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:


Plymouth Harbor’s Earth Day Celebration
On Monday, April 23rd, from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. in the Wellness Center, the Conservation Committee invites all residents to its annual event—Celebrate Earth Day!

Light refreshments will be provided in addition to interactive, informative, and fun activities—there will be trivia, videos, prizes, giveaways, featured items from the Fund Shop, local produce vendors, complimentary chair massages, an introduction to Plymouth Harbor’s new Resident Portal, and more! Bring your reusable shopping bags, and be sure to stock up on all things Earth Day.

Earth Day History
Celebrated each year on April 22nd, Earth Day is a global holiday focused on educating the public 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, an estimated 20 million Americans took to the streets to protest for a healthy, sustainable environment.

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 Contributes
Plymouth Harbor residents and the Conservation Committee do their part to participate in meaningful and effective conservation efforts. The committee promotes conservation of resources at Plymouth Harbor—including recycling, water, and electricity usage, which is regularly tracked and reported (2017 information will be available at this year’s Earth Day celebration.)

Additionally, when getting rid of household items, the committee strives to remind residents to consider the Resident Fund Shop or the donation collection bins located on the Ground Floor of the Tower—these four organizations (All Faiths Food Bank, Resurrection House, Sarasota County Animal Services, and Meals on Wheels) put our reusable items to good use.

We were very sad to recently say goodbye to Jim Gaylord in the Smith Care Center. Mr. Gaylord’s work life centered around the Colonel…yes, that’s Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken. He owned as many as 18 franchises during his lifetime, all in the Midwest, for which he was accustomed to many business operations. This was a big and important part of his life.

Upon his death, Jim’s wife Dee came to us and wished to make a gift to benefit the Smith Care Center, for whom she was eternally grateful for the great care Jim received. Her gift will fund an upgrade of the West Lounge in Smith Care Center to make it a functioning media center, much like the one in the new Northwest Garden Building. Her hope is that more rehab patients, guests, and long term residents will have better and more up to date access to secure internet, a printer/scanner, all in a comfortable and updated environment.

Thank you, Dee and Jim, for your generous and much appreciated vision for the Smith Care Center.


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.


The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) periodically conducts unannounced surveys of its licensed agencies. As such, Plymouth Harbor’s Smith Care Center (SCC), our licensed skilled nursing facility, is surveyed every year. Our assisted living facility, formerly located on the Callahan Center (CC) level, and our home health agency are surveyed on average once every two years.

The unannounced survey of SCC tends to be the most intense, with four to six surveyors onsite for a period of three to five days. Throughout the survey, there are over 200 rules and regulations checked for compliance and a whole host of items these surveyors review for building safety. The outcome is used as one of three components to our national 5-star rating.

Plymouth Harbor has done very well in SCC the last several years, and has done particularly well in the last two years — which were deficiency-free for health care and health care documentation, cleanliness, and food service-related issues. Deficiency-free surveys (particularly two in a row) are extremely rare. According to Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services, three or less deficiencies is considered to be a great survey, as long as none of the deficiencies are of a serious nature. Overall, these survey outcomes help Plymouth Harbor solidify our strong national 5-Star rating. (Plymouth Harbor scores in the best category, with only 10 percent of skilled nursing facilities nationwide.)

Not to be outdone, it should be noted that the Callahan Center’s last three surveys (April 2014, February 2016, and December 2017) each had a deficiency-free outcome. Additionally, our home health agency’s last two surveys (September 2014 and February 2017) were also deficiency-free. All of these surveys took place under Home Care Administrator Liz Clark’s leadership, and she and her staff are to be commended.

While we hope to never get to the point where deficiency-free surveys become an unrealistic expectation, we should certainly be proud as an organization to have earned such high marks. One thing that Joe Devore emphasizes to his staff, above all, is that the foundation of any great survey is happy residents. AHCA certainly recognizes this at Plymouth Harbor!


