Plymouth Harbor’s Health Services staff conducted their fifth annual Skills Fair for nurses and certified nursing assistants in the Club Room, September 24th-27th. While annual training is required, a skills fair allows it to be “hands on,” which is the best way of ensuring our nursing staff is competent and knowledgeable in the latest techniques and skills.

The Skills Fair was well attended by our team members. The Smith Care Center had a total of 27 CNAs and 25 nurses attend; Our Home Care department had 23 CNAs and 6 nurses attend; And the Seaside Assisted Living and Starr Memory Care Residences had 22 CNAs and 10 nurses attend. That’s a total of 113 direct care team members. Harry Hobson attended as well!

There were several stations where team members were asked to perform a variety of skills from hand washing (required minimum of 20 seconds), catheter care/insertion (using a life-like mannequin donated by the Plymouth Harbor Foundation), glucometer use, infection control, oral care, skin/wound care, and transferring residents using a mechanical lift. Each skill was explained and demonstrated to the attendees who were then required to do a return demonstration of the skill and get it checked off that they completed the skill satisfactorily. Once they completed their skill sheets, they were able to put their name in for a drawing for one of two gift baskets donated by the Foundation. Congratulations to Andrea Davis and Maria Chavarria, the winners of the baskets.

Plymouth Harbor is committed to the education and growth of our nursing staff, and the Skills Fair ensures we continue providing our staff with the training they need to give our residents the care they deserve.

Rudyard Kipling was a successful writer, leaving a sizable estate upon his death. A newspaper reporter came up to him once and said, ”Mr. Kipling, I read somebody calculated that the money you make from your writings amounts to over $100 a word.” Mr. Kipling raised his eyebrows and said, ”I certainly wasn’t aware of that.” The reporter cynically reached into his pocket, pulled out a $100 bill, gave it to Kipling and said, ”Here’s a $100 bill. Now you give me one of your $100 words.” Kipling looked at the $100 bill, took it, put it in his pocket, and said ”Thanks.” The word ”thanks” was certainly a $100 word then, and it is more like a million dollar word now, one that is too seldom heard, too rarely spoken, and too often forgotten.

When I was growing up, children were expected to write thank you notes for every gift. From the time I learned to write, “thank you” became a staple in my vocabulary. Sometimes notes were written for gifts I found to be wonderful, and sometimes they were written tongue-in-cheek for gifts under-appreciated, such as handkerchiefs! It was in my adult years that I came to understand the distinction between “thanks” and “gratitude.” Up into my early forties, I believed I had worked my way through college – with jobs on the Cape over summers and holidays along with four jobs in college. Based on the amount I worked, my truth was that “I worked my way through college” because my parents were unable to help with college expenses. I had my comeuppance the day I remembered my two aunts who provided funding for me each year, my father’s best friend who gave me a check toward tuition every semester, and the two scholarships over four years from the Federated Church of Orleans and the Eastern Star. Adding all those up, I realized that my earnings were meager in comparison! It was only when I remembered the generous persons in my life that I understood the meaning of gratitude, and I hold those faces close in my heart.

In the Harry Potter novels, there are characters called dementors – dark spirits – that come into a room and suck every bit of life, enthusiasm and hope out of all present. While the good news is that chocolate is the antidote, the dementors’ presence drags everyone down. Over the years, I’ve come to understand that there are a few dementors everywhere, those who seem ungrateful and angry with life and leave us sucked dry of enthusiasm and hope. While I suppose we should always carry a little chocolate, just in case, dementors remind us that gratitude is a much healthier quality to embody.

An article in Psychology Today listed some characteristics of grateful people, including (1) they feel a sense of abundance in their lives, (2) they appreciate the contributions of others to their well-being, (3) they recognize and enjoy life’s small pleasures and (4) they acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude.

As Thanksgiving grows near, gratitude is brought to the forefront of our minds. This season, let us all fill our hearts with gratitude for all the wonders, both big and small, that this life brings us.

