Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Stephanie Leathers as our new Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care. Stephanie joined the Plymouth Harbor team in July 2017.

In her new role as Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, Stephanie is charged with helping to open our new Assisted Living and Memory Care residences in the Northwest Garden Building as well as planning, organizing, developing, and coordinating overall operations. Stephanie will also help to establish policies and procedures, but most importantly, she will be instrumental in the development and implementation of our premier programming in the new residences.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Stephanie served as Administrator at Mount View Assisted Living in Lockport, New York, where she was responsible for the daily operations of the 150-bed facility with an internal certified Home Health Care Agency. In her time at Mount View Assisted Living, she was instrumental in the establishment and opening of a 118-bed sister facility in a nearby county, and managed a staff of over 80 employees. Before that, Stephanie served in several different capacities at Elderwood Senior Care in Williamsville, New York. Her positions there included Administrator, Resident Care Manager, Assistant Director of Nursing, and Unit Manager.

A Registered Nurse, Stephanie attended Niagara County Community College in Sanborn, New York, where she received her Associate in Applied Science degree with a major in nursing. While there, Stephanie received the Elena T. Perone Award for Excellence in Leadership.

Plymouth Harbor is thrilled to have Stephanie as a part of our team, and we look forward to seeing her personal touch on the opening of our new Assisted Living and Memory Care residences.

 

Throughout history, building design and construction has adapted to reflect design trends, technological advances, and most importantly, to address social needs. For example, take the evolution of the skyscraper in the early 1900s. As more and more Americans flocked to major cities, available real estate became harder to come by. With the addition of new steel framing technology, the concept of the skyscraper became possible — capturing exponential growth within a contained footprint.

Today, builders are focused on reducing a different kind of footprint: our environmental footprint. It may come as no surprise that the “green” movement is becoming more mainstream — however, in most cases, energy-reducing technologies have become a standard requirement in today’s building codes. This is due in part to continually emerging technologies that are not only lowering our impact on the environment, but are also minimizing overall operating costs.

At Plymouth Harbor, residents and employees alike have made conservation efforts a priority in recent years. The same rings true in the construction of our Northwest Garden building, which has incorporated many green elements. Some of these conservation items include:

Our overall building site uses recycled crushed concrete as the base material for pavement; a portion of the new asphalt also uses recycled materials; the landscaping that has been selected is indigenous to Florida (reducing water usage); and demolished concrete and asphalt are diverted to local landfills for recycling. Additionally, building materials, including all concrete, CMU block, and asphalt are produced locally, and any raw materials, are sourced from Florida. The new structural steel is made up of recycled material, and all paints, sealants, and adhesives are low odor and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) — limiting the release of toxic emissions into the air.

Energy conservation in the exterior of the Northwest Garden is mainly exemplified in the form of insulation. The exterior windows are insulated to minimize heat gain from the sun, keeping a cool temperature throughout the building. The same can be said for the roof and exterior wall insulation. You also may have noticed a white material incorporated into the building’s roofing system — this material helps to reflect rather than absorb heat from the sun.

Inside the building, you will find elements such as LED lightbulbs, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and occupancy sensors to control the lighting of appropriate common areas when not in use. In the building’s garage, electric car-charging stations are available. The exact number and locations are being determined.

Furthermore, non-residential HVAC units are controlled by a building automation system. This is connected to the campus energy system rather than adding remote equipment, which would require additional power. An Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system is also being used, which exchanges the energy contained in normally exhausted building air and uses it to treat (or precondition) the incoming outdoor ventilation air in an HVAC system.

While this is certainly not a complete list of each and every green element used in the construction of our new Northwest Garden, we hope it provides a look into its sustainable design. We look forward to sharing many of these elements with you in person as we continue to approach our Grand Opening in November.

 

Plymouth Harbor recently participated in CareerSource Suncoast’s Career Academy program, running from June 12th through July 20th. In its third year, the Career Academy is a five-week program that provides high school students the opportunity to learn about careers in a variety of fields. These fields, or “career tracks,” include: Foundations, Healthcare, Information Technology, Manufacturing & Construction, and Business/Entrepreneurship.

The Career Academy grew out of a state grant to create annual programs targeted at low-income teens facing a barrier in one way or another. Forty students (juniors or seniors in high school) were admitted into this year’s program – 20 from Sarasota County and 20 from Manatee County. Each week, students visit various organizations in the community pertaining to that week’s career track to increase leadership skills, network with industry professionals, and learn a variety of skills.

