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

An avid and adventurous reader, Susan Eckert will be bringing her great love for books with her as this year’s new coordinator of the Plymouth Harbor Book Club. When Charleen Sessions, the previous coordinator, retired from the position, Susan volunteered herself for the job in hopes of inspiring others to find the same joys in reading, learning, and conversing as she has.

Plymouth Harbor’s Book Club is “resident inspired and resident led,” Susan said. For about one hour on the first Friday of each month from October to May, a resident gives a presentation on a book of their choosing and leads a discussion. Occasionally, the presenters also bring guests or props; past presentations have featured exercise equipment, rowing coaches, and even livestock. “The books we use span a wide variety of topics, and our presenters bring great knowledge and wisdom to the discussions,” Susan said. “I am indebted to them for all of the time and energy it takes to prepare.”

Susan made a conscious decision to recruit new presenters who will bring fresh perspectives and voices to the discussions. Some presenters are new residents, others are familiar faces, but all have an inspiring or intriguing book they want to share.

Getting your hands on the books is easy. You can go to the Plymouth Harbor Library, a Sarasota County Library, or even ask Maryanne Shorin in Resident Programming to order you an individual copy and put it on your tab. The Library of Congress also offers the National Library Service (NLS) for the visually impaired through which they will send you a “talking book” at no cost along with a user-friendly listening device. Maryanne Shorin (Ext. 252) can help you access this service if you are interested.

This year, Susan has compiled the list of books to be discussed in advance. She hopes this will encourage more people to read the books ahead of time, although you do not have to read the book in order to attend. “You can come having read the book, or you can come without having read it and walk away inspired to, or you can just look at the list,” Susan said. “There is value in all levels of involvement.”

Plymouth Harbor Book Club Programming:

October 5 – The Undertaking: Life Studies From the Dismal Trade by Thomas Lynch, presented by Sue Elliott

November 2 – She’s Not There – A Life In Two Genders by Jennifer Boylan, presented by Marcella Schuyler

December 7 – A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, presented by Margo Light

January 4 – The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family by Annette Gordon-Reed, presented by Sallie VanArsdale

February 1 – Margery Stoneman Douglas: Voice of the River by Margery Stoneman Douglas, presented by Tom Bulthuis

March 1 – The Wind In My Hair: My Fight For Freedom In Modern Iran by Masih Alinejad, presented by Catha Abrahams

April 5 – Our Souls At Night by Kent Haruf, presented by Marita Marsh

May 3 – Circe by Madeline Miller, presented by Sue Johnson

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.

You may have heard the term circadian rhythm, but do you know what it means and how it affects us? Circadian rhythm is defined as the physical, mental, and behavioral changes that follow a 24-hour cycle, responding primarily to light and darkness in our environment. It is driven by the body’s biological clock and controls our sleep/wake cycle.

Exposure to natural and artificial light is vital to control our circadian rhythm. Studies show that you need to be exposed to at least 30 minutes of morning light to set your rhythm, followed by a gradual progression of light throughout the day with a natural color pattern.

As we age, we become more at risk for circadian rhythm disorders and vision disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration, which affects our eyes’ ability to take in light from our environment. Dementia further affects vision by decreasing depth, motion, and color perception. A brain with dementia takes longer to process the environment, which may lead to visual hallucinations. Maximizing exposure to light and the natural day-to-night progression becomes extremely important.

Our Starr Memory Care Residence was specifically designed to support proper circadian rhythms. Large windows let morning light flood into the neighborhoods, and easily accessible courtyards ensure our residents receive exposure to natural sunlight. Lighting features in the common spaces are on a dimmable program, allowing the inside artificial light to mimic the progression of natural light throughout the day.

Similarly, each neighborhood has a reflection room, a relaxing space that offers aromatherapy, a comfortable massage chair, and a tunable light that changes colors to mimic the natural color pattern associated with the day-to-night light cycle. The cycle starts with bright blue morning light, which increases serotonin levels, and gradually warms and progresses to a warm orange evening tone, which increases melatonin levels. We can manually control this light to support a resident that is having difficulty with his or her sleep/wake cycle.

Most important are the programming features we use to support healthy circadian rhythms in our residents. Our 24-hour cycle notes peak times for physical activity, concentration, and creativity, and we arrange our flexible activity schedule according to this cycle.

There have been many studies over the years about how a disorder in our rhythm affects those with dementia, but the importance of supporting proper circadian rhythms was only formally recognized in 2017. A team of scientists was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for their study indicating that a chronic misalignment between our lifestyle and our rhythm, as dictated by our inner timekeeper, is associated with increased risk of various diseases.

Health Services staff members Joe Devore, Judy Sarnowski, and Stephanie Leathers teamed up with THW, the design firm for the Northwest Garden, to present at the annual LeadingAge Florida Convention in Orlando this summer. The topic was designing with light to support the circadian rhythm. The focus was the design and programming features of our very own Starr Memory Care Residence.

If you would like to learn more, the presentation from LeadingAge 2018 is available in the Family Conference and Resource Center located on the second floor in the administrative wing of the Northwest Garden.

