APD’s Harvest Hill Residents Compete in Puzzle Contest

APD’s Harvest Hill Residents Compete in Puzzle Contest

When you think of doing a puzzle, you might picture someone relaxing, sipping tea pulled up to a card or coffee table, pondering the pieces and where they fit. 

Recently, a group of Harvest Hill residents engaged in a whole different approach during a “Puzzle Competition” activity. Three teams, of three residents each, were given the same 300-piece puzzle, a timed start and their own space to put it together as quickly as possible with a goal to be the first to complete their puzzle.

The idea came to the activities team via Martha Doolittle, a Harvest Hill resident. Martha had tried a contest at a church competition, an event with six tables of teams. Martha also mentioned that her sister’s brother in law, Bob Armstrong, is a Puzzle Master so she has been doing puzzles for a long time. She saw a documentary called “Wicker Kittens” about teams of people who do puzzle contests. She knew Anne Williams, who was in the film. Martha reached out to Anne for guidance about how to set up contests and where to get puzzles and other ways to host a successful event.  Anne was a great help providing guidance and resources.

The winning team at the Harvest Hill competition completed their puzzle in about two hours. Teams had to work together (which can be a challenge) but Martha said you figure out a strategy. For example, on her team they had a “border” person and one to sort and organize prominent colors. The winners went home with boxes of chocolate truffles, and all the teams got to keep their puzzles. Congratulations to Martha and the activities team for “putting it all together.”

Embracing Community with Janet Bantly

Embracing Community with Janet Bantly

Born in Garwood, New Jersey, and raised in Union, Janet Bantly, a 90-year-old resident at Harvest Hill, lives with a commitment to community involvement.

Janet grew up attending a private all-girls school before earning her Bachelor’s in Dietetics from Simmons College in Boston. After completing her MS degree at RPI, she spent 24 fulfilling years as a nutrition consultant for the Connecticut State Dept. of Education, overseeing school programs and ensuring students received nutritious meals, reflecting on it as “the best job she’s ever had.” It was also the state of Connecticut where she met and married her husband, Neil.

Her career took her far beyond the United States though. Traveling internationally, she led groups of school nutrition professionals to countries that had or wanted to begin feeding children at school. The organization, called People to People, was started by President Eisenhower while he was in office.

Literature, Quilting and Community Spirit

Influenced by her daughter, Amy, and grandchildren living in the area, Janet came to Harvest Hill and was instantly drawn to a courtyard apartment on the first floor, which offered convenience and proximity to everything she needed. With a grandson and great grandson nearby, Janet found comfort in the community immediately.  

Not only is Janet deeply involved in the community at Harvest Hill, but she is an advocate for her fellow residents. From serving on the board to contributing to the newsletter with stories, event coverage, and book reviews, Janet’s passion shines through. She is active in Harvest Hill’s book clubs and volunteers at the library, where she’s spearheading efforts to revitalize their collection. With Nikki’s (Executive Director at Harvest Hill) support, Janet successfully secured a budget for the library, allowing for upgrades. Janet excitedly shares some of the most influential books she’s read, including “1984” and the works of Alexander McCall Smith. She shares, “I read 1984 in high school, and it still feels so relevant, especially today.”

Additionally, Janet is a dedicated crafter, working with a group for knitting and crafts. This is natural for her given her entrepreneurial experience of owning a fabric store for ten years. “I’m very busy. I have a packed schedule,” she admits. It’s this energy and enthusiasm for her community that inspires fellow residents.

From Nutrition Consulting to Community Engagement

As a registered dietician, Janet’s feedback of Harvest Hill’s meals warrants a level of respect. She shares, “The meals are extremely tasty,” reflecting the community’s commitment to providing nutritious and delicious food options. She notes that discussions about food are actively encouraged, as demonstrated by the upcoming food meeting where residents can provide feedback and ask questions.

Exploring what the community “stands for,” Janet describes a range of community members from independent living to those with more specialized needs. No matter one’s background or circumstances, she’s forged many meaningful connections and has numerous friends. She admires the diverse backgrounds of her fellow residents, many of whom have excelled in business or education.

So, what makes this community exceptional beyond its diversity? “The attentive care provided by the staff, who have been responsive and supportive throughout my time at Harvest Hill,” states Janet. It’s this supportive, yet autonomous, environment that makes Harvest Hill a place you can call home.

