In February of 2015, a new idea was presented by the employee wellness OnBoard team that would help build strong relationships between residents and employees by bringing them together on a more personal level – enter Insights. Insights is a monthly event where a resident shares their story with employees at Plymouth Harbor on the fourth Friday of each month during January–October, from 12:00–12:30, typically in the Private Dining Room. Residents are invited to be the featured speaker, employees sign up to attend, and lunch is provided by the Plymouth Harbor Foundation. Part of the inspiration for the Insights series was the notion that, by residents sharing the paths to their remarkable lives, our employees would perhaps feel invigorated and inspired to achieve some of the things they otherwise felt were unattainable. What we have found is that there are many benefits to the series: connections, inspiration, admiration, and self-fulfillment.

The deepening of relationships that have been cultivated through these monthly connections has been noteworthy. Karen Smith, an employee in Resident Programming, has attended nearly all presentations. She shared, “…The Insights program has been tremendously valuable to me as I seek a more personal connection with our residents.” Paul Pazkowski, an eTech at Plymouth Harbor, says, “When I heard Anne Burroughs speak, I learned that it is important to have a passion in life, but you may or may not make your living at it. From Charles Gehrie’s talk I learned that many people have innovative ideas, but it takes an inventor and a team to make one successful.”

Some of the stories that are shared have deep life lessons and some are riddled with what we might consider strife, yet the storyteller found it to be part of their fulfilling journey. For instance, Sue Johnson’s story began in Manhattan, where she slept in the living room or hallway of their apartment most of her childhood. She wasn’t complaining. This was part of her life and contributed to what has made her the resilient and positive woman she is today. Reina Jay Aavri Troiano was reticent about telling her story, saying that her life was rather unremarkable. However, going through the process of reviewing her life, she found the experience to be uplifting and fulfilling, and she delivered a review of her life that was quite remarkable.

Insights is videotaped by resident Phil Starr every month, who then edits and produces a digital recording that is loaded onto our website at PlymouthHarbor.org/Category/Insights/. DVDs are produced and given to the speakers to share with their families, and a copy is placed in the Resident Library. If you are interested in telling your story through Insights, please contact Becky Pazkowski at Ext. 398.

Current Insights collection:
Charles Gehrie (March 2015)
Don and Peggy Wallace (April 2015)
Beverly and Bill Vernon (May 2015)
Jane Smiley (June 2015)
Senator Marlow Cook (July 2015)
Ted and Fran Rehl (August 2015)
Walt Mattson (September 2015)
Susan Mauntel (October 2015)
Terry and Maureen Aldrich (January 2016)
Phil and Barry Starr (February 2016)
Paul and Macky Groen (March 2016)
Tom and Marie Belcher (April 2016)
Judy Liersch and Al Jennings (May 2016)
John Goodman (June 2016)
Wendy and Jim Underwood (July 2016)
Jerry and Nancy Kaplan (August 2016)
Joe Berkely (September 2016)
Anne Burroughs (October 2016)
Lou Newman (January 2017)
Tom Elliott (February 2017)
Connie Meadows (March 2017)
Reina Jay Aavri Troiano (April 2017)
Sue Johnson (May 2017)
David Beliles (June 2017)
Connie Sanders and
Carl Koenig (July 2017)
Tom Towler and Nancy
Lyon (August 2017)

 

At the March 2017 Café Chat, Chair of our Board of Trustees, Dr. G. Duncan Finlay, introduced Plymouth Harbor to the Florence A. Rothman Institute (FARI), where he serves as President and CEO, and The Rothman Index.

According to Dr. Finlay, healthcare in the United States is beset by upward spiraling and financially unsustainable costs and quality that is disappointing at best. Early efforts to address this issue have had inconsistent results in terms of quality and cost measurements. These approaches are commonly patient-centered, and thus require a means to accurately measure and follow a patient’s condition at any level of care, from hospital care through skilled nursing, home health care, and assisted and independent living organizations.

The Rothman Index
This is where the Rothman Index (RI), an acuity metric developed at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, comes in. The RI is a score of a patient’s general condition that is calculated automatically from information that is routinely collected in the electronic medical records (EMR) system. The score is displayed in a graphical format that depicts the patient’s condition over time. The RI has been validated with over 30 peer-reviewed articles and is used in over 60 hospitals nation-wide. Preliminary studies in skilled nursing facilities appear to support its accuracy outside the hospital.