By: Judy Stanford

Marilyn Schwartz — call her “Lynn,” please — is a delightful newcomer to Plymouth Harbor who reveals a past of diverse experiences. Lynn was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. Her father was a successful real estate broker who suffered severe losses in the 1929 depression. Her mother built the business after his death (1939) and became the first woman president of the Jersey City real estate board. Quite a role model!

Lynn accomplished her undergraduate work at Mount Holyoke and, during those years, she met (on a blind date) and married Bob Schwartz, a chemist-to-be. They had a son (who is a doctor in Rochester) and a daughter who was in graphic design. Now retired, she lives half-time on Longboat Key (lucky Lynn).

Eventually, Bob established his own company and Lynn joined him to learn more about his work and professional operation. Though she claims not to know a thing about chemistry, she became proficient and capable in her new pursuit.

Meanwhile, Lynn happened to work for a “Home for the Aged” — a retirement community of many years back. The residents were indeed aged, and sick, and poor. The director of that facility succeeded in establishing an appropriate, modern venue and engaging qualified volunteer physicians to care for those patients. It was this working experience that led Lynn to consider social work as her next endeavor.

Her children grown, Lynn obtained her MSW (Master of Social Work) from Rutgers University. She then worked for the Millburn-Short Hills School System, initially as part of a child study team and then in their school for the deaf.

At that time, parents of deaf children tended to insist that their offspring “learn to talk,” Lynn says. This policy created great stress for the students and she spent much of her time counseling families. She is gratified today to know that “signing” is employed as a preferred method of communication and offers a great relief to those affected by hearing impairments.

Fast-forward to 1995. Bob and Lynn had often visited friends in Venice, Florida, and, consequently, were exposed to Sarasota. So-o-o in retirement, they chose Longboat Key for their new home. They lived at the Promenade and became “snowbirds” for twenty years!

Residents Mort and Carol Siegler are Lynn’s cousins, and Marian Kessler a friend. All, in turn, led her to Plymouth Harbor. We are so glad Lynn is here!


By: Lorna Hard

Shirley and her husband, the late Guy Nichols, are and were New Englanders. They met at the University of Vermont (UVM), and soon after she graduated, they were married. Asked about her college focus, she chose the classics, Latin and Greek, our origins. The mind is a curious thing, we know. At UVM, Shirley began her lifelong learning that continues to this day. Now, it extends to a literature course at the Longboat Key Education Center.

In their long, busy family life they raised three daughters—Pam, Gail, and Sally—who became Girl Scouts and college graduates and have led productive careers. Now their family line extends to three grandsons, three great-grandsons, and one great-granddaughter!

They moved several times within eastern Massachusetts: Worchester, Newton, Needham, Dedham, and Great Barrington, Berkshires (loved it). Her volunteer work led her to commute to Boston, often three times a week, to lead tours as a “Doric” docent. The docents were trained to guide adults and school children in a bit of history, architecture, and how the State House worked, explaining the legislative process. They visited in session and met with their representatives in groups of 10 to 20. Tours through the building lasted about an hour. Shirley tried a grassroots canvassing job for a friend’s campaign, going door to door to get signatures. That candidate was successful, so it was a good experience.

Shirley and her husband contemplated their retirement by taking to the seas, buying at first a day sailer. Gradually, the small boat traded into a bigger and bigger one until they finally could navigate and explore the Caribbean while living aboard the boat. They sailed to Antigua, Martinique, Guadeloupe (she liked French food), and on to the British Virgin Islands. They named their boat, “Song Liner,” after Bruce Chatwin’s book, “The Songlines.” They sailed for three, sometimes four, months each winter for many years! (Another career).

Reluctantly, they sold the boat and bought a house in Vermont. He loved it. She was bored. But few people love the cold winter, so they ventured south to Longboat Key. With the spirit of adventure intact, they retired from their nautical travels. So now, here’s to Shirley and her quest for learning (a fellow Economist subscriber). We are glad you have joined many like-minded land and sea worthy souls in our midst.

Welcome aboard to Plymouth Harbor!