Thank you to everyone who generously supported the CD offering from Ted and Fran Rehl from his latest concert, Piano à la Carte.  In total over the last three concert CD offerings, we received support of over $3800.  This made it possible to move ahead on the replacement of the hammers on the Steinway.  By the time you read this, the work will be close to completion.

Tracy Lamb removing the old ‘hammers’ and preparing for their replacements

 

 

Photo Below: The old (darker) hammers are on the left and the new (lighter) hammers on the right

If you are not familiar with Ted Rehl and the story of the Plymouth Harbor concert grand piano, CLICK HERE for the story.

Moving into a single-family residence can be daunting, and moving into a new home within an entire community, like Plymouth Harbor, even more so!  Where do I pick up my mail?  Who can I ask to hang that mirror?  What do I do with all of these moving boxes?  These questions and many, many more will soon be answered with the New Resident Orientation Program.

‘Welcoming Committee’ co-chairs, B.J. Peters and Nancy Lyon, have been working closely with Tena Wilson, VP of Support Services, to develop a program designed to make each new resident’s transition to their new home as pleasant and stress-free as possible.

Contact for a new resident will begin as early as the day they sign their contract when they’ll be introduced to a ‘resident mentor’ who will familiarize them with their new colony.  Subsequent introductions to additional mentors will include invitations to participate in four separate resident-guided tours; The Grounds, The Ground Floor, The Lobby Level, and The Mezzanine.  A final staff-guided Staff & Services tour will take them through the various service departments where they will meet staff members available to assist them throughout their residency at Plymouth Harbor.  New residents can participate in as many or as few tours as they’d like.

New residents will also receive a personalized ‘Orientation Guide to Residency at Plymouth Harbor’ for future use as a handy reference.  Throughout this process you can count on members of the Welcoming Committee extending invitations to dine in Plymouth Harbor venues as well!

The search for wellness can mean many things to many people.  Wellness can be found in regular visits with good friends as much as it can be found in regular medical check-ups and tests.  Likewise, the concept of Wellness at Plymouth Harbor encompasses far more than strength-training facilities and health care.  Take, for example, the Tai Chi classes offered weekly.

One peaceful Tuesday afternoon recently, resident Fred Moffat parted the wild horse’s mane while Jeanne Gerry grasped the sparrow’s tail.  Maureen and Terry Aldrich waved their hands like clouds and stepped the monkey away.  These are the poetic phrases instructor Roseann Argenti, a master in Tai Chi, used to teach a short form to her class.  Progressing through a series of slow and deliberate motions named for animal actions—for example, “white crane spreads its wings” – the group was participating in a powerful low-impact exercise that originated in China as a martial art.

Tai Chi is often described as “meditation in motion” and valued as a mind-body practice that nourishes those who practice it physically, spiritually and emotionally.  Maureen Aldrich says she first tried it when travelling in China and has immensely enjoyed the class under Roseann’s guidance.  “She stretches us every time.  Not too much, just enough.”

Watching the class members flow through the sequence, you see deep breathing, focused gazes, but bodies that are relaxed with flexed knees.  What seems effortless does require and build core muscle strength.  It also improves balance, releases stress and flexes the brain “muscle” as well.

“A growing body of carefully conducted research is building a compelling case for Tai Chi as an adjunct to standard medical treatment for the prevention and rehabilitation of many conditions commonly associated with age,” says Peter M. Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center.

Flexibility and Balance

A 2006 Stanford study showed that women practicing Tai Chi significantly boosted upper–body and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.  Coupled with the fact that Tai Chi trains the sense of proprioception, the ability to sense one’s body in space, as well as the muscles that can prevent falls, practitioners test for greater balance and reduced risk for falls.

Arthritis

In a 40-person study at Tufts University, an hour of Tai Chi twice a week for 12 weeks reduced pain and improved mood and physical functioning more than standard stretching exercises in people with severe knee osteoarthritis.

