Pike County Courier
By Frances Ruth Harris

MILFORD — The resident choir at Twin Cedars Senior Living Center got into the holiday spirit recently by singing a medley of Christmas carols. Residents performed four solos: "O Holy Night" by Floyd Nower, "Where Are You Christmas" by Janice Rudy, "White Christmas" by Gerry Selman, and "Away in the Manger" by Michael Sepanak. Family and friends delighted in the spirt of the evening.

The solos brought a hushed tone of quiet contemplation to the room, followed by rousing cheers when each song ended.

After the performance by the choir and soloists, residents and visitors tucked into refreshments, accompanied by punch and coffee. Lots of hand-holding, hugging, and sharing of best wishes for a happy holiday season ensued. Tamara Singer, Twin Cedars manager, said she's proud of the annual festive celebration.

Our resident’s traveled down to Augusta, NJ to have lunch at The Chatterbox Diner. The seniors enjoyed this new destination for our group and the old cars on display. This is a unique 50's to 60's diner with old movie posters and the best burgers in town!

For the month of October we had a special surprise trip to Cliff Park Golf Course in Milford. Our seniors were welcomed by our neighbor and Golf Course Manager, Joe Stead, who served hot apple cider and entertained all with the history of the golf course and his exciting plans for the upcoming haunted Halloween hayride event. Mr. Stead provided costumes for all seniors and took our group on a hayride through the cemetery and golf course. All residents were chilly on this fall day, but were smiling and left with a barrel full of pumpkins to take back to their bedrooms at the community. It was a wonderful and festive afternoon, and the residents returned to enjoy watching themselves featured on Channel 13 News at night.

This month we made a special trip to the Basin and Main Art Gallery in Honesdale to visit the awe inspiring paper caves! The featured artist used hundreds of pages of books rolled up in cone shapes to create the textured walls and ceilings and cave like structure of the gallery. Our seniors were amazed with the unique bee hive like gallery, as they had a private tour of the gallery from it’s owner.

New furniture for our bedrooms has arrived! Renovations have also been completed for our community, including new carpeting, a new dining room floor, renovated main bathrooms and activity center, new light fixtures and a new entrance hall. We also received new furniture for the activity center and living room area. Enjoy the fresh new look!

We welcome a few new feathery friends this month to Twin Cedars! In addition to our parakeets, we have added a large bird aviary with a dozen finches to our activity center. They are quite cheerful and have already begun to have babies. It is a challenge for our seniors to get a daily count on how many finches are actually in the aviary….

In memory of the founder and former owner of Twin Cedars, Bruce Harding, this month we planted two cedar trees on his birthday to remember him by. Both trees were clippings from the original cedar tree planted 27 years ago on the property. The trees were donated by his surviving spouse, Linda Harding, and planted with all the residents present, as well as Linda and Linette Harding and her new husband. Surprisingly, the residents were very excited about the trees and spent the afternoon showing them off to their family members!

Win Cedars Senior Living was rated a five star assisted living community for seniors, winning the 2017 Best Assisted Living Award offered by is one way that families in need of senior
services learn about and locate top notch communities and services in their area. Families and seniors rate the community using the Caring Stars rating program online.

To achieve this Five Star Best Assisted Living Caring Stars Award, looked at a number of different criteria. To qualify for this award, providers must have 10 or more online reviews on their
listing, with an overall star average rating of 4.5 or higher. The Caring Stars program uses consumer ratings and reviews to honor the best senior living communities in the United States. The award has helped
many families, caregivers and older adults find the best providers for their senior care needs. It also boosts senior care staff morale, and helps the Caring Stars stand out from their competitors. Tamara Singer, Owner of Twin Cedar’s Senior Living and her team of dedicated and caring staff have worked very hard to achieve this award and are very excited about this achievement. Singer states “Our resident’s, family members and visitors took the time to rate us online, which helped us achieve this five star rating. We are proud that our seniors are so happy and our customer satisfaction continues to be exceptional and exceed expectations.”

