Never Stop Learning! Four Ways Seniors Can Continue to Learn

There are so many benefits to senior learning programs, from improving memory to boosting health and fitness. Discover lifelong learning resources in our senior community.

Never Stop Learning! Four Ways Seniors Can Continue to Learn

Senior learning does not have to slow down. The popular belief that it becomes harder to learn new things as we grow older is not true. Recent scientific studies have shown that the human brain retains the ability to absorb new information as we age as long as we continue to challenge ourselves, mentally and physically. At The Cedars, we know there are big benefits to lifelong learning for seniors, and our senior learning programs are designed to keep our members and residents learning, growing, and thriving in their retirement.

When we were infants and school-age children, the whole world was new. Our eager minds soaked up all this new information like sponges. As we grow older and more experienced and our daily lives present us with fewer opportunities to acquire new information and skills, we may start to feel that we don’t pick things up as quickly as we once did or remember them as well.

According to current neurological research, though, this simply isn’t true. Often times we aren’t pushing our brains as much as we once did and because older adults already have a deep reservoir of accumulated knowledge, we process the information we learn differently as well. Our ability to multitask does seem to lessen as we age but our ability to make significant connections between different types of information improves—“the wisdom of old age.”

Senior learning is simply a different stage of lifelong learning. Preventing cognitive decline as we age takes effort, both mental and physical, but the benefits are unmistakable. The connection between our brains and our bodies is very real. By focusing on senior health and fitness, senior learning programs, and social activities for seniors, The Cedars community supports our members and residents as they continue to explore this wonderful chapter of their lives.

The Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Strategies for Improving Memory
When we misplace our keys or can’t recall someone’s name, we may joke that we are having “ senior moment.” Our memory does not need to atrophy as we age as long as we care for it. According to recent scientific studies and books to improve memory, the keys to staying sharp as we age are:

  • Getting enough sleep. Many older adults find this more challenging as they age but the benefits of regular, restful sleep on brain activity are real.
  • Staying physically active. Simply taking a walk improves the flow of blood to our brain and boosts our cognition. The Cedars offers a wide range of health and wellness activities and classes to make it easier for our members and residents to stay active.
  • Socializing regularly. We are social creatures, and our brains light up when we are around others. The vibrant community at The Cedars helps seniors spark connections in daily life as well as in their brain.
  • Practice mindfulness. If we are disorganized, scattered, constantly thinking about the past or fretting about the future, we drain our brains. Recharge and refocus by training yourself to be in the here and now.
  • Watch what you eat (and drink). A balanced diet helps us maintain a healthy weight, which is crucial for brain health, and absorb the vitamins and minerals our brains need to grow. Reducing our sugar and alcohol intake, staying properly hydrated, and eating fish regularly  can all help maximize our brain power.

Increasing Senior Health and Fitness
As you can see, learning in our later years starts with senior health and fitness. Studies have shown that exercise actually increases the size of the part of our brain tasked with memory and learning, even as we age.

Looking for senior fitness tips? Making regular movement and exercise part of your daily routine. The Cedars community makes it easy. Members of The Atrium have an indoor saltwater pool and jacuzzi with regular swimming and water aerobics classes. The Cedars community enjoys delicious, nourishing meals prepared from local ingredients in our fine dining rooms and cafes. There are weekly health and wellness classes, too—from chair yoga to tai chi to fall prevention. And outdoor activities for seniors, like our Cardio-Cognition class pairs brain challenges with brisk exercise to make the most of the mind-body connection.

 Senior Learning Programs
Many studies of senior learning continue to show that if we push ourselves, our cognition will improve. A Scrabble game is a fun diversion but it will not provide the same memory and brain boost of auditing a college class. Older adults at The Cedars finally have the free time to pursue their interests and passions, and we make sure our community is filled with lifelong learning resources.

  • Art Activities for Seniors
    Members of our community enjoy regular art talks from curators and scholars at the Portland Museum of Art as well as private tours of newly opened exhibits, they take weekly watercolor classes in our activity room, and they participate in Portland, Maine’s vibrant First Friday Artwalk scene. And through Opening Minds Through Art, our residents with dementia make modern art with the assistance of local college students that has been featured in local gallery openings.
  • Auditing a College Class
    One of the most popular activities in our independent living community is signing up for an OLLI course—the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Southern Maine. This summer, our members are learning about world religions, studying the life cycle of stars, reading Irish short stories or taking creative writing workshops. Exploring antiracism, the history of 19th century Europe, and the emerging science of Forest Therapy. This is just a sampling of what OLLI can offer!  Two of America’s top-ranked colleges are also an easy commute from The Cedars: Bowdoin College and Bates College. Our residents have many opportunities to audit a college class, especially with the rise in remote learning.
  • Pursuing Encore Careers
    Starting a new career in retirement is a surprisingly common activity among older adults. An estimated 5 million older adults nationwide are currently enjoying an encore career, taking all of their accumulated wisdom and build something on their own terms. Why not be one of them and really push your brain as you make the world a better place?

