Community Stalwart Named New Executive Director of APD

Born at APDMH and raised in the Upper Valley, our new Executive Director, Nikki Fortier (ED), brings a hometown touch to APD, 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 APD 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 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 603-308-0024 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.

Meet Resident Care Manager Kristen Moskalenko-Locke

Harvest Hill’s Resident Care Manager Kristen Moskalenko-Locke knew she wanted to be a nurse since childhood, from her first job as a candy striper at 12, to her current job leading a team of 45 staff who care for Harvest Hill’s assisted living, independent living, supported living and memory care residents.

Kristen said she strives to both “give exceptional care to our residents and to ensure that staff have satisfaction in their roles. I make sure our residents are getting what they need, that they’re safe in their environment; I meet with them and their families as they request it or as I need to, whether it’s about care or just checking in.”

Her daily tasks vary widely and include everything from conducting resident health assessments to helping staff with medication issues, to handling resident admissions, talking to doctors about resident health, and with families about their loved ones.

“Care here is resident centered, so that’s the bulk of my job,” she said. “The other part of it is making sure staffing is where it needs to be and helping our nurses and Licensed Nursing Assistants. It’s all about solving issues as they come up and preventing problems before they start.”

Originally from Claremont, New Hampshire, Kristen has been a Registered Nurse for 27 years and before that, an LNA for 10. She has earned many nursing certifications over the years and is currently working on her dementia care certification.

Prior to joining Harvest Hill in early 2020, Kristen worked at Dartmouth-Hitchcock for 20 years, starting as a float nurse, then moving to gastroenterology, occupational health, and later oncology as a breast cancer nurse. She has also served as the director of nursing at senior care communities in Vermont, including Cedar Hill Health Care Center in Windsor, Vermont and Valley Terrace in White River Junction.

Today, Kristen lives in Sharon, Vermont with her fiancé, where they run a small mountaintop farm. She has a 23-year-old son and when not at work, enjoys the ocean, reading and being outside.

Being a caretaker has always been an innate part of Kristen’s personality, and just one reason why she loves what she does. For this, Kristen also credits her “amazing nursing staff, the supportive Harvest Hill leadership, and our wonderful residents.”

“These residents amaze me every day — they share stories, they’re always happy to see you, and they are so thankful for even the littlest things,” said Kristen. For example, Kristen recently found the perfect way to help a resident with a poor appetite. “I asked her, ‘If you could have anything in the world right now to eat, what would it be?’” said Kristen, “and she said she wanted watermelon, so we got her one. It was like I’d given her the world! I love to see the smiles on residents’ faces, and especially now that we’re opening up again after COVID, we’re seeing a lot more of them.”