By Chris Valuck

670px-Work-out-on-an-Elliptical-Machine-Step-6“Do I really need to know all this?” asked a resident, while preparing to use a piece of exercise equipment in the Wellness Center. “I just want to walk on the treadmill,” she said.

Technically, you don’t have to understand all of the information on the displays of the Nu-Steps, treadmills, bikes, and ellipticals in order to use them.  Most people just like to see how far they’ve gone (distance) and how long it took to do it (time). But, for the residents who have expressed an interest in knowing all about the equipment displays, let’s start with the MET.


A Metabolic Equivalent of Task or MET, is simply the amount of energy it takes to perform a particular activity.  1-MET equals the amount of energy expended during one minute of rest (e.g., sitting calmly or lying down); whereas walking at a moderate pace might be 3-METS, or running might be 11-METS or more, depending on how fast you are going.

MET levels are not only assigned to fitness activities, but also include Activities of Daily Living such as vacuuming, gardening, walking the dog, etc.  If you have ever had a stress test in your doctor’s office, your test results may show a MET level that you accomplished before you needed to stop the test because of fatigue or other symptoms (e.g. cardiac-related).  This MET level may then be used to determine which activities of daily living are most appropriate for your condition.


RPM:  This stands for revolutions per minute.  It is a measure of the frequency of rotation (around a fixed axis).  That’s why you’ll see RPM on the recumbent bike displays, but not on a treadmill.  The RPM go up as you pedal faster and go down when you pedal more slowly.  This is a measure that you might want to monitor if your goal is to maintain a certain speed over a period of time.

SPM:  Here’s where it gets a little confusing.  SPM stands for steps per minute when on the Nu-Step and strides per minute when on the elliptical.  On the elliptical, 2 strides equal 1-RPM (if you are interested in converting this measure). In either case, just like the RPM on the bikes, the harder you work, the higher the number.

WATT:  When you see WATT displayed on the cardio equipment, it is a measure of work or effort produced by the exerciser.  So, the higher the watt, the more power being produced.

Bottom line:  On any given piece of cardiovascular equipment, find a speed that is challenging, but attainable.  You should be working at a level that still allows you to carry on a conversation (we call this “the talk test”).  You should also be able to rate your own perceived exertion on a scale of 1-10.  Aim for a light-to-moderate intensity of about 3-4 (out of 10) on the Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale.  For more details, on the RPE Scale, pick up a copy in the Wellness Center.



Health Services plays a vital role in providing residents with the support they need in the continuum of care at Plymouth Harbor. Whether having their blood pressure checked on the way back from a morning fitness class, or recuperating in the Smith Care Center after a brief illness, knowing that qualified, caring health care professionals are on-site and just a phone call away provides residents with the sense of security they need to freely engage in an active, satisfying lifestyle. 

By Addie Hurst

EileenA warm welcome to pretty, gracious Eileen Roberts who moved to Plymouth Harbor from Bird Key at the end of September.

Eileen was born and brought up in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY.  She graduated from Skidmore College with a B.A. and was married soon after.  Her husband was a mechanical engineer, a graduate of M.I.T.  They lived in West Hartford, CT, for the next twenty-five years and had two children, a boy and a girl.  Their favorite recreation was sailing on their Hinckley Bermuda 40 on which they cruised extensively, with Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket being two of their favorite destinations.  They also enjoyed summers at their cottage in Chatham (Cape Cod), MA.

But Eileen was not a ‘stay at home’ Mom.  During her working career, she held a variety of editorial posts.  She started at American Magazine, then went to the Saturday Evening Post, and then became the Assistant Fiction Editor of McCall’s magazine.  For the last fifteen years before retiring, she managed a department at Aetna Life Insurance’s home office with responsibility for producing a monthly magazine, newspaper, and other sales promotional materials for Aetna’s field offices.

At this point, they moved to Bird Key.  But Eileen was not really retired – not yet!  Among other activities during the intervening years, she managed to occupy herself by editing the newsletter for the Sarasota Opera Guild and producing a tour program for the Fine Arts Society.  She also spent many years on the board of the Ringling School Library Association, primarily as newsletter editor.

