Did you know that most people are two different ages?  How can this be?  A person’s chronological age is often different than their biological age; but what  is the difference?

Chronological age is determined by the number of years that a person has existed.  Biological age is determined by the physiology of a person, which includes aspects such as physical structure of his or her body, sensory awareness, performance of motor skills, cognitive abilities, general mobility and functionality.

Chronological age has little to do with fitness capability.  When considering the intensity level at which you should exercise, or deciding whether or not you should even exercise at all, take into account your biological age instead of your chronological age. Analyze how you feel while performing daily activities instead of saying, “I’m 82,  I’m too old to exercise.” Think positively and ask yourself, “Do I really feel my age?”

An example of someone being two different ages is when an individual says, “I feel 10 years younger than I am.”  According to Cody Sipe, Ph.D. and director of clinical research in the physical therapy program at Harding University, “Most adults view themselves as being 10 or more years younger than their chronological age, but they also realize that they are not as young as they once were and need to train differently than younger individuals.”

Be careful not to dismiss physical activity out of your day because of your chronological age.  But when deciding on intensity level, be careful not to ignore signs that your body is conveying to you.

Try this out!  Avoid making decisions based on chronological age alone and instead base your decision on your biological age by listening to your body and analyzing your daily capabilities.  You might surprise yourself—or even better—impress yourself!

And just for fun!


References:  Vogel, A. (2013).  Older-Adult Fitness: Gauging the Limits of Your Fit Clients.  IDEA Fitness Journal, 10(2), 28-31.

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. 

 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! 

 By Lee Yousri

When portraying an individual, it is fitting to place that person center stage.  This is most appropriate in the case of our new friend, George Salley, who joined the Plymouth Harbor community in December, 2012.

From South Carolina to New York to Florida; this represents his life’s journey, with a few of the usual detours.  Born into a farming family, he developed a closeness and love of the land which led to his first degree at Clemson University, a BS in Agronomy.  According to Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, this is “a branch of agriculture dealing with field-crop rotation and soil management.”

After a Navy stint in the early fifties, which afforded him world-wide travel, he was inspired to go a step further in his chosen field by earning a degree in Landscape Architecture.  We enter a somewhat related field but now we’ve added people.  A landscape architect is concerned with “the arrangement of land for human use and enjoyment.”  Again I quote Mr. Webster.

George’s first job was with a firm in Fort Lauderdale working on the master plan for Longboat Key.  Following this he was recruited by another architectural firm which was planning the New York City World’s Fair of 1963.

His move to New York resulted in his residing all over Manhattan and Brooklyn Heights where he bought a near derelict brownstone in the Landmark Preservation area and converted it into four two-bedroom apartments.  His tenants were mostly young couples just out of college and newly married.  He very much enjoyed his role as landlord.

Of course, his professional life continued.  Among the many prestigious projects in which he participated were the Sculpture Gardens at the Museum of Modern Art, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts and Paley Park, all in New York City; the Hirschhorn Museum on the National Mall in Washington D.C., and the Johnson Presidential Library in Texas. 

By this time he was living six months in New York, six months in Sarasota.  And he was pursuing his hobbies of gardening, travel, music, walking, and reading (the New York Times and the New Yorker are a “must”).

His last job was with the New York City Housing Authority.  While this dealt with lodging for the underprivileged, he also moonlighted in special projects for the wealthy, thus affirming his diverse talents. 

Art, history, theatre, branches of life both practical and artistic are all represented here.  Truly an admirable repertoire!  George deserves his place center stage.

We welcome him to Plymouth Harbor!

Elizabeth and James Murphy joined the Plymouth Harbor community in March, 2013.

By Isabel Pedersen

A college graduation does not seem an obvious place for a middle-aged man to meet the love of his life but that is what happened when Jim Murphy first saw “Elizabeth.”  Her son and his daughter were graduating from Miami University in Ohio.  The night before graduation, all families celebrated and exchanged introductions.  The lasting one was the relationship that began that night.

The odds of their meeting any other way seem slim.  Lee grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota.  After graduating from Centenary College in New Jersey, she returned to St. Paul where she raised three sons, became a Junior League member, but was busiest as the owner and buyer of a specialty store.  For 15 years, she traveled on buying trips to England, Ireland, Iceland, and in America.

Meanwhile, Jim grew up in Darien, Connecticut.  His father’s printing business near Philadelphia was sold when his father died quite young.  Jim stayed in the area to attend West Chester University, graduating in 1951.  While attending the University of Pennsylvania, he taught Journalism while going to night school. 

After graduation, Jim was selected into the Naval V-5 program which sent him to Georgia Tech.  His life work has been the interconnected world of mortgage banking, real estate development, and construction.  From laborer to president, Jim enjoyed and profited from exposure on local, state, and national levels while living in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Florida.  His lifelong commitment to charitable causes has involved working with the poor, which he continues to do to this day.