Sometimes the accomplishments of seniors in our community are overlooked or forgotten. Often it is the case that health issues take precedence as folks get older, and times of reminiscence and recollection of life's accomplishments are fewer and far between. Such is not the case at Twin Cedars.

The facility's owner, Tamara Singer, was looking for a program that would allow for the residents to take the time to recall their lives and have them documented in some form of tribute.

Enter Patricia Durante, actress and playwright. Patricia is taking the time to talk to many of the residents of Twin Cedars; and she's taking notes. The end result will be a tribute in the form of "this is your
life", which will be created for the seniors and presented for them, and their families.

The first subject is an outstanding woman who has been a resident at Twin Cedars since 1994. She is a WWII and Korean War Veteran with many a tale to tell about her travels and training in the military. As her story unfolded it became quite clear to Patricia that she had met someone quite unique and remarkable, named Barbara Child.

Barbara joined the Women's Army Corps after a year at the Rochester Institute of Technology. The year was 1944, and Barbara wanted a career. The Army was happy to have her, and she embarked upon a 20-year stint in the armed forces which would encourage her continued education in the field of drafting and drawing, and take her to many places in the States and abroad.

Her travels took her to Frankfurt, Germany, a city in ruin after bombings. The one standing structure, the IG Farbin Pharmaceuticals building, wouldbe converted for U.S. military use, and Barbara worked as a draftsman there for three years.

She qualified for Officer Candidate School and she became a 2nd Lieutenant at the age of 23. In 1950 she was sent to Japan and spent time in Yokahama and, later, Etigima, an island on the inland sea. Her skills as an artist and draftswoman allowed her to do sketches, technical drawings, even cartoons for various military projects and publications.

She eventually was sent back to the States and moved from base to base until 1964 and the onset of the Vietnam War. Barbara decided to retire after 20 years and enjoyed a successful post military career working for NASA and TRACOR. Her drafting talents were used in the rendering of designs for Velcro and the very important NASA invention, the space human waste receptical.

Barbara Child tells her story with a humble and easy going tone. Her recollections are detail oriented and precise as to dates and places. Her story is an inspiration to women, seniors and veterans alike.

On Veteran’s Day Pennsylvania State Representative Mike Peifer and SenatorLisa Baker came to Twin Cedars to acknowledge Barbara for her many years of dedicated service to her country, in conjunction with the debut of the segment about Barbara Child, presented by actress Patricia Durante. Seven other veterans were also recognized on this special day and given American flags.

We have a new star living at Twin Cedars! Resident, Carol Lombaerde is thenew star of a series of commercials for Milford Auto Body Shop in Milford, PA. The hilarious commercial was shot at Twin Cedars and will air soon on all local television stations. She plays a hunters wife whose shotgun accidentally goes off, blowing a hole in the side of her husband's truck...who now needs auto body repair! Look for her on television and say hello to Carol when you come into Twin Cedars.

We are proud to announce our fifth year as the leading provider of assisted living services and senior housing in Pike County. On July 7th, the company recognized the occasion with a celebration amongst its senior residents and employees throughout the day. Twin Cedars originated in 1990 when Bruce and Linda Harding, the company’s original founder’s, built the senior residence on their farmland through
the donations and assistance of many friends, church members and neighbors in the community. Members of the community donated their time to assist in the design, construction and interior aesthetics of the facility.

In 2010, and after 22 years of business, the Harding’s decided they wanted to retire and sold Twin Cedar’s to Tamara Singer. On July 1, 2011 Ms. Tamara Singer took ownership of Twin Cedar’s who has continued their vision and lifelong commitment to caring for seniors. “We would like to thank the community for their ongoing support over the past 27 years. We continually seek ways to improve what we are doing in
order to satisfy the needs of our seniors and to ensure their safety and happiness. Our goals continue to be to provide quality care in a homelike environment, keeping our residents active and their minds stimulated, while giving family members peace of mind. Our reputation remains strong and the past five years have flown by quickly! I am very proud of my staff and residents and am honored to be part of making a difference in the daily lives of our seniors” states Ms. Singer.

