Masonic senior housing care options include continuing care retirement communities, independent living, assisted living, Alzheimer’s care, nursing homes, respite care, home care and day care. The difference between Masonic senior housing and other private senior housing providers is the association with Freemasonry. This can mean different things between individual Masonic providers, which we will discuss later. To begin, let’s look at what Freemasonry is and what it’s not.
A Brief History of Freemasonry
The exact origins of Freemasonry are a matter of debate. King Solomon, Euclid, Moses, the Druids. They have all been connected to Masonry’s origins. A poem printed in 1390, the Regius Manuscript, makes a reference to Masons. But the first “organized” group of Masons met in 1717 when four London lodges met and formed the first Grand Lodge of England.
The fraternity quickly spread throughout Europe and over to the American colonies where men such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Paul Jones, and other prominent colonial figures became Masons.
Mason alumni read like a who’s who of famous figures: Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Wyatt Earp, Mark Twain, Henry Ford, Ty Cobb, Harry Houdini, Charles Lindbergh, Clark Gable, Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Duke Ellington, Nat King Cole, Gerald Ford, Arnold Palmer, and John Elway to name a few. Most Masons, however, are not famous.
Today, there are 6 million active Masons around the world with 2 million in the US. It is the oldest and largest fraternal organization for men in the world.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization much like the Rotary Club, Kiwanis, the Knights of Columbus, and others. And like these fraternities, the Masons believe in giving back to their communities through charity and service. The three principle tenets of Masonry are brotherly love, relief and truth. Notice the “brotherly”? Yes, that means that Masons only allow men. More on that in a moment.
According to Mastermason.com, the main purpose of the Mason’s is to “make good men even better,” by placing “emphasis on the individual man by strengthening his character, improving his moral and spiritual outlook, and broadening his mental horizons.”
Freemasonry is not a cult. It is not a secret society bent on controlling the world. And it is not a religion.
Who is Eligible?
Masonry is open to all men of good character who believe in a supreme being and who are at least 18-25-years old (depending on the jurisdiction). The Supreme Being can be God, Buddha, or whoever you hold in that position. Masons come from many religious traditions including Christianity, Buddhism, Sikhism, Islam, Judaism, and Hinduism.
Women, as we said earlier, are prohibited though there are some Lodges in England bucking the tradition. However, the Order of the Eastern Star is a Freemason-related organization open to men and women.
One of the main purposes of Masonry is to provide charity and service. Masons do this through a number of charities, both local and national. The following are national Mason-related charities: Shriner’s Hospital for Children, Scottish Rite Children’s Medical Center, Scottish Rite Learning Centers, Dentistry for the Handicapped, and The Museum of Our National Heritage.
Masons are said to give $2 million a day to various charities in this country.
Additionally, Masons give back to other Masons in need through housing and medical assistance. This is where Masonic senior living comes in.
The Masonic Senior Living Tradition
Over 100 years ago, Masons saw the need to establish homes for their elderly Masonic members, their wives, widows and children who needed daily care and could no longer live on their own.
Many of today’s Masonic senior living facilities originated as a charity by Masons for Masons. Like Masonic Pathways of Michigan that originated in 1891; the Montana Masonic Home that has provided care to the Big Sky state elders since 1907; or the Masonic Home of Florida providing care in the St. Petersburg area since the early 1900s.
Look on just about any Masonic senior living facility website and you’ll see a “History” page, documenting the efforts of that community’s Masons to provide a home for the elderly and infirmed.
Masonic Senior Living Today
The Masonic senior care facilities of a century ago are largely different than the ones operating today. Aside from the many medical and technological innovations, many of today’s facilities are even open to non-Masonic members, though this varies by facility. The general public, however, is typically given less priority than Masons and their family members. They also will pay a higher rate.
Masons, on the other hand, enjoy a discounted daily/monthly (depending on the service) rate. In addition, as a Mason or relative, you are often give guaranteed access to the care you need. And you are given priority on the waiting list as many of these facilities have a wait.
Who is Eligible?
As stated above, some facilities will admit non-Masons. However, Masons are usually given admission priority over the general public. For facilities that are strictly Mason, admission again varies.
Here are some eligibility examples you may find:
A Master Mason who is a member of that state’s Lodge and in good standing
A Master Mason’s wife
A widow of a Master Mason
A female dependent of a Master Mason
Paying for Care
Like other public senior care facilities, Masonic facilities accept private payment. Monthly fees are based on a number of factors: level of care, city/state of the facility, and amenities. See our “Senior Lifestyles” article for information on costs of care.
Some facilities have an “assignment of assets” option where residents assign a percentage of their assets and income to the facility. The assets are converted to cash and deposited into an account that is used to pay for care.
Many Masonic senior care homes have financial assistance programs made available to those senior Masons and spouses who qualify. These programs are typically state-specific. Some examples are the Masonic Financial Assistance Program, the Benevolent Financial Assistance Program, and Masonic Advantage Program.
Additionally, for Veterans there are a number of options for financial assistance such as Aid and Attendance, the Housebound Benefit and the non-profit Veterans Angels.
For many years, Masons have been giving back to their communities and to their own members. Masonic senior homes and senior care is just another way that their members are taken care of in later life. And today, many of these homes have opened their doors to the general public. To begin your search for a Masonic senior home, scroll below to find care options throughout the US.
The following is a list of Masonic Senior Care Organization. If you know of another Masonic organization that should be on this list, just find the facility in the directory and then use the notify admin button to tell us that this listing should be included as a Masonic service organization. This list was originally created based on feedback from users. Once we build a more complete list, we will make it searchable criteria. This list is new but we are trying to build lists for special interest groups of seniors.