When Lee arrived in Florida, her northern roots and family ties to a nature center and an arboretum brought a new sense of appreciation for Mother Nature.  She spent 16 years in Founders Garden Club.  It was fitting that the Murphys were married at Spanish Point in Osprey.  They resided at The Oaks where Jim continued his custom home building business.After 20 years, the Murphys moved to Kenaya in the Burns Court District before coming to Plymouth Harbor. 

Together these two have 13 grandchildren.  It is not surprising that they have been mentoring young people in Sarasota County schools for years in the Take Stock in Children program. Please welcome this interesting couple to Plymouth Harbor. 

For some the urge to travel across the globe to work in another country is a call to adventure, for others it is a smart career-building move. For Paul Groen, fresh out of Baylor College of Medicine and his internship in family medicine, it was a call to serve. And more specifically, it was a call to serve God.

Macky Groen, was on a rigorous career track completing her Masters degree in Nursing Administration at Columbia University when she felt a similar tug on her heart to devote herself to mission work in a Third World country.

Macky got there first and was just starting her third year of nursing in the bush of Nigeria when the handsome new doctor arrived. Their clinic consisted of eight women, nurses and educators, and one male doctor. The entire group worked and socialized together and everyone got to know each other quite well. Paul wisely treated each woman with equal attention and respect, careful not to betray any favoritism. Yet when he was given the opportunity to invite a select young woman to entertain on a friend’s veranda, supervised of course, it was Macky that got that call.

Their individual life choices had brought them together in this remote region and between that and the intense daily collaboration between them in their work, their love sprang from a deep “knowledge of the heart,” as Paul described it. They were meant to be. Paul and Macky married in Nigeria and spent a total of 10 years there together before finally deciding to return to the States when their two sons were of school age.

After completing a residency in orthopedics, Paul practiced medicine in Wheaton, Illinois outside of Chicago while they raised their sons. Their boys, initiated by their early childhood years in Nigeria, travelled with them on numerous trips back to Africa for short-term teaching stints. As a result both are “Third World citizens” comfortable wherever they might land.

Seventeen years of medical practice was enough, as both Paul and Macky were eager to get back to what they felt was their true life calling. This time, they formed a not-for-profit organization called Doctors on Call for Service, or DOCS, in order to develop the partnerships within countries like Kenya, Rwanda and the Congo to provide local medical education.

Their work was very successful. Rather than losing talented young people who trained abroad and failed to return home, Kenya and Rwanda developed their own capabilities to train medical professionals with the help of DOCS. “We were a catalyzing force in those countries and they were quick to draw on other resources to build their own training centers,” shared Paul.

The Democratic Republic of Congo was another story. Here, in a region rocked by years of war, genocide and sexual violence, there has been an even greater need for the outside assistance and support of DOCS. They focused their efforts in the eastern city of Goma which was at the center of the refugee crisis resulting from the genocide in Rwanda and two Congo wars. Understandably, success has been slower in coming there. The Learning Center that they built in Goma was soon destroyed by the eruption of the volcano Nyiragongo in 2002.

Undaunted, Macky and Paul strengthened their efforts with dedicated volunteers and a board of directors consisting of medical educators, business people and physicians based in the U.S. The Learning Center has been rebuilt and is serving their training efforts in that region. Only two years ago did Macky and Paul decide it was time to pass the reigns of the organization over to others to carry on their work.

After so much excitement, not-so-glamorous travelling, and hard work they are satisfied with their lives and are now enjoying the cultural riches of Sarasota from the comforts of Plymouth Harbor. Both of them relish the expanse of blue sky and water outside their living room windows. “We spent years in the dry, dusty bush and look at us now – surrounded by water!” Macky says with a smile. Paul enjoys walking the Ringling Bridge in the cool, early mornings and being surrounded by other interesting residents at Plymouth Harbor.

“Maybe we lived an exciting life, but I think the people here at Plymouth Harbor are really stimulating!”

Music came so easily to Ted Rehl when he was a child that he almost took it for granted. Able to play nearly anything by ear at an early age on his family’s parlor piano, he was encouraged with lessons. His talent on the piano was a given, or so it would seem by the matter-of-fact way he describes his musical training. While Ted enjoyed it enough, there were always other things that captivated his interest and challenged his mind, such as math and more “logical” pursuits.

Nevertheless, the young boy from Galion, Ohio attended Oberlin College Conservatory of Music on a full scholarship. It was here on this quintessential Midwest liberal arts college campus that he met Fran, a gifted cellist from Seattle. They were soon married and Ted stayed on to earn his graduate degree in music at Oberlin. After one year in working in New York City, Ted joined the faculty at Washington State University, Pullman before finally settling at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Fran taught music for many years before deciding to take on the different challenges of real estate with a good bit of success. Meanwhile in addition to his faculty responsibilities, Ted was an active soloist, accompanist, and chamber music player; in the 60s he was member of a duo-piano team that had a New York manager and played programs all over the United States.

When offered an early retirement package after 34 years at Lawrence University, Ted took it. He played his last concert with conservatory colleagues in a final hurrah. Perhaps only he knew that this was the definitive end of a chapter when he closed the lid on the keyboard after that concert.

