picture2Making the jump from a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a great accomplishment. It takes hard work and dedication, and is truly something to be proud of.

Over the years, several Plymouth Harbor employees, in both our Home Care and Smith Care Center departments, have made this transition while working here. We would like to recognize these individuals below, and have also included a few comments from these dedicated employees.

Smith Care Center

Danny Bushman, LPN 2016

Nancy Chan, LPN 2016

Many Flores, LPN 2004

Tara Mitchell, LPN 2010

Home Care 

Bridget Chapman, LPN 2009

Haley Coles, LPN 2015

“My love for helping people is what made me decide to go into nursing. Working at Plymouth Harbor has overall been a good experience, and I am thankful for the opportunity to grow.” —Haley Coles

“I decided to go into nursing because I feel that caring for others is especially rewarding. What I enjoy most about working here at Plymouth Harbor is making my residents smile.” —Danny Bushman


capture1Three months, 9,000 miles, 10 states, and numerous cities across the U.S. — that’s how Susan Mauntel and longhaired dachshund Moki spent their summer. Her secret to keeping calm throughout her travels? “Knowing that God is in control, and using my iPhone GPS!”

“My theory is that you should go somewhere you’ve never been at least once a year,” Susan says. “Get out of your comfort zone, off a plane, and into your car.” Besides re-visiting places she used to live in Colorado and California, she targeted four cities along the way she had never explored before: Kansas City, Tulsa, Memphis and Savannah.

capture2Susan is no stranger to the drive from Florida to Colorado, having spent five winters in Naples. However, each time, she makes a point to “diversify” the road trip. Born on July 7th (7/7), Susan’s motivation this year was to spend her 77th birthday with dear friends in Colorado.  While planning her trip, Susan read that the Ringling Museum was making its way to Bentonville, Arkansas, and Kansas City, Missouri, for an exclusive art museum tour in the fall. “I thought to myself, if they can do it, I can do it,” she says. From there, she set to work planning her route.

Susan’s travels began on June 13th, with her first stop in a small town called Apalachicola, six hours away in Florida’s Panhandle. After a meal of the town’s famous oysters and getting a good night’s sleep, she moved on to her next destination, Bentonville, to take in the Crystal Bridges Museum of capture3American Art — a treasure trove of paintings, sculptures, and architectural wonders. Next, Kansas City to see the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, and visit with Plymouth Harbor residents, Phil and Barry Starr. Her wonderful hosts took her to both museums and introduced her to Winstead’s — a famous local diner where they courted in the 50s!
Following her self-guided art tour, Susan made her way to her former home, Aspen, Colorado, to spend a month in her cousins’ ski house. She spent time with friends at the Aspen Music Festival, the jazz festival, Shakespeare in the Park, and celebrated her birthday with “18 dynamic ladies I’ve
known since the 80s.” Then she was off to Denver to see more friends, and discovered the ART, a new, exciting hotel, steps from the Denver Art Museum.

Susan and Moki then headed to the West Coast by way of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Prescott, Arizona. After pit stops to see friends in both those towns, she set forth to her old stomping grounds in Southern California — San Diego and Los Angeles to be exact. “It was good to see the Pacific Ocean again,” she says with a smile.

capture4Many art museums, galleries, and plays later, Susan began the adventure home. She stopped in Aspen again, then Breckenridge for a week with her best friend from college. Tulsa, Oklahoma, came next to see her cousins. “I imagined Tulsa to be flat and dusty. To my surprise, I was met with rolling hills, big trees, and green grass,” she says. “It was beautiful, wonderful to be with family — and to see more art museums!”

Memphis, Tennessee, and Savannah, Georgia, rounded out her trip. In Memphis, she stayed at the renowned Peabody Hotel and witnessed the famous duck parade. She also visited Elvis’s Graceland, the legendary Sun Records (Million Dollar Quartet), and the National Civil Rights Museum. Savannah ended Susan’s travels with a quaint bed and breakfast and a dinner cruise featuring Southern Gospel singers.

On an inspirational note, Susan adds, “You don’t need three months to do a fun trip. Take a weekend, get in your car, and head to a place you’ve never been.” While Susan (and Moki) are unsure of their next destination, we’re sure it will be a good one.