If you are curious about how life at The Cedars supports lifelong learning for seniors, call
207.221.7100 to speak to a senior living advisor today.





Financial Advising During Your Retirement Years

 The last thing you want to worry about when adjusting to retirement living is money. Here, we will guide you to retirement planning resources and certified senior advisors to make your golden years stress free.

Planning for retirement means making sure you have the resources you need to secure the care and comfort you want. Depending on your expected MaineCare benefit, financing assisted living may take advanced planning. A certified senior advisor can help you forecast your assisted living costs and find financial freedom in retirement.

Understanding long term care expenses and assisted living costs in Maine can be complicated and confusing. The price of services varies greatly across the state and MaineCare Services covers very specific levels of care and services.

Whether you anticipate aging in place and accessing home care or moving into assisted living or memory care assisted living at some point in the future, life is unpredictable. If your health or plans change suddenly, you will want to have a firm financial plan in place so you can make the right choices for your health and your family’s wellbeing without financial worries.

Evaluating Your Long-Term Care Expenses
Even with access to MaineCare, the cost of long-term care may surprise you. Maine is the 8th most expensive state in America for nursing home care. The average cost of a nursing home in Maine is $271 per day, and those costs rise quickly if you plan to live in southern Maine and hope to have a private room. And while MaineCare may cover part of these expenses, it may not cover all of them.

Purchasing long-term care insurance and thinking about frugal retirement tips are a good start but for most of us, a financially secure retirement takes long-term planning and skilled professional financial assistance.

To truly evaluate your potential long-term care expenses, you’ll need to decide what really matters during retirement and what you feel you can compromise on. You’ll also need to consider your assets, like home(s) investments, and other insurance policies. Be aware of available services and their costs and research all available benefits and programs and start saving for your projected long-term care expenses as quickly as possible.

 Finding a Financial Advisor for Seniors

At The Cedars, we see how a qualified financial advisor for seniors can help our members and residents enjoy the worry-free retirement they want and deserve. How can you find a certified senior financial advisor you can rely on?

  1. Get your loved ones involved in the decision.
    Your financial advisor will be making recommendations that affect everyone in your family. It’s good to get a gut check from one or more family members you trust that are involved in your financial planning.

  2. Decide what really matters to you.
    What are your goals? And how experienced are your candidates at reaching those goals?

  3. Research certified planning advisors who specialize in retirement and long-term care.
    The Cedars recommends working with a certified professional who has been trained to deal with the specific challenges older adults face when financing retirement and long-term care in Maine. Asking your friends and family for recommendations is a good place to start, as is reviewing the Certified Financial Planner Board list of certified advisors who specialize in financial planning for seniors. Consider working with a fee-only financial advisor, as they do not receive commissions or kickbacks on any products they may advise you to purchase; they receive only a flat fee for their work on your behalf. You can find financial advisors working on a fee-only basis on the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors website.

  4. Meet all your potential candidates in person.
    Do they really listen to what you say? Do they answer your questions honestly? Do you feel comfortable talking to them about highly personal topics like your health and your financial wellbeing? Mutual respect and trust are key for this collaboration to be successful.

 Tax Deductions for Assisted Living Costs in Maine
Are assisted living expenses tax-deductible? It depends. In order to deduct those assisted living expenses that are needed for medical care, and if they have not been reimbursed by an insurance policy or any other program.

Retirement planning resources and advice can make it possible to achieve a worry-free retirement whenever you are ready. If you or your certified financial advisor would like to learn more about retirement living at The Cedars, call 207.221.7000 today.




The Benefits of Retiring in Maine for Seniors



Maine is a very popular place for older adults to retire, consistently ranking at the top of national lists for affordability and livability. What draws seniors to Maine retirement communities and why should you consider retiring to Maine?


For many retirees, retiring in Maine means living a dream. Maybe they grew up here and moved away for work, counting down the days until they could retire and come home. Maybe they grew up vacationing in Maine, with fond memories of sleepaway camp or a family cottage or camping in the woods and promised themselves a time would come that they would never have to leave.

There are as many reasons to retire to Maine as there are older adults. It is no surprise that a state as stunning and welcoming as Vacationland would attract seniors ready to live a life they love. Maine tourist attractions are only part of the story, though. What are the top five reasons to consider retiring in Maine?

  1. Maine Cost of Living
    Maine remains one of the most affordable places to live in the Northeast. The Maine cost of living compares very favorably with larger cities while offering many of the same amenities—and a less stressful lifestyle.

