On January 30, Plymouth Harbor will be seeing snow for the first time since 2015, but not the cold, white kind that falls from the sky. Teepa Snow, a leading educator on dementia, will be on campus to teach residents, staff, board members, and community partners about dementia and her Positive Approach™ to Care.

As an occupational therapist with more than 30 years of clinical experience in the field of dementia, Teepa has become an advocate for those with dementia. She has made it her mission to help people better understand what it is like to live with the challenges that accompany the condition and to change the way people think about it.

In 2005, she founded her own company, the Positive Approach™ to Care, to teach people how to effectively and compassionately work with those living with neurocognitive degeneration. The Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) uses the GEMS® States model for brain change, Teepa’s own creation that focuses on retained abilities instead of those that are lost. “Rewiring our own perceptions, attitudes, communication strategies, actions, and responses provides the shift that promotes change for others around us,” says Teepa on her website. Through the PAC and using the GEMS® States model, she now educates family and professional care providers across the world, but mainly in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.

“Snow Day,” as we like to call her visit, will span from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., allowing Teepa time with all members of our Plymouth Harbor community so that we can all learn how to better care for those with dementia. Teepa will have specific sessions dedicated to each of our constituents, beginning with staff, caregivers, and area partners, then residents and Harbor Club members, and finally our board members.

This year, we have combined “Snow Day” with our annual Doyle Trust Lecture, and she will serve as the annual event’s keynote speaker. “We are very proud to bring Teepa here for the inaugural Doyle Trust Lecture,” says Becky Pazkowski, Senior Vice President of Philanthropy. “The Doyles were residents here and I’d imagine would be very pleased to know that care for all kinds of conditions, including dementia, has expanded over the years. With their legacy, we are able to offer an even broader educational opportunity.”

Teepa has visited Plymouth Harbor once before in March of 2015, before the Northwest Garden Building was built, for our first “Snow Day.” This time around, in addition to speaking to our residents and staff, Teepa will tour the Starr Memory Care Residence. We are excited to show her the supportive, state-of-the-art environment created for our residents thanks to the careful thought and ingenuity of the Plymouth Harbor team and THW, the architectural and design firm. We are so proud of our residence, and this will serve as a rare occasion for us to show Teepa how the design of the space and the program has been influenced by her own positive approach.

Brandi Burgess, Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, is a certified PAC trainer and has worked hard to incorporate Teepa’s approach into the way Plymouth Harbor cares for its residents. “The tenets of her program are that if caregivers understand what is happening physically and cognitively to those with dementia, we can identify the levels of progression and remaining strengths in the moment,” Brandi said.

More information about Teepa and the Positive Approach™ to Care and the GEMS® States model for brain change can be found online at TeepaSnow.com.

In 2014, our Board of Trustees and Leadership Council committed the time and financial resources to ensure that every single Plymouth Harbor staff member is given premier education on dementia care.

Our goal is to have staff who are knowledgeable about dementia, aware of the unique manifestations of dementia, who understand the impact of dementia on family and environmental dynamics, and who are adept at interacting with those with dementia. Using Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) philosophy, we ensure that this happens.

Teepa Snow is a leading educator on dementia. As an occupational therapist with more than 30 years of clinical experience in the field, Teepa has become an advocate for those with dementia. She has made it her mission to help people better understand what it is like to live with the challenges that accompany the condition and to change the way people think about it. In 2005, she founded her own company, the Positive Approach™ to Care, to teach people how to effectively and compassionately work with those living with neurocognitive degeneration. The Positive Approach™ to Care (PAC) uses the GEMS® States model for brain change, Teepa’s own creation that focuses on retained abilities instead of those that are lost. Through the PAC and using the GEMS® States model, she now educates family and professional care providers across the world, but mainly in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K

Four years ago, Brandi Burgess, Interim Administrator of Assisted Living and Memory Care, became a nationally certified trainer in PAC and developed an education plan for all levels of our staff with responsibilities in any of our licensed facilities.

