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 Woodlands Resident Ray Scherer

Former Lutheran pastor Ray Scherer visited eight different retirement communities in four states before deciding The Woodlands was where he wanted to make his new home. He was impressed by how friendly and welcoming residents and staff were and it also brought him closer to two of his sons and their families. He has only lived at The Woodlands since September and is looking forward to his first summer here.

Ray grew up in the small town of Olney in southern Illinois. He spent his teen years driving a tractor and working the family farm.

“We did not have electricity before World War II and we farmed with horses until I was in the 5th grade, so I’m from a different era,” Ray says.

After graduating from high school, Ray went to college at Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and then attended seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago where he earned both a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Divinity degree.

His career as a Lutheran pastor began in Joliet and Kirkland, Illinois before he moved to Southampton, Pennsylvania with his wife and three sons. Ray served as the pastor of a church there for over two decades and lived there for forty years. During that time, he travelled to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and all over Europe. He and his wife hosted five German exchange students when their sons were in high school, and all three boys were exchange students in Germany. Ray still likes to travel whenever possible and he has three timeshares in New York City, Williamsburg, Virginia, and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

While he misses his old friends in Pennsylvania, Ray says he has not had any problem meeting people and making new friends every day at The Woodlands.

“There are a lot of activities here and everyone is so friendly and welcoming. The highlight of the day is gathering in the dining room each evening and sitting with different people for every meal. It’s a great way to get to know new people. As a clergy person, people are very important to me, and I like to visit and get to know them. That’s how friendships are established,” Ray says.

Ray may have lived at The Woodlands only a few months, but he is already very involved in community activities and is looking forward to participating in more this summer. He serves as the team leader for Saturday night movies and is tasked with choosing the movies based on resident feedback. He sings in The Woodlands chorus as well.

Ray is also staying busy decorating his apartment and has an impressive art collection including a 17th century painting by a Dutch Master, and three 19th Century paintings from Austria, France, and Great Britain.

“I have a beautiful apartment that overlooks the woods, and I am filling the walls with my art collection. I am truly a connoisseur of the arts – music, art, and the theater,” Ray says.

Meet Woodlands Resident Betsey Barnes

Meet Woodlands Resident Betsey Barnes

Betsey Barnes has travelled for much of her life as the wife of a Foreign Service Officer. In the process she has published two novels and is now writing her third.  

When she’s not writing she is connecting with other residents of The Woodlands and enjoys hearing their stories.

“Stories are so interesting to me – always have been. Everybody has a story,” Betsey says. 

Betsey grew up in New Jersey and spent her teen years in the Bronx, New York. She was the oldest of three children and especially close to her brother John.  Her father was a minister, so the family moved to different parishes. Her mother was a college graduate, unusual for the times, and instilled in her daughter the importance of learning and a love of writing.

Betsey’s first wish was to be an actress and she became very involved in theater at her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, serving as president of the Dramatic Society.  

After graduation she married Harry, her brother’s roommate. As a career foreign service couple, Harry’s assignments took them around the world. From their first posting in Bombay, India, they went to Prague, Czechoslovakia, then to Oberammergau, a town in the Bavarian Alps, Germany, where they studied Russian. Their next assignment was Moscow, capital of the Soviet Union.

Following assignments took them to Kathmandu, Bucharest twice, back to New Delhi, India and finally to Santiago, Chile. Betsey’s stories are borrowed from her experiences traveling the world to these postings.

During their years in the Service, it was their luck to meet Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. They also spent time with first ladies Jackie Kennedy and Barbara Bush. Harry eventually worked in Georgia and travelled with Jimmy Carter.

Betsey and Harry retired to pastoral Peacham, Vermont, onto land with views of the distant White Mountains of New Hampshire. They came to The Woodlands in its earliest months and found an apartment with sunlight from sunrise to sunset with enough space for all their needs. After Harry died, Betsey found comfort with residents who had gone through the same grieving experiences. Now she looks forward to dinner with her Woodland friends every night in the dining room.

Betsey is the author of two novels, “Unforgiving Heights” and “Far is the Moon of My Home.”  She shares her home with two “wonderful cats, Corky and Patchy” and is busy writing her third novel.

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 Woodlands Resident Molly Bonhag

Meet Woodlands Resident Molly Bonhag

Since moving to The Woodlands in September 2020, longtime Lebanon resident Molly Bonhag said she has met a wonderful group of friends, broadened her social circle and discovered a meaningful, new form of community.

“Living at The Woodlands has been wonderful,” said Molly. “It’s everything I was hoping it would be. What’s interesting about this place is you can be as social or as private as you choose to be, and people are very accepting. I think it’s a very good thing because it accommodates everybody’s differences and choices.”