Sadly, Eileen’s husband died six years ago and her daughter Nancy died last year of non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer.  Her son, Steven, is retired and lives in Oceanside, CA.

She is especially proud of a grandson who recently became an Eagle Scout.  For company, she enjoys Princess, a tuxedo cat, black and white, who has been having trouble adjusting to Plymouth Harbor.

Eileen enjoys reading and theater.  She is looking forward to getting involved with Scrabble, bridge and water aerobics.  You won’t be surprised to learn that she is interested in volunteering in our library, where she hopes to encourage the purchase of more books by Anthony Trollope, her favorite author.

We are pleased to bring two lifelong learning courses to Plymouth Harbor in 2015, led by instructors from the Lifelong Learning Academy in Sarasota.  These offerings are supported in part through gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation

EisenhowerSecret Illnesses of U.S. Presidents and their Effect on World History and Politics  

Thursdays 4:00-5:30 p.m. (3 sessions) January 29, February 5, 12 in the Club Room

Was the course of world history during the twentieth century altered as a result of the secret and unknown illnesses of U.S. presidents?  Until recently, presidential illnesses were often kept hidden from press and public. Most have since been revealed, but how at the time did they affect the sufferers’ interaction with world leaders and their management of crises? Did FDR’s hypertension influence the conduct of WWII and his critical negotiations with Stalin at Yalta? What about the impact on the Cold War of Eisenhower’s hypertension and heart attack and JFK’s back surgery and Addison’s disease? In this course, blending history and medicine, we’ll explore these and other intriguing questions.   Course Fee:  $15 per registrant

Course leader:  Allan B. Schwartz, M.D. 

Professor of medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, specializing in nephrology and hypertension. He has served as vice chair of the department as well as clinical service chief, academic service chief, recipient of many “outstanding clinician” and “outstanding teacher” awards.  He has conducted numerous regional and national CME seminars. His publications include two textbooks and many chapters, national and international meeting presentations, abstracts, and articles. He is a peer reviewer for numerous medical journals. Dr. Schwartz received his M.D. degree from Hahneman Medical College (later Drexel University College of Medicine).


history medicineThe Epic of Medicine

Thursdays 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. (6 sessions) March 12, 19, 26, April 2, 9, 16 in the Club Room

This course traces the history of medicine as it relates to the history of mankind from pre-historic time to the 20th century. The emphasis will be on Western medicine, but influences from Eastern traditions will be included. A fervent attempt will be made to learn from history so we will not be destined to repeat it. Parallels will be drawn throughout the course to “modern medicine” as well as “alternative medicine.” Come to learn about the origins of “scientific” medicine, folk remedies, the role of religion in medicine, and so much more. This will be a PowerPoint presentation augmented by videotapes from the Teaching Company.  Course Fee:  $30 per registrant

Course leader:  Al Tripodi, M.D.

Dr. Tripodi has a B.A. from Cornell and an M.D. from SUNY Upstate Medical University, where he was an associate clinical professor of medicine. He is certified in internal medicine and geriatrics and practiced in Syracuse, N.Y. and Sarasota for forty years.  He has been responsible for teaching medical students and residents and was medical director of two extended-care facilities in Syracuse. He presently volunteers and is medical director of the Senior Friendship Center’s medical clinic in Sarasota. He has an abiding interest in history and a fervent belief that “to know history may prevent us from repeating it.”

Teepa Snow TeachingIt starts with the touch of your hand.  One of the hallmarks of the Positive Approach to Care™ taught by Teepa Snow, one of America’s leading educators on dementia, is the Hand-Under-Hand™ technique of connecting physically with an individual living with dementia. With thumbs interlocked, established nerve pathways in the hand are engaged, and by holding hands in this manner while helping to dress or feed, or guide the individual, the caregiver allows him or her to still feel in control and subtly connect eye-hand skills.

