By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

Many residents enjoy outdoor activity year-round. Whether it’s walking to the circle or over the bridge, strolling the campus or playing bocce, exercising safely and using precautions while in the Florida sun is crucial. Overexposure to the sun and heat put everyone at risk for hyperthermia, but according to the National Institutes of Health, it is particularly dangerous for an older population.

Hyperthermia is an abnormally high body temperature and includes all of the following:

-Heat Syncope — a sudden dizziness during activity in hot weather. Note: If you take a beta-blocker heart medication, you are even more likely to feel faint.
-Heat Cramps — a painful tightening of muscles in your stomach, arms, or legs. The body temperature and pulse usually stay normal during heat cramps; your skin may feel moist and cool.
-Heat Edema — a swelling in your ankles and feet when you get hot.
-Heat Exhaustion — a warning that your body can no longer keep itself cool. You might feel thirsty, dizzy, weak, uncoordinated, and nauseated. You may sweat a lot. Your body temperature may stay normal, but your skin may feel cold and clammy. Some people with heat exhaustion have a rapid pulse. Untreated, heat exhaustion can progress to life-threatening heat stroke.
-Heat Stroke — an EMERGENCY requiring medical help immediately. Signs of heat stroke include: fainting or becoming unconscious; behavior change – confusion, agitation, staggering, being grouchy; body temperature over 104°F (40°C); Dry, flushed skin and a strong, rapid pulse or a slow, weak pulse; not sweating (even if it is hot outside).

According to the National Institute on Aging, most people who die from hyperthermia are over 50 years old. Health problems that put this population at greater risk include:

-Heart or blood vessel problems
-Poorly working sweat glands or changes in your skin caused by normal aging
-Heart, lung, or kidney disease, and any illness that makes you feel weak or results in a fever
-Conditions treated by drugs, such as diuretics, sedatives, tranquilizers, and some heart and high blood pressure medicines. They may make it harder for your body to cool itself.
-Prescription drugs; ask your doctor if any may make you more likely to become overheated
-Being very overweight or underweight
-Drinking alcoholic beverages

Reduce your risk! If you prefer the outdoors for exercise, consider ways to reduce your risk for a heat-related illness. Check the weather before you go out — not only current air temperature, but also humidity and UV ray levels are easily obtainable on your cell phone or on the web. Make sure you are hydrated before you go out; stay hydrated by carrying a water bottle with you. Keep yourself cool in lightweight, loose-fitting clothing, and do not forget a hat. Do not exercise, garden, or even lie by the pool during the hottest time of day (10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.). Your best location when it really heats up? The Wellness Center! Temperature-controlled to 72 degrees year-round, and you can’t beat the view.

Source: Calvin, Kim. “Advice for older people on staying safe in hot weather.” National Institute on Aging. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 11 July 2016. Web. 16 May 2017.

 

Since 1990, the American Nurses Association (ANA) has celebrated National Nurses Week from May 6th through May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale – the founder of modern nursing. This annual event recognizes and celebrates the hard work and dedication exhibited each and every day by nurses across the country.

Additionally, National Nursing Home Week is celebrated annually, beginning May 14th and ending May 20th. Established by the American Health Care Association in 1967, and always beginning on Mother’s Day, National Nursing Home Week provides an opportunity for residents and their loved ones, staff, volunteers, and surrounding communities to recognize the role of skilled nursing care centers in caring for seniors. This year, Plymouth Harbor celebrated both annual events during the week of May 15th through May 19th.

Our campus-wide celebration honored our Home Care, Assisted Living, and Skilled Nursing staff, offering a small event each day, including: “Sundae” Monday, OJ and bagels on Tuesday, Staff Bingo on Wednesday, Taco and Potato Bar on Thursday, and the Blessing of the Hands on Friday.

Held in the Smith Care Center, the Blessing of the Hands offers a simple blessing to our caretakers through a cleansing with myrrh water. Aides, nurses, housekeepers, dining staff, residents, and administration alike are invited to attend, where we acknowledge the role each plays in caring for our residents. The following is said to each participant during the ceremony, “May the work of your hands bring comfort, dignity, and mercy to all the people your hands touch.”

We are truly thankful for the work of our healthcare team and for all those who care for our residents here at Plymouth Harbor.

By: Lorna Hard

Love of water, boats, and sailing are at the center of Bruce Donaldson’s life and always have been. During his childhood in Detroit, he spent a lot of time with his grandparents at their home on the St. Clair River. His first experience of a boat was their row boat. As a very young child, he spent as much time as possible in that boat, trying to make it a sailboat by holding a beach umbrella up to catch the wind. He would go as far upstream as possible behind the umbrella and then close it and float back downstream to the house.

When he was eight he decided to build himself a proper sailboat. This was the first boat he designed, a catboat made from a four-foot by eight-foot piece of plywood and white pine boards. The mast and boom were bamboo and the sail was made from an old sheet. This greatly expanded the range of his sailing on the St. Clair River.