So far, Molly has also enjoyed getting involved in the various on-campus, resident-organized activities available for anyone to try.

“We have a lot of exercise classes, we have a gym, we have Tai Chi,” said Molly. “I also play the piano for The Woodlands chorus, and another resident and I take turns playing the piano for our monthly socials. We used to have singalongs but since COVID, we’ve had hum-a-longs!”

Molly’s life has always been full of music. She started playing the piano at age five, switching to the organ in high school. In 1990, she, her husband and three children moved to Lebanon, where she worked as a music teacher. There, she also ran a preschool program called Kindermusik, gave piano lessons, and was a church organist and choir director.

While it’s been somewhat of an adjustment moving from a large house to a smaller apartment, Molly said she has everything she needs and loves having the built-in benefits of a social community.

“After my husband died, I was living in Lebanon all by myself in this big house, and as the fall turned into winter and the only people whom I’d see were the two coming to work on my house, I realized I needed to be somewhere with more of a community,” said Molly. “Now, at The Woodlands, my apartment is a two-bedroom with a den and two bathrooms, and I park in a heated garage. I don’t need anything more than that.”

“Another thing I love about being here is that the staff makes suggestions — they don’t make rules,” Molly added. “They treat us like adults. And the maintenance staff is so eager to help in any way, whether hanging a picture or helping to figure out how to use your TV! Today, Residents have to wear a mask if they go outside their apartment, but we’re all willing to do it for the sake of everybody. We really feel like a community here and that what we do impacts other people.”

Meet Woodlands Residents Jim and Brooke Adler

From the moment they moved in, Jim and Brooke Adler were impressed by The Woodlands, from the food, to our helpful maintenance staff, and welcoming residents – many who have since become friends. While communal living “is an adjustment after over 50 years living together on our own,” said Jim, “it was an easier one than I would have imagined.” The Woodlands is “first class,” adds Brooke. Watch the video to hear more about why the Adlers love living at The Woodlands!

Watch the Video Interview

Technology Tools Older Adults Can Enjoy

Technology Tools Older Adults Can Enjoy

As we age, we want to do so actively  and independently. Luckily, all sorts of technology is designed to help older adults do just that. Whether keeping in touch with people, tracking your health goals or being entertained, here are some technology tools you can use to your advantage.

Oversized Tablets: Some tech companies make oversized digital tablets specifically designed for seniors. Some, like the GrandPad Senior Tablet, run a customized version of Android that is easier to use than typical iPads, iPhones or Androids. It also has larger icons and text if you have vision issues and is designed more intuitively so you can easily click through to your destination.

Wearable Fitness Trackers: Companies such as FitBit make wearable technology to track health and physical fitness, and users can sync up trackers and watches with their phones to monitor fitness, sleep patterns, and more. Wearable fitness trackers are especially good for people who need extra reminders to take a daily walk or to keep up other habits that promote healthy aging.

AI Assistants: Seniors who enjoy Amazon AI technology may find this device of interest: the Echo Dot is a voice-activated and controlled speaker that uses Alexa technology to play music, control smart home devices, make calls, answer questions, set timers and alarms. Set up the device in your bedroom, living room or kitchen — wherever you spend most of your time.

Wireless Photo Frames: Wireless photo frames are a great way for seniors to keep in touch with friends and family by allowing you to send current pictures of what you’re up to in real time. Some brands such as the Nixlay Seed 10 Inch Wifi Digital Picture Frame allow you to share photos instantly via e-mail, or by connecting to Google Photos, Dropbox, Facebook and Instagram.

Video Conferencing:
While nothing replaces face-to-face connections, video conferencing platforms like Skype, FaceTime or Zoom calls can be a very useful alternative for seniors to keep in touch. The Woodlands offers Wi-Fi in each apartment, so it’s easy to use aids like these to stay engaged with friends, enroll in interactive groups and classes, attend telehealth appointments and more.

For seniors, technology is about more than just the latest gadgets and apps and websites. Being tech-savvy helps you use those things to find new ways to learn, work and thrive in today’s digital age. To that end, we hope this list was helpful!

Meet Woodlands Resident Couple Rich and Carol Lammert

Meet Woodlands Resident Couple Rich and Carol Lammert

From the beautiful New England location and welcoming residents, to the breadth of activity choices, and helpful, caring staff, Rich and Carol Lammert say they are very satisfied with their decision to move to The Woodlands.

The Lammerts have been married for 56 years and lived on New Hampshire’s Mascoma Lake for the last 20. In June, their son and his family helped Rich and Carol downsize their home before moving into their new one-bedroom apartment at The Woodlands.

