foster parents.
  • Social Worker for Family Services of Butler County, Ohio which included Coordinating the Comprehensive Services Center for School-age Expectant and New Parents.
  • Mediator for dispute resolution in the nursing facility setting.
  • Senior Research Scholar at Miami University’s nationally recognized Scripps Gerontology Center
  • Associate Professor of Sociology and Gerontology at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio

McGrew’s experience and research has also made her a sought-after consultant to organizations like the Butler County Board of Mental Health, the Center for Forensic Psychiatry in Hamilton, Ohio, and nursing facilities needing assistance with policy and procedure development, program development, social services supervision, in-service education and training, records audit, and crisis intervention. 

In addition to all of this, McGrew still found time for community service by serving on the Boards of organizations like:

  • Butler County Probate Court
  • Butler County Mental Health Center,
  • Family Services of Butler County
  • Oxford Advisory Welfare Service
  • Oxford Chamber of Commerce 

What may have been her most important volunteer position, however, is her board membership with The Knolls of Oxford, Continuing Care Retirement Community.  The impact of this position was likely not realized in her earlier years as a founding board member, but McGrew and her husband David now call The Knolls of Oxford home.  Kathryn admits, “I thought then, in my relative youth, that I was building a great community where “others” could grow older.  Those others soon became my friends, my own mom and dad, and more friends.  Then—no surprise—The Knolls of Oxford became my home with my husband Dave.”  Residents at The Knolls recognize McGrew’s expertise and often seek her advice while navigating the world of health care directives and spousal caregiving.  They also recently elected her to serve on the organization’s joint foundation board as the sole resident representative.

McGrew’s most personal experience in the field, however, has been the reality of dealing with the very issues she researched and taught for so many years.  Kathryn’s husband, David—a retired and beloved local veterinarian—was given a very sobering diagnosis years ago that has progressed to serious cognitive, communicative, and physical decline.  McGrew became her husband’s full-time caregiver and experienced, first-hand, the extremes lived by so many facing the same reality.  While she is the first to be transparent about the struggles, Kathryn has also been an unwavering advocate for her husband, herself, and others in similar situations. 

Kathy is not slowing down any time soon.  She continues to advocate for quality long term care and respite for caregivers.  She is a vocal supporter of resources like Adult Day Services, caregiver support groups, and the continued development of programming for those with dementia and other cognitive decline.  For example, McGrew recently became certified in the nationally recognized program TimeSlips in order to bring it to The Knolls skilled care community where her husband now resides.

For all her accolades, Kathryn B. McGrew is incredibly humble and one of the most approachable people you will ever meet.  Her genuine care for others is what continues to make her a distinguished asset to the field of aging, and such a respected and loved member of the community.

Benefits of Social Media for Older Adults

Often thought of as a tool only used by younger generations, social media has recently become increasingly popular amongst older adults. According to Pew Research Center, 61% of adults ages 65 and older now own a smartphone, and 45% of those older adults with a smartphone have reported that they also use social media.

What exactly is social media? Social media consists of collaborative websites and applications that allow users to share content with others such as text, photos, and videos. Social media has many benefits for older adults such as providing engaging socialization and new learning opportunities.

Engaging Socialization

Obstacles such as busy schedules, geographically distant loved ones, or health concerns can make it difficult for older adults to stay in touch with their family members as much as they might like. Social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram provide the perfect platform for older adults to connect with their loved ones and even long lost friends. Users of these sites can share video and photo updates of their travels, life milestones, and even just their everyday lives. Old videos and photos can also be shared with loved ones to connect and reminisce about fond memories. The more connected older adults feel with their friends and loved ones, the more improved their mental health will be.

Social media can also help relieve the stress and anxiety felt when loved ones don’t live close by to each other. Instant messaging and video calls provided by various social media sites allow older adults and their families to check in with each other as often as they wish, especially when a major life change or illness has occurred.


You’re never too old to learn new things! Social media strongly promotes active learning, meaning that the user is in direct control of what they choose to learn more about. And the more interested in a subject you are, the more information you are likely to retain. Social media sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn, or Pinterest provide users with ample opportunities to learn regardless of their learning style.