Ann Burroughs has been an artist all her life – from oil painting to printmaking to working as a metal smith fusing gold, silver, brass, and copper. Her work with metal ranges from heavy casting to jewelry, some of which is created here in the Wood Shop. Born in Flint, Michigan, Ann attended Mount Vernon Seminary as a boarding student and received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from both the University of Colorado and the Center for Creative Studies in Detroit. How did she develop such an interest in the arts?

View Ann’s October Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.


Plymouth Harbor was built more than 50 years ago on Coon Key — home to both native plant and animal life. Over the years, we have added unique and beautiful plant species to help further enhance our environment.

As you walk the grounds, you may notice that our unique plant life is identified with signs displaying both the common and scientific name of the species. Our landscaping team, which consists of Marcos Franca and George Kingston, serve as experts on the plant species here at Plymouth Harbor, performing all groundskeeping duties.

What are some of the most interesting plant species found on campus? The landscaping team sums it up with the following items: the African Tulip tree, which does not normally grow in climates that are not consistently over 70 degrees and is native to the tropical dry forests of Africa; the Gumbo Limbo tree, which has unusual red bark that peels back, reminiscent of sunburned skin, giving it the nickname “tourist tree;” the Banyan tree, with roots and branches that reach the ground; the Floss Silk tree, which grows fast in spurts when water is abundant, and can reach more than 82 feet tall. Below is an aerial photo of the Plymouth Harbor grounds, with each of these species identified.






the_ringling_museum_sarasota_iThe Ringling Museum is not only an icon of Sarasota, but home to one of the most distinguished art collections in the United States. Designated as the State Art Museum of Florida, The Ringling offers 31 galleries within the Museum of Art, including its new Center for Asian Art, in addition to the Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, the Historic Asolo Theater, the Ringling Art Library, the Circus Museum and Tibbals Learning Center, and 66 acres of Bayfront Gardens.

Each year, The Ringling attracts visitors from around the world, reporting more than 400,000 visitors in the 2014-15 fiscal year. That same year, guests represented every state in the U.S. and several foreign countries, with Canada, Great Britain, and Germany having the highest visitation. Like many local organizations, The Ringling largely depends on its more than 500 generous volunteers who serve in a variety of roles — many of whom can be found right here at Plymouth Harbor.

Resident Sue Johnson, who has been a docent for nearly 16 years, is a prime example. In this position, she has helped provide tours in the Museum of Art, Ca’ d’Zan Mansion, Circus Museum, Bayfront Gardens, and special exhibitions. As a docent, Sue was required to take part in an initial detailed training course, in which she learned the ins and outs of each piece of art. She also participated in a continuing education program and provided at least 75 hours of service annually. “It’s a wonderful continued education for me. Leading tours is so illuminating,” she says. “You learn as much from your visitors as they do from you.” Today, Sue is taking a step back to become more involved in other organizations, but still plans to serve on an as-needed basis.

Nancy Cook, and her late husband Senator Marlow Cook, became involved nearly 21 years ago. After coming to Sarasota, Senator Cook was invited to serve on The Ringling Board of Directors due to his expertise in politics, business, and finance. He served several years, some of which were as chairman, and was involved in the negotiation and transition of the museum’s governance to Florida State University in 2000. At the same time, Nancy worked with the then-Ringling Member’s Council. Along with fellow residents Nancy Gross and Marian Kessler, the group assisted the museum in any way possible — which included membership, special events, and the 1996 renovation of the Ca’ d’Zan. “Whatever needed to be done, we did it,” she remembers. Marian Kessler and Nancy Gross still serve at The Ringling today. Nancy spends her Saturdays as an ambassador in the Tibbals Learning Center, in addition to working as an usher in the Historic Asolo Theater. Both Nancy and Marian serve on an as-needed basis for special events and openings.

Many residents have also served terms on The Ringling Board of Directors. Alice Rau, a longtime supporter and volunteer, served on the board for a number of years, both as a member and as chairman. A volunteer since 1992, Ina Schnell is currently serving her seventh year on the board. “The Ringling Museum to me is one of those special places that has influenced my time in Sarasota,” she says. “After living for 47 years in Manhattan and giving tours at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, I was thrilled to find such an outstanding museum in my new home community.”