In addition to receiving $1,000, each student earns college credit through State College of Florida for participating. Students are assigned a program mentor, with whom they meet each Monday and Wednesday; and on Tuesdays, they take a “field trip” to two different participating organizations. Additionally, throughout the program, they are invited to attend networking events at Manatee Technical College and Suncoast Technical College.

On Tuesday, June 20th, the Career Academy’s Sarasota County students visited Plymouth Harbor as part of the Healthcare career track. While introducing students to the healthcare field within a Life Plan Community was a top priority, our overall goal was to introduce students to the many different career paths available within an organization like Plymouth Harbor.

After receiving a general overview of Plymouth Harbor by President/CEO Harry Hobson, students were given a tour of the campus and introduced to the following career tracks and opportunities within our organization: Health Services, Wellness, Security/Concierge/Transportation, Sales/Marketing, Maintenance/Grounds, Communications, and more. The students ended their tour with a meal and presentation by Dining Services, Accounting, and Resident Programming.

We are proud to be part of this exciting partnership within the community, helping students to identify, at a young age, careers and opportunities that are available to them right here in their backyard. We hope to continue to partner with CareerSource on similar initiatives in the future.

 

Over the last year, you may have heard Plymouth Harbor reference the Community Education Program we plan to offer as a part of our new Memory Care Residence. It is our goal to offer education and training on dementia and brain decline to the greater Sarasota community, demystifying and normalizing the behaviors associated with dementia-related diseases. As we approach our Grand Opening date, we wanted to share with you some details on how we plan to implement this much-needed program.

Introductory Presentations
One-time presentations will be made to community groups, such as service organizations, Chambers of Commerce, civic groups, and faith-based organizations with basic information on the different types of dementia, community resources available, in-home care vs. residential care, and what to expect throughout the journey. These presentations will open the door to the possibility of a workshop series, residential care, or one-on one training for those who have an immediate or emerging need for further assistance.

Workshops
A series of small group workshops will be held in easy-to-access community locations, such as churches or community centers, with experts in the field of caregiving and providing support for the caregivers themselves. The topics will rotate, building on the skills needed to care for a person with brain decline: such as handling difficult behaviors, nutrition and cooking, emergency planning, and more.

One-on-One Training
Plymouth Harbor offers short-term rehabilitation in the Smith Care Center. Frequently, those short-term residents are experiencing brain decline and are discharged to their private homes at the end of the rehab under the care of a loved one. Many times this loved one is not equipped with the training or resources needed to confidently provide care. For this reason, we will offer education to the caregiver during the stay, or after the return home, so that a safe and successful return home is achieved.

Tailored to Audiences
Over time, the content of these presentations and workshops will be specifically tailored to address broad audience groups: families and caregivers, first responders, business and commerce, healthcare professionals, and service organizations. As an example, first responders will receive information on the behaviors of persons with brain decline and how to address their emergency needs. Retailers, such as restaurant owners, will receive training on how to identify and interact with persons with dementia so they can maintain quality customer service. Service organizations, like Rotary clubs, will receive training on how to continue meaningful volunteer opportunities for persons with dementia.

Expert Staff
A team of trained, community educators will be assembled to lead this effort. With partnerships from the local Alzheimer’s Association, Positive Approach® to Care, and our own certified trainers in Positive Approach® to Care, we will design a curriculum and market and deliver this program.

We look forward to making this program a reality in the coming months and to becoming a leading resource in the community.

 

“A true American fairytale”— that’s how Barbara “Bobi” Sanderson describes her life.

In the 1600s, both sides of Bobi’s family traveled from England to settle in the early North American colonies. Before that, her father’s side of the family relocated from France to England. In fact, after continually being referred to as the “French family,” they legally changed their last name to “French” (Bobi’s maiden name).

Bobi’s oldest-known relative was buried in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1691, and was recognized as the building project director for Harvard University. Years later, when the government began offering land grants to those willing to farm and improve land in the western region, her father’s side of the family loaded up their wagons and moved west.

On the other hand, Bobi largely knows her mother’s side of the family as river and canal engineers, who worked on canals ranging from Canada to the Chicago area. In the 1800s, they eventually settled in Ottawa, Illinois, where the Illinois River and the Fox River meet. Later, her father’s family was also drawn to this small town, becoming bankers, judges, and other central figures of the community.

Many years later, Bobi herself grew up in Ottawa, with her parents and one brother. With a population of roughly 15,000 people at the time, she was related to many members of
the community. “I thought everyone grew up this way, in a small town, where you knew most people,” Bobi remembers. “Everyone was part of the community – as a doctor, barber, grocer, or by helping set up civic organizations. It wasn’t thought of as ‘volunteering,’ but rather helping your neighbor.”