The Plymouth Harbor Foundation awards scholarships annually to employees and, in some cases, children of employees who are seeking to further their education. This year we were able to award 16 scholarships to the following individuals, thanks to the more than 100 generous donors who have made gifts over the last few years to support this important program.

Fernando Limon
Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship ($1500)
Fernando is a busser in the dining room, and the son of Nataly Duran in our Housekeeping department. Fernando is a multi-talented man studying at State College of Florida’s nursing program. He aspires to be a Registered Nurse in the future, and wants to make a difference in people’s lives.

Allison Nahrwold
Jane T. Smiley Scholarship ($2000)
Allison is the daughter of Nancy Nahrwold, a Registered Nurse in the Smith Care Center. Allison will be attending the University of South Florida this fall, majoring in Marketing, with a minor in Apparel Merchandising. She aspires to be a fashion marketer, hopefully with Lilly Pulitzer or Vineyard Vines.

Hayden Menzies
Jeanette Gehrie Music Scholarship ($1500)
Hayden is the daughter of Danielle Menzies, operations manager in Dining Services. Hayden is in Junior High and currently plays the trombone at school. She is also a self-taught saxophonist, wishing to learn more about both instruments. Her goal is to help more people, especially girls, get interested in playing these instruments at school. She is taking lessons at Sam Ash Music in Sarasota.

Krystle Harvey
Evelin Corsey Scholarship ($1305)
Krystle is the marketing office coordinator at Plymouth Harbor. She is working toward earning a Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication at USF Sarasota-Manatee. She also holds a BS in Biology from University of Mobile, Alabama. She is adding this credential to her portfolio so that she is able to do more of what she loves in her career–communications.

Gisel (Gigi) Sanchez Jimenez
Charleen Sessions Scholarship ($2000)
Gigi is a Certified Nursing Assistant in our Home Care department. She is studying at Keiser University to earn her degree in Medical Assisting. Gigi also has the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in history and philosophy from Cuba, her native country. Coming to the United States has helped her discover a passion for the medical field, and she wishes to continue to work with older adults after she earns her degree.


Luis Santiago
Collinsworth Scholarship ($2000)
Luis was recently employed for 6 years as a houseman supervisor in our Dining Services department. He is in his last year toward earning a bachelor’s in Information Technology with a concentration in Systems Administration.

Claudia Cavero
Gaylord Nursing Scholarship ($2000)
Claudia Cavero is a Certified Nursing Assistant in our Home Care department. She is enrolled in the nursing program at Rasmussen College and plans to graduate in December as a registered nurse. Her long-term goals include earning a bachelor’s and master’s in nursing.

Melissa Berthold
Residents Association Scholarship ($2000)
Melissa is a server in Dining Services. She is enrolled in the dental hygiene program at State College of Florida. She hopes to graduate in 2021 and begin her career as a dental hygienist.

Nathan Stotler
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Nathan is a student at State College of Florida studying communications. He is the son of Kay Stotler in our Home Care department, and this is the second year Nathan has received a Foundation scholarship.

Jessica Taylor
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Jessica Taylor, daughter of Cindy Taylor in our Home Care department, is a student at State College of Florida in their pharmacy program. She plans to become a pharmacy technician. This is the second year Jessica has received a Foundation scholarship.

Dayle Cortes
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Dayle Cortes, son of Hernando Cortes (a nurse in our Smith Care Center) has been attending University of Florida Innovation Academy to pursue a marketing degree. He is undecided at this point at what path of business he will pursue with his marketing education. This is the third year Dayle has received support from the Foundation.

Vernicia (Nici) Crenshaw
Foundation Scholarship ($1500)
Nici is a server in our Dining Services department. She is in the final stages of earning her credentials as a Diagnostic Medical Ultrasound technician from Meridian College. She is currently completing her internships and will take her boards sometime this fall.

Devin Vancil
Foundation Scholarship ($1500)
Devin is the son of Fran Vancil in our Maintenance department. He is taking private violin lessons at the Allegro Music Academy. Devin is entering high school this fall, and maintains a 4.0 gpa. He was supported last year through the Gehrie Music Scholarship.

Yaima Comas
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Yaima Comas has been a Certified Nursing Assistant in our Home Care department for 8 years. She is studying Business Administration and Management, majoring in International Business and Trade at the State College of Florida. She is three semesters away from completion. Yaima had been formerly supported through the Jane T. Smiley scholarship.

Lillian Aravena-Rodriguez
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Lillian is an LPN in Smith Care Center. She is studying nursing at Manatee Technical College and plans to finish as an RN in 2019. She loves nursing, especially in the field of geriatrics and wound care.

Waverly Tanner
Foundation Scholarship ($2000)
Waverly Tanner recently worked as a server in the Smith Care Center Chart Room. She is a Pine View High School graduate who has just started at University of South Florida. She is studying Business Administration, and thinks she may pursue a career in our industry eventually.

Congratulations to Cathy Laponius
Cathy was supported last year through the Harry and Nancy Hobson Leadership Development Grant program, pursuing her Certified Dietary Manager credential. Cathy has completed her program six months early, passed the test, and is now officially a Certified Dietary Manager. Congratulations, Cathy!