The Cedars and MECA at Portland’s Art Walk

Posted by Katharine on April 4th, 2017

The Cedars and Maine College of Art (MECA) are celebrating the their collaboration at Portland’s First Friday Art Walk on April 7 from 5-8PM.

Starting in February, MECA students enrolled in the Art for Social Change course moved their classroom every Monday morning to The Cedars. The course goal was to bring the MECA students opportunities to learn about the history of what it means to directly create social and public change through a creative practice.

Part of the course integrated the practice of socially engaged art where the students worked collaboratively with seniors from The Cedars in creating an engaging intergenerational and multicultural community-based art program. Students and seniors met at The Cedars weekly from February to April throughout the course and collaborated together on creating art.

Throughout the months, relationships formed and insights developed – from both perspectives. Here are some quotes from the seniors:

“I want you to teach me everything, just like I want to teach you everything.” –Senior artist

Art didn’t mean anything to me until older years until it became part of my life…and I had the time. It means not to be afraid of making a mark on the paper, and it doesn’t matter if my neighbor says it’s art. I am the artist! Art is about not being afraid to do what I want as an artist.”-Senior artist

Join us Friday April 7 at MECA, 522 Congress Street in Portland, ME. FMI call 207-221-7000.

 

 

 

Remembering Greg Shapiro

Posted by Katharine on March 23rd, 2017

The Cedars community mourns the passing of our friend, Greg Shapiro. Greg was on The Cedars Board from 1974 until recently, and served as Board President during the very formative years of 1990 to 1994. During that period, his visionary thinking and faith in the community brought the Jewish Home for Aged from Munjoy Hill to our residential neighborhood, and the Jewish Home to transition to The Cedars.

“The Cedars was part of his DNA,” Kathy Callnan, President and CEO recalls. “It was wonderful to see how elated he was at the recent educational seminar in Boca Raton – he was so proud of what The Cedars has become and where we are going.”

Kathy explained that Greg was proud that The Cedars was moving the vision of senior care and that she was heading that vision. Then, she thanked Greg publicly for his confidence in her ability 26 years ago when he asked her to take the Executive Director position at The Cedars. “He believed in me before I believed in myself as an organizational leader.” Kathy recalls Greg being incredibly supportive and very hands-on during her early years as Director – he checked in with her almost daily, asking questions and shared his thoughts.

As his obituary stated, Greg was a true philanthropist and was known as the Gentle Giant by all. Greg Shapiro will always be a part of The Cedars, as his kindness lives on through the Bernard and Greg C. Shapiro Gerontological Education and Research Funds – which supports our Leadership Community and career opportunities for our staff. We invite you to donate to the Shapiro Education Fund here.

 

 

 

Healthy Living is Easy at The Atrium

Posted by Katharine on March 2nd, 2017

We’ve all heard that physical activity and exercise are good for us. In fact, being physically active on a regular basis is one of the best things older adults can do for themselves. According to the National Institute of Health, even moderate exercise can improve the health of people who are frail or who have diseases that accompany aging.

Being strong and fit can allow us to continue doing the things we enjoy as we age. Making exercise a regular part of our lives helps improve our health and maintain our independence as we age.

At The Atrium, independent living at The Cedars, our residents can attest to that. Our Wellness Coordinator develops customized wellness plans based on each person’s goals and abilities. After just one year of exercise, our residents have experienced significant gains. Here are some of their gains:

  • 38% more upper body strength
  • 63% more lower body strength
  • 117% more aerobic capacity
  • 1500% better balance

Wow. With programs and classes such as strength training, Aquacize in our pool, tai chi, yoga, Zumba gold, circuit training, walking and more – our residents have fun while getting healthy. Combined with delicious, nutritious meals and a calendar full of social, cultural and educational programs – it’s no wonder so many of our residents wish they made the move sooner. For more information on the healthy lifestyle at The Atrium.

 

The Cedars Learning Center: the Best of the Bold

Posted by Katharine on February 2nd, 2017

Gillian Jembere, Certified Nursing Assistant at The Cedars

The Cedars Learning Center will address the national shortage of skilled senior care providers.

TODAY OUR NATION faces a steep rise in its senior population and a critical shortfall of skilled caregivers. As the second-oldest state in the nation, Maine will feel this shortage more than most. We can’t wait for others to build tomorrow’s workforce. We must do it ourselves—beginning now.

