Please CLICK HERE to view a current version of Plymouth Harbor’s COVID-19 visitation policy as it affects our Seaside Assisted Living, Starr Memory Care and Smith Care Center residences.
Please see link below for President Harry Hobson’s latest version of The Splash.
In the doorway of each of the 30 resident rooms in the Starr Memory Care Residences is a large, glass box, commonly called shadow boxes. Within these boxes are all sorts of memorabilia, from newspaper clippings and photos to small glass sculptures and artwork. Each box gives a peak into the life and interests of the resident it belongs to, and is an important way to help those in memory care retain their identity.
Each memory box tells a story, highlighting the things most important to each resident. Bob Johnson’s box contains a few toy model cars, a newspaper clipping, and some other memorabilia from his time as a successful car dealership owner. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Bob joined the U.S. Air Force at age 17. He served for four years before being honorably discharged. After earning a degree in business management and accounting, Bob went on to own three General Motors dealerships and one Ford dealership, all in western New York. During this time, his companies were listed among Black Enterprise Magazine’s “Top 100 Auto Dealers.” After retiring and moving to Sarasota, Bob established a Robert Johnson scholarship fund at Ringling College and Empire State College and has also donated to the Sarasota City Parks Foundation.
It is common practice to have shadow boxes in Memory Care residences as markers for an individual’s room. Often, it is the staff that put these boxes together for the residents, but we invite our residents and their family members to fill them. When the Northwest Garden Building was being designed, “we wanted to expand the concept of these shadow boxes,” said Brandi Burgess, Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care. While front “porches” would not have been a practical use of space or materials, these boxes serve as a way for each resident to have an individualized entry to their abode. The boxes were made bigger and deeper and were illuminated from within to make the contents easier to see.
“They became beacons for each resident room, and are amazing conversation starters between residents, staff, and family members,” Brandi said. Next time you visit a loved one in the Starr Memory Care Residence, take some time to look inside these boxes and learn a little more about the people that live there.
Cheryl Mooney has been an art teacher for thirty years. Time and time again, she has seen the positive, therapeutic impact art can have on people’s lives, no matter their age or stage. “Therapy has always been a part of art for me,” she said, but now that her husband Tim is a resident in the Starr Memory Care Residence, its importance has been heightened.
Art therapy is a form of psychotherapy that encourages self-expression through media such as painting, modeling, drawing, collage, and coloring. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, art can enrich the lives of those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. When practiced in a supportive environment, art allows people to express themselves without fear of being judged. “There is no right or wrong way to make art,” Cheryl said. “The important thing is just making it a part of residents’ routines.”
Art allows residents to express their thoughts and feelings. It can trigger dormant memories and emotions and brings up the most important pieces of someone’s life, whether it’s their favorite childhood pet or a family trip. “Art becomes a form of communication,” Cheryl said. “From someone’s art, you can see what they’re thinking about and what is important to them, creating an opportunity for caregivers to start a meaningful conversation.”
When therapists and caregivers encourage those with dementia to explore their feelings by engaging in the creative process, it enhances the quality of life for not only the resident but also the caregiver. It can aid in managing behavior, processing feelings, and reducing stress for all parties involved. Art therapy provides a way for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s to preserve their sense of self and validates them, regardless of how far their disease has progressed. It shows the person that their story matters to others (www.alzheimers.net).
“Art helps remind them that they can still add beauty to the world for others to enjoy,” Cheryl said. “It does not matter what it looks like because the important part is that they were able to make something themselves.”
Brandi Burgess, Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, echoed Cheryl’s statement and encourages the use of art therapy. “The value of art with dementia is immeasurable,” Brandi said. “Art allows those who are often without a voice to speak and share about their experiences with the world around them,” said Brandi.
Providing opportunities for those with dementia to engage in art is a simple, but incredibly important, way to help. Taking the time to create something with a resident can make all the difference in their lives and shows that it truly is better to give than to receive.
A new Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care has been chosen, and she is no stranger to Plymouth Harbor. Congratulations, Brandi Burgess!
With a degree in Sociology and Psychology from the College of William and Mary, Brandi started working at Plymouth Harbor in 1999 as an activities coordinator. She also helped manage the social services in the Smith Care Center. When the SCC was opened up to the community, Brandi moved into the role of Admissions and Marketing Coordinator and helped Plymouth Harbor earn a reputation for being not only a great retirement community, but also an excellent skilled nursing and rehab center. She worked as Plymouth Harbor’s social worker and the Positive Approach® to Care educator before being asked to step into the role of Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care.