“I really love when staff members from all departments share an interaction they had with a resident and say ‘I felt myself getting defensive and upset, and then I realized I was talking to a diamond,’ or an emerald, or a ruby,” Brandi said. “When they can take a step back, use what they learned in their PAC training, and approach the situation with a different mindset, they can better understand and care for our residents.”

Health Services staff receive annual training, which consists of education on normal aging, dementia, current research, and the progression of dementia through the GEMS® model. They also learn positive physical approaches and skills to use during care. Many different techniques are used to teach our staff these skills: video clips of Teepa demonstrating how to sort out what GEM someone is for visual learners; lectures and Q&A sessions for verbal learners; role playing and hands-on care practice for existential learners.

Our Care Partners in the Starr Memory Care Residence receive a three-week training, the most intensive of all our employees. Their PAC training is heavily interactive and hands-on, allowing them to practice the skills they will need and also put themselves in the shoes of someone with dementia. Even those who work outside of Health Services receive an introduction to PAC in their new employee orientations.

“If we can teach our staff how to purposefully change the environment and approach to our residents, then we can ensure they have the proper setting to shine at their best,” Brandi said.

It is with deep respect that we bid farewell to three Foundation board members who have served two terms each on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees. The Foundation Board is comprised of at least three resident trustees, three non-resident corporate board trustees, and three at-large trustees, plus the CEO and CFO.

Tom Towler (Resident Trustee)
Tom began on the Foundation board in 2013, serving two consecutive terms. We are grateful for his knowledge of Plymouth Harbor, the Sarasota Community, and of philanthropy.

Lee Byron (Non-Resident Trustee)
Lee served on the Foundation board beginning in 2013 and was appointed as a corporate board trustee at that time. Her long tenure as trustee at Plymouth Harbor has been extremely generous and valuable to our leadership. Now a Harbor Club member, we know we will continue to benefit from Lee’s involvement.

Cade Sibley (At-Large Trustee)
Cade began as an At-Large trustee in 2013 and became Chair of the Board in 2017. Completing her sixth year on the board and second as chair, we are extremely grateful for her leadership. She will begin her first term as a corporate board trustee in January.

We are excited to welcome the following three new members to our Foundation Board:

John D. (Jack) Kidd (Resident Trustee)
Jack and Jane Kidd became Plymouth Harbor residents in December of 2017. They moved to Longboat Key in 2004, having spent most of their family life in Jackson, Ohio. Jack and a partner bought Oak Hill Banks in 1970, which after much success was merged with WesBanco of Wheeling, West Virginia in 2007. He served on that board until 2011. Jack has most recently served two years as President of the Board of The Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center in Sarasota (2014-2018). He also served the Bird Key Yacht Club Board of Governors, the Sanctuary Condo Board of Trustees, and the Waterclub Condo Board of Trustees, as well as countless boards in Ohio. He and Jane have three children and five beautiful grandchildren.

Robert (Bobby) Overall (At-Large Trustee)
Bobby Overall has become very familiar with Plymouth Harbor, as his parents, Bob and Mathilda Overall, lived here from 2001 until their recent deaths (2018 and 2016, respectively). Bobby was president and majority owner of Coastal Bridge Company, a 250-employee highway, bridge, and marine construction company in Louisiana, which he sold and retired from in 2013. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University. He is currently a director of Associated General Contractors of America and a past board member and past president of Louisiana Associated General Contractors. He has been involved on several volunteer boards including Junior Chamber of Commerce of Baton Rouge, Jefferson United Methodist of Baton Rouge, and Sarasota Yacht Club. He and his wife Cindy reside in Baton Rouge and have a second home docked at Sarasota Yacht Club.

