Meet Harvest Hill Administrator Amy Rauert, RN

Amy Rauert has been in senior care most of her life. As a girl, she regularly visited with elders in her neighborhood helping them with writing letters, doing yard work, and other errands.

“I adopted the neighborhood seniors as grandparents because I didn’t have any living nearby,” Amy said.

In high school, Amy volunteered at a local nursing home and hospital. Now as the Administrator for Harvest Hill, she leads a caring team that ensures the residents receive the best services possible while making the community a warm and inviting home.

Amy has over three decades of experience in aging services with an impressive list of credentials. She has a Bachelor of Science in nursing, is a registered nurse, holds a gerontological nursing board certification, is a certified geriatric nurse, and certified dementia practitioner.

“Six years ago I was new to the area and saw the open administrator position at Harvest Hill as an opportunity to use all of my education and experience doing what I love,” Amy said.

Building and maintaining relationships with the residents, their families, and her team are what Amy looks forward to the most every day. She oversees all aspects of life in the Harvest Hill community just like a second home and ensures everyone living and working there is happy and has what they need. She recently oversaw the successful integration of memory care residents into the general community and is pleased they are doing well.

“We had more residents with various degrees of cognitive impairment than we had room for in our small memory care neighborhood. With the integration being so successful we can keep residents here where they have more opportunities to socialize and they are really flourishing. They and their families are happier and we will continue to strive to keep residents in their homes here for as long as possible,“ Amy said.

Amy is one to pursue all her passions—just like she did to have a career in aging services–and is a beekeeper.

“I just always wondered what it would be like to be a beekeeper. After moving here my husband and I started out with a few hives and right now we have seven with the hope of splitting them to have as many as ten. We enjoy the surplus honey and the residents are always asking me how the bees are doing,” Amy says.

In addition to her hives, Amy enjoys spinning and weaving.  She and her husband are avid gardeners, too, growing wildflowers like beach roses, and flowering bushes. They also enjoy their vegetable garden and share their home with a pet rabbit, a mini-Holland Lop named Rowdy.

Meet APD Lifecare Facilities Manager Jesse Thomas

Jesse left a 20-year career in facilities and maintenance management in the manufacturing industry for the opportunity to work with people instead of machines at the Harvest Hill and The Woodlands communities. As the Facilities Manager he focuses on building personal relationships with the residents and team members he works with and supports.

“This has been a super positive change for me. I enjoy working in a more caring environment because everything is more personal. I am taking care of people and their homes. I really appreciate the residents and the team I work with. Every day is a great experience,” Jesse says.

Originally from Newport, New Hampshire, Jesse earned an associate degree in applied technologies from the Universal Technical Institute of Arizona, his OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) certification and has completed PIT (Powered Industrial Truck) Health and Safety training. After several years working in the manufacturing industry he was ready for something where he could use his skills to help people and have a direct positive affect on their lives. He had always heard positive things about the Alice Peck Day senior living communities and when he saw an opportunity to use his skills and experience there he took it.

Jesse’s areas of expertise are far-ranging including project management, HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) repair and maintenance, plumbing, electrical work, and safety in the workplace. He is also skilled at building and programming computers and game consoles. For Harvest Hill and The Woodlands, he is using his technical knowledge to further streamline operations for maintenance requests, repairs, and installation of new equipment. He also oversees long-term planning and budgeting for equipment to ensure residents always have, for example, reliable appliances and a comfortable environment.

Jesse and his wife, Sarah, have two daughters at home and enjoy “escaping technology” to spend time in the White Mountains. He also likes to go hiking and mountain biking, run in local 5k races with Sarah, and visit his two adult sons whenever possible. Jesse is currently working towards a bachelor’s degree in business management.

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 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 The Woodlands Lead Concierge, Kim Paige

Kimberly Paige

As the Lead Concierge at The Woodlands, Kim loves the variety of her workday which starts early with setting up the continental breakfast and delivering newspapers throughout the building. She helps to ensure a lot of things get taken care of here at The Woodlands like helping new residents with their paperwork, assign parking and storage spaces and getting them their keys. She also keeps the resident directory organized.