    U.S. News and World Report estimates that retirees in Maine save hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of an average retirement. And they save that money without compromising their quality of life. Housing costs, even in the current booming real estate market, can be bargains for older adults relocating from expensive, out-of-state locations. And Maine’s restaurant meals, cultural events, and recreational activities are all big city quality at small city—or small town—prices.
    If you are curious about just how far your current income and assets can take you in a Maine retirement community, call the senior living experts at The Atrium.

  2. The Amazing Arts Scene
    For a smaller, less populated state, Maine punches way above its weight in the arts. After all, famous artists like Frederic Church and Thomas Cole, John Singer Sargent, Georgia O’Keefe, Rockwell Kent, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, and N.C. and Jamie Wyeth have been inspired by Maine for hundreds of years!

    Stellar arts organizations span the state, from the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland to the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle to the legendary artist colonies of Monhegan Island. Residents at The Cedars, however, are minutes from Maine’s highest concentration of extraordinary arts venues. Portland, Maine arts attractions like the Portland Museum of Art, the Portland Symphony, Portland Stage Company, PORT Opera, and more are perhaps the best known and most beloved.

    Maine also offers incredible concert venues, up-and-coming galleries, and regular and robust First Friday Art Walks—including regular exhibitions of work from The Cedars community. Portland, Maine retirement gives many members of The Atrium the chance to volunteer as docents and ushers at many venues across our vibrant arts scene.

  3. So Many Sights to See
    Maine’s postcard-perfect vistas, like lighthouses, crashing waves, and serene woods, draw visitors from around the world. Active older adults can cycle, kayak, sail, hike, and ski their way across this great state.

    Access to nature is not the only thing Maine retirees enjoy. Portland tourist attractions include historic sites like the Portland Observatory, the Victoria Mansion, the Longfellow House, and of course the cobbled streets and charming shops of the historic Portland, Maine Old Port district. Residents of The Cedars particularly enjoy taking ferry rides with their friends to tour the Casco Bay Islands, spotting lighthouses and seals along the way.

  4. Delicious Downtown Portland Food
    If you think Maine food is all blueberry pie and clam chowder, you’re in for a treat. Maine still serves up all these traditional favorites plus a whole lot more. The Portland food scene is one of the hottest in America. Bon Appetit dubbed Portland, Maine “Restaurant City of the Year” and the accolades haven’t stopped rolling in since. In a few picturesque blocks, you’ll find James Beard Award-winning chefs serving up everything from oysters to Vietnamese pho.

    Even retirees relocating from large, urban areas may find their restaurant choices upgraded upon arrival in Maine. And it isn’t all fine dining! Members of The Atrium love wandering the Farmers Market at Deering Oaks Park, seeking out new food trucks on the Eastern Promenade, trying all the treats at the Cumberland County Fair, and stopping at seafood shacks along the waterfront for an iconic lobster roll. One of our most popular senior outings at The Cedars every summer? Stopping at ice cream and frozen custard stands in scenic spots.

  5. Excellent Senior Health Care
    Portland, Maine recently made Kiplinger’s list of Top Ten Small or Midsize Cities with First Class Healthcare as well as Top Ten Cities to Retire for Your Health. MaineHealth and Northern Light, two exceptional healthcare networks, cover most of Maine. Portland, Maine healthcare is perhaps the best in the state, thanks to two five-star hospitals: Maine Medical Center and Mercy Northern Light. From comprehensive cancer care to joint replacement and cardiac care, your health is covered in Maine.

    Residents of The Cedars retirement community have an additional layer of protection—24/7 access to medical care, with a highly trained staff of physicians, nurses, therapists, and CNAs. Our joint replacement program fast-tracks patients on the road to recovery. Members of The Atrium enjoy a saltwater pool and jacuzzi, and all residents of The Cedars benefit from easy access to wellness programming, fitness classes, nutritional support, and onsite specialist visits. We know the healthier you are, the more you will enjoy your retirement, and we want to see all Maine’s older adults thrive.


Exploring your options for retirement? Our award-winning Maine retirement community is a great place to start. Schedule your personal visit by calling our senior living advisors at 207.221.7000 today.



Downsizing and Decluttering: Moving Out and Moving On

It’s tough to let go of your past, but many older adults find freedom to pursue new passions in transitioning to a retirement community. Here’s our guide to moving out of your home and into a retirement community.

Downsizing and Decluttering: Moving Out and Moving On

For most older adults, the decision to move to a retirement community means selling the family home and making tough decisions about which possessions they wish to keep and what should be sold, stored, or given away. Take a look at our moving tips for seniors and remember that letting go of the past will make room for the future!

