fall cleaningEverybody knows about spring cleaning.  Fall, however, may be a better time for cleaning since for many of us the year starts after summer and the hurricane season leaves us.

Of course, for Plymouth Harbor residents who hail from the more northern parts of our country, Fall cleaning conjures images of colored leaves collecting on the lawn and in the gutters. Yard work, lots of it, came on the heals of the bright fall colors. However, retirement years, particularly those in Sarasota, Florida don’t include much time with a rake in your hands. And at Plymouth Harbor, yard work is entirely a thing of the past, unless you enjoy tending your own garden.

Instead, Fall has other chores that seem to make sense.  Fall is good for throwing stuff out, all that stuff you have been collecting ever since you moved in.  There are some easy ways to get rid of your discards.

Think about your file cabinet.  How many outdated records do you have?  Those pounds of paper and their folders can go straight to the Recycling Bin.  If some are too private, there is the shredder in our Business Office near the mailboxes.

Old, dead batteries sitting around?  If they are marked with a letter (AA, AAA, C, D, etc.) they go straight to the trash and down the chute.  Batteries without a letter marking and all hearing aid batteries get special handling. They go to Audrey in the Maintenance Office on the ground floor.  Your housekeeper will take them there, if you ask her.

And your unused medicines, prescription or otherwise.  They are rather dangerous to keep around, some of them.  We all know they should not go into the toilet.  The A#1 place for them?  Take them to those great nurses in the Callahan Center.  They are disposing of their unused meds.  They will dump yours in with theirs.

And that chic skirt that makes you look fat?  The appliance that works but you do not need two?  To our handy dandy Fund Shop!  You know where it is — across from the Security Office in the East Garden Garage.

Whatever is not saleable here (would you buy it?) — off to Goodwill!!

Does it not make your life easier to be rid of that stuff?  The only question is “Can you resist the urge to fill up those shelves all over again?”

senior living sarasotaPlymouth Harbor is a remarkable facility, and I hope to be able to contribute in some small way to promoting innovative and active living for its residents, their families and the wonderful staff. – Rebecca Levy-Sachs   Plymouth Harbor Foundation   Trustee, Community-at-Large Rebecca Levy-Sachs is a St. Petersburg-based attorney who has practiced in the area of first-party coverage and litigation for thirty-five years. Ms. Sachs is a regularly recognized lecturer and author of programs presented by the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, the Property Loss Research Bureau, the Loss Executives Association, the ABA Property Insurance Committee and the Windstorm Association. She has been elected as a fellow of the American Bar Foundation, named to the Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers by Martindale-Hubbell™, named as one of Florida’s Super Lawyers in Insurance Coverage, and named to the Sarasota and Manatee Counties and the Tampa Bay Top Lawyers lists for the past three years. Rebecca and her husband Frank are avid boaters who live on Bird Key and are members of the Bird Key Yacht Club.  They have three sons, and six grandchildren ranging from 18 to 8.

BelchersBy  Isabel Pedersen

Writing about Marie and Tom Belcher is challenging, particularly because their responses to our questions were so gracefully written and so complete.  Insofar as possible, we will be using  their words.

Tom, born in Los Angeles, grew up moving often with the Navy assignments of the uncle and aunt who raised him. After four years in the Air Force during the Korean War, he enrolled at San Francisco State College, graduating in business administration with a concentration in insurance.  Later, he completed a five-year program leading to the Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation.

From college, Tom joined Aetna Life and Casualty Company and spent 35 years in positions ranging from trainee to an “eight-year stint as Vice President of Aetna International,” traveling and, at times, living around the world.  He sat on the boards of companies in Chile, Spain and Australia.

Marie grew up in Buffalo as the middle child of a thoracic surgeon, from a large Brooklyn Lebanese family.  He and her mother, a nurse anesthetist, served near the front lines in Africa, Italy and France in WWII.

