With the summer months coming to a close and the cooler temperatures arriving, it’s easy to forget that staying hydrated is just as important now as it ever has been. Dehydration can be a catalyst for several life-threatening health issues, and the senior population is among the highest at risk. A study conducted by the National Institutes of Health showed there were significant deficiencies in hydration health literacy among the elderly. With conflicting information surrounding how much water a person should drink, it’s no wonder confusion sets in.

So how much water should you drink each day? It’s a simple question with no easy answer. Your individual water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are, and where you live. No single formula fits everyone, but knowing more about your body’s need for fluids will help you estimate how much water to drink each day.

Every day you lose water through your breath, perspiration, urine, and bowel movements. This water must be replenished to keep your body functioning properly. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined that the daily fluid need for a healthy adult living in a temperate climate is about 15.5 cups for men and about 11.5 cups for women. About 20 percent of daily fluid intake usually comes from food and the rest from drinks (Mayo Clinic).

Living in Florida’s tropical climate, the need for water increases due to high temperatures that cause the body to sweat more and breathe heavier. Additional factors to take into consideration include exercise and overall health. It’s important to drink water before, during, and after a workout. If exercise is intense and lasts more than an hour, a sports drink can replace minerals in your blood (electrolytes) lost through sweat. Your body loses fluids when you have a fever, vomiting or diarrhea, bladder infections, and urinary tract stones. The Plymouth Harbor Wellness Center offers residents free, reusable water bottles – come get yours!

The National Institutes of Health found that the aging process alters important physiological control systems associated with thirst and satiety, making it less-likely that someone over the age of 65 will feel the strong urge of being thirsty. When you don’t have enough fluid in your body, your mouth is one of the first places symptoms start to show up. A dry, sticky mouth is a tell-tale sign of dehydration. Another easy place to look – the toilet! The darker a person’s urine, the more highly concentrated the waste is, and that’s a sign that there isn’t enough water in the body. A severe, throbbing headache is often another sign of dehydration. Headaches caused by a lack of fluid can happen throughout the brain – the front, the top, the back – and are often aggravated by bending over, standing up or exerting yourself (Bethesda Health).

If you rarely feel thirsty and your urine is colorless or light yellow, your fluid intake is probably adequate. If not, start now! Drinking a refreshing glass of water after reading this article is a great way to begin. Cheers!

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.

Throughout 2016 and 2017, Plymouth Harbor partnered with Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s HealthFit program—a contracted outreach program that brings experienced wellness professionals to organizations in the Sarasota community. We partnered with HealthFit in order to bring knowledgeable speakers here monthly as part of our OnBoard Employee Wellness Program.

Today, we are excited to share that we have expanded our partnership with HealthFit to recruit and staff our Wellness Director position. This partnership means that the Wellness Director is a skilled, experienced wellness professional and a HealthFit employee, contracted to work here at Plymouth Harbor.

After a careful and dedicated search with HealthFit, we are thrilled to introduce Summer Rentsch as Plymouth Harbor’s new Wellness Director. Summer has more than 10 years of experience in the health and wellness industry and a proven ability to drive and deliver improved health results. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology exercise science and health promotion from University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh. Additionally, Summer is specially trained in Six-Sigma Yellow Belt, Culture of Excellence – Culture Leader Level 1, Workplace Violence Prevention/Creating and Maintaining a Positive Work Environment, Business Acumen, Essential Facilitation and Leading Virtually, and PHI (Protected Health Information) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) Guidelines.

Most recently, Summer served as Personal Health Coach Manager for Humana, Inc. in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area, where she led a team of 18 direct reports and supported more than 11,000 individuals with chronic disease and/or behavioral health concerns. She was responsible for supporting associates and collaborating to develop and educate associates on chronic conditions, preventive measures, SMART goal-setting, and more. Also at Humana, Summer previously served as a Personal Health Coordinator and a Leader of Well Being Champion Group, helping associates within the Humana At Home business segment to implement well-being initiatives. Before that, she worked for Trotter Wellness in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, as Health Coaching Department Manager.

With Summer’s expertise, and HealthFit’s resources, we are excited to begin this partnership. Summer and her husband, Austin, live in Sarasota and enjoy an active outdoor lifestyle with their
dog, Lido.

 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

On Thursday, August 17th, Plymouth Harbor held its second annual Employee Health Fair. The Health Fair is part of Plymouth Harbor’s award-winning employee wellness program, OnBoard, which was implemented in 2014.

The goal of the program is to enhance the overall well-being of employees through the seven dimensions of wellness: Environmental/Community; Emotional; Intellectual; Physical; Professional/Vocational; Social; and Spiritual.