“Over the next two years, in conjunction with industry thought leaders, The Cedars will be committing its resources to the development of a Learning Community™ —an in-house teaching and learning resource with which to train its workforce of the future,” explains Bill Foster, former Dean of the Muskie School of Public Service and former Chief of Staff and Deputy Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Labor. “It will serve as a unique model of open source teaching and learning for all of us.”

Over the years, The Cedars has developed strong partnerships and collaborations with public universities and community colleges, private colleges, high schools, insurance companies, state legislative and regulatory officials, and workforce development organizations. Within the Learning Community™ we can share best practices, discuss topics of common interest, and promote a sense of community to enhance teaching and learning within the field of gerontology. Collaborating with a broad array of partners, this community of learning and practice will enhance the quality and effectiveness of our workforce and offer the same to others in the field.

The Cedars Learning Community™ will:

  • Address the challenges of a rapidly aging population and a declining workforce in Maine by creating a better-trained, more stable pool of caregivers skilled in best practices for person-centered senior care Make Maine a center of learning and knowledge-building that others will want to visit and emulate
  • Attract additional support and funding, and become a driver of economic development in the growing healthcare sector
  • Build a stronger sense of engagement among the many stakeholders invested in quality care for seniors.

Our Learning Community™ will benefit not only The Cedars and its residents, but other providers, educational institutions, and the people of Maine.

 

Nine Decades Group at The Cedars on MPBN

Posted by Katharine on January 24th, 2017

On January 24, MPBN journalist, Patty Wight featured a story on Maine Things Considered on The Atrium’s group of 90+ year olds. The Nine Decades Group shared their various perspectives at this stage of their lives. The audio is available here, and below is a piece we shared when the group was first formed.

On the first Monday of each month at The Atrium, a select group of members meet. The only requirement for admission? Living on this earth for at least ninety years.

What’s so different about being ninety? If you ask nonagenarians, they may explain that life changed for them when they hit this milestone. Many of the responsibilities of estate and life planning are behind them and they can focus on new priorities and interests. Celebrating Nine Decades is an opportunity to process and share their ideas, goals and bucket lists. Members find renewed meaning in their lives and reflect on the significant experiences and individuals influencing them.

More people are reaching their ninth decade than ever before. According to the U.S. National Institute on Aging, those living to 90 and beyond are the fastest growing group of seniors in our country. The number of nonagenarians has nearly tripled – from 720,000 in 1980 to 1.9 million in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Oliver Sacks, Professor of Neurology at NYU School of Medicine, speaks to aging and reaching this milestone rather well in this excerpt from a NYT article:

“My father, who lived to 94, felt as I begin to feel, not a shrinking but an enlargement of mental life and perspective. … One has had a long experience of life, not only one’s own life, but others’, too. One has seen triumphs and tragedies, booms and busts, revolutions and wars, great achievements and deep ambiguities, too. One has seen grand theories rise, only to be toppled by stubborn facts. One is more conscious of transience and, perhaps, of beauty.”

“I do not think of old age as an ever grimmer time that one must somehow endure and make the best of, but as a time of leisure and freedom, freed from the factitious urgencies of earlier days, free to explore whatever I wish, and to bind the thoughts and feelings of a lifetime together.” (NYT July 6, 2013)

At The Atrium at The Cedars, the Nine-Decades group meets monthly and is a continuously evolving forum of ideas and thoughts. If you’d like more information about independent living at The Cedars, contact Angie D’Amours at 207-221-7100.

 

 

Concepts in Culture Change at The Cedars

Posted by Katharine on January 15th, 2017

What is Culture Change?

  • A PersonFirst approach to care (see below)
  • It requires knowledge of our residents’ preferences and life stories
  • It needs facility systems that support our staff in providing care on our residents’ own schedule and preferences
  • It requires empowerment of our staff in self-directed teams so that they can make decisions in the moment, for our residents

The Cedars has been on the Culture Change journey for a while. And now we have a company called Action Pact to help us. They are experts on Culture Change and provide trainings for staff in all departments, volunteers, family and residents.

The PersonFirst Approach

In order to make home, we must start by knowing and honoring an individual’s life, stories and desires. To create a meaningful life, we all have five human needs that must be filled:

  • Inclusion: we all need to be part of a larger group, to be included in life around us.
  • Comfort: provide warmth, strength, a feeling of security to help us hold it together when we are in fear of falling apart.
  • Identity: to know who we are and where we came from.
  • Occupation: to be involved in the process of daily life, drawing on our abilities and powers. It’s the opposite of boredom.
  • Attachment: to bond with another human being helps us feel safe.