YouTube is a video based social media site perfect for users that learn the best visually. Users can find a wide variety of videos anywhere from live demonstrations on how to make a tasty new dish, change a tire, or even try out a new yoga routine.

Pinterest is a popular social media platform for those who love to create. Users can discover and share their favorite recipes, craft and sewing instructions, or home decorating ideas. With content geared towards both visual and reading learning styles, Pinterest has a little something for everyone.

Blogs are regularly updated webpages that provide valuable insight on various topics. Blogs will typically focus in on a certain genre of knowledge such as lifestyle, travel, or health topics. Perfect for those who enjoy learning by reading, blogs are one of the best ways to learn new things from those who have extensive experience on the subject matter. Senior living communities such as The Knolls of Oxford will often have blogs dedicated to topics geared towards the health and wellness of older adults.

Social Media at the Knolls of Oxford

On top of providing numerous opportunities to connect with others and learn new things, social media can also be a very valuable tool when it comes to searching for a new senior living community to reside in. While tours of the campus will show you what the surface of the community looks like, many older adults are more interested in the real, daily life of the residents who call that community home.

The Knolls of Oxford has carefully curated a social media presence that engages current residents as well as the public. Snapshots from daily resident activities and outings, resident spotlights, and video messages from residents and staff are just a few examples of what you will find on The Knoll’s social media. 

If the idea of using social media still seems daunting to you, perhaps taking a class on using your smart device for social media or staying safe on the internet might help alleviate any remaining anxiety.

The Knolls of Oxford is a very technologically positive community, and recognizes how important hands-on training is when learning new technology. Our Communications Department offers regular technology training classes that build on previously learned skills. For example, in one class you may learn how to create a social media profile and in the next class you will learn how to safely use the social media platform. These classes are limited to small groups of residents to allow everyone ample time to learn at their own pace and ask questions.

“Our residents are very open and excited when it comes to technology and social media” says Bailey Wallingford, Corporate Communications Manager for Maple Knoll Communities. “Many of our residents are already active on social media and love sharing our posted photos and videos with their loved ones. Having our residents be so engaged with our social media profiles has created a community that is excited to retire and live life to the fullest.”

With a presence on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and online blogs, we invite you to take a “peak behind the curtain” and discover what life is truly like at The Knolls of Oxford!

The Importance of Involvement

Social involvement is important at any age, especially for older adults. Having an active role in the community adds purpose and meaning to their lives while also providing opportunities to build lasting friendships. Residents of The Knolls of Oxford are encouraged to be as involved in their community as they desire. Some of the biggest ways residents can be involved on campus include resident committees and social and recreational programming.

Resident Committees
At The Knolls of Oxford, we believe that the best way to improve community life for our residents is by listening to the residents themselves. Knoll’s residents have the opportunity to be involved in the Resident’s Council. This council is overseen by Laura Lacy, Executive Director, and is comprised of various committees focused on dining, safety, technology, hospitality, and activities as well as a representative from each neighborhood. Residents work with staff in these committees to provide suggestions and ideas to enhance campus life. These suggestions are reviewed at Resident Council and then passed onto administration.

Social and Recreational Programming
The amenities at The Knolls allow residents the freedom to be as active as they wish. Our 84-acre campus features a gorgeous walking paths, and gardens providing an outdoor sanctuary. You will also a Bistro, Library, Salon, and multiple spaces for resident gatherings.

Each level of care at Maple Knoll Village has trained Activity staff dedicated to ensuring our residents live their lives to fullest. This can be seen through various planned social, cultural, and educational programs. Local entertainment from the community and area colleges are frequently brought in for residents to enjoy as well.

One of the most popular activities offered is the weekly Happy Hour. Independent living residents come together to enjoy food and drinks, socialize, and even meet new people. Residents also have frequent opportunities to enjoy life outside of The Knolls by visiting the Cincinnati Zoo, attending Miami games, or enjoying an afternoon immersing themselves in the arts.

To learn more about socialization opportunities offered, check out our social media profiles on Facebook and Instagram @knollsofoxford for an inside look at life at The Knolls of Oxford or give us a call at 513-524-7990.