Plymouth Harbor’s Involvement
FARI wanted to explore if this same index could be constructed for persons living independently, and as a result, asked Plymouth Harbor residents for their participation in a trial study where patients conduct their own medical self-assessments, answering a series of questions. The study officially began on May 9, 2017, with 46 independent living participants. A total of 30 females and 16 males participated, with an average age of 83. These volunteers answered 14 ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions about possible symptoms pertaining to their own body systems.

The same self-assessment was then repeated on a second occasion separated by more than 24 hours — with an average separation time of 11 days. Then, the volunteers had a Registered Nurse independently perform a standard head-to-toe assessment for comparison.

The Results
The study was able to demonstrate significant inter-rater reliability (agreement) in 11 of the body system questions on the first pass, and in 10 questions on the second. The individual answers were consistent between the first and second answer periods.

Future plans include asking volunteers to use a handheld device, which was demonstrated at the Café Chat, to measure their own vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, respirations, and oxygen levels) and then answer the same questions on a smart phone. These will be combined to create a Rothman Index score and graph, which will give a picture of each volunteer’s overall wellness during the monitoring period. Please stay tuned for more information on this future study.

In previous issues of the Harbor Light, we have largely featured residents’ involvement within the greater Sarasota community. However, there are so many ways that residents give generously of their time within Plymouth Harbor, particularly in our Smith Care Center (SCC).

Residents lend a hand in the SCC in several ways. Activity Director Judy Sarnowski stresses that she has both official and unofficial volunteers — those who may not consider themselves formal volunteers, but make a point to stop in and check in on their neighbors on a consistent basis, in one way or another. Judy stresses that no matter how big or small their time commitment, both of these types of volunteers play an important role in the lives of SCC residents.

Currently, Judy has 19 Plymouth Harbor residents on her official volunteer roster, along with six community volunteers. Together, they contribute more than 50 hours each month, helping to accomplish a large number of activities and programs that otherwise would not be possible without their time and dedication. Volunteering takes on many different forms — bingo buddies; room visits; arts and crafts; table games; seasonal decorating; distribution of communications like the Harbor Light or Weekly Flyer; and so much more. “We are blessed to have an in-house base of volunteers,” Judy says. “Because of them, we are able to increase our programming, and you can really see first-hand the positive difference in the lives of our residents.”

The most important part of working with a volunteer base is ensuring that the volunteer is doing something they truly enjoy and are passionate about. As an example, resident Jerry Kaplan began volunteering a couple years ago and indicated an interest in offering a type of current events program. Today, he holds a well-attended newspaper reading and current events discussion on Monday mornings in the SCC Living Room.

There is always a need for more volunteers, especially as we come closer to the Grand Opening of our new Assisted Living and Memory Care Residences. If you would like to learn more, or if you are interested in working in the SCC, whether that be on a regular or as-needed basis, please contact Judy at Ext. 260. As a volunteer, you will be given an informative orientation manual and asked to complete a short questionnaire in order to best match your interests and time commitment with resident need.

We thank our resident volunteers for devoting their time to enhancing the lives of their neighbors.

 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

On Thursday, August 17th, Plymouth Harbor held its second annual Employee Health Fair. The Health Fair is part of Plymouth Harbor’s award-winning employee wellness program, OnBoard, which was implemented in 2014.

The goal of the program is to enhance the overall well-being of employees through the seven dimensions of wellness: Environmental/Community; Emotional; Intellectual; Physical; Professional/Vocational; Social; and Spiritual.

OnBoard strives to develop and maintain programs that build stronger employees and encourage them to take a proactive role when it comes to their health and well-being. In January 2017, OnBoard implemented a new incentive program where employees may earn OnBoard Wellness Rewards Bucks by participating in events, like Learn and Earn lunches and the Health Fair, and use those Bucks to reduce their insurance premiums for the following year. Currently, Plymouth Harbor has 155 employees participating in this program.