“Over the last five months, Brandi has lead by example and worked effectively with residents, family members, staff, and contractors to help our Seaside Assisted Living and Starr Memory Care Residence complete a successful first full year of operation,” said Joe Devore, Senior Vice President of Health Services.
Now, after completing her Assisted Living Facility regulatory training and earning her license, she officially takes on her role of Administrator of Assisted Living, the Seaside and the Starr Memory Care Residences.
“As we began our search for an Administrator for Assisted Living and Memory Care, we profiled a professional who had all of the credentials required, coupled with the strong organizational, leadership, and interpersonal skills necessary to administer our Positive Approach® to Care philosophy,” said Harry Hobson, CEO. “We identified Brandi early on as THAT person and so much more. We know Brandi’s heart aligns with our Plymouth Harbor mission, and we are so pleased to see Brandi move into this important leadership position.”
“I am grateful for the support of my husband, Warren, who takes such good care of our family while I have taken on more responsibilities here,” Brandi said. “I am proud and blessed to be a part of what I believe will be the premier Assisted Living and Memory Care home in the Southeast.”
Plymouth Harbor’s Seaside Assisted Living Residence represents a middle ground for those residents experiencing some daily physical limitations with which they require assistance. The Starr Memory Care Residence is designed to be a safe and secure environment for residents who require constant assistance due to dementia.
Each area is licensed as Assisted Living under the auspices of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Both areas were designed to maximize residential amenities and incorporate beautiful views of our one-of-a-kind setting. The design subtly helps residents with daily needs, whether it is the barrier-free accessibility of the showers or the strategically placed nightlights that act as gentle nighttime reminders.
The Seaside Residence emphasizes large spaces for activity, dining, socializing, exercising, and other programs. Both floors have balconies located on the southwest corner of the Northwest Garden building. The outdoor space is complemented in Seaside with a beautiful courtyard accessible from the bridge.
The Starr Memory Care Residence’s two neighborhoods, Ringling and Lido, emphasize smaller, more intimate spaces. The coziness of the living room, hearth, and fireplace is complemented by a bright and airy kitchen and dining area. Bright lighting and activities are meant to correspond with one’s circadian rhythm and give a sense of belonging and home. Interiors provide a combination of things that are visually appealing, cognitively engaging, and tactiley interesting. Both neighborhoods have easy access to courtyards that we continue to enhance to improve engagement and comfort.
Finally, the program is fostered by staff called Care Partners who have been provided enhanced training on the Postive Approach™ to Care, a program created by Teepa Snow (go to YouTube.com and search Teepa Snow, Positive Approach™ to Care for some wonderful videos of her approach).
In less than a year in operation we are nearing capacity and continuing to improve the environment and programming. Our Assisted Living Facility–both the Seaside and the Starr Memory Care Residences–has significantly improved Plymouth Harbor’s continuum of services available to residents. If you have questions or comments, please contact Brandi Burgess (Ext. 496) or Bert Adams (Ext. 429) for more information.
You may have heard the term circadian rhythm, but do you know what it means and how it affects us? Circadian rhythm is defined as the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in our environment. It is driven by the body’s biological clock and controls our sleep/wake cycle.
Exposure to natural and artificial light is vital to control our circadian rhythm. Studies show that you need to be exposed to at least 30 minutes of morning light to set your rhythm, followed by a gradual progression of light throughout the day with a natural color pattern.
As we age, we become more at risk for circadian rhythm disorders and vision disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, which affects our eyes’ ability to take in light from our environment. Dementia further affects vision by decreasing depth, motion, and color perception. A brain with dementia takes longer to process the environment, which may lead to visual hallucinations. Maximizing exposure to light and the natural day-to-night progression becomes extremely important.
Our Starr Memory Care Residence was specifically designed to support proper circadian rhythms. Large windows let morning light flood into the neighborhoods, and easily accessible courtyards ensure our residents receive exposure to natural sunlight. Lighting features in the common spaces are on a dimmable program, allowing the inside artificial light to mimic the progression of natural light throughout the day.
Similarly, each neighborhood has a reflection room, a relaxing space that offers aromatherapy, a comfortable massage chair, and a tunable light that changes colors to mimic the natural color pattern associated with the day-to-night light cycle. The cycle starts with bright blue morning light, which increases serotonin levels, and gradually warms and progresses to a warm orange evening tone, which increases melatonin levels. We can manually control this light to support a resident that is having difficulty with his or her sleep/wake cycle.
Most important are the programming features we use to support healthy circadian rhythms in our residents. Our 24-hour cycle notes peak times for physical activity, concentration, and creativity, and we arrange our flexible activity schedule according to this cycle.