As yet another step is taken down the path of developing world-class memory care services at Plymouth Harbor, Brandi Burgess, the Smith Care Center’s social services coordinator, has undergone extensive training in the Positive Approach to Care™ (PAC) toward certification as a PAC trainer.  The rigorous process included hours of online classes, training videos, periodic testing to pass on to upper level learning modules.

At one critical point in her training during an 8-hour intensive on site at the Pines of Sarasota, Teepa Snow herself was coaching Brandi on how to hold a resident’s hand using the Hand-Under-Hand technique to help them stand up.

“It was inspiring,” Brandi said about learning from this pioneering advocate for those living with dementia. Teepa has made it her personal mission to help families and professionals better understand how it feels to be living with the challenges and changes that accompany various forms of dementia so that life can be lived fully and well.

Her philosophy is reflective of her education, work experience, available medical research, and first hand caregiving interactions. Working as a Registered Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, Teepa’s wealth of experience has led her to develop  Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) techniques and training models that now are used by families and professionals working or living with dementia throughout the world.

Challenged to describe the Positive Approach to Care (PAC) in one sentence, Brandi gamely responded, “The core philosophy of PAC is to recognize and celebrate the strengths that remain at each stage of dementia and learn how we can continue to connect with the individual in a meaningful way.”

Of course, there are many layers of understanding in the Positive Approach to Care (PAC) and Brandi was challenged in many other ways as she worked to earn her certification. Guided by a PAC mentor, she proved her proficiency with various techniques by videotaping herself working directly with residents. At the end of the full day intensive she had to develop and present an in-service training. On another occasion, she videotaped a training session she conducted for colleagues in the Smith Care Center in order to satisfy the program requirements.

On December 4, Teepa Snow’s team at Positive Approach officially notified Brandi that she has passed all program requirements and was now a certified PAC™ trainer.

Now it’s time for the real work to begin!  Brandi is now responsible for the ambitious goal of providing Positive Approach training for all staff at Plymouth Harbor.  All clinical staff, between 60 and 70 individuals, will receive two full, 8 hour days of training which will start in March 2015.  Limiting the classes to 24 students, Brandi will be conducting three separate waves of the two-class series. That’s six full days of teaching!

Next, Brandi will train all staff that have direct contact with residents in the Smith Care Center and the Callahan Center. Direct contact staff will receive one full day of Positive Approach Care™ training.

Finally, all other employees, from dining staff to security and all levels of management, will benefit from a two-hour introduction and basic skills training in Positive Approach Care™.

It sounds exhaustive, but we are developing a culture of world-class care for our residents of all cognitive abilities. Teepa Snow will be visiting Plymouth Harbor on Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

Residents are invited to an afternoon session with Teepa from 1:00 — 2:30 pm in Pilgrim Hall. The program is titled, It’s All in the Approach: Learning to Care, Live, and Laugh During the Stages of Dementia.  

Registration is required. Please call (941) 361-7252 to register. If you care to bring your loved one, please register them, as we will also host a separate supervised interactive Drum Circle for persons with dementia during the presentation, followed by refreshments.




“It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.”  –  Kahlil Gibran


Peggy & Don Wallace, George Heitler & Joe DevoreRecently, George Heitler was recognized by the Smith Care Center for his 14 years of service as the creator, director, and recruiter of the monthly Birthday Bash!  Actually, for anything musical, George has been the star organizer for the benefit of the Smith Care Center, and he led sing-alongs in Plymouth Harbor when the Café was a lounge.  He is well-known for his rendition of the classic “Old Man River.”


isabel scullIsabel Scull has a kind and generous soul, and has been sharing a touch of that kindness every Tuesday for over 13 years in the Smith Care Center.  Isabel would welcome, serve, and socialize with the SCC residents during their weekly “Happy Hour.” Sometimes, just showing a little kindness is the most precious gift one can give.


