Research has demonstrated that strength-training exercises have the ability to combat the weakness and frailty too often associated with the aging process.

Regular strength training (e.g., 2 to 3 days per week), can build muscle strength and muscle mass and preserve bone density, independence, and vitality regardless of age. In addition, strength training also has the ability to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and the signs and symptoms of numerous chronic diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes, while also improving sleep and reducing depression.

The Wellness Team at Plymouth Harbor, led by Chris Valuck, is committed to the full range of resident wellness, but for many the idea of wellness begins with physical wellness and strength. It is easy to incorporate strength training into a personal fitness routine, but it is also very important to use proper lifting techniques. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than one million workers experience back injuries each year.  This does not take into account the many people who injure themselves working around their homes or attacking weights at the gym.

Using Proper Lifting Techniques

There are basic rules to follow when lifting heavy objects (or even lighter weight objects) in the weight room as well as in everyday life. Are you familiar with these do’s and don’ts?

Know or test the object’s weight.
Plan the lift and clear your path.
Get help for heavy or awkward loads.
Keep the object in the power zone (close to your body).
Use a wide stance for balance.
Use your legs to lift.
Pivot your feet to avoid twisting.

Hold your breath.
Bend or twist at the waist.
Use a partial grip   (1-2 fingers).
Obstruct your vision when carrying.
Lift quickly.
Pull a load if you can’t push it.
Lift using your back. (See Squat technique below)
Hold the item outside of the power zone (away from your body).

Try this easy power move – The Squat

No weights or lifting are necessary for this strength-training exercise. Squats are an easy place to start as you are using your own body weight to provide the resistance.  If you are faced with lifting something heavy, using the technique of the squat will protect your back.

Targeted Body Part: Gluteus Quadriceps
1. Place feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, hips stacked over knees, knees over ankles.

2. Extend the arms out straight so they are parallel with the ground, palms facing down.

3. Initiate movement by inhaling and unlocking the hips, slightly bringing them back,. Keep sending hips backward as the knees begin to bend.

4. While the buttocks starts to stick out, make sure the chest and shoulders stay upright, and the back stays straight.  Keep the head facing forward with head straight ahead for a neutral spine.
5. Let the hip joint squat lower to the ground than the knees.

6. Engage the core, and exhale while driving through the heels to return to standing.

Reference: Middlesworth, Mark. Injury Prevention Tip-Proper Lifting Techniques. Ergonomicsplus. Retrieved August 28, 2013 from:

By Ila Preti

Give a hearty welcome to delightful, talented Helen Kelly who joined us in October!  Many of us knew her from her very active participation in many community organizations.

Born in Manhattan, Helen attended Cathedral High School.  She graduated with a B.S. from Mt. St. Vincent College in Riverdale; her major was Business Administration.

Her career began as an Advertising Agency Account Executive at J. Walter Thompson and Abbott Kimball.  She later became the Fashion Advertising Director at the New Yorker Magazine.  (This is where she met Jane Smiley who later introduced her to Sarasota and, much later, to Plymouth Harbor.)

Helen married John Love Kelly in 1952; living in Cortland Manor, N.Y., they raised two children, Janet and J. Scott.  Their four grandchildren are scattered around the country.  Helen enjoys following the exploits of her son who lives in Salt Lake City and is an avid triathlon participant.

When they retired from the advertising world, Helen and John moved to Siesta Key where they lived for eleven happy years.  After her husband’s death in 2004, Helen moved to a beautiful ‘tree house’ in the Landings.

Helen’s community service record is spectacular.  At the Women’s Resource Center she has been a board member, newsletter editor and Scholarship committee co-chair.  A former board member of the Sarasota Orchestra Association, Helen was the editor of their newsletter.  She worked on the Selby Library Reading Festival.  As a former member of the Mission Valley Golf Club, she was on the staff of their Valley Views newsletter.

Helen now attends classes at the USF Lifetime Learning program, studying ‘Great Books’ and Creative Writing; her memoirs are the current writing project.  She is interested in the theatre and subscribes to the Asolo and Florida Studio Theatres.  She also enjoys the Town Hall lecture series.

While she has many happy memories to look back on, she remembers, with special fondness, a ‘home exchange’ with a family from Montremont, France (near Lyon).  Welcomed there by the family and friends of the exchange couple, it was a memorable month.

An active, dynamic woman with an infectious smile, we look forward to Helen Kelly’s involvement in Plymouth Harbor!

National Philanthropy Day is celebrated across the country on November 15 as a means to recognize and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy—and those people active in the philanthropic community—have made to our lives, our communities and our world. This official day of recognition is formally supported by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and hundreds of other nonprofit and for-profit organizations throughout North America. In fact, more than 100 communities and 50,000 people around the world participated in NPD events and celebrations.

This year, The Plymouth Harbor Foundation chose two separate occasions to thank the many recent and historical donors who have generously supported the mission of Plymouth Harbor to nurture a compassionate, caring community filled with that zest for life.