-Chaplain Sparrow

National Philanthropy Day’s tagline is easy to remember and practice: “Change the world with a giving heart.” Every year on November 15, we pause to celebrate National Philanthropy Day. On this day, we reflect on the philanthropy across the nation and recognize our local philanthropy.

Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

I especially like this quote, because philanthropy is very personal and should reflect each individual’s personal values and means. It is human nature to wish to support others. It makes us feel good and purposeful. How we each define “support” is found deep in our souls. It could mean volunteering. It could mean making a monetary gift. It could mean spreading the word about a cause that is special to you. Or, it could mean simply being there for a friend or family member in need.

We are so grateful to the hundreds of donors who have made gifts to support life here at Plymouth Harbor. So far this year, monetary gifts to the Foundation range from $10 to $73,000. Among our closest constituents over the last 5 years, the percent of those who have made a monetary gift is impressive:

100% Trustees
71% Residents
79% Management Staff

Even more impressive is the percent of these three groups who benefit from the gifts: 100%.

We are lucky to be here at Plymouth Harbor, where we all work together to make life the best it can be. The Plymouth Harbor Foundation is honored to receive your support, year after year, so that we can do what we can, with what we have, where we are. Happy National Philanthropy Day!

-Becky Pazkowski, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy

On November 11, 1919, the first observance of Veterans Day, President Woodrow Wilson expressed the following sentiment: “To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day (Veterans Day) will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service, and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of nations.”

In 1926, Congress called for the annual observance of Veterans Day, and in 1938, the day was made a legal holiday. From that day forward, November 11 has been a day to honor all the brave men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces and to thank them for their dedication to our nation.

According to the most recent census, there are 18.5 million veterans in the U.S., at least 38 of whom live at Plymouth Harbor and 4 of whom are board members. Here are three of their stories:

After graduating from Vassar College in 1944, resident Sallie VanArsdale joined the women’s division of the United States Navy as part of W.A.V.E.S.: Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. After nine weeks of officer training followed by eight weeks of supply corps training, she was stationed at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. For 22 months during World War II, Sallie ordered supplies that were needed to build and repair naval ships docked at the port. “It was an entirely different life than I had ever lived before,” Sallie said. “Seeing the whole place in operation and being a part of it all was very exciting. The whole country was totally unified.”

Colonel Jamo C. Powell, another resident, was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery from Texas A&M University in May 1958 and went on to serve 30 years of active duty. His military career was extensive: He served as a Major during the Vietnam War; commanded the 2nd Battalion, 6th Artillery Regiment in Gelnhausen, Germany; and served as a staff officer at the Pentagon in the Department of the Army. His final assignment before retirement was Deputy Chief of Staff and Personnel for the 2nd United States Army in Atlanta, Georgia.

Colonel Dale Woodling, Plymouth Harbor board member, was a judge advocate general and served in the United States Army for 28 years. He and his wife, who was a nurse, both expected to only serve for one assignment, but it turned into a career. Woodling has dealt with all types of legal matters, ranging from courts-martial to environmental law, and ended his career as Commander of the U.S. Army Claims Service.

Thank you to all of our Plymouth Harbor veterans:
Asterisks denote our board members.

Air Force
Terry Aldrich
H. Graham Barkhuff
Thomas H. Belcher
Lawrence E. Coffey
Irwin Eisenfeld
Duncan Finlay*
Leon Gainsboro
Allen Jennings
Jack Kidd
Don MacLean
Jay Price*
Arthur Sandler

Army
Martin Abrahams
Al Balaban
Robert Barkley
Bill Brackett
Tom Bulthuis
Richard P. Carroll
Richard Cooley
John Cranor III*
Jack Denison
Tom Elliott
Jerry Hamovit
Gregory Hetter
Bill Johnston
Sidney Katz
Tom Luebbe
Francis O’Brien
Jamo C. Powell
Tom Towler
Clifford Tuttle
Dale Woodling*

Coast Guard
Carl P. Denney

Marine Corps
David A. Beliles
Harold Dombrowski
Ky Thompson
Douglas West

Navy
Jim Ahstrom
Medora Dashiell
Arthur Davidson
Tom Goddard
James J. Griffith
Donald Hackel
Richard J. March
William A. Stanford
Jim Stern
Sallie VanArsdale
John Williams

We did our best to identify all Plymouth Harbor veterans. We know it is possible that some were missed, and we apologize for any who were missed.