What Makes Your Home a ‘Home”?

Clinical studies have shown that nursing home residents have the same environmental stressors as homeless individuals. Traditional nursing homes lack private spaces, and have many noises and routines that don’t fit what we do in our own homes.

One goal of the Household Model is to create a place that looks and feels like home—so that it can become our residents’ home—a sanctuary and a space where visitors want to stay and visit, and experience the comforts of their loved ones at home.

The Steering Team

This is a group of 15 staff from all departments and volunteers that meet weekly to make immediate changes that will further the adoption of person-centered care and prepare us for the move into our new Households.

Our Mission: To create a home that empowers seniors and staff by facilitating an open and inclusive community that honors all individuals and their life’s journey.
To find out more, visit actionpact.com/resources

Grow bold with us.

A Bold Beginning: Transformational Gala

Posted by Katharine on December 13th, 2016

George Marcus, The Cedars Board of Trustees and Campaign Chair, introduces Elizabeth and Sidney Geller to announce their historic $4 million leadership gift.

ELIZABETH AND SIDNEY GELLER ANNOUNCED their historic gift at The Cedars Transformation Gala on November 5. This inspiring and energizing intergenerational kickoff of the Grow Bold With Us Campaign gathered over 150 distinguished guests, including former governor John Baldacci and Action Pact President Steve Shields, to learn about the big challenges ahead of us—and The Cedars bold plans to meet them.

The Cedars wishes to thank the Geller family, our event sponsors Action Pact, Bangor Savings Bank and PM Construction, and everyone in attendance for being part of this bold effort from the very beginning.

Richard Borts, Chair of The Cedars Board of Trustees.

Kathryn Callnan, President and CEO of The Cedars.

Kathryn Callnan and Steve Shields, President of Action Pact, applaud the announcement of the Geller gift.

Everyone is Talking About The Cedars Bold New Plans

Posted by Katharine on December 9th, 2016

_sah5098It all started with the generosity of long-time friends of The Cedars, Elizabeth and Sidney Geller of Waterville, who donated $4 Million Dollars to help bring the revolutionary “Household Model” to Northern New England.

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Sidney Geller,“The Cedars has always been pretty much cutting-edge and on top of the best practices in elder care. The household model is the next step to improving residential care for seniors, and it is literally a home, with a front door and a doorbell. It’s a whole new concept.”

The BDN continued, “These household units will not look or operate like nursing homes, most of which resemble a hospital. There will be no long corridors lined with shared bedrooms, not nurses/ station, no bid, institutional kitchen. Instead each household will feature its own front door, a home-style kitchen, dining area and living room and private bedroom and bath for each resident.”

Elizabeth Geller explained to Maine Public, “It will serve as a model for the state of Maine – the whole state – and hopefully beyond.”

The BDN pointed out, “a small, cross-trained cadre of nurses, and care staff will be assigned to each household, aiming for a more personal and consistent relationship between residents and staff. This will be more resident-centered model of care,” Kathy Callnan, The Cedars President and CEO said. “That means the residents make more of their own decisions.”

Meghan Torjussen of WMTW met with residents of The Cedars, Gloria and Merle Watson who have been married for 70 years and are thrilled with this new concept. Meghan reported, “They both live at The Cedars but they don’t live together. Merle walks the 10 minutes from the Assisted Living section, every day, to visit Gloria who stays in the nursing section while she recovers from a stroke. But the households at The Cedars mean that couples like the Watsons wouldn’t have to spend a night apart.” Gloria added, “Because after 70 years together, we would like to go back to having a home together, and that would be our home.”

The Portland Press Herald explained, “This $30 million project includes construction of 2 new buildings and renovation of an existing one.” The Cedars will build an Assisted Living Memory Care and Skilled-Nursing Healthcare Center – and renovate the existing Rehabilitation Center.

The Cedars have always served as advocates and thought leaders in the senior care field and this will serve as an example of “best practices” for the State of Maine and Northern New England.  Using the latest research, evidence-based practices and technology, The Cedars continues to develop innovative programs that positively impact the senior community.

Elizabeth, an educator and Sidney, an attorney are long-time Maine residents who have strong philanthropic ties to their community. Their deep connection to The Cedars began with Sid’s grandparents and includes various family members including his mother, Mary Blumenthal Geller who served as President of the Auxiliary Board, Sid’s Aunt and Uncle, Sylvia B. and Dr. Alvin Hoffman; and Liz’s Aunt and Uncle, Pauline and Harvey Ansell.

