Owner Mary Louise Sayles wins Lifetime Achievement Award

Windsor, Vermont’s Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community is honored to be the recipient of three awards presented by the Vermont Health Care Association at this year’s VHCA Conference & Trade Show on September 15, 2015 at the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee, Vermont.  At the awards banquet that followed the trade show, Cedar Hill was honored with three awards:  Mary Louise Sayles, Lifetime Achievement Award; Barbara Flinn, Nursing Home Activity Director of the Year, and Jon Manning, Nursing Home Volunteer of the Year.

The VHCA’s Annual Awards Banquet is a time for fun, reflection and celebration as VHCA recognizes the outstanding commitment and dedication our members have for the staff, residents and families in their communities.

Cedar Hill founder and co-owner Mary Louise Sayles was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award for her tireless efforts to develop a community that would offer more than nursing home care. She and her original business partner Judy Brogren envisioned a continuum of care for older adults who wanted to live in their own homelike space but also have the availability of support services when and if they needed it. Together, they transformed a derelict one-building nursing home into a continuing care community that enables seniors to age comfortably in place and offers a range of work and career opportunities to Windsor community members. Read their story here.

“My mother and Judy felt that they could provide a better quality of life and more personal attention to family and residents by having a smaller nursing home and different options for senior housing care besides a nursing home,” said Sayles’s daughter and current co-owner Patricia Horn. “They wanted their own place to not feel like an institution and, instead, feel like a comfortable home.”

Sayles was featured on WCAX’s “Super Seniors” last winter, on her 80th birthday.

To her staff at the Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community, Mary Louise is known as a powerhouse. “To me, she is a pioneer. A visionary,” says Sue Spadaro, who has worked at Cedar Hill since 1998 and currently holds the position of executive director at The Village at Cedar Hill. “This is not a business about making money,” Sue says. “Mary Louise really cares about the residents and she wants to make sure the elderly are taken care of properly.”

After Judith Brogren retired in 2005, Patricia left a career in journalism to join her mother as a licensed nursing home administrator. Together, Mary Louise and Patricia expanded the vision further, building a $10.4 million addition to their independent and assisted living neighborhood with a secure state-of-the-art memory care center, which opened in early 2015. They dedicated the project to Mary Louise’s daughter Maria, who lost her life to cancer in 2004. The Judith Brogren Memory Care Center was dedicated to Judith, who passed away in 2013.

“I’ve accomplished what I’ve set out to do. Improving the standards of care and the quality of life has always been part of our mission and we certainly achieved improving the living environment for residents.” –Mary Louise Sayles 

After the formal VHCA Awards banquet, the celebration continued back on the Cedar Hill campus as co-owner Patricia Horn honored all the employees who had been nominated for awards.

“We also want to recognize the people who were nominated by their peers, but didn’t win. This is a very tough competition. Often to win you have to have put in many many years in the industry;  You have to show that you have to have truly gone above and beyond, you have to have shown your devotion to the long term care industry, and your care and compassion for the residents…

The nominations come in from all over the state, and you are judged not just against people who work in other nursing homes, but also residential care and assisted living.

There are well over 100 different places that nominate people, and sometimes I look at it and say wow! Look at our people! These are incredible winners.

We want to recognize the people who were nominated by their coworkers that obviously really thought that you were exceptional and have gone above and beyond this year. ” –Patricia Horn

Cedar Hill Sept 2015 050View our  “Congratulations!” ad in Eagle Times

Earlier this year, Cedar Hill was also the recipient of the DAIL (Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living) Quality Incentive Award, which recognizes outstanding nursing homes that have met high standards of quality care for their residents. The award is granted based on results of health and life safety surveys, cost effectiveness, a lack of substantiated complaints and resident satisfaction survey results.

In addition to these awards, Cedar Hill has been awarded five stars on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services “Nursing Home Compare” site (medicare.gov), and 5 Stars “Best Nursing Home” in Vermont by U.S. News and World Report for the second year in a row, and most recently, achieved a “Deficiency-Free” survey from the State of Vermont Division of Licensing and Protection, Department of Disabilities, Aging, Independent Living for the third time in four years. More about that incredible accomplishment in a future post.