Kathryn Angell Carr (Non-Resident Trustee)
Kathryn Angell Carr is a member of our corporate board, and is a partner at Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP where she is Board Certified in Real Estate Law. She has been involved in the representation of both purchasers and sellers in residential and commercial real estate, including several shopping centers, hotels, apartment complexes, restaurants, and office buildings. Kathryn also has experience in the leasing and financing of both residential and commercial projects, including securitized financing and bond financing. Kathryn received a BS degree in Political Science from Iowa State University and earned her law degree from the University of Florida. In addition to Plymouth Harbor’s, Kathryn previously served on several community Boards, including, but not limited to, The Argus Foundation and the Animal Rescue Coalition. She has three stepchildren and six grandchildren, ranging in age from three to 27.

We have all heard the phrase, “charity begins at home.” Never having known the origin of that phrase, I did what all educated people do nowadays – I googled it.

The phrase is a proverb meaning one’s first responsibility is for the needs of one’s own family and friends.

I have visited personally with over 250 of our residents here at Plymouth Harbor, and a very common description of the feeling here is “like family.” That typically includes neighbors and employees. It should come as no surprise that one of the most popular needs that residents support through the Foundation is Employee Assistance.

Employee Assistance includes support in several different areas: education, hardship, wellness, and training. Over the years, this fund has contributed to our ability to recruit and retain employees, keep skills sharp and current, identify and train emerging leaders, and improve the health and well-being of employees.

In the same spirit of “charity begins at home” is our newest established employee scholarship, the Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship. The donor (a resident who prefers to remain anonymous) shared her story about her single mother raising her, working sometimes several jobs to hold the family together. When it came time for this donor to go to college, her mother told her that she just couldn’t swing the tuition and that she would not be able to attend college. She was disappointed, but knew that learning a skill was important. So, she attended vocational school, learned an employable skill, and later went back to expand her education when she could afford it.

Knowing now that it must have broken her mother’s heart to have to tell her that she couldn’t afford tuition, she wishes to help others here at Plymouth Harbor, who may be in the same situation, in her mother’s name: Veronica Holak Barton.

The Veronica Holak Barton Scholarship is a $5,000 scholarship that will be awarded annually, beginning in 2019, to a student interested in a vocational program, not necessitating a 4-year college degree. She has also stated preference for this scholarship to be made to one-parent families. Eventually, this scholarship will be endowed so that it will go on for years and years into the future.

Charity certainly does begin at home, sometimes years ago, sometimes now. And, most times, something very good can result.

-Becky Pazkowski

The State of Jobs Conference (SOJC) is Florida’s largest conference focused on college and career development. The conference introduces high school students, mostly sophomores, to career tracks and industry leaders early on in their education. Several tracks are offered for students, including healthcare, engineering/manufacturing, information technology, hospitality, art/culture, and business.

Presented this year by CareerSource Suncoast, BIG (Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast), and Gulf Coast CEO Forum, SOJC began in 2013 as an offering of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and the brainchild of Chris Laney. In 2016, Chris recognized the need to expand SOJC to make it a regional event. He took the idea to CareerSource Suncoast and subsequently expanded to the surrounding counties. SOJC now hosts 1,000 students from surrounding high schools and includes an evening event that focuses on college students nearing graduation and looking for jobs in our community.

Plymouth Harbor became involved with SOJC in 2016 after recognizing the workforce shortage would continue and that we needed to find a way to introduce young people to our industry as a viable and steady career choice. For the third year now, Plymouth Harbor is the healthcare track sponsor. In 2016 and 2017, our nurses participated in one of the three sessions in the healthcare track, engaging over 150 students in nursing as a career choice.

This year we were again the healthcare sponsor, which invites visibility with an exhibit booth and hosting of the healthcare track. We were able to connect with hundreds of high schoolers throughout the day and college students in the evening.