After high school, Bobi wanted to experience other parts of the world. She left Ottawa to attend Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts; however, after World War II began, she transferred to Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, to be closer to family.

During her time at Northwestern, Bobi went on a blind date with a lawyer by the name of Edward “Sandy” Sanderson. After a few months, the two were engaged, and were married by the end of Bobi’s junior year in college. They settled in Sandy’s hometown of Evanston and had two children together, a daughter and son. Today, they have blessed Bobi with four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In 1972, after the children were grown and Sandy retired, the couple visited with friends on Siesta Key. They fell in love with the area and, before leaving, put an offer on a piece of land on Longboat Key. They used it as a vacation home for two years before they relocated to Sarasota full-time. Coincidentally, it turned out that a number of people they had known in the Chicago area had moved to Sarasota as well. “It was like having our own little Chicago community right here,” she laughs.

In 1992, Sandy passed away, and at the urging of her children, Bobi decided it was time to get back to traveling. They signed her up for a trip around the world on the Holland-America Rotterdam cruise ship. It left in January of 1993 and didn’t return until April, 103 days later.

“That trip changed my life,” Bobi says. “I realized I had a lot of living left to do.” While Sarasota remained her permanent residence, she made a point to continue her travels.

Later, in 1999, Bobi was introduced to Dr. Jim Griffith. They “met” over the telephone and, ironically, the two had both signed up to live at Plymouth Harbor before meeting. They remain together to this day, enjoying art, music, and traveling. In July, the two are setting off on a three-week cruise to Norway.

Throughout her life, Bobi has always been involved in the community in one way or another. In Evanston, she served as a tutor for local grade schools, worked with the YMCA, the garden club, local government, and much more.

In Sarasota, Bobi boasts a 23-year volunteer career with Mote Aquarium. Junior League of Sarasota, the Sarasota Garden Club, and the Longboat Key Chapel Board of Governors have also benefited from her service. When it comes to Plymouth Harbor, Bobi says she couldn’t be happier. “Moving in here was one of the best decisions we ever made,” she says. “There are so many fascinating people. It’s like living on a cruise ship, but you always have your friends with you.”

 

During the month of June, many will wear purple to shine a light on Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Despite being the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, Alzheimer’s disease is still largely misunderstood. For that reason, in 2014, the Alzheimer’s Association® declared June Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. Worldwide, the organization reports there are at least 44 million people who live with Alzheimer’s or other dementias. As we are all too aware, those numbers are only expected to grow.

Often thought of as simple memory loss, Alzheimer’s is a fatal disease that kills nerve cells and tissue in the brain, affecting a person’s ability to remember, think, and plan. As it progresses, the brain shrinks due to loss of cells. As a result, individuals lose the ability to communicate, recognize family and friends, and care for themselves.

Scientists continue in their search to find treatments for the disease and others like it — dementia, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, and more. In the meantime, learning more about these diseases and how to improve overall brain health is essential.

Did you know?
-In 2016, more than 15 million Americans gave 18 billion hours of their time, unpaid, to care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.
-Many people take on an extra job or postpone retirement in order to become a caregiver.
-Alzheimer’s disease is not normal aging. It is a progressive brain disease with no known cure.
-Alzheimer’s disease is more than memory loss. It appears through a variety of signs and symptoms.

What can you do for better brain health?
According to Cleveland Clinic, the following “brain-healthy behaviors” can help:

-Exercise at least three to five times per week.
-Engage in hobbies like puzzles, games, or other mental stimulation.
-Sleep for six hours or more per night.
-Connect with family and friends, and be sure to socialize regularly.

For more information on the above behaviors, visit ClevelandClinic.org. To learn more specifics on Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, visit Alz.org.

Sources:
“6 Ways to Maintain Your Brain Health.” Health Essentials. Cleveland Clinic, 25 Aug. 2015. Web. 23 May 2017.
“Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.” Healthy Brains. Cleveland Clinic, 16 June 2016. Web. 23 May 2017.

 
 

Plymouth Harbor recently participated in the State of Talent Conference hosted by CareerSource Suncoast in partnership with the Patterson Foundation. This is the first year for the State of Talent Conference, which was held on Friday, May 19th, at the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus.

The conference was aimed at Human Resources and Operations Executives, and its purpose was to bring together employers from Sarasota and Manatee counties who wish to learn how better to recruit, train, and retain talent.