“Growing up, my family didn’t have much money but the importance of giving back to our community was instilled at an early age,” said Sid Geller. “Liz and I are thrilled to be able to make this donation to such a worthy organization and help evoke change in the senior care conversation.”  “Sid and I are making this gift, the largest donation we have ever made, to reflect the importance of the cause and to hopefully serve as an example to others,” added Liz Geller.

While the physical manifestation of the Household Model will begin in the spring, the culture change to person-centered care has already started.  “The Household Model is so much more than just the structure,” George Marcus, Esq., The Cedars Trustee and Chair of the Capital Campaign Cabinet explained to the BDN. “We are fundamentally shifting senior care in the state of Maine and truly treating seniors as people, not patients.  The Geller’s generous gift is helping make this a reality.”

Rick Erb, Director of Maine Health Care Association told the BDN, “We’ve been hoping to see something like this in Maine for a long time, it’s something we’ve been watching in other states, and we certainly with The Cedars well with it.”

Grow bold with us.

 

 

The Cedars in the News: Household Model to Bring Family-Style Long-Term Care to Portland

Posted by Katharine on December 6th, 2016
PORTLAND, MAINE -- Thanks to a major gift from a Waterville couple, The Cedars, one of the state’s largest and oldest senior care facilities, hopes to bring a more humane and homelike approach to elder care in Maine. Small, home-style living areas such as the one shown in this model are part of the new design. Courtesy of The Cedars

PORTLAND, MAINE — Thanks to a major gift from a Waterville couple, The Cedars, one of the State’’s largest and oldest senior care facilities, hopes to bring a more humane and homelike approach to elder care in Maine. Small, home-style living areas such as the one shown in this model are part of the new design.

By Meg Haskell, Bangor Daily News, staff

Maine, with the oldest population of all the 50 states, is home to dozens of assisted living centers and residential nursing institutions. Now, thanks to a major gift from a Waterville couple, one of the state’s largest and oldest senior care facilities promises to bring a more welcoming and homelike approach to institutional elder care in Maine.

Founded in 1929 in Portland as the Jewish Home for the Aged, The Cedars is a nonprofit organization that provides independent-living apartments, assisted living, skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation services on an 11-acre campus on Ocean Avenue. It’s funded through a mix of Medicaid, Medicare, long-term care insurance and private payment. About 200 seniors of all faith backgrounds, both couples and individuals, call the campus home.

But a recent $4 million donation from board members Sidney and Elizabeth Geller of Waterville will help usher in a new era at The Cedars. As part of a larger, $30 million fundraising effort, the Gellers’ gift will enable the transition to an emerging national model of senior care known as the “household” model.

“The Cedars has always been pretty much cutting-edge and on top of the best practices in elder care,” said lawyer Sidney Geller in a phone interview earlier this week.

The household model is “the next step” in improving residential care for seniors, he said.

“It is literally a home, with a front door and a doorbell,” he said. “It’s a whole new concept.”

The Gellers, both in their 70s, hope their gift will inspire other donors to support the project, which also is being funded through a bank loan and a private bond issue.

It’s way more than a doorbell. Construction crews will break ground this spring for two new, large buildings on the campus. One will house a memory-support household for 20 residents with dementia. The other will feature two long term care households, each designed for 20 residents. In addition, an existing building on the campus will be renovated into three, 20-resident households for short-stay skilled rehabilitation patients, and long-term residents who need more intensive nursing support.

These household units will not look or operate like nursing homes, most of which resemble a hospital. There will be no long corridors lined with shared bedrooms, no nurses’ station, no big, institutional kitchen. Instead, each household will feature its own front door, a home-style kitchen, dining area and living room and a private bedroom and bathroom for each resident. A small, cross-trained cadre of nurses, personal care aides, dietary aides and others will be assigned to each household, aiming for a more personal and consistent relationship between residents and staff.

The shift to the household model entails a significant change in the institutional culture of The Cedars, said President and CEO Kathy Callnan, a registered nurse who has been with the organization for more than 40 years.

“This will be a more resident-centered model of care,” Callnan said. “That means the residents make more of their own decisions. The staff isn’t getting everybody up at the same time or feeding people at the same time.”