Making the transition to a retirement community is a very big lifestyle change for most older adults. No matter how long you have lived within it, your family home is likely filled with precious memories, treasured objects and mementos, and a lot of clothing and furnishings.

Realizing you no longer need many (or most) of these possessions can be a very emotional process. The anxiety around downsizing and decluttering is very real. According to a recent study from Cornell University, clutter triggers the release of cortisol—a stress hormone—which can lead to increased tension, frustration, and unhealthy habits. If you feel your heart or breathing speeding up when you open your closets or pull out old storage boxes, this is a natural reaction to feeling responsible for a whole lot of stuff, particularly for women.

The best way to get back to feeling great about your future is to have less stuff from your past. Letting go of clutter will simplify your life, alleviate your stress, and let you move into this bright new chapter of your life without excess baggage.

Ask for—and Accept—Help With Downsizing and Decluttering
Not sure how to let go of material possessions? Unsure of where to start? Struggling to reach items in out-of-the-way places or to move bulky or heavy things? Ask for help.

Most older adults turn to their children and grandchildren for help packing to move. If your loved ones are also feeling emotional about your transitional planning and sentimental about letting go of the family home, however, it may be harder to make decisions you feel good about and move forward quickly.

Hiring a neutral third party, like a professional organizer, senior moving specialist, or estate liquidator, can make the process less fraught. They are not attached to your home or your belongings and they can have an easier time seeing what will be best for everyone involved. A good professional will spend time getting to know you and your goals for your move to assisted living and create a plan to get you there.

Who better to give advice on how to plan for retirement than seniors themselves? Our welcoming senior community offers their best tips for retirement living.

The Best Retirement Advice (Straight from Our Residents!)

If you or someone you care about is considering retirement, advice from elders can help clarify their choices.The Cedars community is filled with older adults successfully enjoying a simpler, more carefree lifestyle. See if their tips for retirement living can help you decide if you should, too!

How will you know it is the right time to retire? How should you prepare for retirement? Where will you live during this incredible new chapter of your life? And what will you do with all of your newfound free time?

These are big, personal questions with so many possible answers. How do you find the right answer for you?

Retirement advice from retirees is a great place to start. They have lived through the decisions you are struggling with and they have found a way to enjoy a life they love. And they want more older adults to continue to learn, grow, and thrive during retirement, too.

 Our Seniors Advice: Work Less, Live More
For most of your life, you have worked so hard for others. Keeping a home. Raising a family. Working your way up the corporate ladder or building a business of your own. Giving up the daily grind gives you more freedom—and free time—then you can even imagine. For many older adults, retirement is the first time their time is completely their own.

What if all of your meals were prepared from fresh, local ingredients and favorite recipes by a professional chef? (Yes, retirement home food can be restaurant quality!) What if you had housekeeping, grounds keeping, and laundry service? What if you had a personal gym, saltwater pool and jacuzzi, and a day spa right outside your door? Access to concierge and transportation services? And what if you awoke every day to a calendar filled with cultural, recreational, and educational events you couldn’t wait to share with friends?


“Here at The Atrium, I can be as busy as I want,” says Beverly, a member of The Atrium. “I can be as busy as I want due to many activity choices among friends. I am enjoying a more stress-free life and doing things I did not have time for in the past.”


“Be aware of how much free time you will have in retirement,” advises Chip, another member of The Atrium. “Be patient with yourself as you try volunteering, learning new skills, and new interests. I never had this kind of freedom before—an opportunity to appreciate my life, my children and grandchildren, in a safe, secure living situation.”


Our Seniors Advice: Timing is Everything
“I wish I had kept checking items off my bucket list,” says Gabby, a member of The Atrium. “I wish we had done more things we dreamed of doing and not put it off. The future has a way of coming at an inappropriate time.”


We have all been warned about what can happen to even the best-laid plans. No matter how carefully or responsibly you have mapped out your future retirement, your life can swerve unexpectedly. If this happens, it can make sense to accelerate your retirement timeline and start your years of rewarding relaxation sooner than you had planned.


“Planning is essential but be prepared to be flexible,” advises Charlotte, another member of The Atrium. “After two surgeries in two years, I decided it was time to make my move while I was in reasonable health and could really enjoy the change in lifestyle.”


Our Seniors Advice: Experiences Matter More Than Things

Retirement does more than free you from daily chores. It offers you exciting and rewarding experiences.

Senior outings offer older adults an opportunity to enjoy the best restaurants, galleries, golf courses, museums, performances, and scenic or historic sites without any hassle and among good friends. No need to worry about driving or parking a car—a senior community like The Cedars provides complimentary transportation services. You often don’t even need to purchase tickets or make reservations, and many group outings organized by retirement homes offer behind-the-scenes access or special perks. And if you decide to travel further afield, your retirement home takes care of everything in your absence.

