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Meet Harvest Hill Fitness Instructor Joanna Graber

Meet Harvest Hill Fitness Instructor Joanna Graber

Joanna Graber is one of Harvest Hill’s fitness instructors who enjoys spending time with residents socializing, having fun, and getting fit. She likes working with seniors, learning from them, hearing their stories from a lifetime of experiences, and can always count on some words of wisdom whenever she asks them about life or parenting situations.

“Everyone here is so welcoming to me, to new residents, to everyone. They are also fun to be around and remind me to slow down and be mindful of my own form and enjoy our time together,” Joanna says.

Joanna moved to Lebanon 17 years ago where she shares a home with her husband, three daughters, and their cats. She has been teaching fitness for 24 years and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition science and psychology, is a registered dietician, and is certified by the National Exercise Training Association. She oversees a team of instructors that teach everything from strength and cardio classes to yoga and swimming at the Carter Community Building Association (CCBA) near Harvest Hill, which offers residents and Alice Peck Day campus employees discounted memberships.

The residents at Harvest Hill have widely varying degrees of ability so Joanna structures the 45-minute classes with 30 minutes of chair exercises and 15 minutes of standing exercises. For residents who prefer to sit longer, or for the entire class, all the workouts can be adapted to suit the participants’ individual preferences and abilities.

“When I am their age, some of them in their 90s, I hope I am still showing up like they do, staying active, socializing, and making new friends,” Joanna says.

Harvest Hill supports our residents’ health and well-being by bringing in highly qualified fitness instructors like Joanna several times a week. Beyond maintaining their cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength for increased mobility and better balance, the classes offer residents an easy way to get together and have fun. Social engagement and peer bonding through physical activities have been shown to decrease the chances of older adults becoming isolated and depressed and helps them maintain mental and physical health. It also encourages better quality sleep and dietary choices.

If you would like to learn more about Harvest Hill and the fun activities we schedule for residents to enhance their health and well-being please schedule a personalized tour call Peggy Cooper at 603-308-0475 or contact us via our website.

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Mary Harrington

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Mary Harrington

Mary and her husband came to Harvest Hill 15 years ago, having lived in the Upper Valley for over five decades. The community offered the services and amenities they were looking for in the place they had called home for so long.

Originally from Somersworth, New Hampshire, Mary graduated from the MacIntosh Business College in nearby Dover with a secretarial degree and worked as a secretary in the human resources department for the Internal Revenue Service. After she and her husband got married in 1963, they moved to Worcester, Massachusetts where she worked for another IRS office until they started a family.

Mary is actively involved with her church and has served on several committees over the years. She is part of a group that makes mission quilts for the underserved and has personally sewed 50 backpacks every year that are filled with school supplies donated by the congregation and shipped to children in some of the poorest nations around the world.

Mary has always liked to travel and every September she and daughter Judy go to Maine to volunteer for the annual New England Parkinson’s Ride, which raises money for the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Research Foundation. They staff one of the rest stops for bicyclists participating in the ride.

Right after moving to Harvest Hill Mary became involved with the resident newsletter and served as the editor for 12 years. She enjoyed working on the computer and overseeing article assignments, layout and design. Mary has since handed off her newsletter editorial duties to someone else but still contributes by attending community events and taking photos for it.

Mary enjoys being involved in community life. She is the president of the Residents’ Association and is currently serving the last of a 3-year term on the APD Lifecare Board of Trustees. She also oversees the Trading Post, a community swap shop of sorts where residents can trade items and she donates unwanted items to local area thrift stores every couple of months.

When she is not volunteering in the community Mary is a regular for exercise class four days a week and Scattergories on Sundays. To relax she enjoys quilting, listening to music and reading. Her favorite genres are thrillers and mysteries but says she has “too many favorite authors to list.”

“What I like best about living at Harvest Hill is the food and activities. No shopping, cooking or cleanup and with all the activities you can stay as busy as you want to be,” Mary says.

