Staff Spotlight at The Cedars: John Roy, Dining Director

Posted by Katharine on January 9th, 2018

John Roy is the Director of Dining Services for The Cedars community. Staff can usually spot him cooking in one of our kitchens, helping staff during service, or talking with residents about their meals and dining preferences. His passion is preparing healthy, delicious meals for our community with the freshest local ingredients.

A graduate of Johnson and Wales College and a recipient of the Cordon Bleu Medal and Who’s Who Award, John has over 30 years in culinary management from educational settings, to hotel and restaurants, corporate environments, healthcare and retirement communities.

John was born and raised in Waterville, Maine and today lives with his wife in Newcastle. He commutes over 50 miles each way daily. He must really enjoy working here – and The Cedars is lucky to have him on our team!

John looks forward to growing with our community, especially towards our exciting new transformation to the Household Model of care.

The Benefits of Retirement Living in the Winter Months

Posted by Katharine on January 4th, 2018

On wintry days like today, we find our residents expressing how thankful they are to have made the decision to move to a retirement community. “I love snowy days now,” one individual recently exclaimed. “I get to enjoy the beauty from inside, while having everything I need, right here.” At The Atrium, independent living at The Cedars, our residents relax in the privacy of their own apartments while having immediate access to friends, fine dining, fitness, entertainment and more. Here are some of the more popular winter activities older adults at The Cedars are enjoying this winter.

Fitness Classes
When the temperature drops, it can be challenging to get outside and exercise. The Cedars offers many fitness choices including Yoga, Tai Chi, Strength Training, Water Aerobics in our indoor, heated pool, and more. Residents can take advantage of our Fitness Center, swim laps or enjoy the whirlpool spa. Our Wellness Coordinator works with the older adults to assess their current level of fitness, set goals, and create fun, individualized fitness and nutrition plans.

Social Opportunities
Our residents have access to a calendar full of groups to enjoy such as book clubs, current events discussion, Stitch and Sip, Master Piece Theater and TED Talk discussions, bridge, cribbage and Rummikub – to name a few. We also have wine and cheese gatherings and socializing where residents bring their beverage of choice, just prior to the evening meal.

Culture and Education
Winter is the perfect time to attend an in-house lecture with a favorite historian or curator, attend concerts with local classical or jazz artists in our atrium, or attend a class at the local senior college, with gratis door to door transportation provided by The Cedars. And of course, residents enjoy our movie theater with films shown throughout the day.

Outings to local restaurants, theater companies, the symphony and area museums are so much more fun when the transportation is provided and a familiar group of friends accompanies you. Our residents have season tickets to local performances and together, choose our monthly excursions.

Despite the weather, older adults at The Cedars enjoy enriching and stimulating social lives – year round. For more information on retirement living in Portland, Maine – contact us today.

Making Connections As We Age, at The Cedars

Posted by Katharine on December 18th, 2017

Researchers are gaining a better understanding of the effects of loneliness and isolation on our health, such as the studies outlined in the recent New York Times article. Scientists have found that loneliness can raise our levels of stress hormones and inflammation, which then increase the risk of heart disease, arthritis, Type 2 diabetes and dementia. Interestingly, findings indicate that individuals can be surrounded by people and still feel lonely – if their relationships are not emotionally rewarding. Essentially, isolation does not definitively lead to loneliness. The question arises, how to counter the effects of loneliness, particularly in our older years.

At The Cedars, we have various living options for seniors including independent living, assisted living, long-term care and short-stay rehabilitation. Over the years, we’ve had the honor of witnessing the effects of new relationships on our residents’ wellbeing. One resident at The Atrium independent living recently exclaimed, “I never thought I would meet my best friend after moving in to a senior community.” And in our long-term care center, the community is enthusiastically awaiting the upcoming wedding between two of our nursing home residents who met at The Cedars.

Intimate, meaningful relationships are always important, no matter where we are in life. And what’s amazing is that connections can arise when and where we least expect them. For more information on The Cedars and our community, contact Angela D’Amours, Marketing Representative at

The Cedars Residents Reflect: Where Were They on December 7, 1941?

Posted by Katharine on December 7th, 2017

Margot Cliff was 7 and living in Hilo, Hawaii, when Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. “I didn’t really know what the ramifications would be,” she said. “How do you describe war to a young child?” Staff photo by Derek Davis

In anticipation of the anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, our residents met with Gillian Graham of the Portland Press Herald to reminisce about hearing the news 76 years ago today – and how it shaped their lives in the years after. Thank you, Gillian Graham for this wonderful article. Visit PPH for the full article.