Bone Density

A review of six controlled studies indicates that Tai Chi may be a safe and effective way to maintain bone density in postmenopausal women.

Heart Health

A 53-person study at National Taiwan University found that a year of Tai Chi significantly boosted exercise capacity, lowered blood pressure, and improved levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, insulin, and C-reactive protein in people at high risk for heart disease.

In a 30-person pilot study at Harvard Medical School, 12 weeks of Tai Chi improved participants’ ability to walk and their quality of life.  It also reduced blood levels of B-type natriuretic protein, an indicator of heart failure.

A review of 26 studies reported that in 85% of trials, Tai Chi lowered blood pressure—with improvements ranging from 3 to 32 mm Hg in systolic pressure and from 2 to 18 mm Hg in diastolic pressure.

The Tai Chi classes represent just one thread in the entire tapestry of wellness opportunities available at Plymouth Harbor.  Sure, all of these health benefits can improve quality of life, but if you ask these Tai Chi students, they are thriving as much on the intellectual and social stimulation of exploring this ancient Chinese practice together as they are on their medical test results.

Information regarding the studies cited in this article was found in the Harvard Women’s Health Watch newsletter (May 2009).  Tai Chi classes are available to residents, free of charge, in N-313 on Tuesdays from 3:00-3:30 and on Thursdays from 9:00-9:30.  For more information, call Chris at ext. 377 or Amanda at ext. 350.  

Legacy.  There comes a time in our lives that we all wonder what our legacy will be.  What we pass down to our children and their children can take so many forms—moral, spiritual, tangible.  When I recently sat down with Plymouth Harbor resident Jack Denison and his daughter Cade Sibley, I could clearly see that they shared a smiling, optimistic attitude about life.  And a good bit of humor, as well.

We talked about Jack’s life before moving into Plymouth Harbor and the life they discovered after his wife, Teasley, urged him to agree to this change of living arrangement in 1996.  Teasley passed away seven years ago, but they were deeply involved in activities and committees in their new communities for 15 years before that.  Jack is now enjoying his role as an experienced senior advisor for many other residents serving in the leadership positions that he carried in past years.

As Jack and his daughter were chatting about these experiences, they began recalling other adventures and it was clear they had a shared appreciation of an extraordinarily active lifestyle.  Cade and her husband, Whit, moved to Sarasota full time just a couple of years ago from Colorado and were nervous that they would not find the energy that is so prevalent in the mountain environs.

Their fears were unjustified as they quickly learned what her parents, Jack and Teasley, had learned when they moved to their home in Cortez, Florida from Evanston, Illinois: the weather and lifestyle allow for as much activity and adventure as you would ever want.

After Jack’s long career, which included living in France, Japan and long sojourns in Jordan, Egypt, Romania and Costa Rica, one might guess that the Denisons would continue to seek stimulation and travel.

Jack and Teasley had loved all types of boating and reveled in the freedom of their retirement and in keeping large enough boats to indulge their wanderlust by cruising the “Great Loop.”  This, I learned, meant sailing or cruising down and around the tip of Florida and up the coast of the eastern U.S.  Then by way of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River, returning to the Gulf of Mexico tracing the Florida shore back to Sarasota Bay.  They cruised the Loop twice, the last time when they were both in their late 70’s.

The love for boating had long been a family affair stemming from summers on Michigan’s White Lake.  Racing, cruising and kayaking were activities enjoyed by Cade and her two younger brothers, John and David.  By marrying into the family, Whit became an avid boater as well.  Jack recalled the most memorable family vacation of their lives, which oddly excluded both Cade and her mother.  When he was 70 years old, Jack, his two sons and son-in-law crewed an 81-foot sailboat from Gibraltar to Antigua.

Calling this family “active” seems an understatement.  No wonder that when Jack and Teasley told their children that they were moving into Plymouth Harbor, a continuing care retirement community, they were met with some resistance.  Cade recalled that it was John, the oldest son, who said what they were probably all thinking, “Mom and Dad are too young to move into an ‘old folks home’!”  But, when they began visiting Plymouth Harbor, their thoughts changed.

