Change of routine alone can be difficult, and a major loss (such as the death of a spouse) can be crippling.   Everyone experiences such common life events, but there is no need to go through these challenging times alone.  That’s why Plymouth Harbor works with Vericare, a leading provider of comprehensive and integrative behavioral healthcare services.

Over the past five years, Vericare’s highly trained and compassionate clinical psychologists have helped Plymouth Harbor residents and staff through grief, caregiver stress, adjustment issues, as well as depression and anxiety.

Even when there is excitement and anticipation about moving into a new community such as ours, it is natural for new residents to navigate a period of adjustment and homesickness. Any of these experiences are also compounded when other issues are present, such as chronic health conditions, side effects from medications or a loss of physical independence.

One unique feature that Vericare offers our residents is a counseling “house call” that is covered by most insurance plans.  The psychologists can meet you “where you are” in your own comfortable and very private setting.   All residents, from independent living and assisted living to those in skilled nursing care are eligible for VeriCare services.  For more information on how they can help, call Brandi Burgess at 361-7379 or Liz Clark at 361-7245.

 By Becky Pazkowski

A few years ago I was meeting with a potential donor, talking to him about his interest in supporting a particular project we were considering at the community hospital where I worked at the time.  The project was a monitoring system that had proven to save lives at other hospitals where it had been installed. 

This young man (in his 40s) had worked very hard to build a thriving financial business in Chicago, and sold it to Goldman Sachs in the good old days of the 1990s.  He found himself very wealthy and moved his family back to his home town to be with his extended family. 

While we think that having a lot of money will make us happy, this was certainly not the case for this man.  He shared some of his family stories with me that day.  His siblings were struggling financially and even though he was in a position to help them, his brothers wouldn’t accept money from him.  They resented him for his success.  A rift was formed between him and his loved ones, and he found himself feeling helpless and frustrated. 

That day, he wrote us a check for $10,000 to fund the project we were talking to him about. We were elated.  He had been searching for some happiness to come of his good fortune, and it did.  What to him was a small amount of money, to us meant saving lives.  We left each other that day, both feeling a little lighter of heart.

When it comes to money, it is not how much we have, but what we do with it that brings happiness and fulfillment.  In the world of philanthropy, there is so much that can be and needs to be done, and so much joy that can come of it.

According to Rath and Harter in Well Being: The Five Essential Elements, researchers at Harvard found that spending money on others boosts one’s happiness more than spending on one’s self.  Their research also showed that even when given money to do with as they wished, those who spent it on others, or gave it to charity, were happier than those who did not. 

Philanthropy is about making “transformations” rather than “transactions.”  In other words, it is not what or that you gave, but what kind of good did your gift bring about?  Consider how here at Plymouth Harbor a scholarship helps make a college graduate, or how a dance floor brings people together, or how a therapeutic stationary bicycle reduces disease symptoms and increases someone’s quality of life, or how a piece of art or a musical performance lifts our spirits. 

Whether your giving is during your lifetime or through your estate, think about what kind of impact you would like to make, or what kind of legacy you would like to leave, and then consider making a gift toward those dreams.  It will make you and so many others happy. 

 Six months ago, there stood a lonely overgrown patch  in the west gardens that once was a place of joy for former resident Mary “Tilley” Bessemer.  In its heyday, more than eight years ago, Tilley could be found following the lazy wanderings of butterflies among their favorite blossoms in this lovingly tended garden designed just for them.  

When Nichole Peal first saw the garden last winter, the faded trellis was obscured by weeds and the birdbath filled with rotting leaves.  The potential that she soon saw in this butterfly garden was not far from the memory of Tilley’s former sanctuary and it emerged as the perfect project to earn her Girl Scout Gold Award.  The Gold Award is the highest honor a Girl Scout can achieve.  

“I had just finished my Harvest Award where I had learned about butterfly gardens on a visit to the Florida Native Plant Nursery in Myakka,” says Nichole, referring to another prestigious Girl Scout Senior award.  “There are so many elaborate rules for butterfly gardens like the number of plants and which ones are for the butterflies to eat and which are for laying their eggs.”

Nichole, now a senior at the Sarasota Military Academy, dedicated her spare time February through August to the planning and creation of “Tilley’s Butterfly Garden,” dedicated to the memory of Mary “Tilley” Bessemer.  Recruiting the assistance of fellow Girl Scouts and the expertise of local butterfly aficionados, Nichole sees this as an ongoing effort to maintain the garden and ensure that it remains a long-standing source of solace for Plymouth Harbor residents and guests. 

When the sun and the weather are just right, it’s easy to imagine the peace to be found in a well-appointed butterfly garden.  Sarasota abounds with these delightful gardens filled largely with native plants and the 170 species of butterflies that find their homes here at one time of the year or other (that’s nearly a quarter of 740 species found world-wide!).

“Butterflies are deep and powerful representations of life,” shared Plymouth Harbor CEO Harry Hobson. “They symbolize different things for different people:  endurance, change, hope, and life.”

It’s fascinating that face-to-face encounters with this most delicate and resilient creature, the tiny butterfly, can have such a dramatic effect on people.