National Philanthropy Day Luncheon

The first event we participated in was the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ (AFP) 28th annual luncheon at Michael’s on East, where over 500 people gathered to celebrate the philanthropists in the county who give of themselves and their treasures to make our county the best it can be.

This year, the Plymouth Harbor Foundation sponsored a table to recognize our resident Joanne Hastings and her gift to the Foundation to support the Wellness Center Renovation.  Mrs. Hastings was among a small group of seven notable philanthropists well known in our community who were each nominated for the honor of Outstanding Individual Philanthropist.

Among them was Charlie Huisking, whose mother resided at Plymouth Harbor until her passing.  Others were Graci and Dennis McGillicudy, Drs Bob and Patricia Gussin, Alfred and Jean Weidner Goldstein, and Dr. Philip and Nancy Kotler.

Celebrating the Spirit of Philanthropy

The second big event was our own first Spirit of Philanthropy Celebration on November 14 held at Plymouth Harbor in the Mayflower Dining Room and Plymouth Rock Café. Over 175 guests came together to help celebrate the impact philanthropy has had on life at Plymouth Harbor over the years.

Our dining services amazed us once again with a spectacular dinner buffet with carving stations.  The bar staff was kept busy while live music drew dancers to our beautiful and portable dance floor in the Plymouth Rock Café. We can thank our dancing Starrs, resident philanthropists Phil and Barry, for the dance floor!

The centerpiece of the evening was the premiere of the first Plymouth Harbor Foundation video to honor the rich heritage of philanthropy at Plymouth Harbor.

It was truly an amazing celebration sponsored by our local Northern Trust, for which we are sincerely grateful.

Top right: Joanne Hastings

Middle right: L to R: Gene Heide, Nancy Hobson, Janey & Jon Swift, Celia Catlett & Harry Hobson

Right: L to R: Glenn Shipley, Barbara Lane, Diane Muir, Phil Delaney, President, Mary Pat McNally, Lori Sutton & Rick Gomez.


Originally from Hungary, Ibolya Elizabeth Acs, is known to her Plymouth Harbor family as Liz, a dedicated member of the housekeeping and laundry operations staff.  Liz has been a resident of the USA since 1984, and prior to coming to Plymouth Harbor, she worked at Kobernick House and Kensington Manor.  Starting as a full time Housekeeper in May 2005, Liz has since transferred to Plymouth Harbor’s laundry operation demonstrating her flexibility and ability to multi-task, a quality noted often in her appraisals.

Frequently recognized for her great attitude, her supervisors describe Liz as cooperative, knowledgeable, helpful, and always on the go. “Liz loves to keep busy.  She can work in any area, from cleaning apartments to laundry.  She takes pride in her work.  She enjoys her job very much and will go above and beyond our expectations.”

Residents and co-workers, who frequently award her Shining Stars, often point out the cooperative and kind demeanor that Liz always displays. For many reasons, including her great attitude and willingness to go the extra mile, Liz has been honored as the December 2013 Plymouth Harbor Employee of the Month.

Liz can feel proud of her accomplishments at Plymouth Harbor. Even more, as one co-worker observed, “We know she feels very proud to be part of the Plymouth Harbor family.”

By Isabel Pedersen

Someone may have moved into Plymouth Harbor knowing more people here than Carolyn Albrecht does- but I doubt it.

When Carolyn talks about her bridge groups, some of our residents are members.  Her mah jong games were at Plymouth Harbor.  She played golf with some of us, she worked with others of us at the Longboat Key Library, still others at the old Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary.  Only at the Cat Depot were there few human friends.  Her task, socializing nasty cats so they could be adopted, was a truly solitary pursuit.

Carolyn was born in St. Louis, moved on to Mt. Vernon, New York, and then Plymouth, Massachusetts where she went to high school.  After graduating from Colby College in Maine, she, along with most of our age group, found a secretarial job, at Merrill Lynch.  That would have worked out better if she had ever really learned to type.  So, surprise, she got bumped to the Personnel Department.

Other jobs where her so-so typing skills were utilized included working for a PR firm during Sen. Irving Ives’ campaign for governor of New York, for the Imperial Commodities Corporation in New York and the Overlook Hospital in Summit, New Jersey.

After marriage to Phil Albrecht, a research analyst on Wall Street, she lived in Westfield, New Jersey for 30 years while they raised two sons and a daughter.  These, in turn, produced seven grandchildren.

Longboat Key was the Albrecht choice when they moved to Florida.  For 29 years, they lived in condos among friends who now, no surprise, live at Plymouth Harbor.

Carolyn stayed at the Players Club after she lost her husband, in 2006.  That is, she stayed until she decided to join dozens of her friends at Plymouth Harbor.  Now, except when she is at her summer  home in the Poconos, she is here where she is adding new friends to her huge list.