Finding Joy: A Conversation with Harvest Hill Resident Becky Lynn

Finding Joy: A Conversation with Harvest Hill Resident Becky Lynn

For Becky Lynn, Harvest Hill is more than just a residence; it’s an active community where she is known by her first name, participated in staff hiring, welcomes new residents, and engages wholeheartedly in activities that challenge and inspire her. Having spent 1.5 years at Harvest Hill, Becky’s journey here is woven with threads of familiarity. 

Upon moving from Middlebury, Connecticut, a place intertwined with her family’s history, Becky’s roots run deep. Her decision to choose Harvest Hill was influenced not only by the fact that she found it superior in the region but also because of the support and proximity it offered to her son and his wife. 

Her story unfolds from Amherst, Massachusetts, where she attended high school and reflects on being the ‘facility brat.’ College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania, opened doors to explore her enthusiasm for education.

Continuing her greatest purpose, she pursued educational classes at the University of Vermont, Burlington, eventually culminating in a fulfilling career teaching 3rd grade in Connecticut for several years. 

In 1960, she married her first husband. Reminiscing about cherished moments, she fondly recalls incentivizing her children with 50 cents each for looking after one another, offering her a break, while marveling at their inherent goodness. “They were always such good kids,” she reflects.

Life, however, presented its share of challenges. Becky overcame the loss of her first husband due to cancer, spending a decade alone until she met John. Sharing a love for plants, their time centered around traveling the country attending conferences where Becky was introduced to botanists and horticulturalists. When John passed away in January 2022, Becky made the decision to seek a sense of community.

Empowerment, Unity, Collective Engagement 

Becky has discovered many unexpected joys, activities like Bingo—an entirely new experience that is a source of laughter and camaraderie.  As a member of the hospitality group, she welcomes in new residents, sharing insights that only insiders would know—further creating a sense of comfort and belonging in the community. Now she is also an integral reporting team for Hillwinds, a publication put out every two months.

Activities are diverse; she shares a stimulating brain fitness class where the entire group was challenged to spell out Fahrenheit–a word she’ll never forget how to spell again. The show-and-tell session offers a time to bring out cherished family artifacts. For Becky, it was a Civil War water bottle and Velvet box, in her possession since she was just 5-months old. 

When it comes to meals, Becky cites the seafood options including scallops, East Coast fish, and the occasional lobster tail with drawn butter; a cherished New Year treat this year. 

Above all, she shares how the warmth among residents and staff makes the community unique. The acknowledgment of her by name in the hall, while once being a part of the hiring decision-making process give Harvest Hill its ‘resident-first’ appeal, sharing how residents came together to interview and select their current Executive Director, Nikki Fortier.

Becky’s time at Harvest Hill has shown her what the community’s spirit is all about. Shared stories, strong bonds, activities and beyond give residents a renewed sense of belonging, community, and home.

Meet Faye: One Heart Behind Harvest Hill’s Life Enrichment

Meet Faye: One Heart Behind Harvest Hill’s Life Enrichment

In the Harvest Hill community, Faye, a Life Enrichment assistant, helps to plan activities aimed at fostering not only fun and engagement but also the growth of mind, body, and spirit. But what makes Faye unique isn’t just her role; it’s her journey, motivation, and the heartwarming stories she has inspired. 

A Journey from California to the Heart of Harvest Hill

Originally from California, Faye ventured to New England for college, where she pursued linguistics at Brown University. However, her professional journey took an unexpected turn toward campus ministry, marking the beginning of a career that would eventually lead her to Harvest Hill. It was during her college years that Faye recognized the aging of her grandparents and the lack of dignity and respect given to the elderly. This realization compelled her to make a difference in the lives of seniors.

Faye’s Mission to Cultivate Connection

Working in Life Enrichment, Faye wears many hats. From planning exciting activities to facilitating one-on-one meetings, her focus extends beyond organizing events; she strives to build connections and relationships among the residents at Harvest Hill. For example, discussion groups, like the ‘Current Events Group,’ provide a platform for residents to engage in meaningful conversations. 