If one resident is an early riser and another likes to sleep until noon, staff will accommodate those choices. If someone wants a snack in the middle of the afternoon, or a stroll outside before lunch, it will be readily available.

Cross-training and multiple professional certifications will be encouraged, Callnan said, allowing, for example, a housekeeper also to help a resident with personal care, or a nurse to prepare an impromptu grilled cheese sandwich.

Board Chairman George Marcus said the transition represents a “dramatic change” at The Cedars, adopted only after careful consideration and touring an institution in Kansas where the household model is in full effect.

“The significance is not just for our organization or for our community here in southern Maine, but for the entire state,” he said. “Maine is the oldest state and only getting older. It’s essential to find the most effective, user-friendly way to care for our seniors who need extra help.”

The new households will replace some older, more traditional facilities at The Cedars, but the Osher Inn, a relatively new facility that provides assisted living services in private apartments, will not be remodeled at this time.

Although the new facilities won’t be ready for occupancy until mid-2018, staff members are already working with residents, family members and volunteers to develop new, more flexible roles and ways of interacting with each other. These sessions are being coached by staff from Action Pact, a private company headquartered in Kansas that promotes the household model as part of a larger approach to providing more homelike elder care.

“It really is about changing the culture rather than any specific training,” said LaVrene Norton, who founded Action Pact in 1996 and serves a consultant to organizations such as The Cedars that are seeking to transform the way they care for seniors.

Key to this change, she said, is cultivating a less hierarchical, more family-like environment. For staff, this requires a more flexible job description and a sense of shared leadership within the household unit.

“There are many decisions organizations have to make,” Norton said. “One hundred percent of the staff needs to be involved in the process.”

While the household model of long-term care has been evolving informally for the past 20 years, she said, it is experiencing a wave of popularity. Action Pact has worked with “hundreds” of organizations in the United States, Canada, Ireland, Australia and elsewhere, she said. The Cedars is the first in Maine, possibly in all of northern New England.

At the Maine Health Care Association, an industry group representing nursing homes and assisted living facilities, Executive Director Rick Erb said a few smaller facilities here provide household-like care. There’s little doubt that the model offers benefits to both residents and staff, he said, but most larger facilities can’t afford to make the kind of physical and operational changes it requires.

“We’ve been hoping to see something like this in Maine for a long time,” he said. “It’s something we’ve been watching in other states, and we certainly wish [The Cedars] well with it.”

As Maine’s nursing homes get older and demand extensive renovation or replacement, Erb said, it will become possible to design for the household model. But until then, the more familiar model of institutional elder care will likely prevail.

Grow bold with us.

 

A Bold Example: Elizabeth and Sidney Geller Make a $4M Gift

Posted by Katharine on December 2nd, 2016

The campus will be named the Elizabeth M. and Sidney H. Geller Senior Living Community at The Cedars in honor of their visionary commitment to person-centered care.

THE CEDARS HAS GREATLY benefited from the support of the Geller family for generations. This November, Liz and Sidney Geller made their family’s boldest gesture yet. Their visionary leadership gift of $4 million—the largest gift ever made to a senior living center in Maine—continues their family’s philanthropic legacy, sets a new standard for charitable giving, and will change the lives of Maine seniors.

Liz, an educator, and Sidney, an attorney, are long-time Maine residents with strong philanthropic ties to their community. “Growing up, my family didn’t have much money but the importance of giving back to our community was instilled at an early age,” Sidney remembers.

Their deep connection to The Cedars began with Sidney’s grandparents and includes his mother, Mary Blumenthal Geller who served as President of the Auxiliary Board, his aunt and uncle, Sylvia B. and Dr. Alvin Hoffman; and Liz’s aunt and uncle, Pauline and Harvey Ansell.

“My grandfather was a resident at the Jewish Home for Aged, so I have always known that The Cedars was committed to innovation and quality care,” Sidney explains. “But last year, when I was in rehab at The Cedars, I witnessed first-hand what a great place this is. Liz and I are thrilled to be able to make this donation to such a worthy organization and help evoke change in the senior care conversation.”

“Sid and I are making this gift, the largest donation we have ever made, to reflect the importance of the cause and to hopefully serve as an example to others,” Liz adds.

“The Gellers are so forward thinking,” says Kathryn Callnan, President and CEO of The Cedars. “They are extraordinary people making an extraordinary gift to seniors in Maine.”

“We believe in The Cedars. Like so many people in Maine, it has had an impact on our lives,” Liz says.