By: Becky Pazkowski

The grief of losing someone near and dear to us is very personal. Comfort may come in a variety of forms. When my mother died at age 73 (way too soon, in my mind), I struggled with doing something meaningful and positive at a time when I wasn’t feeling too positive. Since her illness was very rare, I couldn’t make a donation to support research into it, as there wasn’t really an organization that did that. What I, and others, settled on was a non-profit that she gave to throughout her lifetime. Somehow, through making a donation in her memory to an organization that she was passionate about made sense to me, and it helped me to find some comfort with her death.

Memorial gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation have been a source of comfort to families, knowing that gifts support programs and capital projects for the good of everyone at Plymouth Harbor. In 2016 alone, over 100 memorial gifts were made, totaling more than $14,000. We put these donated dollars to work supporting programs, employee education, training, hardship cases, and many other causes. Just as I had received some comfort knowing that another’s life would be made better as a result of my mother’s death, our hope is that memorial donors find peace and solace knowing the same.

By: Becky Pazkowski

In January, we said goodbye to a longtime friend of Plymouth Harbor, Priscilla Heindel. Priscilla and her husband Dennis moved to Sarasota from Massachusetts in 1988, and into Plymouth Harbor in 1997. They were members of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Sarasota. Dennis passed away in 2006, and in 2011 Priscilla moved to Albuquerque to be closer to family.

Priscilla has been a loyal annual donor to the Foundation, through their Donor Advised Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. We learned of her death in February and subsequently received a gift in memory of the couple. Their daughter, Kathy Kuy, has been very kind in representing Priscilla over the last few years. Priscilla spent her final years at an assisted living residence in Albuquerque. We wish to extend our sympathy to the family of Priscilla and Dennis Heindel, for the loss of their mother, and a kind thank you for the support over the years to make life at Plymouth Harbor the best it can be. We are honored to welcome our newest member to the MacNeil Society.

By: Celia Catlett

Ann Anderson radiates energy and friendliness. As with so many interviews I have conducted with new residents, the session turned into a lively conversation. As we talked, I learned that Ann, after getting her BA in English literature and philosophy from the University of Minnesota (Cum Laude), did not follow the usual job route for these majors. After her marriage to Steven, she worked briefly as a social worker in St. Paul. She told me that her work on aid to women with dependent children was an eye-opener that set her on a path from liberal Unitarian to full-fledged humanitarian. Because she herself is adopted, she welcomed an offer to work with placing children whose mothers were unable to keep them.

But this was just one step in Ann’s multifaceted life. When her children, son Bruce and daughter Liz, were born, she became a full-time mother. Once they were grown, Ann went back to school, gaining her RN (with honors) from the community college in Brazos Port, Texas, near where her husband’s career had taken them. She worked as a nurse for several years, writing a patient manual during her tenure.

The Andersons have bred, trained, and shown Rummer Run Boxers for a number of years. They no longer are able to keep any of them at home. The dogs are now cared for, shown, and bred by the Andersons’ close friends and handlers in Birmingham, Alabama. Ann’s love of the breed is evidenced by membership on the board of the American Boxer Charitable Trust. Her interest in the animal kingdom also extends to the species we see flying past our windows here at Plymouth Harbor. She is a co-founder and current board member of Sarasota’s Save Our Seabirds.

Steven Anderson also took a sharp turn from a BA in history at the University of Minnesota to the medical sales business. He worked with several pacemaker companies over the years. Fascinated by new research at the University of Alabama on freezing harvested heart valves for use in surgery, he wished to promote this breakthrough process that allowed more patients to receive implants and started his own company, CryoLife. Doctors loved the idea, but, as Ann informed me, getting financing was the hardest part. He succeeded, however, and the company flourished and now trades on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Andersons have lived in various places: Minnesota, Wisconsin, St. Petersburg, Florida, Texas, and for about 30 years in Atlanta and part-time in Sarasota—first on Bird Key and then on Longboat, where they became full-time Sarasotans and still own a house. Although only halfway moved in, Ann is eager to participate in and contribute to our community.

By: Becky Pazkowski

In 2015, a Foundation trustee phoned a resident donor to thank her for her gift to the Foundation. During their conversation, the donor mentioned that she didn’t know a lot about the Foundation and thought that it might be nice to have a tea every now and then so that residents can ask questions and learn about the good things the Foundation is doing. Since then, nearly 60 guests have attended one of the Foundation Teas. They are small groups, typically hosted by two Foundation trustees, and held in one of the colony card rooms. If you have not come to a Foundation Tea, and are interested, please call Becky Pazkowski at Ext. 398 and we will be sure to add you to the guest list for the future.

By: Chris Valuck, Wellness Director

Are you finding that tasks such as opening jars, turning doorknobs, using a key or even opening a package are becoming increasingly difficult to perform? Then you may benefit from including the following hand-strengthening exercises into your weekly routine to help improve your grip strength and range of motion.

