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 and Judy Sarnowski 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!

 

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.