Cade said she soon realized that there was a world of weight and worry about her parents’ future that she not only hadn’t realized she was carrying, but that she learned she no longer needed to carry at all.  Her parents were going to be safe, and live happily with an active social life.  Jack also has experienced and appreciates the superb health care provided by the Smith Care Center staff.

As Cade and her father travelled back through those memories, I felt honored to observe as she emphasized the attributes that she so clearly admires in Jack and which I was observing for the first time myself.  He has always been keenly interested in many things and never at a loss for words.  Cade pointed out to me that her father may always have an opinion, but as the result of deep study and research, his opinions were grounded in fact, and therefore, usually right.

Acknowledging that, yes, her parents had been absolutely right in choosing to live at Plymouth Harbor, she thanked her father for making that decision and serving as a role model for her own life.  “Moving to Plymouth Harbor was a gift my parents gave to me.  Now, although we may not be ready to move in, my husband and I know that we want to pass this legacy on to our children.”

Cade and Whit have not joined the Harbor Club for future residents yet, but she is already an active member of the community.  Cade currently serves on the Board of The Plymouth Harbor Foundation and chairs its Communication sub-committee.

On entering the Sieglers’ apartment, I immediately saw why Carol was a successful interior designer.  Her experience living in diverse places must underpin her talent for bringing together artwork, clean-lined furniture and bold patterns.  However, the piece she called to my attention was a pillow a daughter had made, featuring cloth prints of family pictures of the Sieglers and their three daughters and five grandchildren.

Designing rooms and raising children are only two of Carol’s many activities.  She was born in New York City but spent all of her young life in Havana, Cuba, where she attended Ruston Academy, sometimes boarding there while her parents traveled for the textile business her father had founded in Cuba.  She returned to New York for the last two years of high school and then attended Cornell University on a scholarship as a pre-med student.

Morton’s life journey began in Jersey City.  In the year he was born, his father had started a company, which played a substantial role in the construction of the Holland Tunnel.  (The firm’s name is on a bronze plaque at the Jersey entrance.)

Morton’s work towards a degree in civil engineering at Cornell was disrupted by World War II, but fortunately the final semester requirement was waived and his degree granted.  After leaving the Army, he returned to Cornell as an instructor.  There he and Carol met on a blind date.  A romance blossomed over the next year, and they were married in November 1947 in New York City.

Morton joined his father’s construction business, ultimately becoming president and CEO and sole owner.

In the 1960s, he also started a very successful firm for commercial and industrial real estate.  In 1977, he closed the family firm and later joined the public sector when he was appointed by Gov. Thomas Kane as the Director of the Division of Building and Construction for the State of New Jersey.

Carol and Morton have been volunteers throughout their lives.  In New Jersey, she was a Spanish interpreter for Planned Parenthood and also helped found an arts group for school children and a cooperative nursery school.  In Sarasota, Carol has served as a guardian ad litem, as a member of the Children’s Guardian Fund, and she is currently on its advisory board.  She  has been on the boards of the Asolo Repertory Theatre and the Sarasota Ballet.

The American Jewish Committee (the first human rights organization in the U.S.) has  been an important part of the Sieglers’ life.  Carol has chaired the New Jersey and the Sarasota chapters, and both are honorary vice presidents of the National Board.  Morton is also a past board member of the Sarasota Orchestra and has been appointed a County Mediator for the Supreme Court of Florida.

In spite of multiple careers, steady volunteering, and family responsibilities, this energetic pair has also managed time for fun.  They have had residences on Lake Hopatcong, a beach house in the Bahamas, and since 1990, a condo on Longboat Key, and have traveled to far-away places.

Morton and Carol say they are pleased to be settled at Plymouth Harbor with all its amenities and, especially, all the wonderful people they are meeting.