First, let’s talk about the main types of grips you’ll be enhancing. The crush grip is used when holding or closing your hand around an object. The pinch grip is used to hold an object with just your fingertips or pinching something together (i.e. holding a pen). The support grip uses your finger and thumb muscles, allowing you to hold on to things for a long time, such as a dumbbell in an exercise class. Finally, although not a “grip,” a hand extension works the opposing muscles to the flexors to help maintain muscle balance and stability between the two groups. Using simple pieces of equipment, or none at all, you can improve the strength of these important muscles. There are numerous hand exercises, a few are listed below. Let’s begin with exercises that require no equipment.

Fist to Open Fingers
Make a tight fist, then open your hand fully and spread your fingers. Repeat 3-5 times on each hand.

Open Hand Finger Lift
Place your open hand palm down on a flat surface. Begin lifting each finger up off the surface, one at a time. Then, keeping your palm on the surface, lift all fingers at once. Repeat 3-5 times on each hand.

Thumb and Finger Touch
Hold your open hand in front of you and begin touching your thumb with one finger at a time. When you have touched each finger, go in the reverse order on the same hand. Repeat this 3 times, then perform the exercise on the other hand. For an added challenge, try performing the exercise on both hands at the same time. For variety and challenge, you may choose to use equipment for your exercises, such as a small hand exercise ball, a tennis ball (if possible, cut in half so it will be easier to use), and a simple rubber band.

Rubber Band Hand Extensions
Place the rubber band around your fingers and thumb. Keeping your fingers straight, open your hand by spreading your fingers apart; then allow them to close again. Repeat this exercise for 3-5 times on each hand.

Tennis Ball (or Exer-ball) Crush
Place the ball in the palm of your hand, close your hand, and squeeze (crush) the ball for several seconds, release, and repeat a 3-5 times in each hand.

Ball Pinch
Hold the ball with only your fingertips and thumb. Now pinch the ball, hold a few seconds, and release. Repeat this 3-5 times on each hand. You might also try pinching the ball with one finger and thumb at a time. Complete this exercise on both hands.

Master these exercises, and you will see improved hand strength and flexibility. If you are interested in additional hand strengthening exercises, please contact Chris Valuck at Ext 377.

 

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. Join us to learn about the expanded assisted living and new memory care program, and how it will all come together. This three-part series will answer questions about the floor plan, amenities, dining options, training, programming, and much, much more!

Part Two: A Positive Approach™ to Care with Brandi Burgess, Social Worker
Held on Friday, February 17th at 3:00 p.m. in Pilgrim Hall

Alzheimer’s Disease is a growing concern for all Americans. At Plymouth Harbor, we have adopted the Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) by Teepa Snow. Join us for this encore of the PAC presentation held on January 20th, which will go into much more depth regarding the program, depicting examples of everyday life for residents who will reside in our new Memory Care Residence.

By: Sallie VanArsdale

New residents Darlene and Dick Carroll grew up in Chicago and Pittsburgh, respectively. Upon meeting her big brother’s 1st grade teacher, Dar (short for Darlene) wanted to be a nun. This changed while attending an all-girls high school and being fixed up for every boys school dance. At age eight, Dick wanted to be a doctor and never changed his mind. He graduated from Cleveland’s John Carroll University and won his M.D. at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine in Chicago.

At Loyola, he also won Dar, who was working and taking classes. Married, they moved to Cleveland for Dick’s internship. Dar worked and studied at Case Western Reserve University. The Vietnam War took Dr. Carroll, now a U.S. Army Major, and Mrs. Carroll to Germany for three years. Dick was a Battalion Surgeon working on base in Friedberg, but also went “to the field” as the enlisted men were preparing for war. Dar continued classes in Frankfurt, was assigned President of the Officers’ Wives, and birthed their son, Slate, and daughter, Amber. They also were fortunate to travel extensively, oftentimes camping in or out of their elderly VW Beetle.

After this incredible experience, they moved to Durham, North Carolina, where Dick attended Duke University for his ophthalmology residency. Dar again took classes at UNC. Three years later, Dick continued his training with a fellowship in oculoplastic surgery in Houston. This time, no classes for Dar. She, Slate, and Amber enjoyed the apartment pool and Houston’s museums.

Dick began his private practice in Minneapolis/St. Paul, where he was the first fully-trained oculoplastic surgeon. From 1974 to 2010, he not only had his private practice, but was also a clinical professor at the University of Minnesota. Dar decided finally to focus and got a BS in interior design from the U of M. She opened her own Summit Designs, but eventually gave it up to volunteer. “I did my best work as a volunteer,” she remarked. She then became a docent at the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and after 30 years, is now an Honorary Docent, focusing on the Prairie School Architecture.

The Carrolls chose Siesta Key for frequent visits because their son Slate moved here during college. He lives here with his wife Kellie and daughter Chelsie — the Carrolls’ much-loved, one-and-only grandchild.