Bruce attended local schools and then enrolled at Olivet College in Michigan. After one year at Olivet, he moved to Florida and spent the next year racing sailing yachts in the waters around Florida and beyond to earn enough money to finance the rest of his college career. He then put himself through Florida State University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Except for two years of service in the United States Army in the mid-1950s, Bruce’s entire career was in the boating industry. Through perseverance and a couple of lucky coincidences, he joined Chris Craft Corporation when they moved their headquarters to Fort Lauderdale. He continued with Chris Craft for more than thirty years, working in sales, plant management, the development of products, and corporate management, ending up as president of the company. Most of his career with Chris Craft was in Fort Lauderdale, but he also spent five years at the Chris Craft plant in Holland, Michigan. When the corporate headquarters moved to Sarasota, Bruce settled here. When Chris Craft was sold, Bruce joined Wellcraft Marine where he worked for nine years. He ended his career with Galati Marine, where he worked for eighteen years. The first few years in Sarasota, Bruce lived on Longboat Key and then moved to St. Armands Key where he lived for more than twenty years before moving to Plymouth Harbor at the end of March.

While he was living in Fort Lauderdale Bruce met and married his wife, Judy. When they married, Judy’s son, Tim, was eight years old. Bruce and Judy raised Tim together, and Bruce and Tim are very close. Even though Tim lives in Colorado, he came to Sarasota several times to help Bruce with his move to Plymouth Harbor, and they very much enjoy their time together. Sadly, Judy passed away in 2006.

Bruce considers himself extremely fortunate to have been able to make his living doing what he loves most. Especially, his corporate career entailed long hours working and not a lot of free time, but he enjoyed it all and Judy was very supportive. Bruce is glad to have moved to Plymouth Harbor, but when he moved into Apartment W-302 in March, something was missing. That apartment does not have a water view. So, he put himself on the waiting list for an apartment overlooking the Bay and began happily settling into life at Plymouth Harbor. By early May, Apartment W-315 across the West Garden on the water side became available. Bruce will be happily living there by the time this is published.

He considers Plymouth Harbor his “Last Port of Call” and, with that move he will be snugged down in the “perfect slip” with a lovely view of the water.

 

By: Isabel Pedersen

Aase Eriksen and Frederik Bredahl-Petersen’s names just begin to hint at the complexity of their lives.

Frederik was born in Denmark of an American mother. Growing up there, he started his long educational journey in Denmark, finishing with graduate degrees from Princeton University and the University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He is an American citizen as well as a Danish one. Aase, too, has dual citizenships.

Aase (say Osa) was born in Denmark of a Norwegian family. After studying architecture in Denmark, she continued with her master’s degree and Ph.D. at the University of Pennsylvania. Aase founded her own firm, designing many buildings in many countries. While serving as professor of architecture, shuttling between the University of Pennsylvania and Norway’s Trondheim University, she produced copious research. She did not really live on the airplane but it must have felt as if she did.

Frederik, an anthropologist and author, investigated other cultures, specializing in the North Atlantic Region. His professorship was at Temple University, blessedly, in Philadelphia, where the University of Pennsylvania is located.

These two have many stories to tell. Ask them. You will enjoy their tales.

 

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.

 

A. Rothman Institute, 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. He says, “These pressures have led to a broad conclusion by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and the industry as a whole, that the system must change from the current fee-for-service payment model to a ‘value-based’ reimbursement model.”
 
Early efforts to address this issue have had inconsistent results in terms of both quality and cost measurements. Common to these approaches, and any others likely to be proposed, is that they are patient-centered and thus require a means to accurately measure and follow a patient’s overall condition at any level of care, from the acute care hospital through skilled nursing, home health care, and assisted and independent living organizations.
 
The Rothman Index
The Rothman Index is an acuity metric developed at Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The Index uses data empirically, associated with severity of illness, and automatically computed, using data routinely entered in the electronic medical record — including nursing assessments, Braden Scale score, cardiac rhythm, vital signs, blood oxygen level, and lab test results.
 
The Rothman Index has been validated with over 30 peer-reviewed articles and is used in over 60 hospitals nationwide, including Methodist Houston, the Yale New Haven Health System, and the University of Florida Hospitals. Preliminary studies in skilled nursing facilities appear to support its accuracy outside the hospital.

Plymouth Harbor’s Involvement
It has been speculated that a functionally equivalent index of acuity can be constructed for those persons living independently. Therefore, the Florence A. Rothman Institute is exploring a trial study whereby patients conduct their own medical self-assessments by answering a series of questions.

In April 2017, Dr. Finlay formally invited our independent living residents to participate in the study, working collaboratively with The Rothman Index and Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The study officially began on May 9, 2017, with 43 Plymouth Harbor participants.
 
About the Study
The study consists of 43 independent living volunteers who will answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to 14 questions about possible symptoms pertaining to their own body systems. Then, the same volunteers will have a Registered Nurse independently perform a “standard” head-to-toe nursing assessment for comparison. This assessment will be repeated on a second occasion separated by more than 24 hours.

This study is funded by the Florence A. Rothman Institute (www.farinstitute.org) under the auspices of the Institutional Review Board of Sarasota Memorial Healthcare System.

We hope to have results to share from this study in the coming weeks.

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

 
 

Resident Sue Johnson discusses growing up in Brooklyn, becoming one of the first female superintendents in the country, and her marriage to a “Georgia Boy.”

View her May 2017 Insights presentation here: