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.

 

On Monday, April 3rd, the Residents Association Executive Council held its annual meeting in Pilgrim Hall. Over 200 residents attended the meeting, which covered a number of pertinent issues.

Most notably, the association voted to change their by-laws so that the fiscal year of the Residents Association now aligns with the calendar year of the Plymouth Harbor Corporation — operating from January to January, rather than April to April as done since its founding. The Executive Council and Board of Directors reviewed this proposed resolution and unanimously voted to approve it.

Residents were also given a copy of the resolution in early March. To accomplish this transition, all currently serving officers, directors, and committee chairs will extend their terms for the interim period, which will last until the 2018 annual meeting on January 8, 2018.

Other important items discussed include Rev. Dick Sparrow accepting the position as our permanent Chaplain, rather than interim; a resident portal, accessible by computer, will be available later this year; and a new resource has been added to the library, which provides an inside look into the inner workings of each resident committee.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Duncan Finlay, Chair of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees, spoke to the range of expertise and the enthusiasm that the trustees bring to the oversight of the plans and activities of Plymouth Harbor. Congratulations to all on another successful year for the Residents Association!

 
 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

We have all heard the benefits of exercise either from our doctors or in literature. Usually it is in reference to aerobic exercise, such as walking or biking, because of its cardiovascular-enhancing benefit as well as its ability to decrease risk for disease and increase weight loss. It is the go-to prescription for health enhancement at any age.

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society concluded that weekly resistance training sessions not only resulted in strength gains but also significant improvements in cognitive function in older adults who presented with mild cognitive impairment. 1

Simply put, resistance-training exercises are proving to be a powerful tool for enhancing brain function as well as resulting in stronger bones and muscles.

This is not the first study to show the cognitive benefits of exercise. However, this particular study differs in that the researchers set out to determine if the cognitive improvements were a result of enhanced cardiovascular capacity or enhanced muscular strength. Participants performed 2-3 strength training sessions per week along with aerobic exercise and were regularly tested on cognitive ability. At the end of the study, only the persons with enhanced strength gains were associated with improvements in cognition. This illustrates that maintaining/improving muscle strength contributes to brain health as well.

If you are interested in reading this complete study and learning the mechanisms for these gains, please see the reference below:

1) Mavros Y, Gates N, Wilson GC, et al. Mediation of Cognitive Function Improvements by Strength Gains After Resistance Training in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Outcomes of the Study of Mental and Resistance Training. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 2016.

 

Each year on Earth Day, various events are held across the globe to demonstrate support for environmental protection. At Plymouth Harbor, Earth Day, held last month on April 21st, is a campus-wide celebration of conservation efforts and a reminder to strive to do more each year.

Hosted by the Conservation Committee, the event continues to grow in size and creativity each year, offering vendor stations, giveaways, trivia, informational videos, prizes, and this year, a local produce vendor, Central Market, and a special interactive art installation. As with years past, the Conservation Committee also provided information on Plymouth Harbor’s recycling, water, and electricity conservation efforts.

The art installation (pictured above, right) used materials collected from the Resident Fund Shop and depicted a “love scene gone wrong.” Residents and visitors had the opportunity to vote on what happened, coming up with fun and far-reaching explanations.

Other noteworthy additions this year include a local produce vendor, the offering of Publix reusable shopping bags, and a fashion show and exhibit by the Fund Shop. Additionally, there was increased involvement from resident artists, displaying environmentally-friendly works of art across the room, with a special display from Smith Care Center residents. Visitors had the opportunity to vote on their favorite work of art, with the interactive art installation receiving the No. 1 spot. Winners of the trivia challenge included Susan Mauntel in first place and Alida de Jongh as runner-up. We look forward to next year’s event!
 
 

PLYMOUTH HARBOR’S ANNUAL EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
Friday, April 21st from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the Club Room.

The Conservation Committee invites all residents to its annual Earth Day Celebration. We will provide refreshments and, most importantly, interactive, informative, and fun activities! There will be giveaways, trivia, videos, prizes, and, using recycled items from the Fund Shop, there will be a special interactive art installation!