Plymouth Harbor was the sponsor for the Age-Friendly Workplace Panel discussion. Harry Hobson, our President/CEO, was joined on the panel by Kathy Black, Ph.D. (gerontologist and professor at USF), and Mike Jeffries (owner and operator of Mader Electric, Inc.). Laurey Strkyer of the Patterson Foundation moderated the discussion. The topics discussed included demographics of the current workforce, how companies like Plymouth Harbor and Mader Electric recruit and retain employees of all ages, and some of the highlights of each generation.

Harry Hobson kicked off the session by introducing Plymouth Harbor, as an employment leader in Sarasota for over 50 years. He cited the challenges we face in recruiting staff for the new Northwest Garden Building, especially our new level of care in the memory care residence, with the increasing demand in Sarasota for hospitality talent. He also stated the importance of Plymouth Harbor and other Life Plan Communities in Sarasota to make themselves known as an industry where individuals can build their careers in nearly every field, such as accounting, marketing, culinary, healthcare, trades, philanthropy, and hospitality.

“At a recent meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, it was surprising for us to learn that when naming industries that exist in our state, the Life Plan Community industry was not even recognized,” said Harry. “It was an eye-opener to us and we decided to take some action and get involved to introduce our industry to the budding and existing workforce.”

Other organizations participating in the sessions included Department of Economic Opportunity, Dr. Rick Goodman, the Herald-Tribune, Intern Bridge, Game On Nation, FCCI Insurance, PGT Industries, Design Concepts Marine Concepts, and Anna Maria Oyster Bar. The conference was sold out, with approximately 150 participants.

 

In recent months, Plymouth Harbor engaged in a competitive graduate student project with architectural students from the University of Florida’s CityLab-Sarasota campus. We worked with six students enrolled in a master’s seminar under the instruction of adjunct professor and celebrated local architect, Guy Peterson.

Through this partnership, the major project for the seminar was decided to be the porte cochère on the ground level entrance of our new Northwest Garden Building. As the main point of entry to the new building, the porte cochère’s design served as an important, hands-on project for the students. The students worked in pairs, forming three teams. From there, each team was given a period of three months to outline their design and a stipend of $1,000 for any materials needed for their involvement in the project.

Guy Peterson, George McGonagill (Plymouth Harbor’s Vice President of Facilities), and Lorraine Enwright (THW Architects), worked with the students to identify the scope of the project, budget, structural parameters, and a materials list that was consistent with that of the building. Becky Pazkowski (Plymouth Harbor’s Senior Vice President of Philanthropy) served as Program Advisor, while George served in the role of Construction Advisor.

At the completion of the project, students were asked to present their designs for consideration for a first, second, or third prize. The first place pair received a $5,000 prize, second received $3,000, and third received $1,000, each to be split between the two team members. The first place award was supported by residents Marie and Tom Belcher, and the second and third place awards were supported by resident Charles Gehrie.

On Friday, May 5, the students presented their respective projects to Plymouth Harbor’s selection committee, and were called back to Plymouth Harbor on Monday, May 8, for the award announcements.

Each design was impressive, and one stood out among the rest. Offering a sophisticated, modern design, the first place winner met the requirements for the scope of the project above all others (rendering pictured on page 1. Please note: this is only a rendering, not an actual depiction of the final product). In the coming months, we will incorporate much of this design into the final plans for the Northwest Garden.

Plymouth Harbor was proud to collaborate with these talented students, four of whom are now graduates with their Master of Architecture degrees.

Below are the student teams, by prize:

1st Prize: Gabriella Ebbesson & Miranda Crowe
2nd Prize: Elena Nonino & Olivia Ellsworth
3rd Prize: Brittany Perez & Francia Salazar

 
 

True of most scientists, Charles Miller knew what he wanted to do from a young age. “It goes back to when I was a boy, wiring light bulbs with my father and putting extension cords in the house,” he remembers. Born and raised in Los Angeles, Charles didn’t experience the glamour most associate with the city. “It’s like any other city – it has the persona of Hollywood over it, but underneath there’s a city of ordinary people doing ordinary things.”

Far from ordinary, Charles went on to earn both his B.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the California Institute of Technology. In his senior year of college in 1952, Charles met his first wife. “I met her as I met both of my wives – on the telephone,” he laughs. His friend was on the phone with a girl, Anne-Marie, and handed it to Charles. They ended up hitting it off, Charles invited her to a party, and the rest was history when they married a year and a half later.