OnBoard strives to develop and maintain programs that build stronger employees and encourage them to take a proactive role when it comes to their health and well-being. In January 2017, OnBoard implemented a new incentive program where employees may earn OnBoard Wellness Rewards Bucks by participating in events, like Learn and Earn lunches and the Health Fair, and use those Bucks to reduce their insurance premiums for the following year. Currently, Plymouth Harbor has 155 employees participating in this program.

The Health Fair was held in the Wellness Center and was open to all employees, including those who are not on Plymouth Harbor’s insurance. The event included Biometric Screenings (a blood screening that measures items like glucose and cholesterol) and several vendors such as our Employee Health Coach, a registered dietitian, dermatologist, local dental office, and more. The event also included giveaways and prizes for those in attendance, including FitBits, a Nutri Bullet Blender, and a kayak (pictured right with winner Lori Hoskins, Dining Services).

Employees extend sincere thanks for allowing use of the Wellness Center for this annual event. We look forward to continually improving the health and well-being of our staff.

 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

For years, I have fielded questions, addressed concerns, and engaged in debate over the benefits of exercise for an older population. While most questions were great, many were based on myths and even fear. Because of this, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the most common myths of exercise relative to an older population.

Myth: Exercise will make your arthritis worse.
This is not true. Aquatic exercise is one of the best forms of exercise for persons with arthritis, offering a resistance that promotes muscular strength and cardiovascular conditioning. It is gentle, safe, and can be modified to suit the participant. We offer two levels of aquatic exercise every week in the Wellness Center — you do not have to be able to swim and your head stays above water at all times. However, to have a pleasant experience in class, you should feel comfortable in water.

You might also try a recumbent bike or the Nu-Step. These types of equipment are gentle on the joints because they are not full weight-bearing. They are always available in the Wellness Center’s fitness room. We offer equipment orientations Monday through Friday. Call Ext. 377 to schedule yours.

Myth: If you have heart problems, it isn’t safe to exercise.
This is another myth. Most cardiac rehab participants are encouraged to perform cardiovascular exercise seven days a week. With doctor approval, you may engage in many forms of cardiovascular
exercise right in the Wellness Center (i.e. bike, Nu-Step, treadmill, rower, group fitness classes, etc.) — you would just need the appropriate type, intensity, and time.

Myth: If you exercise regularly, you may over-exert yourself and feel tired all day.
Actually, it is just the opposite. Many regular exercisers find they have more energy. This is not surprising. Because of the tremendous conditioning effect of consistent exercise, you are able to do more throughout the day.

Myth: In order to stay injury-free, avoid exercise if you cannot perform them correctly.
There is no easy out here! You can learn to perform the exercises correctly. You are more at risk for injury by not conditioning your body to move by bending, stretching, lifting, pulling, and walking regularly.

Source: Riebe, D., Ehrman, J., Liguori, G., & Magal, M., (Eds.). (2018). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (Tenth Edition). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health.

 

By: Chris Cooper, Wellness Director

For years, I have fielded questions, addressed concerns, and engaged in debate over the benefits of exercise for an older population. While most questions were great, many were based on myths and even fear. Because of this, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the most common myths of exercise relative to an older population.

Myth: Exercise isn’t a good idea for older people.
While it is always recommended to receive an exercise clearance from your doctor, it is a rare occurrence that a doctor would not recommend some sort of physical activity. The benefits almost always outweigh any potential risk. What is more important is to choose the right type of exercise as well as the appropriate intensity. Type refers to the kind of exercise, such as walking, biking, or using Nu-Step. Intensity can vary from low to vigorous, with moderate being appropriate for most people. A low intensity, with a slower warmup, and a shorter exercise session may be the best bet for persons just getting into exercise to decrease the risk of injury while still promoting fitness. Overall, exercise is excellent for producing stronger bones and muscles, better balance, increased flexibility, and it stalls cognitive decline.

Myth: If you have balance problems, exercising might make you fall.
You are at greater risk of falling by not practicing balance than you are by performing balance exercises. Just as with strength, cardiovascular, or stretching exercises….start slow, perform exercises that are a bit challenging but attainable, and progress over time. We offer balance exercises in most of the group fitness classes and have a Biodex Balance machine that is available at any time. Please see me for a demonstration and instruction.

Myth: You should refrain from exercise classes if you are unable to stand for very long.
If the inability to stand for long periods is a concern, no problem! We have three different chair-based classes, and standing at any point is optional. These classes are of varying intensity and are suitable for most ability levels: Body Moves (mild intensity), Sit Fit (moderate), Sit Fit+ (a bit more advanced). The Sit Fit classes offer an excellent balance training segment at the beginning of each class, as well as sit-to-stand chair squats to promote strength, balance, and coordinated movement.

Source: Riebe, D., Ehrman, J., Liguori, G., & Magal, M., (Eds.). (2018). ACSM’s Guidelines for Exercise Testing and Prescription (Tenth Edition). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Health

 

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.

 

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.