She was 7 and standing outside her house in Hilo, Hawaii, with her father as he prepared to leave for a morning church service when a neighbor came running into the yard with news of the Japanese attack that would leave 2,403 Americans dead and push the United States to enter World War II. Two hundred miles away from Pearl Harbor, Cliff’s family wasn’t in immediate danger as the bombs fell, but realities of war surrounded the young girl in the months and years to follow.

Seventy-six years after the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt said would “live in infamy,” Cliff and three other residents of The Atrium at The Cedars in Portland reflected this week on the moment they heard about the attack and how it shaped their lives in the years after.

Cliff, who was born in Hawaii and lived there until she moved to the mainland at age 12, was living a quiet life on the island with her sister and their father, a Congregationalist minister.

“I didn’t really know what the ramifications would be,” said Cliff, now 83. “How do you describe war to a young child?”

Immediately after the attack, no gatherings of more than 10 people were allowed. Cliff’s father, the Rev. T. Markham Talmage, held services with nine people at a time. Everyone on the island was issued a gas mask and had to carry it at all times. Every few months, the school library would be filled with tear gas and students were marched through to test the masks. Those who hadn’t put their masks on correctly came out crying, Cliff said. Read more …

Sam L. Cohen Foundation’s Largest Gift Benefits The Cedars

Posted by Trinity Bachrach on November 14th, 2017

In honor of Sam’s legacy, the Sam L. Cohen Foundation has made its largest gift ever—$1.5 million—to support building a brand-new Healthcare Center at The Cedars that will provide truly person-centered care.

“Sam L. Cohen was, first and foremost, a people person. When the Foundation was first established, we researched the gifts Sam had made during his life,” explains Jeff Nathanson, President of the Sam L. Cohen Foundation. “Sam wasn’t here to tell us what he wanted and we hoped to discover what inspired his legendary, lifelong giving to guide us in our grant making.

It quickly became very clear to us that Sam didn’t give to organizations or ideas. Sam gave to people.”

SAM L. COHEN WAS THE LIFE OF the Jewish community of Biddeford, Maine. He was also its heart. More than ten years after his passing, his gregarious personality—and his generous philanthropy—remain legendary.

The Sam L. Cohen Foundation has continued his legacy by donating over $20 million to alleviate poverty, foster community, provide opportunity and promote equality in southern Maine since 2005. To mark the Foundation’s first decade, its directors began searching for an opportunity to make a larger, even more meaningful gift.

“It wasn’t easy,” Jeff admits. “That one big signature gift eluded us. Then we heard about the The Cedars Grow Bold With Us Campaign. We knew immediately that the way this new Healthcare Center will be built—to be a real home for seniors—would make Sam so proud.”

Person-centered care for seniors is the perfect way to honor Sam

“I do wish Sam were here to see the impact of this legacy gift,” agrees Kathryn Callnan, President and CEO of The Cedars. “He personified community and personal connection, yet his generation’s only options in later life were to struggle at home or to receive institutional care. This gift will let today’s seniors make personal choices about their daily life and health in a beautiful residence that will truly be their home. The Cedars will transform how this country sees aging.”

Sam’s legacy gift celebrates and continues the Cohen family’s commitment to The Cedars

The Cedars has long been able to count on the Cohens. Supporting Maine’s seniors is a family tradition that began with Sam’s beloved mother, Cecilia, a lifelong member of The Cedars Auxiliary. When The Cedars relocated to our current campus location from Munjoy Hill, Sam dedicated the new facility’s executive office and physical therapy area. And in 2009, a generous gift from the Foundation helped to establish The Sam L. Cohen Rehabilitation Center at The Cedars.

“Sam already helped to make The Cedars Maine’s largest Medicare provider and to put thousands of seniors on the road to recovery quickly,” Kathryn explains. “His legacy gift will now make it possible for us to customize our care based on each senior’s individual choices and to provide private rooms for our residents. Thanks to Sam, seniors will have a real home—and The Cedars will set a new standard for an entire industry.”

This gift creates another connection between Sam and his best friend, Bernard Osher, on The Cedars campus

Sam and his best friend, Bernard Osher, were inseparable during their lives and equally committed to supporting The Cedars. This history gives the legacy gift additional emotional resonance for everyone involved.

