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.

 

As the campaign for A Commitment to Memory advances, we are delighted to welcome new donors who have opted to participate: our business partners. It is truly a pleasure to experience the generosity of the organizations we partner with on new construction, renovations, and technology.

Willis Smith Construction has made a pledge of $50,000 towards our campaign. We are happy to recognize their commitment by placing their name on the new Private Dining Room that will be adjacent to the Assisted Living Dining Room. “Our residents and employees see Willis Smith representatives as part of the Plymouth Harbor team,” commented President/CEO Harry Hobson. “It is with great pleasure that we welcome Willis Smith as a prominent member of our philanthropic efforts, especially for this important and long-awaited project.”

The Loyola Group, who has been responsible for building our technology infrastructure to accommodate all of our new IT efforts, such as campus-wide WiFi, the telephone system, nurse call system, and much more, has pledged $25,000 to the campaign. Their gift will be recognized by placing their name on the Family Conference Room and Resource Center on the second floor. Dan Cavolo, President of the Loyola Group, shared that it was very important to him to be part of this campaign, supporting not only the new building, but Plymouth Harbor’s overall mission.

Energy Air, Inc., the supplier of our HVAC in the Northwest Garden Building, Pilgrim Hall, and other projects throughout Plymouth Harbor, has committed to a $5,000 gift toward the project. Charles Kulp, Founder of Energy Air, thanked us for the time and effort we have put into this project.

As of this writing, the campaign total is at $2,949,095 (or 98%) of our $3,000,000 goal. We are delighted to welcome all of our participants and hope that more are inspired to give as we grow closer and closer to our goal. Every gift makes a difference, and every donor is sincerely appreciated and will be recognized on the donor wall. We have reached out to more of our consistent business partners and hope to be able to announce more support soon! Please join me in thanking and welcoming those at Willis Smith Construction, The Loyola Group, and Energy Air to our list of 106 donors!

 
 

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.

 

Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce Marty Martel as our new Director of Maintenance. Marty joined the Plymouth Harbor team in July 2017.

In his role as Director of Maintenance, Marty is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of Plymouth Harbor’s infrastructure, including the repair of all building functions, grounds, equipment and appliances; implementing an ongoing facility preventive maintenance program; supporting the remodeling/upgrade program; and supporting capital projects.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Marty served as Director of Engineering for Brookdale Senior Living in Sarasota. There, he was responsible for overseeing maintenance of the entire community; managing its team of technicians; maintaining building-maintenance budgets; and establishing maintenance contracts, policies, safety programs, and training.

Before that, Marty spent nearly 14 years at Post Properties, a developer and operator of multifamily communities. He served as Area Lead Engineer in their Tampa office before moving to Washington, D.C. in 2005 to serve as their Director of Property Services Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Region, where he managed 10 residential communities in Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, and New York. Marty also served as Maintenance Supervisor and Maintenance Technician at two additional companies in Tampa, and attended Northern Virginia Community College in Manassas, Virginia.

In addition to his maintenance expertise, Marty served in the U.S. Army from 1987 until 1996. He spent seven years in Germany, five of which were spent patrolling the borders between East and West Germany. He experienced first-hand the end of the Cold War and the destruction of the Berlin Wall. Marty was also deployed during Desert Storm, and was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for Valor during this conflict.

Plymouth Harbor is excited to have Marty on board, and we look forward to the continued enhancement of our maintenance program.

 

Picture1Please join us in thanking Dee and Jim Gaylord, who have generously established a $2,000 nursing education scholarship.

The scholarship will be funded and awarded annually, beginning in 2018, to employees or children of employees seeking post-secondary degrees, certifications, or specialty training in the field of nursing, specifically Certified Nurse Assistant, Licensed Practical Nurse, Registered Nurse, or a post-secondary or graduate degree in nursing. Applicants must have been employed for at least 12 months prior to application.

 
 

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.