fkjahskdhf'adIn October 2015, we reported that the Smith Care Center (SCC) began a new pilot program called the Personalized Music Therapy Program. This program includes the use of iPods and personalized music playlists as an enjoyable therapeutic activity. The purpose is to calm unwanted behaviors frequently associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia-related conditions, thus creating an alternative to the use of pharmaceuticals. For this reason, the initial target population included SCC residents who have experienced behavior and personality changes, such as agitation and restlessness.

SCC Activities Director Judy Sarnowski headed the program, modeling it after Music & Memory, a non-profit organization that created its own personalized music program. Judy says that Music & Memory got her thinking more about how she could modify certain aspects of their program to fit needs that were specific to Smith Care Center residents. So, before launching the three-month program in October 2015, Judy did her homework.

In addition to identifying three program participants and speaking with their family members for permission, Judy made the following modifications to the program:

  • She set a 30-minute time limit. Music & Memory has no limit, but due to short attention spans, Judy decided to limit the exposure for our residents.
  • She used the iPod Mini. Music & Memory uses an iPod Shuffle. However, SCC used the iPod Mini for greater programming capabilities, which ultimately helped to increase  personalization.
  • She used over-the-ear headphones. Music & Memory uses “ear buds,” but Judy went with over-the-ear headphones for greater comfort and compatibility with hearing aids.
  • She used a personalized questionnaire to help create each playlist. Judy compiled a questionnaire for each resident’s family member to complete. This questionnaire helped to elicit different memories by asking questions, such as “What is your favorite movie?” and “What is a song that was played at your wedding?”

Judy and her team have been compiling data throughout the program, and have already seen a noticeable difference. The pilot program ends on December 31, 2015, and at that time, Judy will compare data from the three month-period to data that was produced before the program started. Stay tuned for an update in early 2016 regarding the final results.


Plymouth Harbor is excited to announce Eva Duerr as our new Staff Development Coordinator. Eva came to Plymouth Harbor in June 2015.

In her role as Staff Development Coordinator, Eva is responsible for providing and overseeing the necessary educational training for all Plymouth Harbor staff members, particularly in the Smith Care Center. Her specific responsibilities include assessing, planning, and implementing organized educational programs for staff according to federal, state, and local requirements. Additionally, Eva helps to provide wound care to Smith Care Center residents and oversees nurses providing this care on a daily basis.

Prior to joining Plymouth Harbor, Eva served as the Resident Care Coordinator at the Memory Support Center for Evangelical Homes of Michigan in Saline, Michigan. Here, she was responsible for overseeing resident admission, developing and directing operational and support services, and recruitment, selection, and performance evaluation of staff.

87637+In addition, Eva previously worked for many years as a Home Care Nurse in Berglen, Germany. Eva received her associate degree in nursing from the RMK School of Nursing in Backnang, Germany in 1991. In 2012, she was certified as a Registered Nurse by the Michigan Board of Nursing. Eva is also knowledgeable in memory care and has earned her Best Friends Approach to Dementia Care Certificate.

Over the next year, a major focus of Eva’s will be to enhance Plymouth Harbor’s community-wide education. This will include annual training for each Plymouth Harbor employee, occurring during the month of each employee’s anniversary date. Additionally, beginning in February of 2016, Eva will begin her training to become certified in Teepa Snow’s Positive Approach To Care (PAC). Plymouth Harbor is lucky to have Eva on our team, and we look forward to the continued enhancement of our staff education.


AAPicture3Following the expansion plan of the 1980s, Plymouth Harbor continued to make updates throughout the campus in the years to come.

Beginning with the installation of solar heating for the outdoor pool in 1992, updates to existing amenities and technology became a main focus. In 1993, Pilgrim Hall received a home theater system and an updated PA system. In 1994, the Plymouth Harbor Dining Room was completely redone with a $1.2 million renovation. Additionally, Channel 58 (now known to residents as Channel 195) was installed as an in-house TV station to keep residents updated on events and activities occurring at Plymouth Harbor.




SCCThe name of Plymouth Harbor reveals much about the values on which it rests. Like our historic counterpart far to the north in the 17th century, Plymouth Harbor is committed to a life in fellowship one with another — which explains why we call our community neighborhoods “colonies.”

Colonies were established at Plymouth Harbor when our doors first opened in 1966. However, when our Smith Care Center (SCC) was completed in 1988, it didn’t quite follow suit. Back in the 1980s, Dinah Stamp, then Activity/Social Services Director (now VP Residential Services), began facilitating monthly meetings for SCC residents. However, these meetings were only referred to as resident meetings and SCC wasn’t considered its own colony at the time. Years later, our Social Worker, Brandi Burgess, was hired and began leading the monthly meetings.