Do work responsibilities keep you close to the office or your home? Have you have found yourself avoiding outings because you don’t want to drive at night or in inclement weather? Do you want to meet fun, new people with similar interests? Retirement can reconnect you with the world.

After a couple of their close friends passed away, Marge and Bob started thinking about a senior community in earnest.  “Many of our close friends had died,” Marge recalls. “We moved to The Atrium at age 85 and it was just the right time. I am enjoying the social interaction.”


Gabby agrees. “I enjoy so many things, but getting to know interesting and intelligent people and enjoying the cultural aspect of The Atrium—concerts, symphonies, lectures.” 

 Our Seniors Advice: Carefree Retirement Living at The Atrium at The Cedars
Retirement living at The Atrium is relaxed, luxurious, and rewarding. Our members chose to downsize their possessions, move out of their homes, and move forward with other older adults just like them. Days once filled with work, home maintenance, and chores are now filled with fulfilling activities and fun new friends. They can focus on personal wellness and growth. They can give back to the community and causes they care about.

Above all, they feel a strong sense of connection. “I have never regretted moving to The Cedars,” says Charlotte,“With the variety of services and activities available, you are only bored if you want to be. More importantly, I have met many fascinating people I would never otherwise have met and these friends have added a new dimension to my life.”

If you are thinking about retirement, talk to the senior living experts at The Atrium at 207.221.7000 today.





Lunder Foundation Donates $500,000 to Memory Care at The Cedars

Paula and Peter Lunder, The Lunder Foundation

Paula and Peter Lunder, The Lunder Foundation

The Cedars is delighted to announce that The Lunder Foundation – Peter and Paula Lunder Family has awarded a $500,000 grant toward The Cedars’ memory support programs serving older adults in Maine.  In recognition of this gift, The Cedars will name the “Lunder Memory Care Household” for assisted living on the first floor of the newly constructed Sam L. Cohen Households, which will officially open in March 2021.   The gift will create a permanent endowment to support the development and operation of the “Lunder Memory Support Programs” serving residents of The Cedars.

Richard Borts, Chair of the Board of Trustees of The Cedars, remarked that “This wonderful investment from Paula and Peter Lunder and The Lunder Foundation is an affirmation of The Cedars’ leadership work in caring for the most vulnerable among us, and a direct result of creating the first Household Model in Maine and Northern New England serving older adults.”

Kathryn Callnan, President & CEO of The Cedars, is ecstatic about this gift. “We are so grateful to the Lunders for their investment in this project that will benefit older adults now and for generations to come. The Lunder Memory Care Household gives The Cedars the opportunity to offer assisted living memory care, a new level of care for our community. The Households will provide a home environment focused on social engagement, innovative programming, and quality care in a warm welcoming environment.”

The organization is also delighted to acknowledge the extraordinary gift of artwork from eight artists that accompany this leadership investment from the Lunder Family and Foundation. These pieces will grace the walls of the Lunder Memory Care Household.  This gift of art from the Lunders’ collection will include works by Deborah Beckwith, Camprio, Eleanor M. Carlson, Richard W. Field. Marion Gilmore, Lobonocho, John A. Neff, and Yomm Vallon.   Kathryn Callnan says, “The Cedars has, over the years, been gifted many important works of art which fill our hallways and delight our residents and guests.  The addition of work from these eight artists, from Maine and beyond, elevates our art collection to one that is truly world-class among care communities in Maine and elsewhere.”

For further information please contact Katharine O’Neill at The Cedars at 207-221-7100 or

Dining at The Cedars: A Secret Gem in Southern Maine’s Celebrated Dining Scene

Portland, Maine is nationally renowned for its restaurants, bakeries, and breweries. Chefs at The Cedars take full advantage of the region’s seasonal ingredients and fun foodie culture. When you read about our diverse and delicious dining options, you’ll want to reserve your table today!

When you hear the phrase “retirement home food,” do you imagine unappealing cafeteria-style cooking? Think again! The Cedars campus is located in the heart of Portland, Maine, voted “Restaurant City of the Year” by Bon Appetit and topping national lists of foodie destinations everywhere. Our residents have come to expect a very high standard in fine dining, and we always deliver.

The Cedars offers a wide range of dining options across our community, from casual, European-style café cuisine to traditional New England lobster bakes to picnic-style barbecues to formal, multi course meals. Every meal offers so many choices—healthy indulgences, exciting new cuisines, comfort-food favorites—and our menus change with the seasons, to better feature the farm-fresh ingredients so abundant in Maine.

At The Cedars, many meal ideas come from our residents themselves! Often requesting specific dishes and also rating recent menu additions during Resident Dining Committee meetings, where our chefs sit down with residents to plan weekly menus and take their suggestions.

