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.



Bold Transitions: Defining Leadership at The Cedars

Posted by Katharine on May 25th, 2017

In the Households at The Cedars, we are committed to encouraging leadership through high involvement, communication, a learning climate, conflict resolution, and teams.

Leadership is a characteristic, not a position – and it’s for everyone, not just for those who have been given a title or managed a department.  Leadership is finding everyday ways to make a difference. We lead when we tune into the bigger environment, listen to critics, challenge assumptions, search for information and knowledge – and see something that others don’t see.

Think of a time in your life when you’ve been a leader – helping your children through a tough time, supporting your families, choosing to take the high road in a conflict, influencing others when you see the hidden value in a situation or individual. “Leadership is a calling on every one of us … it’s about becoming the person we were meant to be. It is less about position and more about disposition. It is not about superiority but about service in the area of our strengths. It has less to do with a set of behaviors and more to do with a perspective with which we view life.” Psychology Today, Tim Elmore, February 2014.

We are all growing to invite each other to find our strengths to lead with heart, courage, conviction, patience, humility and forgiveness. At the upcoming Education Sessions, the Education Team will discuss Leadership on the Neighborhoods as it relates to: Self-Awareness; Inspire through Story; Shape a Vision with Others; Involve Residents, Family, and Co-Workers; Walking the Talk.

Growing Bold through Learning Circles

Posted by Katharine on April 25th, 2017

As we progress on our transformation into the Household Model, The Cedars is learning and evolving in many ways. One helpful tool in our process has been the Learning Circle. Staff throughout the community are finding the value of this communication method where trust and understanding are fostered and diverse perspectives are welcomed, shared and respected.

The Learning Circle begins when the facilitator poses a question or issue for the group, and then a volunteer responds with their thoughts on the topic. The person on the left or the right of that person goes next, followed one by one around the circle until everyone has spoken, without interruption. Participants are welcome to pass, at the end they are given the opportunity to respond. Once everyone has had the chance to speak, the floor opens for general discussion.

A recent Learning Circle involving staff on the Neighborhoods centered around the comparison of the social, or person-centered model of care to the institutional model. We each provided our feedback on the changes we’d like to see that will take us to a more social model. The very essence of the person-centered household places a high value on human interaction. With the right systems in place, we can better allow our residents to make choices that feel like home. The questions posed were, “How do you like to spend your mornings,” and then, “How could our residents’ mornings be more person-centered.” Here is some of what our staff said about morning routines:

What is Your AM Routine?

  • Wake up when I feel like it
  • Stay in my PJ’s
  • Linger over coffee
  • Plan the day’s activities
  • Play on the computer
  • Feed my pets
  • 10AM breakfast
  • Shower, maybe
  • Listen to the radio
  • Watch TV
  • Go to the gym
  • Get outside when it’s nice

What’s a Person-Centered AM Routine?

  • Wake up— resident choice
  • Coffee 24/7/365
  • Breakfast—resident choice
  • TV and Radio

What Isn’t Person-Centered?

  • Having to be up for breakfast
  • Only two choices for breakfast
  • Medications scheduled for me, not taking them when I’m ready
  • Having to wait my turn
  • “It’s decided”

Other topics on the agenda for the Learning Circles included the person-centered approach in dining, bathing, and relationships. The next Steering Team intensive at The Cedars will take place on May 23 and 24 and our focus will be, Changing the Way We Work: Adapting our Clinical Systems.

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.