Marie’s study at the State University of New York in Buffalo ended in 1969 with a B.S. with Distinction in industrial relations and finance, plus an election to Beta Gamma Sigma.   “In 1969, there was still a bias against women in management in the corporate world” so she began her career at Aetna in the mailroom looking for files for unmatched mail.  “Someone recognized me being mismatched in my unmatched mail assignment and asked about my career goal.  I replied, ‘to be president of the company’.  Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen, but when I left Aetna in 1991, I was Vice President for Property-Casualty Underwriting.”  Marie, after Aetna, became senior vice-president of another insurance company and then went on to develop an executive search firm specializing in senior financial positions which she and Tom (retired from Aetna in 1996) enjoyed running until they closed it in 2001, fortuitously just before 9/11.  Volunteering and then working with a local author and philanthropist and running a private foundation filled the time until 2010, her final retirement.

“Some say you must kiss a few frogs before you find your prince, and my prince came into my life in 1989, when Tom and I moved from friend stage to romance.  We had known each other for 15 years in business, but the world for both of us had changed, and in 1990 we were married.  Tom arrived with two wonderful children, Andrew and Susan.  Andrew was still afraid of monsters, ran like the wind and baked cookies with me.  After living with us for a year, Susan went off to find herself.”  She found herself in Eugene, OR, where she still lives with her husband and son, running two small businesses.  Since Tom’s son is in the restaurant business in Portland, the Belchers settled into their own condo in Portland for the summer months.

Their local lives include St. Thomas More Church and, for fun, tennis, golf (badly, says Tom), fishing, bridge, wellness activities, travel and for Marie, add to these fibre arts and painting.  We just hope this busy pair will leave some time for Plymouth Harbor.  It will be fun to get to know them.

Wellness Florida Retirement Community

Staff work with residents Jeanne Manser and Geri Johnson to assess gait and balance functionality.

The Health Services Team hosted an open house recently at Plymouth Harbor to highlight the wide breadth of Therapy Services available to residents and community members in this continuing care retirement community.

The Open House provided residents with a glimpse of both the therapy and nursing services offered to them. Physical, Occupational and Speech therapies showcased a diverse and energetic approach to rehabilitation and the spectrum they have to offer the residents. Nursing services from the skilled nursing center, assisted living, and home care  provided blood pressure screenings and insight to the total package of caring individuals within their building. The focus of this Open House was to address the “One Stop Shopping” for meeting their healthcare needs at Plymouth Harbor.

“We decided to do this in a fun, expo-like format, so that our residents would have a good time while getting to know the breadth of services that are available to them here,” says Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services.  “Some of our residents are not aware that full therapy services are right here at Plymouth Harbor for their convenience.”

The entire room was buzzing during the afternoon as residents visited station after station to assess their own functional levels in balance, cognitive memory recall, endurance, and even blood pressure.  Residents could also sign up to volunteer in the Smith Care Center if they have interest.

Many residents came out to the Open House to learn more about the therapy services offered.  Visitors could register to win the drawing for a gift basket.

Many residents came out to the Open House to learn more about the therapy services offered. Visitors could register to win the drawing for a gift basket.

Staff in occupational, speech, and physical therapy led the balance, endurance, and memory cognition assessments.  Greg Carvajal, who works with our therapists and led part of the assessments, added, “We are looking for fall risks and functional deficits during these assessments. If we detect any here, we can recommend that they follow up with the staff at a later date, and hopefully avoid serious injury.”

Gina Kanyha, Director of Rehabilitation Services at the Smith Care Center, hopes to introduce the residents to the therapy staff.  “Our goal was to bring the faces of the team to all residents and let them know who we are and that we are there for them.  This also gives us an opportunity to showcase the services we can offer.”

Also available during the open house was staff from the Smith Care Center, Home Health Services, and Assisted Living.  “We are here to provide services for our residents and building that relationship early, even before they ever need our health services makes it so much more comfortable for all of us when and if the need arises,” said Stacy Baker, Director of Nursing Home Health.

Louise PhillipsEach month, Plymouth Harbor staff are encouraged to nominate and vote on one of their peers to be honored as Plymouth Harbor’s “Employee of the Month.”