We just completed the installation of our new roof! The new green metal roof really improves and changes the exterior curb-side appeal of our community, giving it an updated, fresh country appearance. We highly recommend GDH Construction in Shohola and thank them for their speedy efforts with completing this project before the first snowfall.

The residents of Twin Cedars Senior Living recently visited the Riverside Creamery in Port Jervis, NY where they enjoyed hot fudge sundaes and good times. The seniors make their way to the old fashioned iced cream parlor every month each summer, until they close their doors at the end of the season. The seniors look forward to their monthly trip there, as well as the other weekly outings they have scheduled.

Our seniors made the trip to GAIT Therapeutic Riding Center in Milford for an afternoon spent with the horses. Residents were toured throughout the stables and had the opportunity to learn about the different types of horses and how to care for them. Executive Director, Martha Dubensky and her staff provided the seniors a hands-on-opportunity to care for the horses. Residents brushed the horses and were able to use different tools to groom the horses.

The alternative therapeutic experience of working with the horses brought great joy to the seniors, as they reminisced about their childhood memories of riding horses in the pastures. When the residents returned to Twin Cedars after the trip, they all gathered around the television to watch Channel 13, as their experience at GAIT during the day had been captured by the local television station. The residents were very excited to see themselves on tv!

Pike County volunteer and local Ombudsman, Kay Winkeleer has been visiting us for years. She has gotten to know many of the seniors and Veterans residing here, especially Walter Wilson, whose friends call him “Sarge “  Mr. Wilson served in the US Air Force and flew the President on Air Force One all over Europe. Mrs. Winkeleer makes a special effort to visit with “Sarge” upon her routine Ombudsman rounds, in which she has taken the opportunity to learn about his life and to reminisce about his air force days.

This week Mrs. Winkeleer presented Mr. Wilson with a special gift with grant funds donated by the Pike County Area Agency on Aging. She had approached the Agency regarding her special friend at Twin Cedars and her desire to purchase a unique plush bear that sang US Air Force songs, hoping to spark more vivid memories of his time in the service. The Agency decided to purchase the gift for Mr. Wilson which was presented to him by Kay Winkeleer and her husband Mitch. Mr. Wilson was pleasantly surprised and whistled along to the songs that he remembered.

Kelly Gaughan, Republican candidate for Pike County District Attorney, and the Easter Bunny paid a visit to our seniors this month.

Ms. Gaughan and her cotton tailed companion handed out bags of Easter candy to all the residents and staff in recognition of the Sunday holiday. Twin Cedars resident Novella Cobleigh was elated to receive her bag of treats as others received their absentee voter ballot forms in preparation for the upcoming election.

Local artists worked alongside our seniors providing them with lessons to create beautiful drawings and paintings. The residents used water color paints, charcoal and pencils. Their work was then matted. The Activities Department was excited to develop the art therapy program, enabling the seniors to express themselves through their artwork.

Their artwork was displayed at Twin Cedars for their first art exhibit. Many family members and community members attended the show, and all of the residents work was sold. In addition, seven local artists participated in the art show, including the work of Jennifer Doherty, Joan Standora, Sally Hendee, Audrey Lanham, Dixie Rich, Jane Koech and Tamara Singer. Some of the artists were present at the exhibit to discuss their work.

Our seniors enjoyed a visit from two donkeys, Dgengo and Katie, and their owner Patsy Schwegman. The seniors gathered outside and had the opportunity to pet the donkeys and learn about caring for them.

Ms. Schwegman also brought her two therapy dogs. Pet therapy is therapeutic for seniors and has a soothing and calming effect on each individual, especially those whom may feel anxious or agitated. The residents had a great time at this event and they are looking forward to their return!

For the past thirteen years our residents have held an annual holiday concert at Twin Cedars. Family members attended the concert to hear their loved ones sing Christmas carols and enjoy the festivities of the holiday season. Residents rehearsed for weeks under the guidance and leadership of Elaine Stine, Program and Activities Coordinator at Twin Cedar’s, and the residents sang their favorite holiday songs for their families. Some even got up and danced!

“The resident’s felt proud of their performance” stated Tamara Singer, Administrator , and “it was a pleasure to bring all of the families together for this annual event.”