There have been many studies over the years about how a disorder in our rhythm affects those with dementia, but the importance of supporting proper circadian rhythms was only formally recognized in 2017. A team of scientists was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for their study indicating that a chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and our rhythm, as dictated by our inner timekeeper, is associated with increased risk of various diseases.
Health Services staff members Joe Devore and Judy Sarnowski teamed up with THW, the design firm for the Northwest Garden, to present at the annual LeadingAge Florida Convention in Orlando this summer. The topic was designing with light to support the circadian rhythm. The focus was the design and programming features of our very own Starr Memory Care Residence.
If you would like to learn more, the presentation from LeadingAge 2018 is available in the Family Conference and Resource Center located on the second floor in the administrative wing of the Northwest Garden.
Throughout history, building design and construction has adapted to reflect design trends, technological advances, and most importantly, to address social needs. For example, take the evolution of the skyscraper in the early 1900s. As more and more Americans flocked to major cities, available real estate became harder to come by. With the addition of new steel framing technology, the concept of the skyscraper became possible — capturing exponential growth within a contained footprint.
Today, builders are focused on reducing a different kind of footprint: our environmental footprint. It may come as no surprise that the “green” movement is becoming more mainstream — however, in most cases, energy-reducing technologies have become a standard requirement in today’s building codes. This is due in part to continually emerging technologies that are not only lowering our impact on the environment, but are also minimizing overall operating costs.
At Plymouth Harbor, residents and employees alike have made conservation efforts a priority in recent years. The same rings true in the construction of our Northwest Garden building, which has incorporated many green elements. Some of these conservation items include:
Our overall building site uses recycled crushed concrete as the base material for pavement; a portion of the new asphalt also uses recycled materials; the landscaping that has been selected is indigenous to Florida (reducing water usage); and demolished concrete and asphalt are diverted to local landfills for recycling. Additionally, building materials, including all concrete, CMU block, and asphalt are produced locally, and any raw materials, are sourced from Florida. The new structural steel is made up of recycled material, and all paints, sealants, and adhesives are low odor and low VOC (volatile organic compounds) — limiting the release of toxic emissions into the air.
Energy conservation in the exterior of the Northwest Garden is mainly exemplified in the form of insulation. The exterior windows are insulated to minimize heat gain from the sun, keeping a cool temperature throughout the building. The same can be said for the roof and exterior wall insulation. You also may have noticed a white material incorporated into the building’s roofing system — this material helps to reflect rather than absorb heat from the sun.
Inside the building, you will find elements such as LED lightbulbs, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and occupancy sensors to control the lighting of appropriate common areas when not in use. In the building’s garage, electric car-charging stations are available. The exact number and locations are being determined.
Furthermore, non-residential HVAC units are controlled by a building automation system. This is connected to the campus energy system rather than adding remote equipment, which would require additional power. An Energy Recovery Ventilation (ERV) system is also being used, which exchanges the energy contained in normally exhausted building air and uses it to treat (or precondition) the incoming outdoor ventilation air in an HVAC system.
While this is certainly not a complete list of each and every green element used in the construction of our new Northwest Garden, we hope it provides a look into its sustainable design. We look forward to sharing many of these elements with you in person as we continue to approach our Grand Opening in November.
The Bernard and Mildred Doyle Charitable Trust has made a $30,000 grant to A Commitment to Memory Campaign to support a premier lecture series that will be named The Doyle Trust Lectures. These lectures will be delivered by local, national, and international experts on the latest research, treatments, and caregiving techniques in the industry. We believe it is critical to bring hope to our residents, families, and the community that there are experts working to better understand, treat, and perhaps cure the diseases that result in dementia.
The grant will make it possible for us to host one expert lecturer annually, who would speak to several audiences over a two-day period. The Doyle Trust Lectures will be open to professional caregivers and staff at Plymouth Harbor, board members, residents and families at Plymouth Harbor, Harbor Club members, and the community of Sarasota.
We are very grateful to the Bernard and Mildred Doyle Charitable Trust Selection Committee for this generous support.
We are very happy to announce that residents Margo and Chris Light have made a gift to support the music concert series in the new Memory Care Residence. The musical concerts will be given by professional musicians four times per year, twice in the fall and twice in the winter, during high season in Sarasota.
The concerts will take place in the dining rooms of the two Memory Care residences and will include both neighborhoods. These concerts will be an opportunity to invite family members and friends to attend. Hors d’oeuvres will be offered for the guests, making it possible for families to have a pleasant social interaction with their loved ones in a safe and festive environment. The concert series will be named the Light Concert Series.
Please join us in thanking the Lights for their support!