The Ringling has had supporters at Plymouth Harbor in other capacities as well. In affiliation with the Sarasota Garden Club, Betsy Bagby and Betty Hendry put their gardening skills to work when they restored Mable Ringling’s Secret Garden more than 15 years ago. Through her work with the Founders Garden Club of Sarasota, Molly Moffat has assisted in the restoration of the Rose Garden, courtyard, and more. This organization is also responsible for the donation of 10 Cuban Royal Palm trees to the Ca’ d’Zan’s entrance.

“The Ringling is such an asset to this community,” says Marian Kessler. “It’s a treasure, attracting so many people and offering something different to each one.” To learn more, visit www.Ringling.org.


leverone-head-shot-lo-res-3Barbara Leverone has worked as a private practice Feldenkrais Method® instructor in Sarasota since 1996, and has been teaching at Plymouth Harbor for close to two years now.

Ironically, Barbara’s first-ever job was here at Plymouth Harbor in the Dining Services Department. A mother of two, a son and daughter, Barbara’s son followed in her footsteps and held his first job in the Smith Care Center kitchen. Today, he works as a chef in Miami.

Barbara holds a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from the University of South Florida and received an associate’s degree from the University of Florida. In 1994, Barbara earned her 800-hour course certification as an instructor in the Feldenkrais Method. She was first introduced to the technique in Los Angeles in the 1970s while seeking treatments to help rehabilitate from injuries she sustained as a professional dancer.

The Feldenkrais Method is a form of somatic education that uses gentle, exploratory movements to help recognize unwanted habitual patterns and explore other options that can lead to improved function and flexibility. Other benefits include increased ease and range of motion, improved coordination, and a rediscovered ability of graceful, effective movement. “Through this technique, we train ourselves to become more aware and seek better options to perform certain tasks,” Barbara says. “It’s something we can use in all aspects of our lives — from decision-making to problem-solving to our emotional well-being.”

After discovering this technique, Barbara moved from California back to Sarasota and began teaching “Movement for Actors” at the Asolo Conservatory. She was there for 10 years, teaching dance and enhanced movement techniques. In 1996, she began her own practice teaching the Feldenkrais Method and now teaches at Plymouth Harbor once per month. Barbara also instructs both private and group sessions at other local organizations. Her areas of focus include babies and caregivers, active seniors, performing artists, fitness and sports professionals, and those in rehabilitation from a variety of orthopedic, neurological, and chronic pain conditions.

“I enjoy working with seniors, and Plymouth Harbor in particular because they are eager to learn and maintain a healthy lifestyle,” she says. “They understand that this doesn’t happen overnight and that it’s a process and lifestyle change.” To learn more about Barbara and the Feldenkrais Method, visit www.srqfeldenkrais.com, or stop by her October class on Thursday, October 27th, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Jack Denison is a graduate of Princeton University and served in the U.S. Army Field Artillery during WWII in England, Germany, and France. After that, he served a short time with the U.S. State Department and went on to spend his entire business career with the American Hospital Supply Corp. As president of the Export Division and a lead strategist for various sales and marketing projects, Jack traveled extensively in the Middle East, South America, and Japan. After retiring, Jack did volunteer work that brought him to Jordan, Egypt, Poland, Costa Rica, and Romania. What was it like traveling to so many different countries? And what is the meaning behind the title of his talk? Join us to find out!

View his September Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.


Epicture123ach year, Plymouth Harbor holds a Skills Fair that allows health care and nursing staff to demonstrate competence in skills that are used daily to provide the best possible care for our residents in the Smith Care Center, the Callahan Center, and those assisted through our Home Health program. This year’s Skills Fair will take place on October 5th, 6th, 19th, and 20th.

During the Skills Fair, various test stations are designed to address topics such as safe transfers, skin integrity, hearing aids, oral care, pericare, foot care, IV insertions, wound care, and more. All health care staff members are required to complete each station and assure competence. There are stations set up specifically for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), in addition to stations created for both.

“In order to plan for the future, one has to know where you are now,” says Karen Novak, Director of Health Services. “The Skills Fair is an excellent way to keep our staff members’ skills sharp and up-to-date on best practices and new equipment.”