The butterfly evokes an experience of calm, peace, and comfort. Research at medical centers has found that patients who visited or viewed a healing garden took less pain medication and overall had shorter stays than patients who did not. The greatest benefits are found by those living with illness, disabilities, or suffering from a loss.  The wellness aspects of a therapeutic butterfly garden are multifaceted.

Senator Bob Johnson, a former member of the Plymouth Harbor Board of Directors and the attorney managing Mary “Tilley” Bessemer’s estate, understands the affection with which she cared for this garden in the years before her passing in 2006. 

“Tilley loved her butterflies,” said Senator Johnson who met Tilley when she married his long-time neighbor. Widowed in later life, she had reunited with her high school sweetheart and found love anew.  They moved into a new home at Plymouth Harbor where they enjoyed many years together.  “Tilley was unassuming and down to earth. Even as her vision worsened, she could see those butterflies,” he added.  “She would be very proud, and probably astonished, by this garden dedication.”

A celebration and dedication of the newly refreshed butterfly garden  on Tuesday, September 10 at 11:00  recognizes and appreciates Mary “Tilley” Bessemer and Nichole Peal for their past and present contributions.

“Our very special butterfly garden will serve as a symbol of peace and serenity for all who visit,” added Harry, “and a life-affirming tribute to Tilley, whose zest for life continues to grace us.”   

May the wings of the butterfly kiss the sun and find your shoulder to light on,
To bring you luck, happiness and riches today, tomorrow and beyond.

~Irish Blessing

Jane Smiley (left) with Janet Zarro of Women's Resource Center

Generous, passionate, compassionate . . . three words that describe Jane Smiley and her feelings for Plymouth Harbor, our employees, and education. 

here is hardly an arts, human service or arts related not-for-profit organization in Sarasota, Florida that has not benefited from the wisdom and energy of Jane Smiley.  New College is grateful for her support.  The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County counted her as a board member for many years.  She has chaired the boards of the Sarasota County Arts Council and Art Center.

As a long-time Plymouth Harbor resident,  Mrs. Smiley has also given significant support to her current home as well. Recently she established, through an annual gift, the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship to benefit Plymouth Harbor employees.  The annual $2000 scholarship supports educational endeavors of current Plymouth Harbor employees who are seeking post-secondary degrees, certifications, or specialty training in any field.  Asked what inspired her to establish this scholarship, Mrs. Smiley said, “I have been so fortunate in my life, and it began with a good education.  Giving back is the right thing to do now.” 

Harry Hobson, Yaima Comas, Jane Smiley (l-r)

Yaima Comas is the first recipient of the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship.  Yaima has been a member of the Home Care staff as a certified nursing assistant for nearly three years.  She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration. 

“We are very grateful for Mrs. Smiley’s generosity and vision for advancing the dreams and ambitions of our employees,” said Harry Hobson.  “This is a perfect example of how passions and needs come together to benefit all.  Thank you, Mrs. Smiley, for your kind support.” 

Interesting research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic showed a 35% reduction in Parkinson’s symptoms by simply pedaling a bike quickly at 80-90 rpm’s.  Some people showed up to a 60% reduction in symptoms.

Movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, stroke, fibromyalgia, spinal cord injury, muscular dystrophy, obesity and cerebral palsy can all take their toll on your ability to stay active. The Theracycle motorized bike was created specifically to provide exercise for those with movement disorders.

The Theracycle assists the rider in passively moving both the upper and lower body through a full range of motion.  This is an ideal piece of equipment for residents who may have orthopedic and/or neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, or frailty, because it can help the rider maintain a pace that they may not be able to do on their own.

While Theracycles are more commonly seen in physical therapy or rehab settings, thanks to generous donations from several residents, we now have a Theracycle in Plymouth Harbor’s Wellness Center!  If you are interested in the Parkinson’s research or would like to discuss incorporating the Theracycle into your exercise program, please contact Chris (x377) or Amanda (x350) in the Wellness Center. 

 Seven adventurous Plymouth Harbor residents recently took a quick five minute ride down the beach, slipped into kayaks, and  spent the next 2 1/2 hours traversing through the amazing mangrove tunnels located in Sarasota Bay just south of Plymouth Harbor. 

These mangroves are easily part of the landscape viewed daily from resident homes from their southern facing windows. A morning of kayaking reveals the wonders hidden within them.

In addition to enjoying invigorating exercise and beautiful scenery, the group learned many interesting facts about this fascinating section of Florida’s west coast as their experienced tour guide pointed out various features, plants and birds along the way.

Thanks to Chef Renee and his culinary team, our intrepid kayakers enjoyed a waterside picnic after their morning adventure. This is not the first kayaking foray that Plymouth Harbor residents have enjoyed, nor will it be the last!

 Wellness is more than just eating healthy . . . it’s enjoying the food we eat!  Chef René has been diligently creating new selections to add  to the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock Café menus.