Asked about life-long passions, Naomi Wittenberg gives what some would consider a conventional response for a woman. “My husband,” she answered, speaking of Simeon “Sim” Wittenberg, the man with whom she traded insults on first meeting and later shared 62 years of marriage together.

However, Naomi is far from a conventional woman, whatever that is. A self-declared feminist schooled at Boston University, she and her husband were equal in all their endeavors.  Deep love, enduring partnerships and the resourceful strength of the immigrant experience are her family heritage, so it’s not surprising to find all these qualities in her description of her own married life. Naomi says Sim, now seven years gone, was a stimulating companion and her one passion to the end.  Her eyes say he still is.

Partners in parenting, they raised two smart, strong daughters in Syosset, Long Island in New York.   They were very involved in their community, and the schooling of their daughters. For many years, Sim was the President of the Central School District #2 and Naomi was a leader in the New York State PTA.

They were business partners as well throughout those years building Wit-Craft Electric Corporation from the ground up.  Sim was the technical lead while Naomi led the business side, yet they taught each other all they knew and built Wit-Craft as a team.  Naomi understood the business inside and out and became quite comfortable in the world of electrical systems, motors and controls. Her no-nonsense confidence earned respect and the business of men who were at first ready to discount this woman in a man’s role.

After 35 years they sold the business so they could travel the world, which they did for another 20 years.  One glance around Naomi’s East Garden home is a tour of many cultures and includes a collection of original art by Bjørn Wiinblad, a renowned Danish designer and artist in ceramics, silver, bronze, textiles, and graphics.  She confesses that as an ardent Fund Shop shopper, she’s picked up many other treasures of which she is fond.

When Sim and Naomi moved to Sarasota in 1998, they found another world in which they could indulge a shared passion – theatre.  Sarasota’s rich theatre culture afforded them the opportunity to both support this favorite art form, as well as participate.  As members of the Asolo (Rep)Theatre Guild,  they were instrumental in the activities of the Guild Play Readers group.

“Sim loved acting.  He was a ham, and I was organized,” said Naomi. “We presented readings throughout the community to promote the Asolo, and,” she emphasized, “most importantly, to raise funds making it possible for public school students to attend live, professional theatre performances.”

Children, business, travel and now, theatre, had become the focus of their intensely involved lives together. “Sim loved acting, and I was organized,” said Naomi.  They moved into Plymouth Harbor together in August of 2006 only to be shocked shortly thereafter with news that Sim was gravely ill.  January 2007 found Naomi broken hearted.  The couple had looked forward to joining the Plymouth Harbor Players, but she was not ready to take the stage alone.  One year later it was a different story.

By the 2008-2009 theatre season, Naomi stepped in to adapt, produce and direct “The Cynthia Caper,” an early script by Howard Biermann, the resident who had written 19 of the 28 original plays performed annually by the troupe over the years.

The indomitable Naomi continues to follow this passion, now entering her seventh season with the Plymouth Harbor Players as the producer that pulls everything together. Her partners in theatre crime are now Peg and Don Wallace and they have great plans for this year’s production.

“The Stash on the 17th Floor,” another script by Don Wallace, includes multi-media surprises.   There will be no formal auditions this year, but rather residents are invited to gather on Tuesday, December 10 and Wednesday, December 11 from 2 to 4 pm in the Mezzanine conference room where there will be informal readings of the play and a discussion of all the roles, on-stage and off-stage, available.  This means the readings are not just for actors, but also for anyone wanting to serve backstage with props, lighting, prompting, costumes, or any other supporting crew role.

The performances will be at 8 pm on Tuesday, February 25, and at 2 and 8 pm on Wednesday, February 26.

Producing the Plymouth Harbor plays is a lot of hard work, but Naomi probably enjoys that collaborative effort as much as the audience enjoys the result.  It’s clear that she’s not one to do anything half-heartedly. Committed and passionate about her family – daughters, granddaughters, and great-grandchildren – as well as political and community matters, Naomi knows what is important in her life.


Join your fellow residents for line dancing every Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00-11:30 a.m. in the Group Fitness Room.  It’s never too late to start!  We will teach you the steps to every dance . . . at your pace.

Through dancing, you will improve your cardiovascular endurance and balance.  A study in the Journal of Women and Aging interviewed 30 adults over the age of 60 who regularly line dance.  Results of the interviews showed that “line dancing enabled these women to expand their repertoire of social activity, leading to positive reinforcements such as further community involvement, charitable work, inclusion in national sports events, self-expression, and personal development. The impact of line dancing plainly goes beyond the perceived physical benefits.”

Plymouth Harbor residents who regularly participate in the class claim their balance has noticeably improved since they began line dancing!

Reference: Nadasen, K. (2008). “Life Without Line Dancing and the Other Activities Would be Too Dreadful to Imagine”: An Increase in Social Activity  for Older Women. Journal Of Women & Aging, 20(3/4), 329-342.