Moving to a beautiful place like The Woodlands was an easy transition from a gorgeous location like Mascoma Lake, said Carol, but while their new view is lovely, the best part is that it also comes with a built-in community.

“Our previous home was in the country surrounded by woods, so I found it to be isolating and didn’t really develop strong friendships,” she said. “I don’t mind being solitary, but when we came here, I realized, indeed, how isolated I had been. So, it’s been a nice change.”

“The people here are very, very welcoming,” she added. “They’ll often invite newcomers to join them in the dinner hour and people will just sit and talk, so dinner can sometimes extend over two hours.”

Rich agreed making friends at The Woodlands is quite easy, especially with so many amicable and interesting residents to talk to, adding, “There are a lot of doctors and professors and other professional people here. We’re amazed every time we meet someone how interesting their backgrounds are.”

After retiring from nursing, Carol picked up costuming for local plays and later worked as a manager for the Enfield Farmers’ Market. For fun at The Woodlands, she likes following politics, enjoying nature and taking their 11-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, Cookie, out for exercise.

“Having a patio apartment is wonderful because we can just walk out with our dog whenever she needs to go out and exercise,” said Carol. “I also really like that the residents are free to do what they wish with their gardens, so since we arrived, we’ve been able to see a whole season of flowers blooming!”

Rich started his career as a pastor with the United Church of Christ. He later got into social work, then became a service technician for office equipment and even worked briefly as a part-time school bus driver! For fun at The Woodlands, he loves to ride his e-bike and recently found a riding partner to take on the local roads and trails with him.

“I joined an exercise class which is two days a week. There’s also a weekly ping pong night I participate in, and I have more activities I plan to get involved in as winter comes on,” said Rich.

Thank you, Carol and Rich, for sharing your thoughts. We’re so happy you’re here — you’re both wonderful additions to The Woodlands family!

Meet Woodlands Resident Joanne Wise

Since moving to The Woodlands in December 2020, Joanne Wise has brought the magic of visual arts to her fellow residents in more ways than one.

“When I moved in, I saw there were opportunities to do more art-related things, so I decided to organize a four-week drawing class with charcoal and pencil, taught by artist Michael Kraatz, who teaches at AVA, one of our biggest visual arts centers around here. Once the COVID situation improves, we’re going to try and get as many local professional artists as we can to come in and teach workshops here.”

Until then, she has asked several Woodlands residents, including a talented calligrapher and a quilter, to teach their own classes. She has also gained another art job, after the resident who assembled the art on display around the community stepped down. “The walls recently had a new paint job, so now we’re rehanging all the artwork in different spots,” she said. “I’m also trying to get some outside artists to allow me to show their work here. Very soon we’re going to host a reception where the artists who lent us their pieces will come in and talk about their process. That will turn a lot of people on, I think.”

Meet Woodlands Resident Joanne Wise

Many of those new works have a more contemporary flavor, said Joanne, so while residents are really enjoying them, some aren’t as sure what they are all about. But that should soon change, she said.

“For a lot of people, art is like a blackhole,” she said. “There is a generation here that has grown up with less abstract art in their life, so they tend to prefer photographs and traditional landscapes. What I want to do is have these artists who donated their work come in and talk about how to look at contemporary art, to see what they’re trying to say in their painting or sculpture or whatever they’re doing.”

Earlier in life, Joanne worked at Woman’s Day magazine in New York, then moved to her hometown of Philadelphia for a job in advertising. In 1976, she moved to Atlanta to serve as national promotion director for President Carter’s campaign. There, she met her future husband, Doug, and later moved with him to Tokyo.

It was this relocation that stoked Joanne’s passion for collecting art. After several years, she brought home a dozen Japanese artists’ works and used them to start The Wise Collection, which she ran for about 25 years.

Since she couldn’t keep the collection going after moving to New Hampshire, where her late husband had attended Dartmouth, Joanne decided to start several art nonprofits in the area. Today, both the North Country Studio Workshops and the Upper Valley Arts Alliance are still running.

“Because I’ve been in art administration myself, I really enjoy talking to people about art,” said Joanne. “There is a lot of fabulous visual and performing arts in the Upper Valley — I’ve been involved in the Hood Museum and Northern Stage. I like trying to help organizations get out information about how good their work is. It’s a job and a love for me.”

In the meantime, Joanne is happy to continue pursuing her lifelong passion while living at The Woodlands: engaging with professional artists and sharing their art with others.

“I’m so lucky to be at The Woodlands,” said Joanne. “It’s a wonderful community, and I’m glad it’s small. Even in the few months I’ve been here I think I probably know everybody. I find this place to be just extremely giving and loving. I’m very fortunate.”