Chef Jarad and his talented team receive rave reviews from our entire community—and even a few lighthearted marriage proposals! So what makes the dining options at The Cedars so distinctive—and so delicious?

Fresh, Seasonal Ingredients
Fresh seafood, drawn from waters a few minutes from our campus. Local meats from area farms.  Fresh-picked fruit and vegetables, including wild Maine blueberries and hearty Maine potatoes. The growing season in New England may be short but it overflows with good ingredients, and our culinary team takes every advantage of nature’s abundance. From farmer’s markets to the working waterfront, our dining staff searches out and buys the best for our residents.



  • 2 oz. full-fat cream cheese softened to room temperature
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 1/3 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 c. graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice(1/8 tsp ginger,1/8 tsp nutmeg,1/8 tsp clove,1/8 tsp sugar)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 4 oz. white chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 lb of dark or white chocolate for dipping
  1. In a large bowl using a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer using the whisk attachment, beat cream cheese and sugar together until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and beat on high until combined. Add graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and melted chocolate, and beat on medium speed until everything is combined, about 2 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. Chilling is mandatory.
  2. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats and set aside.
  3. Begin rolling chilled mixture into balls (about 1 teaspoon per ball) and place balls on baking sheets. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.
  4. Begin melting chocolate when balls are just about finished chilling, using a double boiler or the microwave. If using the microwave: Place chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl and melt in 30-second increments, stirring after each increment until completely melted and smooth. Let warm chocolate sit for 5 minutes to slightly cool before dipping.
  5. Remove balls from refrigerator and dip them in chocolate. Place balls back onto baking sheet after you dip each one, then top dipped truffles with a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbs, cinnamon, or sugar (if desired). Allow chocolate to completely set in the refrigerator.


    New Tastes, Old-Time Favorites
    Our chefs draw on traditional New England culinary traditions to create some of our residents’ favorite dishes. Fluffy pancakes in maple syrup or bright blueberry muffins. Buttery baked haddock and creamy clam chowder. Steamed corn served alongside a fresh-picked lobster roll. Molasses-dark baked beans and Yankee pot roasts on cold, crisp days. Cider donuts, blueberry pie, apple crumble, and whoopie pies. If you have come to love the authentic, nostalgic tastes of New England cuisine, you will find those flavors at The Cedars.


    For the phyllo:

    • 12 sheets phyllo, thawed and at room temperature
    • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    • 6-7 teaspoons granulated sugar
    • Apple filling:
    • 5 apples (combination gala and granny smith) peeled, cored, and cubed
    • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
    • ½ cup light brown sugar
    • ¼ cup granulated sugar
    • 3 heaping teaspoons corn starch
    • 1 heaping teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon orange zest
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
    • Instructions
    1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (191 degrees Celsius)
    2. Begin by making the apple filling. In a large, shallow saucepan melt butter and add apples. Add the brown sugar, white sugar, cornstarch, salt, and cinnamon. Mix well and cook over high heat for a few minutes while constantly stirring to break up the sugar and combine all of the ingredients. Once the apples release some juices and the sauce begins to thicken it is ready. Do not overcook or the apples will break down and become mushy. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook in the oven.
    3. Remove from heat and add orange zest, cranberries, and pecans. Mix well and set aside.
    4. Line a sheet pan with some parchment paper.
    5. Place 1 phyllo sheet on the parchment paper and drizzle some melted butter over it.
    6. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon or less of the granulated sugar. Repeat this process with the remaining 11 sheets of phyllo.
    7. Arrange the apple filling in the center of the prepared filling (the long way) Brush the edges of phyllo with melted butter to create a seal.
    8. Roll the phyllo over the filling carefully into a log. Keep the seam side down.
    9. Brush with butter all around and bake for 30-35 minutes on the middle rack or until golden and crispy.

        You will also find new favorites drawn from all over the globe! In independent and assisted living Households regular “theme meals” offer a decadent tasting tour of the highlights of world cuisines. Our residents have celebrated Chinese New Year with a wide assortment of spicy-sweet dishes and St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and soda bread, enjoyed a romantic and decadent French dinner, cozied up to the table for a rollicking Oktoberfest spread, and much more. Even residents who never thought of themselves as having an adventurous palate have discovered they love Indian food, Middle Eastern cuisine, or Sichuan spice. 

        Healthy Indulgences
        Senior meal plans and assisted living menus can do more than spark your palate with tempting new tastes: it can significantly improve the nutritional content of your daily meals and your overall personal health. Our talented chefs excel at imparting rich and decadent flavors into healthy, nutritionally dense, and even plant-based dishes. If you think “healthy food” means “bland food,” step into our independent or assisted living-dining rooms and get ready to be blown away.