Joan RungeJoan Runge would describe herself as someone with no talents.  But, we are here to tell you that Joan has a closet full of talents and she is so generous to share them.  Some of these talents you no doubt are familiar with, but you may not know that she has been calling bingo twice a month for 13 years in the Smith Care Center!  This has been quite a long-run act of kindness, and one very much appreciated by our residents.


Van ArsdaleBuzz VanArsdale is an active guy, to say the least.  A kayaker and a cyclist, he has happily taken on the task of coordinating the placement of the kayaks and canoes on the peninsula.    A consummate cyclist, he lends his talented hand to keep the bicycles of several residents running in tip-top shape!  In fact, Buzz also shares his bicycle repair skills with the Resurrection House in Sarasota, making sure they are in good working order for their clients to travel to and from the jobs they have been able to secure.  What a wonderful service he provides throughout our community!


HeideGene Heide is spending his retirement career as a woodworker.  With his superb skills, Gene spends hours in the Wood Shop, creating, repairing, and crafting projects for Plymouth Harbor and residents.  He doesn’t just repair the furniture, he makes it better than it was!  Gene also has the creative skills in his craft.  He just completed a parallel storage unit for the artists in the Art Studio, and installed extensive shelving in the Resident Services work room.  He built a new lectern that is being used in the Wellness Center, and he crafted and installed communion receptacles on each of the chairs in the Chapel.  And, he does this all because he loves it!


StarrPhil Starr has been sharing his photography and videography skills since 2012.  It wasn’t until after he retired and the Starrs moved to Plymouth Harbor that he discovered his gift with a camera.  Shortly after they became residents, Phil and Barry wandered the campus, taking photos of our lush grounds and beautifully decorated interiors.  He put the photos into DVD format and added music, and that video is now being used in our marketing department to portray our spectacular views.  His current project is videotaping fitness classes in the Wellness Center; DVDs will be available soon.  Phil has become the official videographer for productions in Pilgrim Hall.  We are very fortunate to have Phil here, sharing his never-ending talents, all to the betterment of our community!


By Isabel Pedersen

Chris and Margo LightIt is tempting to classify Chris Light as a 21st-century “Renaissance Man.”  His interests have been so wide-ranging and the fields of his endeavors so varied that he probably qualifies.  Photographer, journalist, computer specialist, artist, musician, composer, economist.  He is quick to point out that it is the computer which makes all of this possible.

Between and after his degrees, a B.A. from Carleton College, an M.S. from Columbia University, an M.B.A. from Western Michigan University and a Ph.D. from Washington University in St. Louis, he worked as a reporter/photographer for a California newspaper, editor and publisher of the Kalamazoo Magazine in his Michigan home town, associate professor and chair of the Finance Department at Roosevelt University in Chicago.  From 1980 to the present, his continuing freelance career gets more difficult to describe.

Chris built his own computer in the late 1970’s and wrote for computer magazines.  Though not a musician, he learned to use the computer to perform electronic music and produced four albums, two of them commissioned by the Musical Heritage Society in an attempt to recreate the sounds of earlier instruments which no longer exist.

Since 1995, Chris has been combining his interests in photography and the computer to create digital photographs, culminating in a dozen one-person shows and some large-scale commissioned work in Kalamazoo and Ann Arbor.

Margo, meanwhile, has had a more straight-line but equally interesting career.  The daughter of German immigrants in New York, she found, while at Hope College in Michigan, that she loved reading German literature.  After a junior year in Munich, Margo gathered up an M.A. from Indiana University, and then taught German at Kalamazoo College until 2002.  Her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan included a dissertation on contemporary author, Peter Hacks.

Margo and Chris’s shared love of music was partly responsible for their finding one another.  In 1994 Chris’s daughter picked out Margo for her father because of that mutual passion.  Margo has a rather rare skill, English Change Ringing on tower bells.  Change Ringing is done by pulling on the ropes to ring bells in cathedrals and churches.  The Lights’ activities on behalf of the Kalamazoo Symphony and now the Sarasota Concert Association are more evidence of their musical interests.  As long-time volunteers at the Sarasota Music Archive, they have helped provide a valuable resource for other music lovers.  Meanwhile, they have found time to play grandparents to the four grandchildren produced by Margo’s son and Chris’s two children.