The Health Fair was held in the Wellness Center and was open to all employees, including those who are not on Plymouth Harbor’s insurance. The event included Biometric Screenings (a blood screening that measures items like glucose and cholesterol) and several vendors such as our Employee Health Coach, a registered dietitian, dermatologist, local dental office, and more. The event also included giveaways and prizes for those in attendance, including FitBits, a Nutri Bullet Blender, and a kayak (pictured right with winner Lori Hoskins, Dining Services).

Employees extend sincere thanks for allowing use of the Wellness Center for this annual event. We look forward to continually improving the health and well-being of our staff.

 

By: Isabel Pedersen

Not everyone gets to marry a handsome TV anchorman, but Joan Kiernan did. They married one year after they met and had five great children and six grandchildren. They were married for 42 years. Dave passed away in 1999.

Joan, born in New York, grew up in Connecticut where she lived most of her life except for a short time when the family lived in Puerto Rico. They later moved to Darien, Connecticut, where the children grew up. When their youngest child went to school, Joan did likewise. She graduated from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield and found a career at United States Surgical
Corporation in Norwalk as their corporate secretary. In 1989, she and Dave decided to retire in Florida. They lived on Siesta Key and Longboat Key. They traveled all over the world until Dave’s passing.

Joan found a second wonderful marriage with Vince, who passed away in 2006.

Joan has always been active in her retirement years. She volunteered for local charities and was on the Board of the Asolo Repertory Theatre. She played team tennis at Bath & Racquet Fitness Club, Longboat Key Club, and Bird Key Yacht Club. Joan enjoys theatre and spends as much time as she can in New York City. She loves to travel and has been on almost every continent. Her home reflects her many trips to the far east. Most fascinating places? Dubai, and maybe Komodo Island? And every place in between!

 

By: Al Balaban

Thirty years of active military duty (Army) around the world, mostly accompanied by his charming wife, Kathleen, and their three children, followed by another thirty years of a more stable civilian existence in Sarasota…and now, Plymouth Harbor. Retired Colonel Jamo Powell and Kathleen are settling comfortably into the Plymouth Harbor way of life and have been impressed (but not surprised) with the warm welcome they have enjoyed from their fellow residents, and the professional manner in which the staff has assisted them during their relocation these past several weeks.

Jamo, and yes, that is his real name, and Kathleen are originally from Texas. They became active in community activities shortly after their arrival in Sarasota almost three decades ago. Jamo became President of the Lakes Estates Homeowners Association, a member of the Board of Directors of the Military Officers Association of Sarasota, and Commodore of the Bird Key Yacht Club. Kathleen plunged into membership and chairmanship of a number of local civic, cultural, and social groups while maintaining interest in her earlier work with military wives.

They are extremely proud of their most important lifelong accomplishment — the successful raising of their three children despite the 20 moves to different cities and countries: Jennie Ellen, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; Thomas, a graduate of West Point (and now, himself a retired Army Colonel); and Mark, a graduate of Texas A&M University, his father’s alma mater. All three children are well-settled in their careers and marriages, and have produced 14 grandchildren, to the delight of their grandparents.

While in the Army, the Powells lived a total of five years in Germany and took the opportunity to visit most of the countries in Western Europe during those years. Since retirement, they have continued to travel extensively and have visited Eastern Europe, the Far East, the mid-East, Australia, and just recently returned from a South American cruise. Cruise ships are, by far, their favorite means of taking vacations. Some 40+ at last count.

Kathleen and Jamo look forward to meeting more of their neighbors at Plymouth Harbor and participating in the many opportunities and activities that are provided for residents.

 

Woodworking is certainly its own unique art form — blending skill, an eye for detail, and a passion for perfection — resulting in some of the most remarkable pieces of custom art and furniture out there. At Plymouth Harbor, we’re lucky to have so many talented woodworkers among us.

At any one time, there is no telling how many projects are going on down in the Wellness Center Wood Shop. Many would consider this passion as a hobby, although for some, it’s safe to say it has turned into a bit of a “second career.” Plymouth Harbor in particular has benefited countless times from the generosity of these skilled craftsmen who reside right under our roof. As an example, in 2015, residents Graham “Barky” Barkhuff, Tom Elliott, and Gene Heide helped dramatically improve the entrance to MacNeil Chapel with the chapel doors they constructed to hold new stained glass panels the Barkhuffs donated, along with a new storage cabinet for Chapel supplies.