THE HISTORY BEHIND EARTH DAY
Celebrated each year on April 22nd, Earth Day is a global holiday that serves as a day of education about environmental issues. The brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), and inspired by the student anti-Vietnam War protests of the late 1960s, Earth Day was aimed at creating a mass environmental movement.

On April 22, 1970, Senator Nelson launched a “national teach-in on the environment” at universities across the United States. By raising public awareness of pollution, he hoped to bring environmental issues into the national spotlight. An estimated 20 million Americans took to streets, auditoriums, and parks to protest for a healthy, sustainable environment. Thousands of colleges and universities also organized protests, and groups that were fighting oil spills, polluting factories, and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife realized they shared common values.

The first Earth Day accomplished a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city dwellers and farmers, tycoons and laborers. At the end of the year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency was formed and the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts were passed. By 1990, Earth Day was recognized worldwide.

HOW PLYMOUTH HARBOR IS MAKING A DIFFERNCE
With the establishment of the Conservation Committee, Plymouth Harbor does its part to contribute to the green movement. The committee promotes conservation of resources within Plymouth Harbor, including recycling, water, and electricity usage (which is tracked and reported regularly), as well as other appropriate conservation measures. The new collection bins on the Ground Floor of the Tower further promote this goal by encouraging donation and re-use of household items. In addition, the committee researches and makes recommendations on how Plymouth Harbor can become more environmentally conscious.

 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

Physical activity is a broad term. It refers to movement of the body by using the skeletal muscles that subsequently results in a caloric expenditure that is greater than your resting expenditure. Whether going from sitting to standing, walking, running, lifting, or carrying, all of these activities are considered physical activity. These activities are also referred to as activities of daily living.

Exercise, on the other hand, is a more structured, planned form of physical activity. Examples of exercise might include the following: scheduling ahead of time to go to the Wellness Center and walk on the treadmill for 15 minutes each day, or planning to take the Sit Fit class three times per week.

A person who regularly exercises is likely to be more “physically fit.” This means they are not only able to perform daily tasks with minimal fatigue, but they still have the energy to enjoy other leisure activities, such as socializing and dining with friends and family, or attending an evening event in downtown Sarasota. This type of health-related physical fitness is evident by improved cardiovascular and muscular endurance as well as improved balance and flexibility that enables a person to move with less effort and minimal, if any, assistance.

While all physical activity is beneficial and encouraged for maintaining health, structured exercise will not only maintain, but will help improve your physical fitness so that you may enjoy each day to the fullest.

Source: American College of Sports Medicine. Health-Related and Skill-Related Components of Physical Fitness. 10th ed., Philadelphia, PA, Wolters Kluwer.

 

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.

 

Brain training is thought to go a long way in slowing the aging process. What exactly is brain training? Essentially, it means incorporating mental exercises that focus on the brain’s neuroplasticity (or ability to change and adapt) in your daily lifestyle. A new concept in neuroplasticity is being seen in combining physical and mental exercises to ultimately strengthen brain power over time.

We are able to increase our brain’s neuroplasticity at any time, simply by engaging in new activities and learning new skills. This new concept takes it one step further, combining our physical and mental exercises all at once.

For instance, working on a mind game such as Sudoku helps exercise the brain’s mathematical functions. However, research suggests that long-term benefits in the brain occur when there are multiple movements (Biscontini 2016). So, while you finish your game of Sudoku, consider performing a seated march in place. Another good example is trying to solve a moderately-complex math problem (without any paper) while exercising or walking. If you stop to let yourself think, you’ll notice that it becomes much easier and more comfortable to concentrate. However, this interferes with neuroplasticity training. The key is that any additional movement while performing a mental task is beneficial, no matter how big or small.

The separate benefits of physical and mental exercise on long-term brain health have been well-established. Over the years, we’ve learned more and more that mental stimulation (like crossword puzzles), aerobic exercise, and an active social life altogether contribute to an active brain. By combining neuroplasticity training with physical movement, studies show we can strengthen,
improve, and even change certain regions in the brain (Reynolds 2009). This is because you are training your brain to function in new and different ways while operating simultaneously with your body’s needs.

