About Us






SEM Haven Entrance
SEM Haven Entrance

SEM stands for Southeastern Ecumenical Ministry, a non-profit organization formed in 1967 by leaders from area churches. They were particularly concerned with community development, justice and human need. One of the task forces formed was Housing for the Aged. Out of this task force has grown a wonderful retirement community of 5 freestanding facilities to provide many levels of care to meet the changing needs of individuals in our neighborhood.

Care Offerings at SEM Haven include Rehabilitation, Skilled Nursing, Assisted Living and Memory Care. The other SEM Communities are SEM Manor, SEM Laurels, SEM Terrace and SEM Villa. They provide retirement housing from apartments to congregate living (senior living with meals), completing the full continuum of care.

  • 1980: SEM Haven opens with the purpose to provide nursing services for 100 elders
  • 1989: Expansion adds 25 Assisted Living Elders
  • 1996: Addition provides new Gathering Room, Therapy Room and Reception Areas
  • 2007: Renovation and new construction improves Elders' personal spaces and positively contributes to improved quality of life. Dedicated "Households" are added for Rehabilitation and Memory Care. 
  • 2011: Hickory Cottage, Assisted Living Memory Care Household is added
  • 2018: Major construction/renovation project completed. SEM Haven Rehab opened and includes 14 private rooms and a state-of-the-art therapy gymnasium. Also opened is Canfield Court, a skilled nursing level Memory Care Household which is home to 19 Elders and Willow Way, an Assisted Living Memory Care Household which is home to 9 Elders. 





In 1991 Dr. William Thomas, a Harvard educated physician, began work on an exciting approach to long-term care that creates energy, vitality and a love of life within the nursing home. The Eden Alternative is based on the simple realization that human beings are not naturally suited to life in an institution.

The concept Dr. Thomas envisioned was to improve the quality of life for people who live and work in long-term care facilities. This new way of thinking teaches us to see nursing homes as habitats for human beings, rather than institutions for the frail and elderly.

The Eden Alternative seeks to eliminate the three plagues of long-term care institutions: loneliness, helplessness and boredom. We want to show others how companion animals, the opportunity to care for other living things, and the variety and spontaneity that mark an enlivened environment can succeed where pills and therapies fail. Our goal is to weave together the philosophy of the Eden Alternative with practical applications and make it work in the real world of long-term care.

The Eden Alternative is not a program, but a never-ending process. It places the maximum possible decision-making power in the hands of the residents and those who work closest to them. It provides residents with easy access to companionship, promotes resident participation in daily life happenings, puts the resident before tasks and de-emphasizes the programmed approach to life. Relationships are the fundamental building blocks of our culture and we believe that each person can and does make a difference.

SEM Haven is an Eden Registry Member. 


SEM Haven Gathering Room
Gathering Room

Our large nursing home and assisted living center can be compared to a neighborhood with eight homes (Households). Each Household has a living room, dining room, kitchen and resident bedrooms. Households are entered through a front door. The Elders who live in the Household dine there and participate in social events with the other Elders and staff. Our Households have consistent staffing and team leadership. Elders and their families are part of the decision making process about their lives and care.

Outside of the Household there are areas shared by all; Beauty Shop, Gathering Room (main activities center), Chapel, Therapy Gymnasium, Reception Area and Lucky’s Café. Members of every Household gather in these community areas and there is visiting among the Households as well. Parties and competitions are commonplace and include the Annual Senior prom, Olympics, Chili cook-off and sporting events. 


Caroline Craig, LSW & Dorothy Veach

Caroline Craig, LSW schedules care meetings with Elders, families and their care team shortly after admission. We need to know what your goals are to help you on your way. She also schedules interdisciplinary care conferences on a regular basis. Caroline has over 30 years of experience in long-term care and provides excellent guidance. She can be reached at ccraig@semhaven.org

The Ten Principles of The Eden Alternative

1. The three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom account for the bulk of suffering among our Elders.

2. An Elder-centered community commits to creating a Human Habitat where life revolves around close and continuing contact with people of all ages and abilities, as well as plants and animals. It is these relationships that provide the young and old alike with a pathway to a life worth living.

3. Loving companionship is the antidote to loneliness. Elders deserve easy access to human and animal companionship.

4. An Elder-centered community creates opportunity to give as well as receive care. This is the antidote to helplessness.

5. An Elder-centered community imbues daily life with variety and spontaneity by creating an environment in which unexpected and unpredictable interactions and happenings can take place. This is the antidote to boredom.

6. Meaningless activity corrodes the human spirit. The opportunity to do things that we find meaningful is essential to human health.

7. Medical treatment should be the servant of genuine human caring, never its master.

8. An Elder-centered community honors its Elders by de-emphasizing top-down, bureaucratic authority, seeking instead to place the maximum possible decision-making authority into the hands of the Elders or into the hands of those closest to them.

9. Creating an Elder-centered community is a never-ending process. Human growth must never be separated from human life.

10. Wise leadership is the lifeblood of any struggle against the three plagues. For it, there can be no substitute.


SEM Haven is among the elite 19% of U.S. skilled-nursing facilities that recently earned the right to call itself a 2019-20 U.S. News Best Nursing Home.

resident and caregiver

SEM Haven is a non-profit ministry providing nursing and residential care for older adults of varying economic, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. We strive to preserve and promote human dignity, self-determination, individual freedom and accustomed lifestyle.

Our vision is for SEM Haven to be a home where companionship and caring relationships thrive through empowerment and personal choice.


SEM Haven is rated 5 STARS by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Nursing Home Compare.

The information on Nursing Home Compare can help you learn:


Views of Canfield Court, our Skilled Nursing, Memory Care Household. 


In keeping with our Ecumenical mission, we are a Christian based community of all denominations. We accept and celebrate the individual spirituality of each Elder. There are regular church services, Bible studies and family devotions planned by Chaplain Bill Oehler.  He can be reached at boehler@semhaven.org