Most recently, Plymouth Harbor enlisted Dr. Heide’s help in building custom service cabinets for our Dining Services department (pictured above). He agreed and set to work outlining the project as requested, ensuring each detail complemented the Mayflower Restaurant in both appearance and design.

Eventually, the project became a resident-staff collaboration as members of our Maintenance Department (Hugh Kelly and painter Jim Oates)stepped up to help Dr. Heide install the final pieces and complete the finishing touches on each cabinet. Today, you may (or may not) notice these four new cabinets throughout the restaurant, located by the pillars and blending in perfectly. These new additions aid our servers by providing storage and a place to set their trays, without taking away from the overall dining ambiance.

With these craftsmen showing such dedication to their hobby, some may wonder how the interest was sparked. For Dr. Heide, it began when he was only six years old. His father had recently acquired a pearl-handle pocket knife, which Dr. Heide and his brother both wanted. His father, always pushing education, said he would give it to the person who came home with the best grades that semester. Naturally, Dr. Heide, a first-grader, won against his sixth-grade brother. “I won easily,” he laughs. “And I’ve carried a pocket knife ever since.”

Over the years, Dr. Heide has perfected his skills. From carving play swords and guns out of the sugar pine crates oranges used to come in to working with a cabinet maker for a summer, he’s had his fair share of projects — including cabinets, desks, bookshelves, carvings, and mending items for fellow residents. Today, Dr. Heide certainly stays busy, whether it is working on an entirely new project or improving pieces of furniture found in his home.

“I like to make things better than they were before,” he says. “I’ve always liked that notion: ‘leave a place better than you found it.’” There is no question: after a piece of wood finds its way into the Plymouth Harbor Wood Shop, it will come out looking better than ever.

As a show of appreciation, many who have benefited from the Wood Shop’s talent have made donations to the fund, which is held by The Plymouth Harbor Foundation. These funds are used to purchase supplies and tools for the Wood Shop.

 

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is among the largest public health systems in the state of Florida, offering specialties in heart, vascular, neuroscience, and cancer services, in addition to a far-reaching network of outpatient, long-term care, and rehabilitation centers and programs. That said, it is also one of Sarasota County’s largest employers, with over 5,000 employees, 900 physicians, and 600 volunteers.

There are many facets to Sarasota Memorial, which was founded in 1925 and is governed by a nine-member elected Sarasota County Public Hospital Board. This is one of the only politically-elected public boards where members serve on a volunteer basis, at no cost, weighing in on major issues such as overall hospital function, its operations and challenges, real estate acquisitions and expansions, and more. Plymouth Harbor residents have served as members on this board, including John de Jongh and Tom Towler. Tom served on the board for more than nine years and resigned in January 2016. John, who has been actively involved with Sarasota Memorial and Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Inc., for many years, was appointed to fill Tom’s vacant at-large seat and served for one year. 

Sarasota Memorial also depends on its hospital volunteers, who are given a variety of assignments, usually once per week on a four-hour shift basis. Resident Nancy Lyon has been a volunteer for nearly 20 years in many different capacities, alongside Tom Towler who volunteered from 1991 up until last year. Additionally, Alida de Jongh became involved several years ago, formerly working in the gift shop and now serving in the dispatch office. “We’re assigned jobs throughout the hospital, so we’re walking a lot,” Alida says. “But we’re so glad to help because it frees up the nurses for the more important jobs they need to be doing.”

Another element, mentioned previously, is the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation. Established in 1976 as an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation, the Foundation was formed to help raise and distribute funds to improve programs, education, and technological advancements. As such, the Healthcare Foundation may receive gifts, grants, and bequests for restricted or unrestricted funds, and expends those funds for equipment, clinical studies, research, training, education programs, and capital improvements. Resident Bill Stanford has worked with the Healthcare Foundation for close to 20 years. He currently sits on the Foundation’s Board of Trustees as Vice-Chair and formerly served as Treasurer and Chair. John de Jongh now serves on the Healthcare Foundation’s marketing and development committee, and Tom Towler also served on the board of the Foundation for nine years.