Faye emphasizes inclusivity, ensuring individuals with varied capacities interact and serve each other. Whether it’s a resident with dementia participating in Bingo or a one-on-one session with someone experiencing anxiety, Faye’s patience and kindness creates a warm environment. 

A Community Centered on Residents

Harvest Hill’s uniqueness lies in its resident-centered approach. Every staff member, from housekeeping to administration, is intimately acquainted with each resident’s preferences and needs. This attention to detail ensures residents are treated with the utmost dignity and respect. Harvest Hill has become a place where individuals, regardless of their cognitive or physical abilities, feel honored and valued.

Faye’s Driving Force

Faye draws motivation from her faith, seeking to make each individual feel seen. She believes small acts of kindness are the meaningful differences that create a positive impact. She strives to nurture well-being, create connections, and uphold the dignity of all the residents of Harvest Hill. 

Lessons of Kindness and Respect

Harvest Hill isn’t just a place where seniors live; it’s a community that teaches valuable lessons. Faye reflects on the innate kindness and humility exhibited by the residents. The atmosphere of respect within Harvest Hill reflects how one should treat people with different values and life experiences.

At the heart of Harvest Hill, Faye and her team are creating more than just a living space for seniors; they are bringing together a community that celebrates life, growth, and connection.

The Neighborhood at Hughes Studio Apartments: Your New Haven at Harvest Hill

We are thrilled to introduce our newest addition – the Neighborhood at Hughes Studio Apartments. This cozy, newly renovated “neighborhood” within our community is designed to offer an exceptional living experience for those who cherish independence while relishing the benefits of a supportive and spirited community.

Discover Your New Space

The Neighborhood at Hughes boasts seven studio apartments, each thoughtfully designed for comfort and functionality. With a spacious shared kitchen and living area, you’ll have ample room to entertain friends or enjoy conversation with your fellow neighbors.

The Best of Both Worlds

While you savor the peace of your new home, you’ll still have access to all the activities, events, and dining options available in the main building at Harvest Hill. It’s like having the best of both worlds – a serene retreat and a lively community, all within arm’s reach. And, say goodbye to shoveling snow and home upkeep – we’ve got you covered.

Nature’s Serenade

Situated on the ground floor, the Neighborhood at Hughes offers garden views that create a sense of calm and connection with the outdoors. It’s the perfect backdrop for a leisurely stroll or for unwinding in a beautiful setting.

Your Private Oasis

This unique living space is a sanctuary for those who value a quiet and private environment. It’s an intimate space within the larger Harvest Hill community, where you can relish your surroundings while staying engaged in activities that pique your interest.

Your Next Chapter Begins Here

Whether you’re looking to simplify your life or seeking something new, the Neighborhood at Hughes Studio Apartments could be the perfect fit for you. To learn more about this unique living option, contact us today. Your next chapter of comfortable and carefree living awaits.

Call to learn more about the Neighborhood at Hughes.


Peggy Cooper
Marketing & Sales Manager
APD Lifecare
(603) 308-0475

Community Stalwart Named New Executive Director of APD Lifecare (APDLC)

Born at APDMH and raised in the Upper Valley, our new Executive Director, Nikki Fortier (ED), brings a hometown touch to APDLC, and we sat down with her to learn more about her journey and vision for the community.

From finance-based office management to event planning, project management, and life enrichment, Nikki’s diverse background makes her especially equipped for this new role. “Growing up here, I’ve witnessed the strength and resilience of this community firsthand. Now, as the new ED at APD, I believe my background gives me a deep understanding of the values and needs of the people we serve,” she states.

Unique Communities, Unique Opportunities

One of the standout features of Lifecare communities is that residents have access to medical staff just a stone’s throw away. She highlighted how this connection allows them to offer house calls from doctors, and how as an ED, she can tap into so many valuable resources. 

In addition, she shares how each community has its own unique and distinct qualities: 

  • The Woodlands: Known for its high-functioning independent living and resident-driven initiatives, she shared, “There is a resident who is head of landscaping, a resident who plans and executes all of the movies, there must be 15 committees…the staff just serves as a support system to empower them.” 
  • Harvest Hill: Equally unique, is known for its welcoming environment that caters to the needs of residents, while creating a very familial atmosphere. 
  • Staff: Finally, she shares how incredibly loyal and dedicated the staff is. “Some of them have been here for 20 years, you can’t buy that kind of loyalty.” 