We are fortunate that this fascinating pair has decided to move here from their long-time winter home on Longboat Key.  And just wait until you get a taste of Margo’s coffeecake.

Jan. EOMCongratulations to Jazmin Serrato!  She’s been nominated by her peers and voted Plymouth Harbor’s “Employee of the Month” for January 2015.

Originally from Mexico, Jazmin joined Plymouth Harbor in February 2012 as a part time Dietary Aide. In September of 2012 she was promoted to part time Relief Lead Dietary aide. Her position became full time in June 2014.

Jazmin has received ‘Exceeds Standard’ ratings since she joined Plymouth Harbor in Job Knowledge, Quality of Work, and Relationship with People.  Comments on her appraisals include:

  • Jazmin is great with our residents and they enjoy her upbeat enthusiasm.
  • She has a contagious personality and is fun to be around.
  • Jazmin is a strong leader and continues to grow in her position.
  • She is a pleasure to have at Plymouth Harbor.

Jazmin’s Employee of the Month nomination reads:  “Jazmin is always very nice with residents and staff. She is always prompt if a resident needs something. She is a hard worker.”

Finlay_5x7 300 dpiThe Board of Trustees of Plymouth Harbor, Inc. welcomed three new members and elected new leadership for 2015.

The newly elected Chair of the Board of Trustees is G. Duncan Finlay, MD who is also currently serving as President and CEO of the Florence A. Rothman Institute and Chief Medical Officer of Alive Sciences, LLC.  During his previous tenure as Chief Medical Officer and President and CEO of Sarasota Memorial Hospital, the system was named one of America’s Best Hospitals by US News and World Report in seven medical specialties.

Harry Hobson, CEO of Plymouth Harbor said, “Dr. Finlay has served as a Trustee for the past three years.  He brings leadership, experience, vision, and a passion that is consistent with Plymouth Harbor’s mission.”

After four years as Chairperson during which he guided Plymouth Harbor through a significant growth initiative that culminated in the grand opening of new Wellness Center, F. Thomas Hopkins will now serve as Immediate Past Chair.

“Tom has always been present for important governance discussions and decision,” says Hobson, “I can’t imagine a more dedicated person than Tom Hopkins.  While we will miss him as Chair, we will cherish this coming year knowing he is in the Board Room with us.”

Sarah Pappas-portrait_4x5Three current Trustees have also been elected to serve as officers of the Board. Sarah H. Pappas, EdD, has been elected to the position of Vice Chair. Dr. Pappas is President of the William G.  and Marie Selby Foundation and former President of Manatee Community College (now State College of Florida).

Cindy Malkin, recently Board Chair at the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, also a member of the Women’s Resource Board, will serve as Secretary.

Brian D. Hall, Executive Vice President and Director of Wealth Management at the Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, will serve as Treasurer.



In addition to the officers, Plymouth Harbor is pleased to welcome three new trustees to the board:

CranorJohn M. Cranor, III, former President and CEO for the New College Foundation, has over 30 years of management experience in the food service and retail industries including senior executive positions with Pepsi-Cola North America, Taco Bell Corporation, Wilson Sporting Goods, and Frito-Lay Company. He currently serves as the non-executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, Inc.

PattersonNora Patterson, a Sarasota County Commissioner, was first elected to the Sarasota City Commission in 1991, and served until 1998 when she was elected to the Sarasota County Commission.  Prior to this she served as the Mayor of Sarasota from 1994-95 and was appointed by the Governor to serve two years on Florida’s Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations from 1996-98.

Woeltjen lo resWilliam Woeltjen has served as the Chief Financial Officer of Sarasota Memorial Health Care System since 2010, where he is responsible for all financial matters related to the health care system, including financial reporting, financial planning, revenue cycle, reimbursement, debt management, and managed care contracting. He has more than 25 years of experience in corporate health care finance.