“Barney’s legacy gift helped build The Osher Inn, the assisted living residence at The Cedars,” Jeffrey explains. “Now Sam’s legacy gift will help to build a new, cutting-edge Healthcare Center right next to it. It wasn’t part of our decision-making process, but the proximity of those buildings means a lot to me personally—that Sam and Bernie will be so close together again.”

When The Cedars asked the Foundation to grow bold with us, they responded by making their largest gift yet

Jeffrey counts himself so lucky to have grown up with Sam as a family friend, a trusted advisor and a lifelong mentor. “At the end of every talk or breakfast we ever shared, he would ask me, ‘Do you need anything?’” Jeffrey remembers fondly.

“I never did, but he always asked. He asked this of everyone he met. Whenever anyone took him up on it, he gave.”

The Foundation has made their historic $1.5 million legacy gift to build the new, person-centered healthcare center in that same spirit. Jeffrey has no doubt that if Sam were here today to hear about The Cedars Grow Bold With Us Campaign, he would support it wholeheartedly.

“Sam would be so pleased and so proud to grow bold with The Cedars,” he says. “And he would want us all to join him.”

New Educational Program: Living with Heart Failure

Posted by Katharine on October 10th, 2017

When you are walking through a grocery store, have you ever stopped to wonder why there are so many cereal boxes advertising for heart health? According to Emory University, approximately 550,000 people are diagnosed with heart failure each year! That is a lot of people who are affected by this diagnosis; this does not account for the people who have had a stroke or a heart attack. Many of these people have to go to rehab facilities, like The Cedars, in order to better take care of themselves.

To help address this issue, The Cedars has introduced the CHF Program involving interactive weekly classes in the Rehabilitation Conference Room. These classes help educate our patients with heart problems, and their families.  This program started a year ago when Hannah Temple, Nurse Manager on Black Wolf, thought there should be more formal education about Congestive Heart Failure and how to live with it. Many patients would go through rehab and still wouldn’t understand how to properly take care of themselves to stay out of the hospital when they went home. “We should be educating our patients so we can hold them accountable for taking care of themselves… If we don’t then that’s when we have truly failed to care for them.” It was with this initiative and forethought that pushed Hannah and The Cedars to dive into this education program.

Educating our patients to stay healthy after their transition home:

  • Healthy eating to reduce sodium intake
  • Maintain a steady weight
  • Mindfulness of fluid intake
  • Increased self-awareness to listen to their bodies
  • Know when to seek medical help

Although these cereal boxes try to educate us, they lack depth of information needed for people suffering with heart failure. Thankfully, The Cedars is giving our patients the tools to keep them on the road to recovery, long after they transition home. For more information on The Cedars Rehab, call 207-221-7000.





Kelly Yattaw Recognized by Maine State Ombudsman

Posted by Katharine on August 23rd, 2017

We are excited to share that The Cedars’ Kelly Yattaw has been chosen by the State of Maine Ombudsman for the EXCELLENCE IN LONG-TERM CARE AWARD.

Kelly has been working at The Cedars for 10 years – as a Certified Nursing Assistant, Rehabilitation Aide and super valuable team member. Here are some of Kelly’s special characteristics that we highlighted when nominating her for the award:

  • Understands the value of person-centered care and makes it a priority
  • Cultivates excellence and strong leadership qualities
  • Demonstrates sincere compassion and understanding of dementia
  • An inspiration to watch as she makes difficult situations appear easy
  • Embraces a challenge
  • Willing to assist staff, always
  • States what is on her mind
  • Infuses her incredible sense of humor in all aspects of her work
  • Takes on the transition to the Household Model of care through Learning Circles with staff and residents, storytelling as a means of learning, numerous hours of education, development and mentoring of staff

One staff member noted “I appreciate Kelly and her work on my Neighborhood more than I can put into words. She is an amazing caregiver and human. We are truly lucky to have her as part of our team.” Congratulations, Kelly. We are honored to learn from you and to have you as a role model for all of us.


Posted by Katharine on August 21st, 2017

Written by Sara Martin, Wellness Coordinator at The Cedars as seen in the Senior Sourcebook 2017

It’s never too late to make a healthy lifestyle change that can lower your risk for chronic disease and depression. Did you know that 35% of health and longevity is determined by our genes, and 65% can be modified by us? You can take control of your quality of life by making some healthy lifestyles changes that are sustainable- not quick diet fads or extreme activity. It’s all about maintaining or even improving your functional movements, health, and quality of life.