How did the Carrolls find Plymouth Harbor? Daughter Amber, who works with seniors in California, located it. Both Dar and Dick liked it immediately. “More amazing, our families agreed with us — not always the case,” said Dick with a smile.

Arts and music are travel motivators for the Carrolls. Dar has also found delving into other cultures, volunteering, and adventure appealing. She has trekked in the Himalayas and climbed Kilimanjaro, while Dick has focused on opera and taken extensive bicycle trips.

The Carrolls have a home and business connections in Minneapolis, so they expect to travel north from time to time.

In the January 2017 issue of Harbor Light, we introduced the Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) clinicals program from Suncoast Technical College (STC) that is partnering with our Smith Care Center. Now, we’d like to introduce STC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, which began working with the SCC at the end of February.

This program, known as the Health Careers Program, is the first step toward a future in nursing for many students. The program works with high school juniors and seniors from schools across the county who are interested in both nursing and overall healthcare.

In their first semester, students learn about the broader spectrum of healthcare; in their second semester, they focus on nursing curriculum. During this time, students perform clinicals for the period of one month at various facilities in the area, including Plymouth Harbor — spending half the day on their school campus and the other half performing clinicals. At the completion of the program, students have the option to take the state CNA Exam. While many choose this option, others decide to further their nursing education and enroll in STC’s LPN program.

According to Clinical Instructor Linda Hart, RN, MSN, STC is the only high school program that offers training in hands-on patient care. Linda joined STC 16 years ago, and throughout the years, she has seen the program grow from three students to over 160. Today, the program has anywhere from nine to 13 students onsite with instructors. In the SCC, students are paired with a CNA, and are able to assist with items such as denture care, hair and nail care, range-of-motion exercises, meal assistance, and more. “It’s a natural fit because many of Plymouth Harbor’s nurses graduated from this program,” Linda says.

Karen Novak, SCC Director of Health Services, adds, “Care is the essence of nursing and the dominant, distinctive, and unifying feature.” She goes on to say that care is taught day-by-day by working with the novice learner. Stepping into a new environment can overwhelm anyone, but the nurses in the SCC help to guide STC’s students through their first experiences in healthcare, giving them permission to ask questions, seek out answers, and learn as much as possible in the process.

“It’s the joy of my life. This program changes our students’ lives,” Linda says. “It gives them confidence and a purpose for learning — what a gift.”

High school sweethearts Tom and Sue Elliott are originally from Toledo, Ohio. Tom graduated from Alma College with a degree in biology, and Sue graduated from the University of Toledo with a degree as a registered medical technologist. After Tom served in the Army in West Germany, the two traveled Europe before returning to the U.S. Upon their return, Sue focused on volunteer work and Tom earned his master’s degree before starting work at Applied Science Associates – where he helped build the company from three employees to over 150 when he retired.

How did he accomplish this growth? And what is the meaning behind the name of their talk?

View their February 2017 Insights presentation to find out:
 

 

In recent months, the Community Involvement section of the Harbor Light has focused on residents’ efforts within the Sarasota community. This month, we hope to highlight the many ways residents give generously of their time within Plymouth Harbor.

Residents devote countless hours to enhancing the lives of their neighbors. While some work in different capacities in the Smith Care Center, others work closely with staff to enhance programming and educational opportunities. Additionally, a major way that residents donate their time is through various positions on our resident committees.

Whether putting talents from a career into practice, or learning new skills, residents have the ability to work on 20 different committees — where leadership is continually looking for new and fresh ideas as well as new members. In fact, according to Addie Hurst, the Residents Association’s Executive Council Liaison to Committees, the annual resident Committee Fair was started for this very reason.

Judy Liersch, who began the fair last year, says her inspiration came from activity fairs she attended back in college. “You were able to get to know people. It was quaint, custom, and introduced you to things you may not have considered.” A committee chair herself, Judy says it’s hard to guess who might be interested in which committee and she wanted a way for people to express their interest.

This year’s Committee Fair was held on February 19th in the Café. A chairperson and representative from each committee was present to share information and help answer questions. Residents were able to give their contact information if they were interested in joining a committee, and in the case that a committee was filled, a resident’s name was placed on a sort of “waiting list.”

What can you do if you’re interested in getting involved, but weren’t able to attend the fair? Two things. First, you can contact Addie Hurst at Ext. 572. The second thing you can do is visit the library, where there is a book entitled “What Goes on at Committee Meetings” that contains minutes from each committee’s meetings. The book is a new addition to the library and will be available in mid-March. “It’s a great way for residents to get a taste or flavor for each committee and decide for themselves if they’d like to get involved,” Addie says.

Residents are encouraged to reach out at any time throughout the year to express interest in a committee, as you never know when an opening will occur. Additionally, beginning this year, committee member and leadership term renewals will occur in December rather than April.