In addition to the holiday concert, Mrs. Stine has made it her personal mission to ensure that the residents have a wonderful and joyous holiday season each year and that each senior has several gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning. Many of the resident’s gifts are collected through donations from local churches, as well as through their family members. Christmas morning Santa and his elf made their annual visit to Twin Cedar’s to deliver these gifts to the residents.

Twin Cedar’s hosted an unusual program for the children from the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement in Shohola. The children came to Twin Cedar’s to Adopt-A-Grandparent for the day. The children spent time talking one-on-one with a selected senior from the assisted living community and then returned the following day to resume group activities with their new friends.

Group leaders Karol Nina-Rodriguez, Secretary of the Dept. of Social Assistance and Nicholas Dumitru, Pastor and Minister of the Movement coordinated the event with Administrator of Twin Cedar’s, Tamara Singer. Both Karol and Nicholas helped the children take photos of the children and seniors together, and then all participated in decorating the photo frames to be left behind with the seniors as a token of the special day.

Twice a year the children attend the Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement Kids Camp. They come from three different churches to spend a few days at their camp grounds on Little Walker Road in Shohola. The seniors thoroughly enjoyed spending time with the children as part of the on going intergenerational program that Twin Cedar’s offers to their residents. The seniors will look forward to their return visit this fall.

Our active seniors arrived at Grey Tower’s this month for a guided tour of the mansion. The seniors were seated in the grand parlour where they learned about this historical site and the history of the Pinchot family. Later they toured the library where the residents enjoyed asking questions as they admired the décor, artifacts and memorabilia.

The resident’s at Twin Cedars are very interested in local history and have been touring local historical sites this summer season. They are also making it a point to tour as many local restaurants! Look for this group of seniors as they continue to explore Pike county and all of its treasures.

Our senior community visited the Columns Museum in Milford this month where they were given a helping of local history, viewed the Lincoln Flag and other historical items in the museum and were treated to ice cream, to make the afternoon complete.

Once a month the seniors are visited by historical society staff at their residence in Shohola. This month, however, the curious seniors made their way to the museum.
Once inside the 1904 neo classical mansion which houses the museum, the folks were entertained by the museum director and her volunteer staff. They looked at stereo scope pictures, listened to the old Victrola as the seniors tried to figure out what an array of old time tools and implements might have been used for.

A very special moment occurred when a Twin Cedars resident was re-introduced to a museum piece which she donated to the historical society in memory of her mother many years ago. The porcelain bust, known as “The Painted Lady” is proudly on display in the museum. It is the work of French artist Paul DuBoy (1830-1887), and is a much admired museum piece.

What could make this day better? Ice Cream! Milford Dairy Bar donated an assortment of delicious ice cream for the seniors to enjoy.

This month our seniors welcomed Grandmaster Sensei Albert Casale to their assisted living community. The Sensei is an Olympic champion and martial arts expert and master of the Mountain Dojo Martial Arts Center in Dingman’s Ferry. He spent time teaching T’ai-chi and wellness to the seniors, demonstrating different postures and breathing exercises to optimize maximum health potential, thus increasing energy levels.

The seniors enjoyed learning about alternative health practices, and were entertained by the strong character and charming personality of Sensei Casale. The Grandmaster had the seniors laughing, stretching and performing self facial massages while listening to meditative music. The Sensei has trained Victoria Secret models with proper posturing, military personnel and now senior citizens in Shohola.

Twin Cedar’s hosted a pre-Christmas celebration with carols and a special appearance by Santa Claus.

Local attorney Eric Hamill and his wife Jennifer have been coordinating this tradition for the last four or five years. They started when their parents were residents at the facility. They began by playing bingo and singing carols with the residents to brighten their holidays.

Each year the Hamill?s return, they extend what they do for the residents to involve as many seniors as possible regardless of their disabilities. Jennifer Hamill is also a member of the Shohola Parks and Recreation Committee and sees this program as a way to have the residents involved in a community event. Their three children, Parker Nash, Henry Hamill and Jack Lufty all took piano lessons from Heidi Carlton. Carlton is the mother of Grammy nominated singer/piano player Vanessa Carlton. They took lessons with Carlton since they were 5 and helped start this annual tradition at Twin Cedar?s.