Having worked with senior living management companies across the country, Nikki went on to share the distinct spirit of the locals, “What you find here in the Northeast is an unwavering sense of independence and self-reliance that runs deep. It’s crucial to understand and respect this value.”

Continuing and Enhancing

As the new ED, Nikki has her sights set on completing ongoing construction projects, improving communication between residents and management, and preserving the community’s strong identity and independence. 

When asked about the wisdom seniors can impart on all of us, Nikki shared: “It’s their perspective. Seniors, with their wealth of life experiences, remind us to see beyond daily stresses and appreciate the bigger picture of life.”

With deep ties to the community and a genuine passion for senior living, our new Executive Director is well-prepared to lead with compassion, insight, and a vision for an even brighter future. 

Meet Woodlands Resident Jack DeGange

Jack DeGange built a successful 50-year career as a writer and editor before moving to The Woodlands in 2016.

A graduate of Bates College and an officer in the U.S. Navy, Jack started his professional career with newspapers in Stamford and New Haven, Conn. In 1968, he became the sports information director at Dartmouth College where, over nine years, many of his publications won national awards. He then worked in printing sales and marketing before spending a decade in the corporate communications field. A return to Dartmouth in the 1990s to work in fund-raising communications preceded nearly two decades as a freelance writer and editor.

For several years Jack was board president and campaign chair for United Way of the Upper Valley and also volunteered at David’s House in Lebanon where his wife, Jane, was executive director for about 20 years.

Jack became familiar with The Woodlands in 2010 while doing a freelance article for Trumbull-Nelson Construction, the company that built The Woodlands (and several other buildings on the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital campus). His research included interviews over dinner he and Jane shared with three couples who were longtime friends and among the earliest residents at The Woodlands.

“After dinner, Jane and I agreed that one day The Woodlands would be a good option for us,” Jack said.

For 25 years, before moving to The Woodlands, their home was a large farmhouse on four acres about three miles from The Woodlands. When they decided the time was right to leave lawn mowing, snow blowing and splitting firewood behind, they didn’t look beyond The Woodlands.

“When making a decision about downsizing, I encourage people to plan early, while it’s still a choice, not a necessity,” Jack said. “The Woodlands was the right size for us. It’s easy to get to know everybody. We’ve acquired many new friends, there’s a great social atmosphere, the people are interesting, and conversations can go in any direction.”

He now applies his experience as a contributor to the residents’ monthly newsletter and, as president of The Woodlands Board of Directors, encouraging residents to get involved in community life.

Unlike many other independent living retirement communities, the residents, with the support of The Woodlands staff, organize clubs, outings, and other activities for everyone to participate in and enjoy.

“This is our home and residents find it easy to get involved. In a sense, interests and initiatives energize the community,” Jack said.

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Dr. James (Jim) Hughes

Dr. James (Jim) Hughes has lived and worked all over the United States as a physician specializing in pediatrics. He and his wife Gillian are enjoying retirement at Harvest Hill where he can be found walking the beautiful trails surrounding the community every morning at dawn.

Dr. Hughes graduated from high school in Exeter, New Hampshire and earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford before joining the United States Navy. After primarily serving on an aircraft carrier in the Far East for three years he was discharged and attended Harvard Medical School, graduating “cum laude.”

After graduating Dr. Hughes joined a Johns Hopkins University project as an assistant professor in the medical school and school of public health while studying pneumonia in children in Calcutta (now known as Kolkata), India. He returned to the United States, spending two years with Dartmouth Health before leaving to run a private clinic. He also helped develop a new HMO in East Lansing, Michigan and joined the Georgetown University HMO in Maryland which Kaiser Permanente bought. He spent 18 years with Kaiser Permanente in Washington D.C. and found time to earn a Master’s of Public Health from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Dr. Hughes and his first wife of 56 years had four children, a daughter, and three sons. Together he and his wife Gillian are the parents of five children including her daughter. After retiring from medicine he and Gillian moved to Vermont and built a house on Lake Fairlee where they lived for 25 years before making the move to Harvest Hill in 2022.

Dr. Hughes and his wife have always been interested in the arts and Gillian is an original founder of the Parish Players theater group in Vermont. He has been in over a dozen performances with Opera North and did a reading of the play “Copenhagen” with other Harvest Hill residents at the First Congregational Church in Vermont where he is a member.