Furthermore, Sarasota Memorial’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) is responsible for the ongoing review of research conducted at the hospital and protecting the rights of those who volunteer to participate in that research. It is guided by the principles set forth in the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research report, and IRB members are appointed by the President/CEO of Sarasota Memorial. Members include physicians, pharmacists, nurses, community members, legal counsel, and hospital employees. Residents Tom Towler and Barbara Balaban have served as community representatives of the IRB.

To learn more about the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, you may visit www.smh.com.

 

By: David Beliles

If you’re an early riser, especially on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you may have noticed the solitary figure swimming laps in the pool at 7:00 a.m. That would be Barbara Pickrell, new resident of Plymouth Harbor, an interesting new neighbor who you should seek out and meet.

One of the many interesting facts about Barbara is the reason she’s here and how she accomplished getting here. A longtime resident of the Phoenix, Arizona, area, she began having difficulty with the air quality of the region and breathing difficulties began. She searched the internet to find areas of the nation where the quality of the air was better. She discovered that Southwest Florida, the area south of Tampa Bay and down to Fort Myers, enjoyed some of the better air in the nation. That led her to long vacations in Sanibel and Naples, and finally, Sarasota.

Following that major decision to move to Sarasota, Barbara next began research on continuing care communities in the area. She reported that that was the easy part. Plymouth Harbor stood alone as the finest in her opinion.

Born in Amesbury, Massachusetts, Barbara also lived in Boston, Los Angeles, and Paradise Valley, near Phoenix. She and her husband Hank, a successful mortgage broker, had 25 years together before his death in 1999. Barbara found travel the only release from her grief and has visited over 160 countries since Hank’s death. Most of her trips were with bird study groups, since Barbara is an avid “birder.”

Following high school and junior college, Barbara moved to L.A. and completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Cal State, L.A. After more graduate work, she became a psychologist for L.A. County Department of Hospitals and at the Aeton Rehabilitation Center. During the last four years she has also become a Spiritual Director.

Her civic experience is extensive and impressive. While living in the Phoenix area she served on the executive boards of the Arizona Opera and Homeward Bound. She also served on the Foundation for Senior Living board. Currently, she is a chalice bearer and leader of Centered Prayer at her church, All Angels by the Sea, Longboat Key.

Barbara has two stepdaughters, five grandchildren from them, and 11 great grandchildren.

In addition to swimming, Barbara enjoys dancing, adventure travel, and photography. Her apartment looks like an intimate modern art museum, with large, quality pieces lining the walls.

 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

For years, I have fielded questions, addressed concerns, and engaged in debate over the benefits of exercise for an older population. While most questions were great, many were based on myths and even fear. Because of this, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the most common myths of exercise relative to an older population.

Myth: Exercise will make your arthritis worse.
This is not true. Aquatic exercise is one of the best forms of exercise for persons with arthritis, offering a resistance that promotes muscular strength and cardiovascular conditioning. It is gentle, safe, and can be modified to suit the participant. We offer two levels of aquatic exercise every week in the Wellness Center — you do not have to be able to swim and your head stays above water at all times. However, to have a pleasant experience in class, you should feel comfortable in water.

You might also try a recumbent bike or the Nu-Step. These types of equipment are gentle on the joints because they are not full weight-bearing. They are always available in the Wellness Center’s fitness room. We offer equipment orientations Monday through Friday. Call Ext. 377 to schedule yours.

Myth: If you have heart problems, it isn’t safe to exercise.
This is another myth. Most cardiac rehab participants are encouraged to perform cardiovascular exercise seven days a week. With doctor approval, you may engage in many forms of cardiovascular
exercise right in the Wellness Center (i.e. bike, Nu-Step, treadmill, rower, group fitness classes, etc.) — you would just need the appropriate type, intensity, and time.

Myth: If you exercise regularly, you may over-exert yourself and feel tired all day.
Actually, it is just the opposite. Many regular exercisers find they have more energy. This is not surprising. Because of the tremendous conditioning effect of consistent exercise, you are able to do more throughout the day.

Myth: In order to stay injury-free, avoid exercise if you cannot perform them correctly.
There is no easy out here! You can learn to perform the exercises correctly. You are more at risk for injury by not conditioning your body to move by bending, stretching, lifting, pulling, and walking regularly.

Source: Riebe, D., Ehrman, J., Liguori, G., & Magal, M., (Eds.). (2018). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (Tenth Edition). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.