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.