This year ten of Carlton?s students arrived, ranging in age from 5 to 15. The afternoon started with piano songs. Keith Raser, Shohola Township Supervisor, made a special appearance dressed as Santa Claus. Raser also drives a bus for Pike County Transportation. He knows the resident?s names from driving them around, but they did not recognize him in his Santa costume.

When he first walked into Twin Cedars Senior Living, he greeted resident Arlene Crawford whose daughter was visiting her. He bounded in through the front doors with a loud ?ho-ho-ho.? He greeted Crawford by name, much to her surprise. Leaning in and gently placing an arm on her shoulder he told her ?I remember when you were this big? and leaned a hand down to his knees. Crawford?s face broke out into a huge smile, and a hand went to her mouth as she stared at Santa Claus.

Raser and a close friend dressed as an elf, continued to spread Christmas cheer by walking into the community room where most of the residents were listening to the children play piano music. He entered the room while one of Carlton?s students played ?Here Comes Santa Claus.?

Raser took a seat on the piano bench as his elf began to distribute presents to the residents. The residents continued to laugh and joke with Santa and the students as they opened presents and enjoyed Christmas cookies. He made sure that every resident received a gift and some Christmas cheer.

This month two milestones occurred: resident Walter Balaban celebrated his 100th birthday, and he became the first resident at Twin Cedar?s to turn 100. Twin Cedar?s threw him a large birthday party celebration where roughly thirty five friends and family members from the Ukrainian community attended. The Ukrainian celebration party involved singing Ukrainian songs and enjoying traditional cake along with a visit from two priests from St. Voladyonyr Ukrainian Catholic Church in Glen Spey, NY who gave a traditional Ukrainian invocation. Mr. Balaban was presented with many recognitions from Twin Cedar?s Owner Tamara Singer including letters from President Obama, Pennsylvania?s Governor Corbett, Pennsylvania?s Senate, the NY State Assembly, Sullivan County Legislature and the Lumberland Township Board. During Mr. Balaban?s toast he announced to his friends and family members ?I?m ready to go for my second 100 years.?

Seniors residing at Twin Cedar’s Senior Living in Shohola enjoyed a fun packed trip to the Lackawaxen/Shohola Township Senior Center. Eighteen residents piled into the van to celebrate the Fall October Festival at the Center. Resident’s enjoyed a German meal while dancing to live music provided by the Gabrow Kids. The seniors had a wonderful time!

Seniors residing at Twin Cedar’s Senior Living in Shohola enjoyed a lecture program given by the Pocono Environmental Education Center. Ms. Allison Owczarczak, Director of Education at P.E.E.C., provided a fascinating lecture to a captive audience of roughly 20 residents.

The lecture was focused on the mammals of the Pocono Region and the physical and behavioral adaptations of carnivores, omnivores and herbivores. Animal hides and skulls were passed around the room for a tactile experience.

Out of 1,291 licensed assisted living facilities for seniors located in the State of Pennsylvania, Pike County’s Twin Cedar’s Senior Living in Shohola was voted one of the top twenty care facilities by industry leader Assisted Living Today.

Assisted Living Today helps families in need find placement for their loved one across the United States, based on their care needs, location and financial requirements.

To help shine a spotlight on the best senior housing options that Pennsylvania has to offer, Assisted Living Today compiled a list of top notch assisted living communities in Pennsylvania that are worthy of being recognized as the state’s Top 20 Assisted Living Facilities.

To compile this comprehensive list of the best facilities in Pennsylvania, Assisted Living Today looked at a number of different criteria, such as quality of the residences, the community, amenities, access to care, facility reviews, inspection reports and ratings, among others.

Tamara Singer, Owner of Twin Cedar’s Senior Living and her team of dedicated and caring staff have worked very hard to achieve this award and are very excited about this achievement.

