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.

Located in the East Garden Garage, the Resident Fund Shop is Plymouth Harbor’s own internal thrift store, sustained by resident and staff donations, where you can find almost anything at “ridiculously low prices,” said Barbara Kelly, chair of the Resident Fund Shop Committee. Shoppers can find anything from glassware to appliances to designer clothing by brands such as Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein.

“It’s like any good thrift store; you have to come in often to see what there is, and sometimes you get lucky,” Barbara said.

New donations are dropped off almost every day at the front door of the Shop. Most of what is donated is kept to be sold, and any discarded items are donated to local stores such as Goodwill, Resurrection House, and the Salvation Army. They also gift items to Plymouth Harbor departments if something arrives that would be especially useful.

The past year has been extremely profitable, mainly due to the turning over of so many apartments after the Northwest Garden Building opened. Furniture makes up about 25% of the income and is sold through an auction process.

The proceeds are used to support a variety of projects around Plymouth Harbor. Most notably, the Fund Shop has donated $30,000 to the construction of Pilgrim Hall, helped reconstruct the kayak shed, funded the Library, donated to the scholarship fund, and helped a staff member’s family who lost their home in a fire.

“One of our values is supporting the staff and helping in any way that we can,” said Connie Sanders, the previous head of the committee.

Residents often come to browse and mingle, but the Fund Shop’s customers are predominately staff. “We have lots of regulars,” Barbara said. Over time, the Resident Fund Shop Committee has learned who likes what and will often call a staff member if something they might like shows up.

The committee, which is part of the Residents Association, consists of 14 members, some of whom have worked at the Fund Shop for 15 years. Most members work three-hour shifts, and there are also some volunteers from outside the committee who come in to help. After being in business for over 50 years, it has become a well-oiled machine. “It’s just a matter of keeping the Shop in order and moving things along, but we also do a lot of laughing,” Barbara said. “Having fun is at the top of our list.”

The Fund Shop is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. and Fridays from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Donations are always welcome!

An avid and adventurous reader, Susan Eckert will be bringing her great love for books with her as this year’s new coordinator of the Plymouth Harbor Book Club. When Charleen Sessions, the previous coordinator, retired from the position, Susan volunteered herself for the job in hopes of inspiring others to find the same joys in reading, learning, and conversing as she has.

Plymouth Harbor’s Book Club is “resident inspired and resident led,” Susan said. For about one hour on the first Friday of each month from October to May, a resident gives a presentation on a book of their choosing and leads a discussion. Occasionally, the presenters also bring guests or props; past presentations have featured exercise equipment, rowing coaches, and even livestock. “The books we use span a wide variety of topics, and our presenters bring great knowledge and wisdom to the discussions,” Susan said. “I am indebted to them for all of the time and energy it takes to prepare.”

Susan made a conscious decision to recruit new presenters who will bring fresh perspectives and voices to the discussions. Some presenters are new residents, others are familiar faces, but all have an inspiring or intriguing book they want to share.

Getting your hands on the books is easy. You can go to the Plymouth Harbor Library, a Sarasota County Library, or even ask Maryanne Shorin in Resident Programming to order you an individual copy and put it on your tab. The Library of Congress also offers the National Library Service (NLS) for the visually impaired through which they will send you a “talking book” at no cost along with a user-friendly listening device. Maryanne Shorin (Ext. 252) can help you access this service if you are interested.

This year, Susan has compiled the list of books to be discussed in advance. She hopes this will encourage more people to read the books ahead of time, although you do not have to read the book in order to attend. “You can come having read the book, or you can come without having read it and walk away inspired to, or you can just look at the list,” Susan said. “There is value in all levels of involvement.”

Plymouth Harbor Book Club Programming:

October 5 – The Undertaking: Life Studies From the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch, presented by Sue Elliott

November 2 – She’s Not There – A Life In Two Genders by Jennifer Boylan, presented by Marcella Schuyler

December 7 – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, presented by Margo Light

January 4 – The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed, presented by Sallie VanArsdale

February 1 – Margery Stoneman Douglas: Voice of the River by Margery Stoneman Douglas, presented by Tom Bulthuis

March 1 – The Wind In My Hair: My Fight For Freedom In Modern Iran by Masih Alinejad, presented by Catha Abrahams

April 5 – Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf, presented by Marita Marsh

May 3 – Circe by Madeline Miller, presented by Sue Johnson

2018 brought a new Director of Wellness to Plymouth Harbor and continued growth and outreach of the Wellness department. One outreach in particular that has been gaining a lot of momentum is the implementation of weekly exercise classes in the Seaside Assisted Living and Starr Memory Care residences. Plymouth Harbor’s health & fitness specialist Elizabeth Goldsmith has developed two key classes aimed at encouraging residents to move more – both their bodies and their brains!

“Morning Warmup” is held in the Starr Memory Care Lido Neighborhood on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for 15 minutes. Memory Care residents can join Elizabeth for a class that incorporates gentle range of motion exercises and light aerobic activity followed by relaxing stretches. This class is held in the Life Enrichment Center which allows for an atmosphere that reduces overstimulation and outside distractions. The class helps provide movement to all joints and muscles in a soothing manner.

“Body Moves” is a 30 minute class held in the Assisted Living Activity Center on Tuesdays and Thursdays. This class incorporates gentle range of motion movements, light aerobic activity, muscular strength and endurance, coordination, and flexibility. A variety of easy-to-use equipment is provided. “Body Moves” is appropriate for any resident who would like a supportive, soothing, and safe environment for exercise.

In addition to these classes, two new SciFit StepOneTM exercise machines were installed in the Activity Center. These machines specifically target the aging adult by providing a smooth, total-body functional movement featuring low starting resistance, direct wheelchair access, adjustable arm length and handle angle, and customizable programs to help users reach their activity goals. Having these strategically placed in the Activity Center gives residents the ability to exercise right in their own neighborhood.

Regular exercise has been proven to help slow the progression of some dementia related disease and help individuals improve mobility, relieve stiff muscles and joints, and maintain much of their independence. Creating accessible programming allows more of our residents to benefit from all that the wellness program has to offer, and ensures they are able to age in a healthy, active, and safe manner.

Residents John and Alida DeJongh share insights from their childhood, journey to the United States, career, and family life. World travelers, ask them each their favorite place to visit. You might be surprised… Or, watch the video!

View their April 2018 Insights presentation here: