In October 2015, we reported that the Smith Care Center (SCC) began a new pilot program called the Personalized Music Therapy Program. This program includes the use of iPods and personalized music playlists as an enjoyable therapeutic activity. The purpose is to calm unwanted behaviors frequently associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions, thus creating an alternative to the use of pharmaceuticals. For this reason, the initial target population included SCC residents who have experienced behavior and personality changes, such as agitation and restlessness.
SCC Activities Director Judy Sarnowski headed the program, modeling it after Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that created its own personalized music program. Judy says that Music & Memory got her thinking more about how she could modify certain aspects of their program to fit needs that were specific to Smith Care Center residents. So, before launching the three-month program in October 2015, Judy did her homework.
In addition to identifying three program participants and speaking with their family members for permission, Judy made the following modifications to the program:
- She set a 30-minute time limit. Music & Memory has no limit, but due to short attention spans, Judy decided to limit the exposure for our residents.
- She used the iPod Mini. Music & Memory uses an iPod Shuffle. However, SCC used the iPod Mini for greater programming capabilities, which ultimately helped to increase personalization.
- She used over-the-ear headphones. Music & Memory uses “ear buds,” but Judy went with over-the-ear headphones for greater comfort and compatibility with hearing aids.
- She used a personalized questionnaire to help create each playlist. Judy compiled a questionnaire for each resident’s family member to complete. This questionnaire helped to elicit different memories by asking questions, such as “What is your favorite movie?” and “What is a song that was played at your wedding?”
Judy and her team have been compiling data throughout the program, and have already seen a noticeable difference. The pilot program ends on December 31, 2015, and at that time, Judy will compare data from the three month-period to data that was produced before the program started. Stay tuned for an update in early 2016 regarding the final results.
Plymouth Harbor is excited to announce Eva Duerr as our new Staff Development Coordinator. Eva came to Plymouth Harbor in June 2015.
In her role as Staff Development Coordinator, Eva is responsible for providing and overseeing the necessary educational training for all Plymouth Harbor staff members, particularly in the Smith Care Center. Her specific responsibilities include assessing, planning, and implementing organized educational programs for staff according to federal, state, and local requirements. Additionally, Eva helps to provide wound care to Smith Care Center residents and oversees nurses providing this care on a daily basis.
Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Eva served as the Resident Care Coordinator at the Memory Support Center for Evangelical Homes of Michigan in Saline, Michigan. Here, she was responsible for overseeing resident admission, developing and directing operational and support services, and recruitment, selection, and performance evaluation of staff.
In addition, Eva previously worked for many years as a Home Care Nurse in Berglen, Germany. Eva received her associate degree in nursing from the RMK School of Nursing in Backnang, Germany in 1991. In 2012, she was certified as a Registered Nurse by the Michigan Board of Nursing. Eva is also knowledgeable in memory care and has earned her Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care Certificate.
Over the next year, a major focus of Eva’s will be to enhance Plymouth Harbor’s community-wide education. This will include annual training for each Plymouth Harbor employee, occurring during the month of each employee’s anniversary date. Additionally, beginning in February of 2016, Eva will begin her training to become certified in Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach To Care (PAC). Plymouth Harbor is lucky to have Eva on our team, and we look forward to the continued enhancement of our staff education.
By: Wellness Director, Chris Valuck
Ok, let’s face it — many times a New Year’s Resolution is declared on December 31st, and by January 31st it’s a distant memory, partly because it wasn’t a realistic goal in the first place. Making a change doesn’t have to be an arduous task. Even the smallest changes can bring about big, rewarding results. Here are a few to consider:
Enjoy more time with family — Entertaining family doesn’t have to be exhausting by running all over town. When children and grandchildren visit, engage them in family fun right here at Plymouth Harbor. Reserve the bocce court for a fun, friendly match (you could even cater lunch courtside), or play other games like ladder ball and corn hole. Consider a family swim, or take a nature walk around campus (kids love to look at flowers, birds, and well, bugs).
If it’s a rainy day, enjoy the Wellness Center and bring your family to a group fitness class, or play ping pong or Xbox. Call me old-fashioned, but some of the best times spent with my grandparents involved story-telling and showing us old photos. Another memorable and rewarding time was spent baking and sharing recipes (keeping forever the recipes in my grandmother’s handwriting — and laminated, of course). Just don’t try to accomplish all this quality time in the first few days! Whew!
Embrace Technology — I’m not discounting the value of face-to-face time with friends and family, but to really connect with today’s younger people, you have to speak their language. Not sure how? Ask them! Or schedule time with Plymouth Harbor’s ETeam any Saturday by calling Ext. 399. They can show you how to email and text, or teach you how to use “apps” and social media, like Facebook. By doing so, interaction with the younger generations in your family will take on a whole new meaning.
Become More Active — Whether you prefer to be active indoors or outdoors, in a group setting or independently, Plymouth Harbor has a wide variety of options to stay healthy and active. Start the new year by attending a new group fitness class, or add to your existing schedule and bring a friend. If you prefer to exercise on your own in the fitness room, request a consult with me to see if you may benefit from a revamp of your existing exercise program or to ask how best to utilize the equipment. If being outdoors is your preference, consider picking up a copy of the campus map and take a walk with a friend or family member.
Improve Your Diet — Commit to improving your diet, which could mean eating more, or less, based on your needs. Not sure how to improve your dietary intake? Take the anxiety and guesswork out of the equation by consulting with a registered dietician to analyze your requirements and help you work toward a healthier diet. You’ll be amazed at how dramatically your energy and mood can change by simply taking in the nutrients your body needs.
I admit, making resolutions is the easy part. Sticking with them is a bit more difficult. But they can still be attainable with a little bit of determination!
On Monday, December 14, 2015, Plymouth Harbor held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new Northwest Garden building, which will house customized residential apartments, assisted living residences, and memory care residences. The event began with a Shovel Ceremony at 5:00 pm on the west lawn near the Smith Care Center, followed by a poolside reception sponsored by Northern Trust.
The new Northwest Garden building, to be located next to the existing Smith Care Center on the west side of the campus, will encompass 30 Memory Care, 30 Assisted Living, and 10 luxury apartment residences. The Memory Care residences are a new addition to Plymouth Harbor, and will specifically focus on providing personalized care and services for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related conditions. The new Assisted Living and Independent Living residences are an expansion of Plymouth Harbor’s current offerings, intended to help meet increased market demand.
The Groundbreaking Ceremony included remarks from President/CEO Harry Hobson, as well as key executives involved in the project — Duncan Finlay, M.D., Chair of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees; William R. Johnston, Chair of The Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees; as well as remarks from Philip A. Delaney, Jr., President, Northern Trust; and Rick Gomez, Senior Vice President & Managing Director-Sarasota, Northern Trust, our reception sponsor and project lender.
We also had the honor of having Sam Woolf, a Bradenton local, and a finalist in the hit TV show “American Idol,” perform the Star-Spangled Banner at the beginning of the ceremony. Additionally, The Reverend Dr. Wes Bixby, Senior Minister at the First Congregational United Church of Christ Sarasota, gave a special message and blessing of the project. Following the blessing, seven individuals, including The Reverend Dr. Wes Bixby; Jim Hudgins, President, THW Design; Dave Sessions, President and CEO, Willis A. Smith Construction; Philip A. Delaney, Jr.; Harry Hobson; Dale N. Woodling; William R. Johnston; and Duncan Finlay, M.D., were invited to participate in the Groundbreaking Shovel Ceremony (pictured right).
Nearly 200 guests attended the ceremony, including Plymouth Harbor residents, employees, members of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees and the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees, local media, and key partners involved in the development of this project. Many residents were also able to witness the ceremony through live simulcast streaming into Pilgrim Hall, the Smith Care Center Living Room, and the Callahan Center.
In addition to the construction of the Cooling Tower, which began earlier this summer, the Northwest Garden Groundbreaking Ceremony marks the official beginning of construction for the new building. We anticipate roughly 22 months of construction, with an expected opening date set for the end of 2017.
Plymouth Harbor is proud to celebrate the beginning of this exciting project, and looks forward to continually providing the most positive life experience possible for our residents.
Following the expansion plan of the 1980s, Plymouth Harbor continued to make updates throughout the campus in the years to come.
Beginning with the installation of solar heating for the outdoor pool in 1992, updates to existing amenities and technology became a main focus. In 1993, Pilgrim Hall received a home theater system and an updated PA system. In 1994, the Plymouth Harbor Dining Room was completely redone with a $1.2 million renovation. Additionally, Channel 58 (now known to residents as Channel 195) was installed as an in-house TV station to keep residents updated on events and activities occurring at Plymouth Harbor.
The name of Plymouth Harbor reveals much about the values on which it rests. Like our historic counterpart far to the north in the 17th century, Plymouth Harbor is committed to a life in fellowship one with another — which explains why we call our community neighborhoods “colonies.”
Colonies were established at Plymouth Harbor when our doors first opened in 1966. However, when our Smith Care Center (SCC) was completed in 1988, it didn’t quite follow suit. Back in the 1980s, Dinah Stamp, then Activity/Social Services Director (now VP Residential Services), began facilitating monthly meetings for SCC residents. However, these meetings were only referred to as resident meetings and SCC wasn’t considered its own colony at the time. Years later, our Social Worker, Brandi Burgess, was hired and began leading the monthly meetings.
It wasn’t until about five years ago, however, that Brandi decided to start calling the meeting the “SCC Colony Meeting” to help drive attendance and assign the significance it deserved. Two years ago, the Residents Association became aware of the SCC “colony” meeting, and began investigating a by-law change in order to include SCC as an official colony of Plymouth Harbor. Terry Aldrich, President of the Residents Association, was instrumental in making this change take place. He worked hard to inform existing colonies of the need for the change, and collaborated with the Residents Association Board of Directors.
At the April 2015 Annual Meeting of the Residents Association Board of Directors, Smith Care Center was officially approved and written into the Residents Association by-laws as its own colony. The change has been hugely successful, and residents have become more interested and engaged in participation. Prior to this, long-term residents would retain membership in their previous colonies rather than participate as actively in SCC.
Today, there are 11 official paying members, as only permanent, original Plymouth Harbor residents pay dues. However, all SCC residents – and their family members – are invited and encouraged to attend meetings and voice their opinions. Additionally, any voting SCC colony member is eligible to be a representative. SCC currently has two resident representatives as well as one staff representative — Brandi Burgess. The now-official SCC colony meeting is held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00pm in the SCC Living Room.
We are excited to see this change take place, and look forward to seeing more and more resident input and involvement in the Smith Care Center.