Posts Categorized: Life Enrichment Programs

Music and Memory Gives the Gift of Music

“We experience a deeper connection to events in our lives that we associate with music,” says Nick Viti, OTR/L, Manager of Life Enrichment at The Cedars. “Certain songs conjure up very rich and specific memories. For anyone experiencing memory loss, music is a powerful tool.” Thanks to a generous new grant from the nonprofit group Music and MemorySM, The Cedars has exciting new ways to use the power of music to help residents preserve and protect their memory, calm or uplift their emotions and enrich their lives. The Cedars received the entire Music and MemorySM  program, an assortment of iPod shuffles, headphones and music downloads as part of the grant. Staff are working with families and loved ones to craft customized playlists for each resident, and to choose music connected with events in each resident’s life story. “Do you ever turn up the radio on your way to work...

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The Cedars Receives Award from AJAS for Innovative Art Program Involving Students from UNE and USM

The Cedars recently received the Programming Award from AJAS  (Association of Jewish Aging Services) for “Partnering With Elders: Health and Creativity”, an innovative program that builds bridges across age and cognitive barriers through the use of art. Students from the University of Southern Maine and the University of New England come to The Cedars to earn course credits by participating in the Opening Minds Through Art program with our skilled nursing residents. In May, the program culminates in an exciting gallery opening which showcases the vivid and inspiring art that has been created by the residents throughout the year. Kathy Callnan, The Cedars President and CEO, accepted the award at the annual AJAS conference in La Jolla, California, on April 4,...

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Researching Bold New Ideas with the Portland Wheelers

The Cedars Learning Community™ Continues to Advance Senior Care DO YOU REMEMBER THE RUSH of freedom that filled you the first time you rode a bike? Residents at The Cedars were able to revisit that feeling as part of a new research project on mental health in collaboration with the University of Southern Maine graduate program in Occupational Therapy and the Portland Wheelers. The Portland Wheelers are familiar faces on our campus. These hardy cyclists volunteer to take mobility-challenged seniors on regular rides on specially equipped tandem bikes. While these rides are always popular at The Cedars, the students at USM were looking for a correlation between regular rides and improvements in depression (a common affliction in later life). A positive correlation would encourage other senior living communities to offer similar programs. For the purposes of this research study, seniors with a history of depression were treated to regular...

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The Cedars is Recognized for Arts Programming

Nick Viti (OMA Facilitator Class of 2015) has launched a highly successful OMA program at The Cedars in Portland, Maine. The facility has already begun their third OMA session. They partner with the University of Southern Maine and the University of New England, where students receive college credit to participate in the OMA program. The site had their first art show in June as a part of Portland’s First Friday Art Walk, a monthly community event. They also plan to exhibit at partnering universities. OMA Artists have an exhibit at USM in Lewiston, ME right now! Check out their video featuring an OMA session and the art show. “One of our elders said to her partner, ‘I’m not an artist,’ at the start of every session until the very last project when she finally said, ‘I am an artist!” Nick took the time to answer a few questions about what his experience has...

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Opening Minds through Art at The Cedars

What can an art therapy program for seniors with dementia teach all of us? All the participants in this Opening Minds through Art (OMA) class sing “You Are My Sunshine” as sunlight pours across worktables and paint is poured into palettes. Before the studio work begins, Pamela Moulton, artist in residence, sparks curiosity and delight with a performance art piece. “I want to wake us all up,” Pamela explains, showing off her vibrant hat and whimsical apron. “Intergenerational play infuses all my art. We all crave that joy.” It’s true. Smiles are everywhere as the artists, who are residents of The Cedars with dementia, confer with their personal facilitators, undergraduate students from the University of New England (UNE). While the seniors learn today’s art technique, the students learn about therapeutic work with seniors. And as the works progress, students express sincere admiration and help each artist choose a title...

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The Cedars and MECA at Portland’s Art Walk

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...

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More Pet Therapy at The Cedars Retirement Community

In addition to The Cedars Pet Therapy program, The Skilled Care Center at The Cedars has partnered with another wonderful animal assisted therapy group.  Silent Sidekicks is a nonprofit organization located in Lincoln, Maine that provides animal assisted therapy/activities under the services of trained volunteers to communities throughout the State of Maine and the Canadian Province of New Brunswick. Their mission is to enrich people’s lives and promote health and happiness through positive experiences with animals.  Silent Sidekicks accomplishes this by providing comfort, support, and companionship through animal assisted therapy and activities as well as by increasing public awareness of the benefits of the human-animal bond. While at The Cedars, the program will include the use of service dogs, cats, rabbits and guinea pigs.  All of the volunteers with Silent Sidekicks consist of fully trained human and animal teams.  As always the presence of animals enhances well-being and provides a very therapeutic relationship...

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Inspiration in Group at The Cedars Retirement Community

As we age, our focus so often involves the physical aspects of our lives: getting a good night’s sleep, eating well, and treating what ails us.   But our later years, like any other life-cycle, is a time to be celebrated and can be a time for deep fulfillment and inspiration.  Janine Fifield, Volunteer Coordinator at The Cedars, recognizes this and has begun offering a discussion group for our residents called Angels on Earth. “We find a quiet area and have anywhere from six to 15 attendants.  One Saturday I had several family members join in,” Janine explains.  They begin the group by reading a real-life story where the author relates a challenging time or difficult situation in their lives that they were able to overcome, through the help of others or from an unexpected change in events. From there, the conversations flow.  The residents offer their own stories about personal...

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