Ted didn’t touch another piano for 18 ½ years. There was no tragedy or drama involved. It wasn’t that he disliked the piano, he was just finished with that and wanted to do other things. He sold his piano, disposed of all of his music, and pursued his other hobbies.

In addition to bridge, puzzles, and volunteer work, Ted turned his curiosity and mathematical logic to the world of computers. It was never dull and he was never aware of any void left by the absence of the piano in his life.

When Fran and Ted moved to Plymouth Harbor, they enjoyed living in and being surrounded by a community rich in the performing arts and music. The intimate Pilgrim Hall struck them both as a perfect recital and chamber music venue.

In 2010 they spoke to Harry Hobson about their desire to provide a fine, recital-quality grand piano to be used by visiting artists in Pilgrim Hall performances. It started simply enough, searching listings of used pianos as well as talking to the regional Steinway dealers, they began to narrow their search. Each time a prospective instrument was presented to them, Ted declined to try it out himself. Listening to the dealer’s playing was enough to test the sound for them.

Until one day, it simply wasn’t enough. They scouted out a dealer who had a Steinway grand piano in a small showroom near Venice. There was something Ted heard that caught his attention. It touched his heart, in fact. No one was more surprised than his wife Fran when Ted agreed to try it out. He spent the next two hours playing, listening, and falling in love with a piano for the first time in his life.

This might sound odd, but Ted had just never met the right piano before. This little Steinway had an alluring sound and touch that inspired a new joy of expression. With the piano soon settled into its new home on the stage of Pilgrim Hall, Ted began to look forward to his time making music with it.

“At first I had no technique whatsoever,” says Ted, “and it was slow getting it back.” He practiced at least 3 hours a day for weeks, even months before he felt comfortable. Urged to set a date for the dedication of the piano with a recital, Ted practiced steadily. Not until about a week before the April 1, 2011 date did he feel confident that he could make it through the program without embarrassing himself.

He was a smash hit and each successive concert since (5 so far) is greeted with a full house and standing ovations. While making his fellow Plymouth Harbor residents happy with his performance, Fran realizes that he’s happier than he had been in years.

Ted just knows that his goal now is to keep practicing. It’s exhilarating to have his technique at the previous professional level, and, he believes, even better than before. His plan is to keep presenting programs that his friends enjoy. He takes requests and slips in some music that he’s always wanted to perform. Fran’s considerable musical judgment is called upon to make sure the programs have the right mix of music to be entertaining for all.

His last program, The Romantic Piano, was recorded. For a donation of any amount given to benefit the arts at Plymouth Harbor, a CD of the program is being given as a token of gratitude. (For more information, contact Becky Pazkowski,The Plymouth Harbor Foundation.)

Ted’s next concert, an all-Russian program, is scheduled for October 18 and will include Moussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in its original form for solo piano. Stay tuned for more on that.

 Jay Scott Pike is an artist and has been a professional artist almost since the day he was 16 and enrolled in the Art Students League in Manhattan. His connection to Sarasota is early, too.  He finished his art school training at the Ringling School of Art before going back to the northeast for the remainder of his career as a professional artist.

Retired now and living at Plymouth Harbor in Sarasota, Florida, where he had first arrived as a student in 1948, Scott still paints every day. He has a studio in his apartment, which he shares with his wife of well over 50 years, Margie, and also keeps an easel at the ready in the Plymouth Harbor art studio open to all residents.

Scott’s professional work spanned from commercial art for big name brands to comic books and pin-up art. While in the Marines at the end of WWII he even took commissions to paint lovely ladies on the sides of bomber aircraft. For fun, you might enjoy learning more about his career on Wikipedia where the page on Jay Scott Pike reveals even more.

But now he has a new series he has been working on for almost 6 years.

Scott Pike has painted portraits of his neighbors in Plymouth Harbor, but they are not the standard portrait you may imagine. Each individual is portrayed as a character that either plays off an actual trait or runs directly counter to the individual’s real personality. Whatever it is, Scott just saw the right way to capture his friends and we’ve all been delighted by the results.

His first was to capture the ebullient and musically talented George Heitler as a deadly serious gunslinger in Gary Cooper High Noon style.

Retired physician Dr. Jim Griffith was portrayed as a sea captain during a terrible storm.

For some, the portraits were created only shortly before their passing and have remained as a cheerful reminder of dear friends and the qualities that all loved. 

The list goes on. Not only do his portraits remain the “talk of the tower” at Plymouth Harbor, but also have become a meaningful gift and moments in the lives of those he has portrayed.

Gunslinger – George Heitler
Drill Sarge – John Knox Hess*
Riverboat Gambler – Dr. Richard Kessler*
Sea Captain – Dr. Jim Griffith
Coach – Marlow Cook
Spanish Dancer – Jill Wilson
Aviatrix – Wendy Underwood
Showgirl – Francie Jones
Seer – Marty Buenneke
Plymouth Harbor Gothic – Jean Lions and George Doty
Truck Driver – Larry Coffey

* deceased