        Crisp and crunchy tossed salads. Wraps that are packed with flavor. Colorful and spiced stir-fries and curries. Savory sandwiches, warming soups, yummy green and grain bowls, grilled meats, and vegetables—the list goes on and on.


        Cook Chef Jarad’s White Bean Salad

        • ½ Cup Dried white beans
        • 1 bunch curly leaf parsley
        • 1-pint Local Grape tomatoes
        • 3 cloves garlic
        • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
        • 2 Tbsp. lemon juice
        • ¼ Cup Kalamata Olives Chopped
        • 1 OZ fresh Basil rough Chopped
        • ¼ Cup Feta Cheese
        • 1/8 Cup Dijon Mustard
        • 1/8 Cup Red Wine Vinegar
        • Pinch of Sugar
        • Salt and Pepper to Taste

        1. Cook White Beans in Vegetable Broth with 1 Clove of Chopped Garlic and 1 Tablespoon of Olive Oil. Slow Simmer and Add water until Beans are fully cooked. Strain and Cool.

        2. Combine all Other Ingredients into a large mixing bowl and add White Beans. Toss together and add a pinch of Red Pepper Flake(Optional)

        3.Serve as a Side dish or with your Favorite Type of Pan Seared or Grilled Fish on top.

        Food at the Atrium

        Cooking Classes and Interactive Cooking Demonstrations
        Senior independent living with meals set you free from daily cooking, but so many of our residents are passionate home cooks and enjoy the chance to learn new skills or prepare their own dishes now and again, whether in their own kitchenette or in one of our community kitchens. And Chef Jarad’s cooking demonstrations are popular ways to pick up new tips, techniques, and recipes.

        Senior cooking has never been so fun and flavorful! There’s a reason tours of our community always feature the opportunity to try a meal in one of our many dining rooms. Once you’ve had a taste of our chefs’ cooking, you can’t wait to come back for more. Want to sample some of our five-star senior cooking options? 207.221.7000 today.

        What is a Person-Centered Approach and How Does It Help Seniors with Dementia?

        The Cedars staff take an empathetic, positive approach with our seniors experiencing memory loss. See how this process empowers seniors, preserves independence, and enhances our many other therapeutic treatments.

        What is person-centered care?

        We all want to make decisions about the way we live our lives and this desire does not diminish as we age. In fact, it intensifies! Even older adults who need assistance with the activities of daily living or who are experiencing memory loss want and need to express personal preferences, make real choices, and participate in meaningful activities.

        For many years, care for older adults in community settings has taken an institutional approach, where decisions about schedules and activities are made by staff rather than residents. Even when these decisions are made with good intentions, the institutional model of care makes older adults passive participants in their own lives. If you cannot control when you wake up or what you eat or how you spend your time, it becomes harder to find joy and meaning in your life.

        Institutional care does not work well for patients or for caregivers. Today, person-centered care in nursing homes and communities like The Cedars is replacing the institutional care model across the nation and transforming our experience of aging.


        Person-centered care in nursing is a very different approach to care than the institutional model. In the person-centered care model, caregivers understand that their role is not to tell residents what to do but to ask them what they want and help them achieve their goals. The person-centered care model lets the person receiving care lead the way and make meaningful, in-the-moment choices.

        Because person-centered care is based on personal preferences, it encourages caregivers to see their charges as people and get to know them like family. Residents and caregivers form strong, lasting bonds of trust, affection, and respect in the person-centered care model.

        Person-centered care for dementia

        What if a resident cannot express their wants and needs in ways that their caregivers can understand? For people diagnosed with dementia, the gradual loss of language is a common symptom, and many struggle to share their thoughts and wishes with their loved ones. These communication challenges make person-centered care more difficult. They also make the importance of person-centered care even more evident.

        Many of the challenging behaviors sometimes seen in people with memory loss are expressions of confusion, frustration, fear, anger, and depression—all understandable emotional reactions to the unique challenges of their illness. In the institutional care model, caregivers rely on medications to calm agitated residents with dementia. In the person-centered care model, caregivers actively try to understand, work with, and support residents with memory loss and help them find productive and meaningful ways to engage with the world around them.

        Person-Centered Care at The Cedars

        At The Cedars, we take a positive approach to person-centered care for dementia. We understand that people with memory loss are trying to navigate a world that no longer works in ways they expect or understand. We strive not to say “no” and use the latest therapies, technology, and human-centered design innovations to say “yes.”

        In our Sam L. Cohen Memory Care Households, the person-centered approach means creating Households made up of small groups of residents with private living spaces filled with personal possessions and mementos as well as cozy community gathering spaces for group activities.

        Rather than rotating staff around our community on different shifts, caregivers trained in person-centered care are assigned to one Household and truly get to know each resident they work with. Seeing the same trusted caregivers every day and having their needs met in the moment comforts residents and builds trust. Over time, Households become families.

