Editor’s note: As part of the 40th anniversary of McKnight’s, McKnight’s Senior Living and McKnight’s Long-Term Care News are recognizing 40 notable newsmakers. Each week, the brands will highlight a new, high-profile leader from the past four decades. See the rest of the series to date here.

Assistance and compassion seem to fit Brenda Bacon like a glove. She has been wearing  both of them well her entire life.

From her early days as a social worker trying to land jobs for welfare recipients, through helping New Jersey Gov. Jim Florio improve healthcare services, up to her current role at the helm of a senior living company she helped launch, Bacon always has lent a helping hand. The habit continues outside her day job, as her numerous industry speaking engagements, support for Argentum and involvement in numerous charitable organizations can attest.

Most in the sector are familiar with Bacon thanks to Brandywine Living. She co-founded the firm in 1996 (it originally was called Brandywine Senior Care) after raising $65 million in private equity funding. As president and CEO, she leads 30 communities across seven states and oversees more than 2,500 members. Among her many accolades, Bacon was an inductee into the inaugural Hall of Honor class of the McKnight’s Women of Distinction awards program in 2019.

Bacon sees senior living as an antidote to the loneliness that ages and hospitalizes so many older adults. She has said that her communities give residents privacy, dignity and a reason to get out of bed each day.

Headquartered in Mount Laurel, NJ, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, the company primarily provides private-pay assisted living, independent living and memory care services, along with a dollop of skilled care.

Welltower CEO (and business partner) Tom DeRosa has lauded Brandywine Living as an example of what high-quality senior living can accomplish.

Especially when it’s run by a natural entrepreneur who leads with brains and heart.

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