It wasn’t until about five years ago, however, that Brandi decided to start calling the meeting the “SCC Colony Meeting” to help drive attendance and assign the significance it deserved. Two years ago, the Residents Association became aware of the SCC “colony” meeting, and began investigating a by-law change in order to include SCC as an official colony of Plymouth Harbor. Terry Aldrich, President of the Residents Association, was instrumental in making this change take place. He worked hard to inform existing colonies of the need for the change, and collaborated with the Residents Association Board of Directors.

At the April 2015 Annual Meeting of the Residents Association Board of Directors, Smith Care Center was officially approved and written into the Residents Association by-laws as its own colony. The change has been hugely successful, and residents have become more interested and engaged in participation. Prior to this, long-term residents would retain membership in their previous colonies rather than participate as actively in SCC.

Today, there are 11 official paying members, as only permanent, original Plymouth Harbor residents pay dues. However, all SCC residents – and their family members – are invited and encouraged to attend meetings and voice their opinions. Additionally, any voting SCC colony member is eligible to be a representative. SCC currently has two resident representatives as well as one staff representative — Brandi Burgess. The now-official SCC colony meeting is held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 4:00pm in the SCC Living Room.

We are excited to see this change take place, and look forward to seeing more and more resident input and involvement in the Smith Care Center.


Bert Adams (4)Each year, Keep Sarasota County Beautiful asks the community to nominate individuals who, time and time again, demonstrate their commitment to our environment. These individuals are then recognized at the Keep Sarasota County Beautiful Annual Volunteer Awards Recognition Dinner.

This year, Plymouth Harbor is proud to announce that we nominated our very own volunteer superstar, Bert Adams (an employee in our Smith Care Center). To no one’s surprise, Bert’s nomination was well-received, and she was invited to attend the annual dinner where she received the prestigious Guy Hudson Award for promoting volunteer interest and participation!

KSCBAwards2015-4The 27th annual dinner was held on November 4, 2015, at Robarts Area, and was hosted by Tampa Bay Rays Emcee, Bobby Milliken, and the Oriole Bird. A group of Plymouth Harbor employees attended the event alongside Bert’s family to cheer her on and support efforts being made throughout the county that promote environmental stewardship and innovation through education and action.

Bert’s award is not only well-deserved, but extremely fitting as it “recognizes an extraordinary life-long volunteer who has contributed to litter prevention and public awareness efforts.” Since Bert started at Plymouth Harbor in 1991, she has been committed to involving employees and their family members in volunteer efforts throughout the county. She has consistently organized company volunteer cleanup projects, and her efforts go beyond beautification.

Bert is the reason Plymouth Harbor adopted All Faiths Food Bank as our corporate charitable project, and she continually participates and promotes other local charities, such as the Crop Walk, the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, and many more.

Both Sarasota County and Plymouth Harbor are extremely lucky to have Bert Adams as member of our team — congratulations, Bert!


By: Becky Pazkowski

Everyone knew Joan Runge. She was smart, outgoing, hardworking, and confident. There was also another attribute that Joan possessed: generosity. She did not flaunt it. In fact, she made you work for it. But, alas, she could be more generous than anyone knew.

There were two very generous things that Joan did before she passed away that will live on at Plymouth Harbor far into the future. First, along with the others in the Fund Shop group, she made a recommendation to the Residents Association that they contribute $30,000 of their treasury to The Next Stage Capital Campaign to rejuvenate Pilgrim Hall. As far as we know, this generous contribution represents the largest single contribution from the Fund Shop treasury in its history. This donation helps us to rejuvenate Pilgrim Hall, adding state of the art audio, video, furnishings, and acoustical treatments.

Additionally, Joan was a member of the MacNeil Society, having named The Plymouth Harbor Foundation in her estate plans. We are yet to know the exact amount of her bequest, but we do know is that the gift is in the “major” category, and she made sure that it would benefit the new Assisted Living and Memory Care expansion.

These two projects were very important to Joan, and she ensured that her generosity would have the largest impact on people’s lives as possible. We believe she accomplished just that. A truly generous heart.


sgcSARASOTA, November 12, 2015Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community, was awarded Sarasota Garden Club’s 2015 Civic Beautification Award for continually maintaining landscaping excellence.