There are many ways to combine mental and physical exercise in brain training. Understand tasks your mind can accomplish while your body is in motion, and take control of your brain training.

Sources:
Biscontini, L. (2016, March). Fight Aging With Brain Training. Retrieved January 26, 2017, http://www.ideafit.com/fitness-library/fight-aging-with-brain-training

Reynolds, G. (2009, September 15). Phys Ed: What Sort of Exercise Can Make You Smarter? Retrieved January 26, 2017. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/what-sort-of-exercise-can-make-you-smarter/

picture2-9Originally from Peru, Lucy Guzman came to the United States in 2008. In Peru, Lucy was both a nurse technician and massage therapist; however, her credentials did not transfer along with her move.

“I came here with a lot of dreams and goals to reach,” Lucy says of her move to the U.S. Once here, Lucy set to work, not only to learn how to speak English, but also to earn her certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant. In November 2010, she joined the Smith Care Center (SCC) team as a full-time staff member and has been here ever since.

Lucy moved to Sarasota with the youngest of her two sons, while her oldest still lives in Peru with his family. She always intended to go back to school to receive her license as a massage therapist in the U.S., and in 2014, with the help of a scholarship from the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, she did. On February 20, 2015, Lucy graduated from the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy, and eight days later, she passed her Boards to become a Licensed Massage Therapist. She accomplished all of this while still working full-time in SCC.

Today, Lucy continues her work here as a CNA, works part-time as a Massage Therapist, and also has a massage studio at her home. The Wellness Center offers complimentary chair massages each week, and Lucy is one of two massage therapists, onsite on Wednesdays from 9:30-11:30 a.m.

One of massage therapy’s obvious benefits is relaxation, but it also offers improved range of motion, flexibility and circulation, and decreased stress and anxiety. Lucy adds that her background in nursing helps her a great deal in the field of massage, knowing the ins and outs of the nervous system and the different muscle groups, and using that knowledge to maximize both the experience and health benefit for her clients.

“Lucky me,” Lucy says. “I have a job that I love and I have massage — something else I get to do because I love it, and I love helping people.”

To learn more, stop by the Wellness Center on Wednesday mornings, or find Lucy’s information in the Wellness Center’s Preferred Professionals Brochure.

 

picture1-9The phrase coined for our 50th anniversary stated, Plymouth Harbor celebrates our past and envisions our future.

January 15, 2017, will mark Plymouth Harbor’s 51st year — as we look back, we thank our founder, The Rev. Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, and our many supporters: employees, residents, their families, board members, donors, and members of the community. We also look to the future, seeking ways to innovate and improve for both current and future residents, who we hope will enjoy Plymouth Harbor for more than 50 years to come.

The future is bright for Plymouth Harbor, located in beautiful Sarasota, which has been consistently ranked as one of the top places to live, work, and retire (No. 1 on Gallup-Healthways 2015 Well-Being Index; No. 14 on U.S. News and World Report’s ‘Best City To Live In 2016;’ and No. 2 on Livability’s 2015 Top 10 Places to Retire, to name a few).

A new attribute for Sarasota is that of  “one of the best ‘small cities’ in the U.S.,” on Condé Nast Traveler’s 2016 list. This list features the top 15 small cities around the U.S. as voted by more than 100,000 readers, highlighting cities that may be scaled down in size, but still offer big-city entertainment and activities.

Plymouth Harbor itself stands as a “small city” — a close-knit community focused on the best in daily living, dining, wellness, and care for our residents. When we look to the future, we realize the definition of “the best” will certainly change over time.

 According to a recent survey by Mather LifeWays Institute on Aging, emerging trends in our industry point to items like increased use of technology to help sustain independent lifestyles; the expansion of services “beyond” the walls of the organization; and the biggest trend seen across the U.S.— an increased emphasis on choice and value. Older adults want more choices, more control, a redefinition of what community means, and convenience both inside and outside of the community.

Whatever the future holds, Plymouth Harbor is committed to evolving and revolutionizing care for our residents in the years ahead.