The courtyards in the Northwest Garden were designed specifically as a welcoming and social area for each neighborhood. The courtyards provide an opportunity for a safe, secure outdoor experience for residents and their family members. Whether a sunny stroll, a social visit, or just to sit and reflect next to the water features, the courtyard gardens provide a wonderful outdoor experience.

The Seaside Courtyard is open to all, and is accessed from the Bridge (pathway from the Lobby to the entrance of the Starr Memory Care Residence). The water feature is a main focal point in the courtyard, with the soothing sounds of water splashing down the tiles, and is surrounded by beautiful plantings and pavers. The seating areas offer conversation spaces under the large four-canopy umbrella. Elegant lighting along the pathways and the seating areas makes way for pleasant visits during the day or night. Other special features include kinetic art that swirls with the wind, and musical instruments that makes beautiful tones when tinged. Going into the busy season and the cooler temperatures, we will see more and more people taking advantage of this beautiful courtyard garden, which was supported by Barry and Phil Starr during our “A Commitment to Memory” capital campaign.

The Lido and Ringling Memory Care neighborhoods each offer their own private courtyards with similar features, including beautifully lush plantings and pavers. The Lido Courtyard, supported by Carol and Morton Siegler, offers a beautiful tiled water feature, the Harp musical instrument, and two kinetic art pieces. The Ringling Courtyard, supported by a gift from the estate of Joan Runge, features a water cauldron with soothing sounds, the Griffin musical instrument, and two ‘Desert Flower’ kinetic art pieces that twirl in the breeze. Both courtyards have teak tables and chairs that are nicely positioned under the canopy umbrella for daytime use, and soft lighting suggests a cozy area for nighttime relaxation. Many life enrichment activities take place in the courtyards.

Future plans for the Lido and Ringling Courtyards include raised gardens for resident participation and soft piped-in music. We look forward to hosting more life enrichment activities and events in the cooler weather this fall and winter.

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.

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!

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!

Your board ensures you are doing the right things; your staff ensures you are doing things right.

This is something I heard many years ago and have always remembered and agreed with. Luckily, our Foundation Board of Trustees does an excellent job of determining the right things for the Foundation to be doing.

Over the first six years since the Foundation’s inception, some of the major successes include:

    Establishing the employee scholarships – as of 2018, we have awarded 53 scholarships for a total of $96,200.
    Assisting employees through hardship challenges – over $20,000 has been awarded.

    Funding the renovation of the Wellness Center – opened in September of 2014, now over 150 residents participate in more than 17 weekly offerings.

    Funding the rejuvenation of Pilgrim Hall – programs increased from 60 to 90 in the first year after opening.

    Funding the Educational Leadership and Inspirational Programming for the Starr Memory Care Residence – programs are continuing to be established, and education is constant and ongoing.

    Welcoming 48 members to the MacNeil Society with an estimated $4.2 million in deferred gifts – ensuring a continued flow of funds throughout the years as our donors support Foundation efforts through their estate plans.

Building on the success of the first six years, we recently completed our Strategic Plan for the Foundation, which continues to align with the initiatives of Plymouth Harbor. Our four major initiatives of the Foundation include:

    Providing gift revenue for ongoing program funding at Plymouth Harbor.

    Identifying and establishing gift revenue for emerging trends and technologies in our service area.

    Strengthening and widening our donor base.

    Continuing to build a knowledgeable and engaged Foundation board.

Indeed, our Foundation Board of Trustees ensures we are doing the right things to further programs and projects that require funding beyond what operations can support. Our donors ensure we can fund those programs and projects. Our staff ensures we are doing things right to move those initiatives forward.

We are a balanced team of individuals, here to improve the lives of our residents. We hope you will all join us in our mission.

-Becky Pazkowski