Staff Spotlight: Joe McGhee

By Sarah Sexton | Publish Date August 29, 2023

Joseph “Joe” McGhee always knew he wanted to be a physical therapist. “Before college, my grandfather, who had a prosthetic leg, would share with me how PT helped him walk again,” he said. “That’s what led me into long term care, too. My grandfather learned how to walk with a cane and told me how PT improved his quality of life. I wanted to help people like that.”

Joe earned his Healthcare Management degree and his masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). After graduating from college, he and his high school sweetheart Hailey moved to Asheville, North Carolina. “It was the mountains that drew us to Asheville,” he said. As avid hikers and mountain bikers, the two enjoyed spending time on the trails, in the rivers and the waterfalls. “Asheville is a tough place to leave, but it’s easy to go there,” he said. While in Asheville, Joe specialized in working with individuals with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions.

As Hailey and Joe began discussing growing their family, they knew they wanted to be back in Birmingham close to relatives. “I met Hailey at her aunt’s house for a Fourth of July party I was going to with a friend in high school,” Joe said. “We’ve been together ever since.”

Hailey, who is a social worker, and Joe have a two-year-old daughter named Lily. “We’ve traded some of our hiking and mountain biking in for reading and watching Blippi,” Joe said. “But as a family, we still love to get outdoors.”

Joe is one of four full-time therapists on staff at Kirkwood. We also have two part-time therapists. Their offices are in the rehab gym on our Riverview Short-term Rehab floor. “I get to work with folks from across the community,” Joe said. “There’s a lot of variety in our work, and we get the chance to meet a lot of different people. We treat everything from shoulder and knee pain to balance trouble. Our role is to help our residents improve mobility to live their best life doing the things they enjoy doing,” he said.

Along with Lily, Hailey and Joe round out their family with three dogs – Lola, Winnie, and Riley. When asked what he enjoys about Kirkwood, Joe explained, “It’s a family here. It’s not just a place to stay, you get to be a part of something really special.”

For more information about our rehab services, visit kirkwoodbytheriver.com.



The Residents

Our residents come from different backgrounds and bring their unique qualities, talents, and life experiences to complete the Kirkwood community. Here are just a few reflections from some individuals who call Kirkwood their home.

I fell in love with the cottage and the view from my back porch. I am excited to have a yard for Ginger, my poodle, to play in and my own garage, all within an established retirement community!

Charlotte Hamilton Current Resident

My husband and I looked at a number of places when deciding to move to a retirement community. For the most part, we found communities that said, ‘We’re going to take care of you.’ But Kirkwood was different. It wasn’t just about taking care of us. It was also about having fun, having friends, and living life to the fullest. The attitude at Kirkwood was positive and the atmosphere was comforting. We simply couldn’t resist. Without a doubt, the location was ideal. The Cahaba Room that overlooks the river, the mountains, the trails – there were just so many things about life. The community was lively. It was alive.

Alice Brooks Current Resident

We realized we were approaching an age where we might need more assistance than what just downsizing could provide. Knowing we have my sons nearby and the levels of care should we need it is comforting, and the beautiful hillside, river, and the woods makes it that much more appealing. We don’t know of any other community that has the woods, the various levels of care, and so many different amenities.

Phyllis and John Guschke Current Residents

We were moving my parents down from the Cleveland area to be near us. I looked at almost every retirement place in the Birmingham area. The second I turned into Kirkwood’s drive and drove up the hill, I knew that I’d found the perfect place for my parents to live in Alabama. In the six years that my parents have been at Kirkwood, I have always felt nothing but love and helpfulness from every staff member. Everyone is always helpful with a pleasant attitude. You can truly see and feel the family atmosphere. I’m happy that my parents can call Kirkwood their home.

Brenda Sheehan Kirkwood family member

When we learned that Cedar Ridge was being developed, that seemed to fit our needs very well. It is the ideal place for the next phase of our retirement.

Carol and Arthur Stephens Current Residents

One thing that we feel is very important here at Kirkwood by the River is the relationship that we have between the staff and the residents. They are dedicated to making our life here as safe and secure and pleasurable as possible. That goes a long way.

Fred Rogers Current Resident

The community's cottage living surrounded by a wooded, natural environment with access to future healthcare services is what attracted us to Kirkwood!

Rick and Jane Ricketts Current Residents