New this year was an offering for the high schoolers called Executive Roundtables. Each roundtable was hosted by an executive, defined as someone who had been in their business for at least 10 years. Plymouth Harbor was asked to supply host executives for some of the 45 different roundtables. Several employees and residents were willing to participate:

George McGonagill, Vice President of Facilities, hosted a table and led the conversation in careers related to the building trades. Alyson Harris, Director of Accounting, hosted a table that talked about the accounting field.
Paul Groen, resident and orthopedic surgeon, hosted a table and spoke about careers in the medical field.
Bill Johnston, resident and former president of the New York Stock Exchange, hosted a table focused on careers in the business and finance industry. Other staff involved in the SOJC this year included Becky Pazkowski, Tena Wilson, and Stephen Moros.

There seems to always be guests who recognize Plymouth Harbor as an icon in Sarasota. Last year, the son of a resident who teaches in Sarasota visited our booth. This year, one of the panelists in the healthcare track was Sarasota Memorial Hospital ER physician Reuben Holland. Dr. Holland spoke highly of Plymouth Harbor, saying ER patients presenting at SMH from Plymouth Harbor are always obviously well-cared for patients. Additionally, some people mention that their first jobs were at Plymouth Harbor.

“Two different people came up to me this year and said their first job was at Plymouth Harbor,” recalled Becky Pazkowski, who hosts the healthcare track sessions. “One was a teacher of 40 years who retired last year from Emma Booker Elementary. She was a nursing assistant here before she went into teaching. The other was a chef in USF’s hospitality program. He said his first job was in dining services here at Plymouth Harbor!”

Among our goals for being involved in SOJC is to show leadership in our industry, an industry often not mentioned as an option for those seeking career tracks. Plymouth Harbor has been around for over 50 years, and our industry is one of the largest in the state of Florida. It is our duty to remind people that we are here, we are not going anywhere, and we value good employees. We remind them that this could be their first job!

We are pleased to welcome charter members of the Anchor Society, a group of donors who have given to the Foundation consistently, year after year, in at least 5 of the last 6 years. Consistent annual giving allows us to continue to fund ongoing programs, such as the chapel, wood shop, library, the new resident educational offerings, employee scholarships, employee hardship cases, employee training, wellness initiatives, and other new offerings.

The Foundation Board was happy to honor and celebrate these donors on National Philanthropy Day (November 15th) at our Cocktails by Candlelight event in the Bistro. All members received a commemorative pin as a symbol of our gratitude. Over sixty guests attended the event.

Charter Members of the Anchor Society:

Maizie Abuza
Carolyn Albrecht
Mary Allyn
Al and Barbara Balaban
Patricia and Graham Barkhuff
David and Ruth Beliles
Kay Bosse
Bill Brackett
Molly Brzica
Marty Buenneke
Celia Catlett and Gene Heide
Aubie and Sandy Coran
Bruce Crawford and Joan Sheil
John and Alida de Jongh
Joe Devore
Judy Diedrich
Janet Fassler
Greg Fosselman
Arnold and Marcia Freedman
Nancy Gross
Jerry and Joelle Hamovit
Harry and Nancy Hobson
Addie Hurst
Joe Iaria
Bill and Betsy Johnston
Harriet Josenhanss
Jerry and Nancy Kaplan
Marian Kessler
Chris and Margo Light
Sallie and Tom Luebbe
Gerda and Vytas Maceikonis
Jeanne Manser
Gerry Mattson
Ginny McIntire
Fred and Molly Moffat
Elizabeth Murphy
Becky and Paul Pazkowski
Isabel Pedersen
BJ Peters
Jean and Brian Rushton
Bobi Sanderson
Shirlee Schachtel
Norma Schatz
Jeanne Seiberling
Charleen Sessions
Maryanne and Joe Shorin
Cade and Whit Sibley
Carol Siegler
Jean Simon
Jane Smiley
Phil and Barry Starr
Betty Templeton
Tom Towler and Nancy Lyon
Wendy and Jim Underwood
Dr. Jim Wiggin
Jill Wilson
Tena and Tom Wilson
Edward Yasuna

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.