Dr. Hughes combined his love of pediatrics, theater and the arts into entertaining children reading from the “Harry Potter” book series, over Zoom to an elementary school in Vermont.

“My greatest pleasure is reading to children. I have been reading aloud to school kids for over 20 years,” Dr. Hughes said. “When I put the offer out to read books aloud at Harvest Hill the residents who said they were interested chose ‘Harry Potter,’ too. I have a pretty faithful following here, “ Dr. Hughes said.

If you are considering a new retirement lifestyle Dr. Hughes says there is so much to love about Harvest Hill from the beautiful natural surroundings to the great dining options, numerous activities, and all the live musical performances.

Meet Woodlands Resident Carol Kelley

Carol was one of the first residents to move into The Woodlands almost 13 years ago. After a visit to a friend living at Harvest Hill, she decided this was the retirement community for her on a beautiful, wooded campus with large apartments, great views, and a lot of activities to choose from. The Woodlands was still under construction at the time, but as soon as it was open, Carol moved in.

“Everyone is very friendly and I feel safe living here. If you need help someone is always available and the food is really good,” Carol said.

Carol grew up in Little Falls, New York. She earned an associate’s degree in science from the  Suny School in Alfred, New York and worked in a laboratory at the University of Rochester Medical School. Carol’s husband was a physician and his career brought them to Hanover, New Hampshire where they lived for 43 years and raised two daughters.

Carol is very active in the community serving as the Social Team Leader, the group that organizes events like the monthly social gathering open to all residents on the first Wednesday of every month, the Ladies Lunch-Out monthly outing, and Pub Night every Friday. Carol enjoys reading fiction and non-fiction, especially history, and is also on the Library Committee. The Woodlands has a substantial library for residents with a room dedicated to hardcover books and one for paperbacks and magazines. Carol and the other library volunteers make sure books are checked back in and shelved properly.

“I’ve made a lot of friends here, most of them from working on various committees,” Carol said.

When she is not arranging social gatherings or helping to keep the library ship-shape, Carol enjoys going to the many exercise classes offered at The Woodland taught by professional instructors. She also likes to travel to visit her daughters and grandchildren. Her daughter in Maryland is a judge for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Washington D.C. and when she is visiting they take in the many museums near the Capitol. She also loves visiting her daughter, a doctor like her father, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, spending time on the beach, and enjoying the many fun restaurants and shops in the area.

“The Woodlands is such a friendly place and the staff takes such good care of us. There are a lot of activities to choose from, a great menu with a lot of variety, and regular guest speakers,” Carol said.

Meet Woodlands Resident Robert Sands

Robert moved to The Woodlands four years ago drawn to the natural beauty surrounding the community and in his words, “all the well-educated, well-traveled, interesting, and nice people living here.”

Robert is one of those well-educated, well-traveled, interesting, and nice people whose family once owned the famous King Arthur Flour Company. He grew up in Lexington, Massachusetts and earned an economics and geography degree from Dartmouth College.

“I chose my professors rather than my courses and I took the classes offered by the ones I liked the best,” Robert said.

He entered graduate school but was called to serve his country during the Vietnam War, becoming a member of the Army Infantry and stationed in Berlin for two years. After that he spent six years in the Army Reserve, traveling throughout Europe, Turkey, Finland, and as far as Morocco.

“My travels helped me realize this simple truth; people are people no matter what color, what religion, or beliefs they have. People do things differently and have their own reasons for doing those things. Never judge people from what you see only from your point of view,” Robert said.

When he left the Army Reserve Robert joined the family business for a few years before moving to Washington D.C. to work for the United States government focusing on U.S. and Canada relations. His work with Canada expanded Robert’s worldview even more and he says the Canadian people were good to work with. While in Washington D.C. he also attended the National War College and worked for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for a few years.

When it came time to retire, The Woodlands was his first choice. He enjoys his first-floor apartment overlooking the courtyard, often inviting friends over for a glass of wine while they enjoy one of the many live music events held there. 

In nearby Lebanon, Robert enjoys taking classes at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Dartmouth which offers educational programs year-round for residents in the greater Upper Valley. He also likes going to the Dartmouth College rugby team games.