“This is a communications type of position,” Kim says. “Depending on the day, I may arrange for our driver to take a resident to a medical appointment, take a group to a class at Dartmouth or to a performance at Northern Stage. I also assist residents with making reservations in our dining room, for our guest suite, with maintenance requests, and more.”

 Kim also enjoys working with seniors and getting to know all the residents that live at The Woodlands.

“This is a nice size community. It’s very homey and friendly and there is always something going on here. I get to meet a lot of interesting people and the food is great,” Kim says.

Kim grew up in Southern New Hampshire and has a degree in Hospitality Management and a certificate in accounting. She and her husband live in Lebanon where she spends as much time as possible outdoors, playing golf, hiking, and ice skating. Kim also enjoys attending the various activities her children participate in to support them.

Meet The Woodlands Executive Chef Charlie Barnes

Meet The Woodlands Executive Chef Charlie Barnes

Charlie was born and raised in Bar Harbor, Michigan where he and his sister lived with extended family.   Charlie became interested in food at a young age. He fondly remembers cooking with his grandmother when he was six years old and stealing the cookies they made together. He also enjoyed picking apples and cherries in the local orchards.

Charlie started college planning to major in civil engineering but realized that he loved to cook while waiting tables at a local restaurant, Captain Nicks, and being pulled in one evening to be a line cook.  He went on to earn a business management degree from the University of Maine and attended culinary school in Maine as well.

Charlie moved to New Hampshire and worked at the Lake Sunapee Country Club in New London. He was then hired to be the Executive Chef at Café Nouveau in Eastman, New Hampshire and later at the Quechee Club in Vermont.  He took a sabbatical but missed cooking and came to work for our assisted living community, Harvest Hill, as a chef. When the Executive Chef position became available at APD’s independent living community, The Woodlands Senior Living, he jumped at the opportunity.

Charlie loves to cook and try new menu items at The Woodlands, but most of all he loves our residents.

“They are a group of great people with great stories,” Charlie says.

Chef Barnes recently expanded the dinner menu to offer more variety for residents. They now have added options to mix and match and pick and choose from. Buying local ingredients is paramount to Charlie, and he uses seasonal products to support local farms.

When he is not busy in the Harvest Hill kitchen whipping up fresh, healthy, and delicious fare for the residents, Charlie enjoys working on hot-rods, boating, fishing, and cross-country skiing. Every night he looks forward to tucking his eight-year-old son into bed.  

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.

Meet Harvest Hill Housekeeping Manager Deb Baker

Meet Harvest Hill Housekeeping Manager Deb Baker

Among the many long-tenured staff members at Harvest Hill is Housekeeping Manager Deb Baker, who recently celebrated her 20th work anniversary at the community.

In her wide-ranging role at Harvest Hill, Deb is happy to take care of anything that needs doing. During the pandemic, when restrictions prevented residents from visiting the dining room, she helped deliver breakfast and lunch to their apartments. Typical days, though, tend to stick to a schedule, she said.

“I come in, get my housekeeping equipment and start cleaning the common areas. I always say good morning to the residents, who are usually getting up and heading to breakfast around that time,” said Deb, whose two longtime employees, Joanne Rogers and Stacey Jorgensen, have been with her for 16 years. “We clean anything that needs it, and we also clean 14 apartments a day, working around residents’ schedules.”

“The residents we clean for are just awesome people,” she added. “A lot of them can’t wait to see us — some stay in their apartments so they can ask what our week or weekend was like. They just want to chit chat. Sometimes they’ll have a little list of things for us to help them with, whether that means getting a container off the top shelf, opening a jar of jam or helping them put on a shoe.”

Deb has had experience with the elderly from a young age, she said. The oldest of six children, she was brought up around her grandparents and great grandmother, and, as a junior high student in the 70s, she volunteered after school reading and making crafts with residents at the nursing home that used to be run by Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital.

Deb has been married for 20 years and has a stepson, Adam; two daughters, Jennifer and Carrington, both born at Alice Peck Day; and two granddaughters. When she’s not working, she enjoys crafting, gardening, researching family genealogy, birdwatching, and doing photography, her favorite hobby.

