The Cedars Volunteer Awarded by Leading Age

Posted by Katharine on April 15th, 2018

On April 11, Jennifer Butcher, long time volunteer at The Cedars received the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Leading Age Maine/New Hampshire Standing Ovation Award ceremony. Here is what they shared about Jenn.

Jennifer first came to The Cedars to visit her grandmother, an Assisted Living resident. It was easy to see that she felt comfortable with and easily related to our residents. Since 2009 and long after her grandmother’s passing, Jennifer has logged over 3/500 hours of service. She has faithfully made the on-hour commute to The Cedars at least two full days each week, and often returns for a third day to support staff vacations.

With her natural ability to tune into the needs of others, combined with her understanding of dementia, Jennifer uses humor and warmth to relate to residents. Jennifer is a natural leader, responding to needs as they arise. Form comforting residents to assisting staff and offering her ideas, she is a treasured friend to all and an outstanding asset to The Cedars community. Congratulations, Jennifer!

The Benefits of Retirement Living: The Cedars

Posted by Katharine on March 22nd, 2018

Socializing 2Thinking about a move for you or a loved one to a retirement community?  Although approaching this transition can seem overwhelming, our members at The Atrium at The Cedars have told us that it was one of the best decisions they have ever made for themselves.  And their reasons are as much practical as they are personal.

We find that our new members are either moving from the home that they have lived in for years or from a residence to which they’ve already downsized.  Some members have moved from out of state to be near their adult children and others had lived in Maine for much of their lives.  In either case, the benefits of living in a retirement community, from our members’ perspectives, are plentiful.

Freedom from Managing a Home which means no further worries about maintaining a home, managing the upkeep, or even changing a light bulb.  At The Atrium at The Cedars, we have staff that takes care of snow removal and maintains our property both inside and out.  Our housekeepers clean your apartment weekly, which includes flat linen service.  If anything arises – like a light bulb that needs changing – just call the front desk and one of our staff will be available to help.

Access to Dining, Exercise, Cultural Events and more, which is especially valuable during the winter months.  Our members find themselves enjoying our dining room, exercising in our gym, swimming in our pool, attending lectures and concerts – all in one, beautifully appointed location.  The outings that were once a special treat become part of their every day.

Transportation to doctor’s appointments, classes at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, your accountant or the library.  The Cedars offers personal transportation throughout the week and to the many exciting community excursions arranged on our calendar.

Peace of Mind that comes from knowing that staff is right there, should you need them, by either picking up the phone or activating your personal help button which most of our members keep with them.  And should you need additional assistance on either a short or long term basis, we have options: our Concierge Services to provide help in your apartment, or our award winning health care services at the Osher Inn Assisted Living, or physical rehabilitation at the Sam L. Cohen Rehabilitation Center.

All of this and more leads to a Lightness of Spirit for our members in knowing that your needs will be met and that your children’s visits will just that – visits for brunch, dinner, or a swim in the pool. Our members get back to living.

For more information on the Benefits of Retirement Living at The Cedars, contact Angie D’Amours, Marketing Representative at 207-221-7100 or

The Cedars and the Maine Jewish Film Festival 2018

Posted by Katharine on February 22nd, 2018

The Cedars is proud to sponsor the Maine Jewish Film Festival’s Free Senior Screening. The Festival has come such a long way in the eight years that we have been a sponsor – and this year’s line up of films is better than ever!

The 2018 free senior film will be Sammy Davis Jr.: I’ve Gotta Be Me, a 100 minute documentary by director, Sam Pollard. The film is being shown on Thursday March 15 at 2PM at the Portland Museum of Art. Dessert reception to follow film.

Through fantastic performances, star-studded interviews, and behind-the-scenes footage, this documentary pays tribute to the legendary Sammy Davis, Jr.  From a very young age, Sammy displayed his larger-than-life talents to multiple audiences, often fighting prejudice and racism along the way.  From Civil Rights marches, to entertaining the troops in Vietnam, to his controversial support of Nixon – Sammy connected with the world beyond entertainment.  Interviewees include Jerry Lewis, Whoopi Goldberg, and Billy Crystal.

Space is limited, so be sure to reserve your ticket through the MJFF today. We’ll see you there!


Celebrating Our Heroes at The Cedars

Posted by Katharine on January 24th, 2018

Each month, The Cedars celebrates our Culture Change Heroes – those staff that stand out for their leadership and team work, while embracing person-centered care in their interactions with the older people living at The Cedars. Since December, we’ve had the chance to recognize the following heroes: Joe Gerardo in Environmental Services; Melissa Deering, Amber Schmidt, Connie Poole, Tracy Coburn in Nursing; and Amy Callison, Neighborhood Homemaker. Here is what makes these heroes standout, in the words of their peers:

  • Going above and beyond to improve the quality of life and care for our residents. Through hard work with maintenance repairs and improving residents’ day to day experiences.
  • Constantly striving for excellence, she helps to coach staff when they need it and constantly supports and encourages everyone she meets.
  • Between taking extra shifts and orienting new staff, she tirelessly helps all of our residents and ensures all tasks are done. Thank you for your hospitality and making sure the residents and their families are comfortable!
  • She is a team player, always open to helping her co-workers accomplish their tasks throughout the day.
  • She visits with residents who may need extra TLC, holding their hand, making a special snack and taking them on walks throughout the community.

As we transition into the Household Model of care at The Cedars, we look forward to transforming our community through building new structures on our campus to accommodate two, new long term care Households and adding a Memory Care Household. In addition, we are renovating our current short stay rehabilitation and long term care residences to support person-centered care in private rooms and beautiful common living rooms and kitchens.

While the new construction of the Household Model will begin this year, the culture change to person-centered care is well under way at The Cedars. Through our Steering Team and several Action Teams, we are leveling the organizational structure so that all staff has the opportunity to offer their expertise, creativity, and leadership abilities. Many small steps have developed into some big shifts throughout our community, all towards the goal of providing home for our residents.

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.