Increase Your Physical Activity

  • MOVE, move, move – no matter how much or how little, just keep moving! Movements can be as simple as getting out of a chair, walking up the stairs, tying your shoes, scratching your back. The worst thing you can do is to stop: functional movement is your foundation.
  • PLAN ACTIVITIES like joining an exercise class geared to your likings and abilities. Some great options include aquacize, yoga, tai chi, strength training, and walking (inside or out).
  • JOIN A LOCAL GYM that has personal trainers to show you some beneficial exercises. Doing more than your normal everyday activities will help maintain and improve your physical abilities.

Regular, moderate activity will help manage your stress, improve your mood, reduce feelings of depression, maintain your independence, decrease your risk of falls and injuries, and increase your cardiovascular health. NOTE: always contact your doctor before starting a new exercise program.

Watch What You Eat and Drink

What we put into our bodies is so important!

  • FOCUS ON NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS rich in the vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Stay away from processed foods with extra ingredients that our bodies don’t need. Try to make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • EAT WHOLE GRAINS such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, rye, barley. Avoid refined processed grains such as white bread, white pasta, and white flours.
  • EAT ENOUGH PROTIEN from meats, dairy, fish, and legumes.
  • LOWER SODIUM AND SUGAR by avoiding processed and packaged foods. Shop around the perimeter of your grocery store.
  • READ LABELS and know what you are eating. If you don’t recognize ingredients, look them up and think twice about putting them into your body.
  • STAY HYDRATED, drink water, even if you think you are drinking enough, drink more!

Making some of these changes will affect your heath is so many positive ways. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and lower your risk for chronic disease. It’s all about moderation, do the best you can!

Aging is unavoidable, but poor health is not! “You can’t help getting older but you do not have to get old!” (George Burns) One small change can make a big difference – why not age the best we can? Make a change now, because in a year from now you will have wished you started today!


Celebrating Our Staff at The Cedars

Posted by Katharine on July 13th, 2017

Thank you, Roxanne, for 30 years of dedication and caring!

The Cedars took the opportunity of a mid-summer cook out to celebrate our employees and community. The residents, staff and families gathered today recognize staff who have been working with The Cedars for 5, 10, 15 20, 25 and even 30 years! Many people were highlighted, and here is some of the attributes and qualities that the team members commended in each other:

  • Advocates for the residents
  • Sharing their expertise and experience
  • Flexible
  • Always willing to help
  • Motivate their resident with love and care
  • Handles challenging situations with ease and competence
  • Wears many hats
  • Teacher, caregiver, nurse
  • Dependable, always makes it here
  • A Care Coordinator and so much more
  • Shows the kindest heart and soul for each resident
  • True champion for person-centered care
  • Instrumental in making change
  • Role model

Several employees were recognized for growing their careers – from dining staff to Certified Medication Assistant, and Social Worker adding CNA certification to become a blended worker on the Neighborhood. We are a growing community – if you’d like to grow bold with us, go to Careers.

CNA Plus Program Graduates First Class

Posted by Katharine on June 8th, 2017

Six individuals graduated from the CNA Plus Program at The Cedars this past Friday, helping to fill much-needed healthcare positions in long term care.  CNA Plus is a result of the collaboration among Southern Maine Community College, the Root Cellar, the Boyne Foundation and The Cedars that trains individuals, including members of Portland’s immigrant population, as direct care workers and transitions them to full time jobs.

The program provides qualified applicants with English Language Learning assistance, if needed, and a full scholarship into the 12 week program. In addition to the CNA (certified nursing assistant) certification, they receive Servsafe certification, and extensive training in dementia, rehabilitation and customer service.

SMCC’s President, R. Ronald Cantor, Ph.D. provided the key note address at the graduation ceremony. He remarked that in today’s world, few can afford the luxury of a four-year education. Programs such as CNA Plus provide flexible options, and help to create the workforce that Maine needs.

The collision of too few healthcare professionals and a growing senior population is a critical emergency our entire country is facing. In Maine, which has the highest median age, the unemployment rate is very low and the need for CNA’s is very high.

Classes began at Southern Maine Community College this spring, with clinical experience provided at The Cedars. “The CNA Plus Program is an innovative and inclusive approach to expanding our workforce that also expands our community and our reach,” explains Angela Hunt, Chief Operating Officer at The Cedars. “These students are thrilled to have this opportunity, and they have so much to offer our residents.” Contact The Cedars for further information on upcoming courses.