        Person Centered CarePerson-centered care plans at The Cedars are based on each resident’s unique circumstances, needs, and life story—an in-depth narrative documenting the key events in their lives, personal hobbies and pastimes, and their favorite music, movies, books, games, and food. When caregivers offer choices in meals, activities, or entertainment to residents with dementia, they refer to each resident’s own Life Story to help guide their selections.

        The rhythms of daily life at The Cedars are not dictated by staff schedules but by each resident’s own preferences. Residents are not woken by alarms or made to eat at specific times or told when they should go to bed. They choose what they want to do and when they want to do it and they can change their mind at any time—just as we all do in our own homes.

        While attentive, skilled medical care is always available onsite, The Cedars uses a silent call system to avoid disrupting and unsettling residents with frequent alarms and create a peaceful and homey atmosphere.

        Person-centered care at The Cedars is offered within a welcoming and safe physical environments designed to support residents with dementia. Hallways have no dead ends, so residents never find their way blocked by doors or walls and can wander freely and independently. Access to outdoor spaces and sensory gardens encourages mindfulness, connection, and calm. The kitchen is always open for homemade meals and stocked with favorite snacks and beverages.

        Person-centered care therapies prioritize individual expression, social engagement, and personal growth. This means creating frustration-free activities where there are no right or wrong answers or correct ways to do things. Open-ended and expressive activities like Opening Minds Through Art and Music and Memory set a new standard for memory care programming while our occupational, physical, and speech therapists work with residents onsite to preserve cognition and independence.

        The importance of person-centered care cannot be overstated. Person-centered care lets older adults continue to learn and grow and make meaningful contributions to their community in a safe place where they feel comfortable and connected. Call The Cedars 207.221.7000 to see person-centered care in action in Maine’s first Households.

        Caring and Connecting at The Cedars

        Adapting increased technology and personal connection within The Cedars community

        In these days of social distancing and ‘stay safe at home’ orders, it’s critical to keep our residents and members connected to their loved ones and community, for happiness and overall well being.  As we learn to adapt and navigate our current situation under COVID-19, we want to take a moment to share some of the platforms, personal connections and virtual technology in place, as well as our approach to offering special events and activities. The satisfaction, fulfillment, health, and safety of our community members is our main objective and we look forward to a continued offering of enriching and enhancing programs and experiences.

        Our traditional in-house activity programs have been transformed to virtual visits and programs such as strength training videos of our Lifestyles Manager, yoga class with our long-standing yoga instructor, lectures from Maine Audubon, chef demos, museum trips and live entertainment – all from the comfort of home. With the click of a link, our residents are transported to an activity or with a family member through the facilitation of Facebook, FaceTime, Zoom or YouTube (we have our own channel – The Cedars Portland Maine, make sure to subscribe!).  We are also excited to announce that the Hoffman Center is offering our long-term care residents with ‘window visits’ so they can spend face-to-face time with their family members while safely maintaining the social distance that is so important. When times of outside community needs present themselves to our members at The Atrium, staff provide pharmacy, grocery and medical errands as needed. This provides such peace of mind to our members.

        Our Life Enrichment staff is providing one-on-one visits with our residents and members, maintaining the six-foot rule while providing door-to-door visits with puzzles, newsletters, ice cream sundaes and assorted treats. In return, we’ve received many smiles and much gratitude along the way. At The Atrium, an afternoon snack cart was recently ushered to the apartments with signature drinks and treats, specially prepared by our chef. Friendly notes adorned with chocolates left by our staff on outside apartment shelves assure people they are not alone and that, together we remain a strong and united community.

        Community members are embracing the recent changes and sharing their appreciation –
        “I am so happy I’m here; I can’t imagine being anywhere else during a time like this.”-  Bob R.
        “We are all so appreciative of the meal delivery and grocery shopping, many people have said they feel lucky to be here!” – Helene Q. 
        “I just feel that the staff has been marvelous, you’ve all been so wonderful to us, you’re all the best- I’m very grateful!”- Betty H.

        We will strive to bring the very best to our residents and let the strength of a new day move us forward.

        Virtual tele-health and tele-wellness programming has been generously supported by The Legacy Heritage Fund


        Construction Update February 2021



        Our construction continues through the winter months and we are on the last elevation of the brick façade. Completing flooring, painting, and finishes on the first floor, and final touches being completed by all trades on the second and third floors this month.
        The high ceilings, large windows, spacious apartments, and gathering spaces will be comfortable and cozy. We cannot wait to welcome our new residents to the Memory Care Assisted Living and Long-term, Skilled Nursing Care Households. For more information, contact June O’Neill, Household Representative at 207-221-7192.