Plymouth Harbor received the award at Sarasota Garden Club’s 50th Anniversary celebration of Civic Beautification, held on Wednesday, October 14. The Civic Beautification Award Program honors businesses, associations, and the City for keeping Sarasota beautiful through excellence in landscaping. Each year, the Sarasota Garden Club’s Civic Beautification Committee reviews various properties in the Sarasota area that previously won this award, searching for properties that continue to produce outstanding landscaping and curb appeal.

Including Plymouth Harbor, the Sarasota Garden Club presented 33 Civic Beautification Awards, ranging from commercial buildings and parks to churches and condominiums. One hundred and twenty six people attended the event this year, including honorees and garden club members.

Plymouth Harbor would like to thank Jim Myers, director of environmental services, Marcos Franca, landscaping, and George Salley, chair of Plymouth Harbor’s Resident Grounds Committee, for continually making it possible for us to qualify for this prestigious award.

To learn more about Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, please click here.


About Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Plymouth Harbor on Sarasota Bay, founded in 1966, operates as a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community (CCRC) for 300 residents and is centrally located on the Bay between Bird Key and St. Armands Circle with vistas of the Gulf, Bay, and the city of Sarasota. It offers customized independent living residences, home care, assisted living, and skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapy services in the Smith Care Center. The Plymouth Harbor Foundation was established in 2012 to further ensure the appropriate stewardship of contributed funds, develop fundraising strategies that support the most positive aging experience possible, and provide funding for innovative programs and services in the region. Please visit or for more information.



By: Becky Pazkowski

In 1986, President Ronald Reagan first proclaimed November 15 to be National Philanthropy Day.  Since then, communities across the country and in Canada have come together on or about this date to celebrate the donors, volunteers, leaders, and others engaged in philanthropy.  While philanthropy departments and foundations celebrate donors and volunteers on a daily basis, this day was set aside for a wider, grassroots effort for entire communities to recognize the huge impact gifts of time, talent, and treasure make every day of our lives.

In the spirit of philanthropy that is ever present here at Plymouth Harbor, let us take a few minutes this month, perhaps even on November 15th, to turn to our neighbor, friend, housekeeper, caregiver, pastor, family member, whomever you might consider important in your life, and say “thank you for being in my life.”  We all have gifts to give, and none of us could do it ourselves.

Below are over 1,213,000 things that the Plymouth Harbor Foundation is profoundly grateful for so far this year.  Thank you for all you do to make Plymouth Harbor the best it can possibly be!

Picture3354Plymouth Harbor embarked on an ambitious expansion plan in the mid-1980s, prompted by the financial necessity of adding more apartments to ensure our financial viability. The North Garden complex, designed by architect Stuart Barger, was built to complement the Tower with its open-air atrium. When it opened in 1988, a big selling point was the long waiting list for Tower apartments—which the North Garden did not have.

“I didn’t have any sales tools! What I did have was a long waiting list for Tower units. I used that to talk to people about the North Garden,” says Margaret Wierts-Parrinello, a staff member at the time. The Board wanted the new apartments filled as soon as possible so that the future residents could pick their paint colors, carpeting, tiling, etc., and help the architect complete the building.





“Have I got a story for you!” This phrase is not only Susan Mauntel’s signature slogan, but also accurately reflects her life and career. Susan was born and raised in Philadelphia, but later moved to Boulder, Colorado, to attend the University of Colorado. She was an art major, journalism minor, and destined for show business.

After school, Susan continued west to California—modeling in TV commercials and print advertisements, first in San Francisco, then Los Angeles. From there, Susan’s next adventure was broadcasting – she hosted daily live TV shows in San Diego and San Francisco, interviewing prominent figures like Maya Angelou and Gerald Ford. Then, she co-anchored the news in Los Angeles. Later, she made her way to Aspen, where she made her living with a paintbrush, rendering fine art on furniture, and co-founded a resident theater company.

How did Susan make it in Los Angeles? And what did she learn along the way?

View her October Insights presentation to find out:

Insights is a monthly connection where residents can share stories and insights about their lives, careers, and hobbies with Plymouth Harbor employees. A feature of Plymouth Harbor’s developing employee wellness program, OnBoardInsights is offered at noon on the fourth Friday of each month. Open to all employees, lunch is provided, supported by gifts to the Plymouth Harbor Foundation employee assistance fund. Thanks to resident Phil Starr, each Insights presentation is videotaped for viewing by employees unable to attend the live event.

Susan Mauntel was our final Insights presentation for 2015. The Insights program will pick back up in January 2016, so stay tuned for more!