Deb shoots weddings, high school senior pictures, and maternity photos, but most of all, loves photographing wildlife. Recently, Harvest Hill’s activities director asked her to bring in some of her work for display and give a talk to residents.

“I’m also the person who takes photos of the residents during some of the activities, and I always take a photo of new residents when they first move in,” said Deb. “That photo and a little write up go into an album that’s kept in the library, so if another resident wants to know who a certain resident is, they can just go into the library, open up the photo album and see.”

Looking back at her time at Harvest Hill, Deb said, building relationships with the residents and helping them with what they need has been extremely fulfilling.

“I’m proud of the things I do here,” she said. “It’s so rewarding. I love working with the residents. I love their stories. They’re all like grandparents to me.”

All photos below were taken by Deb Baker.

A Conversation with Cindy Jerome, Administrator of The Woodlands and APD Lifecare Executive Director

For The Woodlands Administrator Cindy Jerome, what makes the community such an exceptional place isn’t what’s on the outside — it’s what’s on the inside.

“We have a beautiful building with a range of really attractive amenities, but to me, the best thing about The Woodlands is the people who live here,” said Cindy, also Executive Director of APD Lifecare, which includes in its network both The Woodlands and Harvest Hill, an assisted and independent living community.

“Our residents are such interesting, accomplished people. Everybody has these remarkable experiences and skills and gifts that they can — and do — share with the rest of the community,” Cindy said.

One new resident at The Woodlands is a former artists’ representative and museum curator who now heads the resident team that collects local artwork for temporary display at the community. Another resident, former head of the English Department at nearby Dartmouth College, recently gave a presentation on Shakespeare’s King Lear for residents attending a local production of the play.

“Our Great Room was packed, and he was so eloquent and talked about his subject with such passion,” said Cindy. “People were thrilled and enjoyed the play that much more.”

“Residents at The Woodlands are as warm and welcoming as they are interesting,” Cindy said. The wife of a resident who passed away recently told Cindy how grateful she was for the community’s support. “The flowers, the hugs, the food, so many kind words.”

“So many residents here have already gone through what she is going through now, so they can speak in a reassuring and understanding way about it,” said Cindy. “That is the kind of community we are. One of the greatest gifts our residents give to all of us who have the privilege to serve them, is how they care for each other and for us.” Special relationships develop between the teen-aged Wait Staff and the residents.  Like surrogate grandparents, residents know what sports they play and where they’re going to college.

Cindy says the staff throughout the campus is thoughtful and engaged, contributing to the unique and welcoming feeling at The Woodlands and Harvest Hill.

At The Woodlands and APD Lifecare, where she has worked since 2018, Cindy oversees the administration, programs, strategic planning, and community outreach of the organization, which means her schedule consists of daily meetings with staff at Alice Peck Day, The Woodlands and Harvest Hill, as well as with Woodlands residents. Cindy also runs a well-attended monthly series called “Chat with Cindy,” where residents gather in the community’s Great Room to hear her present on a range of topics and solicit their feedback.

Cindy has more than 20 years of experience managing senior living communities in Northern New England and holds degrees in psychology and counseling psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and Antioch University. She previously worked in mental health running a pilot residential program for people living with both mental and medical illnesses, many of whom were older adults.

According to Cindy, easy access to medical care for older adults is one of The Woodlands’ top advantages, so residents and their families have peace of mind that care is near if residents’ needs change.

“The Woodlands is a subsidiary of Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital, a community hospital that is an affiliate of a world-class academic medical center, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Anything you need you can get there and it’s going to be the best.”

“One of the latest and most profound examples of this has been the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Cindy.

“We had infection prevention specialists on speed dial who were there to talk us through any situation and medical experts at the ready all the time,” said Cindy. “In part because of that, we sailed through this pandemic without a single resident getting COVID-19.”

Thank you to Cindy Jerome for agreeing to speak with us! Stay tuned for our next profile of a Woodlands resident or staff member.