Meet APD Nurse, Lisa Carpenter

Lisa has been a nurse for over 20 years and holds an associate degree in nursing. She previously worked in skilled nursing homes, but Harvest Hill is her first assisted living community.

Lisa came to Harvest Hill four years ago. She has always enjoyed working with older adults and was drawn to the way Harvest Hill residents and staff work together. She assists residents with their medication management, performs daily health checks and communicates with their doctors as needed to ensure they get the best care. She appreciates that many of the residents’ primary care doctors are on campus at the Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital and their multi-specialty team regularly makes house calls to Harvest Hill for the residents’ convenience.

“The residence and staff are really a great team. Everyone works together and the residents are so appreciative. This is such a great place to work and everyone has always been so welcoming,” Lisa says.

Lisa was born and raised in New Hampshire but now makes her home with her husband in nearby Tunbridge, Vermont. They are currently busy planning their daughter’s wedding. They are dedicated  animal lovers, as proven by the care they provide them. They have four dogs; one is 18 years old and completely blind and deaf. They also have three cats, one that needs IV fluids every day. Their menagerie also includes two pet rescue goats.

“We have a nursing home for pets,” Lisa said with a smile.

Whenever possible she and her husband enjoy trips to the mountains and the beach.

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Lois Clarke

Lois Clarke has been a resident of Harvest Hill for the past 14 years. Originally from Great Britain, she grew up with a brother, Bill, and sister, Margaret in Hatfield, Hertfordshire. She moved to Canada where she met her husband Malcolm and they lived in Massachusetts, then Pennsylvania, before settling down at Harvest Hill to be closer to their daughter in New London, New Hampshire.

For 11 of her 14 years at Harvest Hill, Lois spent considerable time and effort interviewing fellow residents for the in-house newsletter, Hillwinds. She has since retired from writing, feeling like it was time for someone else to carry on.

“Eleven years was a long time doing Hillwinds,” Lois says. “I loved it, but it was tiring having a job with consistent deadlines. I would sometimes do as many as five interviews a week and they generally took up my whole afternoon.”

She also spent considerable time gardening, growing flowers on her patio and found it very rewarding but is now content to admire the efforts of other resident gardeners while she takes it easy. She enjoys playing a weekly game of Scattergories with fellow residents on Sundays then finds it “a real treat” to retire to her apartment to watch movies. She enjoys a wide variety of films and television series and viewing them in the comfort of her home.

Lois typically starts her days with breakfast and carrying on a childhood family tradition of reading.

“My family always read at breakfast and lunch,” Lois says. “Never at dinner, though. That time was reserved for conversation.”

She and her friend of the past 13 years, Nancy, regularly meet every evening in the dining room, sometimes joined by another long-time friend and residents they invite to join them for great food and good conversation.

“There is no reason to eat alone here,” Lois says. “If someone asks to join your table and you have an empty seat, the answer is always yes.”

Lois says it doesn’t feel like she has lived at Harvest Hill for the past 14 years and means that as a compliment. She stayed so busy that she hardly noticed the time passing. She feels fortunate to live in such a comfortable community with a lovely apartment that overlooks the gazebo and courtyard next to a huge maple tree, being able to relax, play Scrabble on her computer and read as much as she likes. As the phrase goes, “Life is good.”

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Carl Cassel

Carl came to Harvest Hill a retired magistrate after a long and illustrious career in the Navy where he served around the world and was a part of historical events that helped shape the United States.

Born and raised in Norristown, Pennsylvania, after graduating from high school Carl moved to Rhode Island where he earned a history degree from Brown University. He was a member of the Navy ROTC program and after graduation served four years in the Mediterranean and Caribbean and as the junior engineer in charge of the engine room on a ship that was part of the naval blockade during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Carl married his wife Nancy in Massachusetts before being transferred to California and serving aboard the U.S.S. Ticonderoga in Southeast Asia at the start of the Vietnam War. When he was released from active duty they journeyed to Pennsylvania where he earned his juris doctorate from the Dickinson School of Law and moved to Rhode Island to practice corporate law.