There are a number of avid kayakers residing in the Plymouth Harbor community. Of course, for those who store their own kayaks there by the Bay, paddling through the nearby mangrove tunnels could be a daily routine.  For others, they can look forward to the semi-regular group forays organized by our Wellness team.

Just such an outing was planned for the morning of March 20.  It  was a picture perfect  day and the participating residents had a guide to lead them through the many mangroves stands on the fringe of Sarasota Bay.

The tour was both peaceful and exhilarating.  Imagine gliding silently over the water with fish and fowl so close by. Of course there was plenty of friendly chatter, but kayaking is a often a meditative activity as well.

The  group observed several beautiful birds with their young such as Osprey, Ibis, Blue Herons, a rarely seen Wood Stork and, of course, the ever-present companions, the Cormorants.  From the shallow waters of the mangroves the tour guide pulled a Florida Horse Conch and a very large sea snail called a Lightning Whelk (pictured below with Nancy Lyon).

It’s so beautiful and stimulating to be enjoying the day this way, that few kayakers where thinking about the benefits of this low impact activity to improve their aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. In fact, there are some specific health benefits that sneak into this activity that make it all the more enticing:

  • Improved cardiovascular fitness
  • Increased muscle strength, particularly in the back, arms, shoulders and chest, from moving the paddle
  • Increased torso and leg strength, as the strength to power a canoe or kayak comes mainly from rotating the torso and applying pressure with your legs
  • Reduced risk of wear-and-tear on joints and tissues, since paddling is a low impact activity.

Don’t worry, there will be plenty of other opportunities to kayak at Plymouth Harbor. After all, the beautiful Sarasota Bay IS our backyard!

Congratulations to Carlos Anguiano-Moreno, our April 2014 Employee of the Month.

Carlos is originally from Tamaulipas, Mexico, however moved to the United States in 1993. Luckily for us, he chose to re-locate to Sarasota in the late 1990’s and by 2010 he was working at Plymouth Harbor on our Dining Services staff as a full-time Steward.

Always willing to work hard, he’s quick to identify what needs to be done and equally quick to take action.  Of course, his supervisors love that!

Not only is he quick and efficient, providing service that keeps our dining room humming, Carlos is loved for his courtesy and good humor with dining guests as well as his co-workers.  No wonder he was promoted to Lead Steward in 2013 and is now our Employee of the Month.

On a personal note, Carlos has two grown children.  His son lives in South Carolina and his daughter and her family live with Carlos.  He enjoys spending time with them.  Congratulations Carlos, well deserved!

In this second year of offering Foundation Forums, we have aligned the content of the Forums with the initiatives of the Foundation to bring you educational, intellectually stimulating subject matter.  This year we are delighted to offer a New College of Florida faculty series, two of which you heard in January and March, the third and final being at the end of this month, presented by Gordon Bauer, Ph.D., professor of psychology, entitled “The Sensory World of the Manatee.”

We will also offer a series on brain health and dementia.   Alan Grindal, M.D., a neurologist in Sarasota, will talk about the clinical aspects of dementia and brain health.  Teepa Snow, a nationally-known dementia expert who trains and consults for healthcare professionals and families, will present on particular behaviors and the best care-giving techniques for persons with dementia.  We hope to offer a third Forum to complete that series on the research that is being done  on diagnosing dementia-related illnesses and the best treatments.

Finally, we hope to bring you a series that speaks to our roots in Sarasota, the life-changing impact that philanthropy has had on our mission, and how the love of giving has shaped the lives of Sarasota philanthropists over the decades.

We are excited about our 2014 Forums and we hope you will be, too.

And for our next Forum, we hope to see you there !

The Sensory World of the Manatee

Gordon Bauer, Ph.D.
Peg Scripps Buzzelli
Professor of Psychology
New College of Florida

Wednesday, April 30 at 4 pm
Pilgrim Hall

Professor Bauer will present the findings of recent investigations into the sensory world of the manatee, which reveal a unique constellation of attributes important to the development of effective conservation recommendations.