Country Meadows founder Gov. George Leader envisioned seniors living in a retirement community where they could gain independence, make friends and enjoy life.
The late Pennsylvania Governor George M. Leader was a force. In addition to serving as youngest Governor of the Commonwealth, he cared deeply about his fellow man. As one of his biographers, Nelson Geary, wrote: “The Governor, as energetic as a tornado, and spurred by a sense of urgency, was committed to programs which he considered essential for human welfare and social decency.”
In 1962, Leader and his wife, Mary Jane, interested in improving quality care for seniors, founded Leader Nursing and Rehabilitation. Over the next 20 years Leader Nursing Centers grew to become the largest provider of skilled care in the Commonwealth. Following its merger with an out-of-state provider, Leader embarked on setting the standard for a new level of care in Pennsylvania—personal care. So began his family’s journey into the emerging field of assisted living.
“Wellness is the key to the future,” said Leader. “It’s not just the quantity but the quality of life we are concerned about. We are working to keep residents spirits up and extend their Golden years.” Country Meadows was designed to offer assisted physical care, but also opportunities for residents to make friends, explore hobbies, maintain physical fitness and in general, enjoy life.
With an emphasis on wellness and a holistic approach to health care, Leader added 10 locations over the years, hosting apartments and services in a homelike setting, and restorative care for those who need a little more support than traditionally found in an assisted living setting.
According to Leader, “By nurturing the body, the mind and the spirit, we believe that not only years can be added to a person’s life, but that these years can be healthy, productive and truly enjoyable.”
Even at the age of 80, Leader was not ready for a real retirement and decided to keep busy by launching yet another assisted living company, Providence Place. At the time of his death in 2013, at the age of 95, he served as its Chairman, President and CEO.
Three generations of the Leader family have served seniors for more than 50 years, and Country Meadows and Providence Place remain 100% family-owned and managed. The family’s main emphasis through the years has been to provide high-quality services at reasonable costs through a compassionate, well-trained and highly motivated team of professionals.
Beyond Leader’s involvement in the profession, his family’s commitment has never changed—a philosophy of friendly, person-to-person caring that has become a Leader tradition.
Gov. Leader’s son, Country Meadows President and CEO Michael Leader, says that guiding vision remains today. “Country Meadows was founded on the philosophy of helping seniors stay as independent as possible, and that remains our core philosophy today. Our goal is to make good on our tagline at Country Meadows ‘Life gets better.’”