Carl decided to rejoin the Navy in the Judge Advocate General’s Corp which took him to Norway, New London, Florida, Washington D.C., Scotland and Italy. In his second career with the Navy, he served as a staff lawyer, a lower court military judge and coordinated U.S. military activities with the Italian Ministry of Justice. In his last year of active-duty Carl served as a special assistant to the general counsel of the CIA.

“I had a great time with it,” Carl says of his long and unique Navy career.

After retiring from the Navy, Carl and Nancy stayed in Virginia where he was a state magistrate until 2000. They spent three years exploring new places to call home before settling on Orford, New Hampshire where they lived for over 20 years. Carl served as the town Treasurer for nine years, was a library trustee and a member of the Conservation Commission.

Carl is new to Harvest Hill, having moved from another senior living community for the bigger apartments, numerous walking trails, great food and wonderful staff.

“I see a smile everywhere and they can’t do enough for you,” Carl says of the Harvest Hill team. “They all know my name and are happy to help you with whatever you need.”

Carl stays busy walking the beautiful, wooded trails surrounding the Harvest Hill community, attending the group Brainteaser game, concerts, and the book read-aloud group. Besides the great location where he can walk to his primary care doctor’s office and the abundance of fun outings and activities, Carl says another reason he loves it at Harvest Hill is the food.

“It’s all so good and I really enjoy it,” he says.

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Patricia “Pat” Renshaw

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Patricia “Pat” Renshaw

Patricia “Pat” Renshaw has lived all over the United States, raised four sons, and worked in three distinctly different careers. She moved into Harvest Hill three years ago and couldn’t be happier with her decision.

“Harvest Hill is such a friendly, warm and receptive place. I felt very comfortable coming here,” Pat says.

Pat spent her childhood years going to school in NYC during the week, while her weekends, summers and holiday breaks were spent on the family farm in upstate New York. She moved with her mother to Jacksonville, Illinois to finish high school then earned a degree in psychology from Antioch College in Ohio. After a year studying human development in graduate school at the University of Chicago, she became a counselor for psychotic children. It was rewarding but extremely demanding work.

Looking for a fresh start, Pat began her second career in Chicago as a research director for an advertising agency. She met her husband at a square dance and after getting married, they lived all over the United States due to his career, in Long Island New York, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Los Angeles, California, and Washington D.C., just to name a few. Along the way they had four sons and decided to settle down in Albany, New York to finish raising them.  During this time, she served on the Guilderland school board for 12 years.

When her oldest children were in high school Pat knew it was time for a new career and returned to school to earn an MBA. She then spent 20 years in the New York state Office of Mental Health as a systems designer and analyst.

After retiring she and her husband moved to Hanover, New Hampshire to be near their son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren. When she was ready for a change, Pat toured all the area senior living communities. The friendly welcoming environment and the fact her daughter-in-law’s father was so happy as a resident convinced her Harvest Hill was the right place for her.

“Harvest Hill has such an outgoing and friendly staff that are always available and willing to help you with anything,” Pat says.

Pat has a wide circle of friends that she met through various community activities. She enjoys going to the exercise classes, being in the book club and volunteers in the library. In the summer she plays Bocce ball and takes in the many musical performances the community hosts. Pat is a regular in the dining room, especially to enjoy breakfast and lunch with friends, but also appreciates the option to order take-out for dinner and a relaxing evening in.  

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Beverly Weeks

Meet Harvest Hill Resident Beverly Weeks

Beverly Weeks put a deposit down for an apartment 20 years ago when Harvest Hill was just breaking ground. Well, she finally moved in last November. She’s getting every penny’s worth of that deposit, too, taking advantage of all the community has to offer, trying out new activities, getting to know her neighbors and is so pleased to call Harvest Hill home.

The Harvest Hill community creates a new lifestyle for Beverly after living as a single working person for over 40 years. She was born in Chicago, Illinois but moved to Lebanon in the early 60s, then to White River Junction before moving to Harvest Hill.