In his last semester of graduate school, Charles’ professor asked if he would be interested in a one-year teaching position at Amherst College. Charles accepted, and when his term came to a close, he ended up enjoying the experience so much that he looked for a similar opportunity nearby. He landed at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, where he stayed for the next 35 years. His wife, who was also a teacher, taught education at Central Connecticut State University. Charles and his wife had two daughters — and it comes as no surprise that their daughters are both teachers today.

In contrast, Cynthia Lichtenstein was born and raised on the East Coast in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. She studied at Radcliffe College of Harvard University in Massachusetts and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Russian History and Literature. “With my degree, my choices were to get a Ph.D. and teach, or to work for the government.”

During her final semester of college in 1955, Cynthia decided to take the exam to work for the U.S. State Department. She did well enough that she was given an oral exam, but that was as far as she would get. “One of the examiners was kind enough to say, ‘Don’t feel badly when you do not pass this. We do not take women,’” she remembers. Despite the setback, Cynthia was not discouraged. She had a friend who was studying at Harvard Law School, and when she began arguing a case with him, he suggested that she go to law school. Without too much consideration, she took the LSAT, scored in the top percentile, and applied.

Cynthia’s parents, however, did not want her to attend law school. Instead, they gave her a trip to Paris for graduation, and when she returned, the only job she could find was as a secretary. “I was dreadful at it,” she laughs. “I couldn’t do two things at once. But at the time, it wasn’t usual for young women to go to law school.” After she was let go from her job as a secretary, Cynthia followed her instincts, borrowed the money from an uncle, and attended Yale Law School.
 
Cynthia met her first husband when in Paris, and after graduation from Yale, went to work as an associate at a Wall Street firm. She worked full-time for two years before they began their family. While pregnant with her first child, Cynthia began a two-year program through the Ford Foundation, which was offering scholarships to study civil law for one year at the University of Chicago and a second year internship abroad. After Chicago, Cynthia’s husband got a job at the Economist in London, while she began her internship at the European Economic Community (EEC) in Brussels, where she worked on EEC African projects.

In 1963, Cynthia returned part-time to her firm in New York. But in 1971, she decided to explore a different career path. By this time, she was raising three children, her husband was in Boston working at MIT, and because she couldn’t commit to working full-time, her firm would not make her a partner. A friend recommended her for a teaching position at Boston College Law School, and she accepted — as their second female professor.

While Cynthia had a newfound love for teaching, she had her work cut out for her with 140 students in one class and 90 in another. Balancing work and home life, she taught corporate finance (including securities law) and contracts. She was also the second in the country to teach a course in international economic law at a law school. After five years in Boston, Cynthia and her husband divorced.

In 1984, Cynthia met Charles — who had been widowed two years before — over the phone. A mutual friend set them up, and Cynthia invited Charles to Boston for dinner. When he showed up with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine, Cynthia fell in love. A year and a half later they were married.

After several years of a commuter marriage, Cynthia convinced Charles to take early retirement. He taught half the year for five years and then made the move. Cynthia retired from Boston College in 2001, but worked as a visiting professor at George Washington University Law School for four falls after that. The couple spent winters on their boat in Fort Myers, before coming to Sarasota and looking into Plymouth Harbor at the suggestion of friends.

Today, Charles and Cynthia spend half their time here and the other half at their home in Stonington, Connecticut. In his spare time, Charles reads with the Shakespeare Group and enjoys the Physics Club he co-founded nearly 10 years ago. Cynthia keeps busy with several law organizations. She is a panelist for NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) Chapter 19, and is occasionally appointed to hear cases. Up until the last year, she was a Vice Chair of the Executive Council of the International Law Association, which meets every six months in London.

Additionally, Cynthia worked with the International Law Students Association, which puts on the annual Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition. Today, she serves as a coach for Booker High School’s mock trial and appellate cases. This program works with students interested in law and allows them to compete in Florida-wide mock trials and appeals that go all the way up to Florida’s mock Supreme Court.

With a passion for life and a continued commitment to their work, there is surely more to come from Charles Miller and Cynthia Lichtenstein.

We have seen the structure of the Northwest Garden Building taking shape over the last few months. Now that we are familiar with the outside of the building, it is time to take a look on the inside. The following presentation, adapted for our Harbor Club members, discusses the building’s expanded assisted living, new memory care program, and how it will all come together. This video series will answer questions about the floor plan, amenities, dining options, training, programming, and much, much more!

A Look Inside with Harry Hobson, President & CEO, Brandi Burgess, Social Worker, and Becky Pazkowski, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy
Held on Thursday, April 27th at 3:30 p.m. in Pilgrim Hall