The hard-working individual to receive this honor for October 2014 is Certified Nurse Assistant (CAN) Louise Phillips.  Prior to joining the Smith Care Center team in July 2005 as a full time CAN, Louise had served residents of Plymouth Harbor in her capacity as a CAN on contract with the independent home nursing agency, Take Care of Sarasota.

Obviously, Louise made a good impression on Plymouth Harbor, or maybe it was the other way around!

Throughout her years at Plymouth Harbor Louise has received exemplary ratings on her appraisals for Job Knowledge and Quality of Work.

Here are some of the words used to describe her work ethic and professionalism:

Louise tends to her duties thoroughly and with great dedication.

  • Her ‘can do’ attitude is a strong influence on her team.
  • She is well liked by her peers and the residents, and has earned respect in her field.
  • Her vast experience helps her model the younger and newer staff into strong team players.
  • Her heart is good and she provides great care for the residents.
  • She is one of the pillars for the night shift and we are thankful that she is part of the night team.

Louise’s Employee of the Month nomination reads:  “Louise is a great C.N.A. She doesn’t mind going the extra mile and she is willing to help her co-workers in any way she can.  It is a pleasure to work with her.”

Congratulations, Louise. It’s an honor to have you on our team! 

Tom Hopkins“Plymouth Harbor is an important Sarasota gem that I am proud to serve.  Its distinguishing quality is its interesting and active residents who continue doing significant things.  I have been enriched by knowing them.”

Tom Hopkins
Trustee, Plymouth Harbor Foundation
Chair, Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees

In addition to being a Trustee of the Foundation, Tom is also Chair of the Plymouth Harbor, Inc. Board of Trustees, and has served in that role for four years.  A shareholder and former President of the Icard Merrill law firm, Tom has practiced with the firm since 1977 and has concentrated in real estate, probate, estate planning, and business law. His professional affiliations and positions have included serving as President of the Sarasota County Bar Association and the Bar Association Legal Aid Society, Inc. Tom also has served as President and board member of the Sarasota County Civic League and President of the Ivy League Club. A graduate with an AB from Dartmouth College, Tom also earned an MS from the University of Southern California and his law degree from the University of Florida. He and his wife Wendy live in Sarasota and have three children and three grandchildren.

On behalf of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, we are delighted to award scholarships this 2014-2015 academic year to four worthy individuals.

Carol Bello and MotherCarol Bello has been awarded the Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship.  Carol is the daughter of Martha Chavez, a member of our housekeeping department.  She is enrolled at Florida State University this fall, working toward her bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Criminology and Political Science.  Her longer term plans are to attend law school.  While her eligibility for the scholarship was due to her mother’s employment at Plymouth Harbor, Carol herself is employed as a dietary aide in the Smith Care Center for a few more weeks, as she prepares to return to school in Tallahassee this month.

Bea Davis was a 38-year employee of Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Her Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a housekeeping employee or their immediate family member.


Tara MitchellTara Mitchell has been awarded the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship.  Enrolled at State College of Florida, Tara is working toward her RN degree.  She is currently a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and has been an employee for over eight years.  She is completing her final pre-requisites to the RN program and will be able to begin that program this 2014-2015 academic year.  She plans to go on to earn her BSN after obtaining her RN certification.

Jane Smiley is a beloved resident of Plymouth Harbor who established this scholarship in support of our employees who wish to increase their education. 



Lucy Guzman

Amy RiceAmy Rice has been awarded the Evelin Corsey Scholarship. Amy is a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).  She will use her scholarship to obtain a special certification in wound care that is available to LPNs.  Amy has been an employee of Plymouth Harbor for over one year.

The Evelin Corsey Scholarship was established through a bequest from Evelin Corsey, a resident at Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Ms. Corsey loved the employees of Plymouth Harbor.

Lucy Guzman has been awarded a General Education Scholarship.  Lucy has been employed at Plymouth Harbor as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the Smith Care Center for nearly four years.  She is enrolled in and currently attending classes at the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy to obtain her license as a Massage Therapist.  Lucy is also a Certified Phlebotomy Technician.

General Education Scholarships are funded through the Plymouth Harbor Foundation by generous donors who wish to show their support for the employees of Plymouth Harbor.