Her daughter and son graduated from Lebanon High School, and both now live out of state. Beverly began to volunteer at the Lebanon Junior High School helping students with learning difficulties in the late 1970s. To become a licensed special education teacher Beverly commuted to Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire for three years while working full-time at the junior high school. She earned a master’s degree in education in 1987. Upon retirement from the Lebanon school district, she embarked on a new career working part-time in the floral department of the Hanover Co-op Food Store in Hanover, New Hampshire. Her floral career lasted 18 years.

“As I had an undergraduate degree in biology, I was familiar with plants, but had no training in design techniques, sales, or marketing. My co-workers were excellent teachers and very supportive. It was truly a learning experience,” Beverly says.

Beverly shares an apartment with her cat, Violet who is, “head of the household.” She has an assortment of plants that need a green thumb and greatly enjoys the Harvest Hill Conservatory with plants “that bring color to a gray or snowy day,” Beverly says.

As reading is her favorite pastime, she is pleased that the Harvest Hill library is “outstanding and so well organized I do not want for anything to read,” Beverly says.

She has gotten more involved in her new home and accepted a three-year appointment as a member-at-large on the Executive Board of Harvest Hill Residents Association. Concerns expressed by residents and staff are shared with board members.

“Living at Harvest Hill is so comfortable and pleasant. The staff members called me by name soon after my arrival. They are all friendly and helpful. The activities abound thanks to the energy of Activities Director, Carla Venti. There is something for anyone who wishes to participate,” Beverly says.

Beverly enjoyed the recent Mardi Gras Party Carla organized, complete with New Orleans food treats, beads, decorations, and live music from the Dixieland band that played handclapping, singing, toe- tapping tunes, “and lots of smiles complimented the laughter and good cheer of this event,” Beverly says.

Beverly appreciates the ever-changing selection of food provided by the Harvest Hill kitchen. Residents enjoy choosing from a wide variety of healthy fresh foods and requests are usually honored, from fancy fare to the basics.

Meet Brian Pike, Harvest Hill’s Kitchen Manager/Head Chef

Meet Brian Pike, Harvest Hill’s Kitchen Manager/Head Chef

Each day, Kitchen Manager/Head Chef Brian Pike wakes up with just one objective: ensuring that residents of Harvest Hill enjoy a fulfilling culinary experience suited to their individual tastes and preferences.

Brian has worked in food service in one form or another for more than 30 years. He started in the Harvest Hill kitchen as a prep cook and worked his way into new positions over 20 years before being promoted to his current role in 2021.

“I’ve really enjoyed working at Harvest Hill, and I have so many fond memories of time spent with staff and residents,” said Brian. “Serving our residents is important to me and my team because Harvest Hill is their home. It’s our mission to make sure they are comfortable, satisfied and enjoying tasty, nutritious meals every day.”

As Kitchen Manager/Head Chef, Brian is responsible for ordering all the food, equipment and necessities for the Harvest Hill kitchen, preparing daily and weekly menus, scheduling staff shifts, and managing staff to ensure food quality, cleanliness and the daily operations of the kitchen. Brian also helps coordinate Harvest Hill’s monthly resident meeting, where residents come together with kitchen staff to provide feedback on various menu items and offer suggestions for new dishes.

“Our goal as a food service team is to provide healthy, delicious meals for residents every day,” said Brian. “We provide three meals a day, 365 days a year, so it’s a big task at times, but we tackle the challenge head on. It takes the support of all of our kitchen staff to make it happen.”

Brian hails from Ascutney, a small village in the town of Weathersfield, Vermont. He began in food service as a deli and pizza cook while attending high school in Claremont, New Hampshire. He went on to work at resorts throughout Vermont, including the Ascutney Mountain Resort, Okemo Mountain Resort, and Hawk Inn, where he also filled in front-of-house as a server, bartender and manager.

In his role today, Brian said he most enjoys interacting with Harvest Hill residents, getting to know them and hearing their stories, dreaming up new specials and hearkening back to old favorites, all while cooking up creative, nutritious dishes that can put a smile on their face.

“I’ve always enjoyed being involved with customer service, and I love working with our residents,” Brian said.