A revamped menu was recently introduced in the Café.  While all-time favorites like Tureen of Onion Soup, Ham & Turkey Club, The Burger and The Real Reuben remain, several new selections like Black Bean & Chorizo Soup, Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad, Lobster Roll, Fish & Chips, Chili Hot Dog, Whole Wheat Pasta Penne, and Duck Confit have been added.  If you haven’t yet enjoyed these delicious new treats, be sure to stop by the Café soon. 

Another new feature recently introduced is a children’s menu available in both the Mayflower and Café.  Children age 12 and under can now enjoy The Ultimate Grilled Cheese, Pilgrim Chicken Fingers, Plymouth Rock Hamburger, and an All-American Hot Dog.  The children’s meal includes a choice of beverage and an Ice Cream Sundae. 

And last, but not least, Chef René is expanding the current Mayflower menu cycle.  Rather than the current 5-week menu cycle rotating 10+ times throughout the year, an expanded 9-week menu cycle will rotate 5+ times a year.   The new menu will be introduced in September.  Bon appétit! 

 Congratulations to our 2013 Plymouth Harbor Foundation Scholarship recipients!  These recipients represent dedicated and motivated employees at Plymouth Harbor and we are very proud to be able to assist them with their educational pursuits.  These scholarships are made possible through the generosity of our donors and are 100% funded through charitable donations. 

Jacqueline Barbieri—$2000 Nursing Education Scholarship
Jackie has been employed for five years by Plymouth Harbor as a full time LPN in Home Care.  She has been accepted into the RN program at State College of Florida this fall.  Her plans after graduation are to continue to advance in her career at Plymouth Harbor. 

Tara Mitchell—$2000 Nursing Education Scholarship
Tara joined the Plymouth Harbor staff over seven years ago as a certified nursing assistant.  She later became an LPN and currently serves as a charge nurse in the Smith CareCenter.  It’s a family affair for the Mitchells.  Tara’s mother, Yolanda, was a long-time beloved member of our housekeeping department.  Tara is currently enrolled at State College of Florida to earn her RN status to increase the care she can provide for others. 

Edwin Santiago—$1500 Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship
The Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship was established in honor of a cherished housekeeper who served the residents of Plymouth Harbor for 38 years.  This scholarship supports educational opportunities for housekeeping employees and their immediate family members.  It was recently awarded to Edwin Santiago, the son of Elizabeth Santiago, a five-year employee of Plymouth Harbor.  Edwin is enrolled and currently attending classes to become a physical therapy assistant. 

Cindy Taylor—$2000 Nursing Education Scholarship
Cindy is a full time LPN in Home Care and Independent Living.  A member of the Home Care staff for over 11 years, Cindy is pursuing her RN credential at State College of Florida and wishes to continue to provide excellent service to the residents of Plymouth Harbor. 

Nancy Thompson—$1500 General Education Scholarship
Nancy, a CNA, is a Lead Restorative Aide in the Smith Care Center.  Understanding the importance of proper diet, meal intakes, food consistency, and weight on the quality of life for our SCC residents, Nancy wishes to pursue her Certified Dietary Manager credential through the University of North Dakota Online and Distance Education program.  Nancy has been with Plymouth Harbor for 1 1/2 years.

Yaima Comas – $2000 Jane T. Smiley Scholarship
Yaima Comas is the first recipient of the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship established by a gift to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation from resident Jane Smiley to provide an annual scholarship to benefit Plymouth Harbor employees.  Yaima has been a member of the Home Care staff as a certified nursing assistant for nearly three years.  She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration. 

By G. Randolph Bishop

Greg Fosselman was undoubtedly born with a trace of newsprint in his blood.  Born in Waterloo, Iowa, he was number five in a family of seven siblings.  After graduating from St. Mary’s High School in Waterloo in 1945, he enrolled at the University of Iowa, receiving his BA degree in Journalism in 1950. 

From 1950-52, Greg was stationed in Germany with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Headquarters, that handled logistics for the Engineer units in the field.  First stationed in Frankfurt, he spent the last eight months in Kaiserslautern; his job was administrative.

Back in the States, Greg started out on what was to be a lifelong journalistic career; he left Waterloo and headed north to Wisconsin.  For the next seven years, he lived in Madison and Milwaukee, working for United Press International as a newspaper and broadcast editor.  (News for the two media was presented in different formats.)  In 1960, UPI moved him to Chicago where he became a national broadcast news editor. 

In 1968 Greg went to work for the Chicago Tribune, where his duties were not quite the same as with UPI; he was now a headline writer as well as a news editor.  He stayed with the Tribune for 21 years, until his retirement in 1989.

Greg was active in two professional groups.  For four years he belonged to the Milwaukee Press Club and to the Chicago Press Club for 21 years.

Never a great traveler, Greg spent his retirement years relaxed, living the good life, and a pleasant, satisfying one.  From 1990 to 2011, he wintered in Mesa, Arizona, and summered in Chicago, a “snowbird” with a different nest.

When the time to give up “snow birding,” Plymouth Harbor was Greg’s logical retirement choice; his brother Don already lives here.  Greg is looking forward to pursuing his interests of reading, walking and as an old newspaperman, keeping up with the news.