A new and holistic approach to care-giving is being practiced at Twin Cedar’s Senior Living that honors the whole person – physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual. This holistic approach promotes aging in place for the seniors residing at this small assisted living facility in Shohola. The focus on a holistic approach towards wellness includes regular physical activities, social interactions & programs, mental stimulation, spiritual services as well as additional alternative therapies.

Concern for providing more effective pain and chronic disease management has led Twin Cedar’s Senior Living to offer nutritional and hydration therapy, exercise such as yoga, meditation and mind-body programs for disease management. Other programs being offered include Music Therapy, Balance and Strength Training, Massage and Vitamin Therapy. Twin Cedar’s is also in the process of bringing on board a certified Acupuncturist to assist in alleviating chronic pain some of their seniors suffer from.

Many so-called alternative or holistic therapies have been long-standing practices in the field of nursing. These therapies are generally provided as adjunct to traditional medical and nursing therapies.

Research has shown that massage has been proven to be effective in reducing pain. Other therapies such as guided imagery are a very effective intervention for a range of situations from stress and anxiety to acute or chronic pain.

At Twin Cedar’s, the wellness team looks at the “whole” person in order to make a complete evaluation of each senior’s needs and what programs and services they would benefit most from. Each resident is assessed for their social and leisure interests, current cognitive status, spiritual preferences, physical & occupational therapy needs, pain levels, and dietary requirements. Most importantly, their medications are reviewed and evaluated to eliminate the need for any unnecessary medications and negative drug interaction results.

These services are offered as part of the ongoing effort to support residents in an integrative approach to care and wellness.

Tamara Singer, CEO of Twin Cedar’s Senior Living, believes that proper care by compassionate professionals, good nutrition, adequate hydration, physical movement, spiritual sustenance and social engagement can make a world of difference in an elderly person's health and quality of life.

Twin Cedars Senior Living is working in conjunction with Aliton’s Pharmacy in Port Jervis and Humble Helping Ministries. Carl Braunagel, owner of Aliton’s Pharmacy and Humbled Helping Ministries mission is to collect donated medical equipment and supplies and to redistribute them to people in need in Africa. Mr. Braunagel will personally be delivering the supplies to the Village of Accraa, in West Ghana, Africa. He departs for his first mission on January 11, 2012. In the spirit of the holiday season, Twin Cedar’s Senior Living is donating a surplus of walkers, canes and assistive devices to Mr. Braunagel’s mission in the hopes of helping others and enabling them to improve the quality of their lives.

Tamara Singer, owner of Twin Cedar’s Senior Living, has spearheaded the collection of excess equipment at Twin Cedar’s to donate to Humbled Helping Ministries. According to Singer, “Our goal in creating this alliance is to provide older people and those in need in Africa with the durable medical equipment they need to help avoid a catastrophic fall and to empower them to do more for themselves.” Ms. Singer recently donated many wheelchairs and hospital beds to local seniors who had exhausted their Medicare benefits.

Twin Cedar’s is hosting another season of nursing students from Delaware Valley High School and the Health Occupations program. Twin Cedar’s has paired up with DVH to ensure that the students learn as much about the field of geriatrics and caring for the elderly by working side by side Twin Cedar’s caregivers. Students are paired up with caregivers and are supervised closely by their instructor and the staff at Twin Cedar’s.

Tamara Singer, Administrator at Twin Cedar’s is looking forward to inspiring young students to pursue career paths in geriatrics and the field of nursing. Twin Cedar’s is the perfect environment for students to get familiar with each resident and to apply their hands-on-skills they have learned in school. In addition to the field of nursing, students also have the opportunity to learn about the food service industry and recreational therapy.

Twin Cedar’s Senior Living kicked off an education lecture program on October 1st. Members of the community were invited to attend the first lecture being given by well renowned author and caver, Christos Nicola (pictured), on his book “The Secret of Priest’s Grotto.”

This lecture was a true survival story during the Holocaust and a caving adventure of exploration. The lecture began at 2PM and was well attended. Residents were fascinated and inspired with Mr. Nicola’s story and achievements. An educational lecture will be scheduled once a month to be held in the Activity Center.