Plymouth Harbor began the Skills Fair three years ago, which has been growing larger and more successful with each passing year. This year, Smith Care Center’s therapy team will be onsite to work with staff on hip precautions and transfers, utilizing lifts, dietary needs, medication administration, and additional “hot topics.”

As residents become more and more medically complex, Plymouth Harbor’s nursing team is dedicated to providing the knowledge and expertise to address any and all needs. Demonstrated competence ensures better outcomes for our residents, and the annual Skills Fair serves as the perfect time to increase and enhance these skills.


img_1480-4On Wednesday, August 31st, Plymouth Harbor’s Chef René Weder, Sous Chef Carlos Morales, and Lead Cook Franco Valencia participated in the The Best of The Best of the ALFs – A Culinary Extravaganza.

More than 200 people attended the first-time event, which was hosted by the Sarasota County Aging Network (SCAN) and held at Sahib Shriners Auditorium from 4:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m. SCAN is a not-for-profit coalition of individuals and agencies that represent health, education, and social service organizations advocating for seniors in our community.

More than 20 local Assisted Living Facilities and Continuing Care Retirement Communities attended the event, competing in their choice of img_0916the following categories: Hot Hors d’oeuvres, Cold Hors d’oeuvres, Pasta Dishes, and Luscious Desserts.

Plymouth Harbor’s team had the honor of winning first place in the Hot Hors d’oeuvres category. The winning dish? Seared sea scallops served with lobster sauce and forbidden rice — a black rice that used to be considered so superior and rare, it was reserved exclusively for royalty in ancient China.

Chef René and his team chose the Hot Hors d’oeuvres category because it offered the broadest variety when it came to preparing a dish. The sea scallops were chosen for several reasons:  a simple yet elegant dish, scallops also tend to be a crowd pleaser. Additionally, the use and story behind the “forbidden rice” created quite the buzz among the attendees.
“When you attend a large event like this, it’s always nice to create something that not only tastes good, but also serves as a conversation piece,” says Chef René.

The event was judged by several “celebrity judges,” including local chefs: Chef Christian Hershman (a culinary consultant), Chef George Armstrong (of The Rosemary), Chef Rolf (of Salt Water Café), and Chef Paul Mattison (of Mattison’s City Grille, Mattison’s Bayside, and Mattison’s Forty-One).

The proceeds from the event benefited the SCAN grant program, which assists Sarasota County seniors. In addition to supporting a worthy cause, it offered the opportunity to discredit the stigma that comes with dining at assisted living facilities and retirement communities.

“In this industry, people have the idea that we only offer institutional food,” says Chef René. “Collectively, we were able to show that this is absolutely not the case, and we hope to be able to participate in the event again next year.”


By: Randy Powell, M.D., Plymouth Harbor’s Medical Director

Picture14Why should you get vaccinated against the flu?

Influenza is a serious disease with nearly 30,000 deaths each year in the United States. Eighty-five percent of those are in people over 65 years of age. Flu season in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May. During this time, flu viruses are circulating at higher levels. If people are willing to get it, the flu vaccine significantly reduces the amount of viral exposure.

Can you get the flu from the vaccine?

The flu vaccine has been improved to the point that there is no significant risk of illness or reaction. It is possible to get mild, short-lasting side effects from the vaccine, such as aches or soreness where the shot was given, but the vaccine cannot cause the flu. While the flu shot is preferred, people who have had a severe allergic reaction to eggs can get the recombinant flu vaccine (or nasal spray), which was produced without any egg products.

How does the vaccine work?

Flu vaccines cause antibodies (cells that help fight infections) to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These serve as protection against infection from viruses that are found in the vaccine. The seasonal flu vaccine protects against influenza viruses that research shows will be most common during the upcoming season.

What types of vaccines are available?

Human defenses become weaker with age, which places older adults at a higher risk of severe illness from influenza. The standard flu vaccine protects you from three different flu viruses. Those who are 65 or older can receive the Fluzone High-Dose vaccine, which is four times stronger than the regular flu shot. Plymouth Harbor will be offering this preservative-free, high-dose vaccine this year. The vaccination process is most effective if everyone participates. Join the team!

*Resources used for this article include: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.