Author Archive

Community Update

. Posted in FPH

On Sunday, July 12, Florida set a record for total new confirmed cases in the country at 15,000+ and an almost 20% positive confirmed to tested percentage. The numbers in Florida continue to rise well above the targets set by the White House COVID-19 Task Force for phased re-openings. Our country has the highest number of confirmed cases and the highest death rate in the world. We are doing the best we can following guidelines and protocols provided through Executive Orders, the CDC, AHCA, the DOH, and the NIAID/NIH. Community spread in our area is a major challenge in mitigating the risk to our residents and our staff.

This past week a beloved resident passed on due to COVID-19. As of 7/20/20, we have one resident of PMG in our “COVID” designated area on the PMG first floor. We also have two other COVID-19 positive residents in Lakeland Regional Hospital. We presently have three staff members who have been confirmed and are at their respective homes.

Our resident in residential living who was confirmed with COVID-19 at the beginning of the month is back on campus and doing well. All residents who participated in contact tracing relative to this occurrence were tested and all came back negative. We have instituted updated procedures for our community and amenity spaces to help keep our residents and staff safe.

Together with faith in God and seeking his help, guidance, protection, and finding peace through him, we will get through this. The wellbeing of our residents and staff continues to be our priority. We follow the clinical directives and protocols of the leading clinical experts in disease control and prevention as well as executive orders and our regulatory agencies. We take conservative approaches in every level of living seeking to minimize risk, exposure, and spread. We encourage staff (and residents) to seek out help and direction when they have questions or concerns . . . no one carries the burden on their own, together we can carry more than we can individually.

We continue to implore those around us to please stay safe; wear a mask; maintain social distancing, and wash your hands thoroughly. We are thankful for the dedication of our staff each and every day to protect our residents and each other.

Be well and stay well,

Joseph J. Xanthopoulos, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Staying Hydrated

. Posted in Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

– By Alison Kennedy Hand, MS, Wellness Director, Florida Presbyterian Homes

Summer months spell heat and humidity. Staying hydrated is tricky during these hot months because people are sweating more.

Staying-Hydrated-Is-ImportantDehydration is a common cause of hospitalizations for adults over the age of 65. With the adult body being over 60% water, making sure you stay hydrated is very important.

Why? Staying hydrated helps:

  • to regulate body temperature
  • to improve sleep quality
  • to keep bowel movements regular
  • to keep organs functioning properly
  • to maintain lubrication in joints
  • to enhance circulation, and
  • to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Here are a few helpful tips to keep you hydrated:

Invest in a water bottle. They come in all shapes and sizes, so find one unique to you.

Keep track of your fluid intake. You can do this by adding up the ounces as you drink throughout the day and writing it down.

Drink better tasting water. Consider investing in a filter, such as a Brita pitcher filter, or one that can be installed at your sink or in your refrigerator.

Eat fruits and veggies with a high water content. Examples include watermelons, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Keep an eye on your urine. Urine should be a pale color — not dark, cloudy or foul-smelling.

Watch the coffee and alcohol. These fluids are diuretics, making you urinate more often and retain less water in your body.

 – Source:, by Alex Van Buren

July Wellness Star Shines Bright With Commitment to Her Faith

. Posted in FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog, News

Florida Presbyterian Homes has named resident Nancy T. as the Wellness Star award winner for July 2020. This month’s wellness star focuses on the spiritual dimension of wellness, which can be defined as living with meaning and purpose in life, either through group or individual faith-based activities.

July-Wellness-star-award-winner-at-florida-presbyterian-homesNancy’s life is a great example of the spiritual dimension of wellness. She volunteers at First Presbyterian Church in Lakeland, as well as here at FPH. Her spiritual journey as a Christian began when she was 11 years old, and strengthened as she matured and fully understood what it meant to have joy for the LORD. In fact, her favorite verse is Nehemiah 8:10, “the joy of the LORD is your strength.” Nancy strongly believes a person must make a point to recognize joy even when things around them aren’t joyful.

While Nancy misses living up North near her family, she believes God has a plan for her to be here in Florida. At her church, she volunteers with the older adult ministry, many times serving lunch, presenting devotions or leading music. She’s not only busy at her own church but also as a member of the FPH Spiritual Life committee. Nancy says one of the main goals of the Spiritual Life committee is to support the chaplain and provide feedback on any issues that are presented. The committee also purchases the Daily Bread devotionals for FPH and writes the Advent and Christmas devotionals for the campus.

When asked what wellness means to her, Nancy said, “It’s a combination of body, mind and spirit. Doing the best I can for my body by eating well and exercising. Spiritually, it means spending time with the Lord and helping others.”

Congratulations, Nancy, for winning the July Wellness Star award. We’re happy God led you to Florida — especially here to Florida Presbyterian Homes, where you’re a kind and gentle servant for the Lord.

Community Update – July 2nd

. Posted in FPH

July 2, 2020


To All FPH Residents:

This morning July 2, 2020, we were notified that one of our Residential Living residents living on the North Side has been confirmed positive for COVID-19. This resident is in the hospital and the family has been notified. I cannot share any more specifics out of respect for the resident and in alignment with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

Contact tracing has begun. Until contact tracing has been completed and we have called residents, who may have come in contact with this resident, we have temporarily closed all resident amenity spaces on the north side of campus. We are also suspending the Beauty Salon service on campus for all residents until further notice. Residents living on the north side who ordered meal service will be delivered their meals during this temporary period. The purpose of temporarily closing these spaces is to protect our residents and staff.

Once those identified residents at risk are contacted, we will require them to contact their physician and to self-isolate in their own home for fourteen days from today. Per the recommendation of our lab provider, we will be offering COVID-19 tests and a respiratory panel to the identified residents living north of Cresap Street.

Per the mandate from the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) we have begun and will continue doing COVID-19 testing of all staff working in Assisted Living and Porter McGrath.

Our focus continues to be on the wellbeing of our residents and staff. We pray for those affected by this virus in any manner, and really that is everyone, and especially those we care deeply about who have been confirmed positive. We are all so thankful for your understanding.



Joseph J. Xanthopoulos, Executive Director/CEO  and Maria Rivera, Administrator

An Important Message from our CEO/Executive Director

. Posted in FPH, Industry News, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog, News

 – By Joe Xanthopoulos, Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director

The well-being of the residents living and staff working at Florida Presbyterian Homes are our greatest priority. COVID-19 is proving to be the most challenging immediate threat to our residents and staff. Face coverings/masks have been determined by the CDC, NIAID, Drs. Fauci, Redfield, Hahn and Admiral Dr. Giroir, and many other reputable and qualified health experts, to have a positive impact on mitigating risk and exposure for contracting COVID-19.

The attached letter which has been sent to the Lakeland Commissioners via the website and in hard copy print, was co-drafted by myself and Brian Robare at The Estates of Carpenters. We felt that this issue is of such importance to all people living in Lakeland and certainly especially for those we serve, we need to state our position strongly with the hope the Commission will reconsider the Executive Order presented by Mayor Mutz. We encourage everyone who receives the attached letter to contact our City Commissioners at

(Click on each attachment to view Page 1 and Page 2 of the full letter.) 

The Longest Day – Fundraiser

. Posted in FPH

Hooray – we’ve raised over $1,500 to help fight Alzheimer’s. The Longest Day is the day with the most light — the summer solstice. On June 20, people from across the world will fight the darkness of Alzheimer’s through a fundraising activity of their choice. We started last week on the longest day of the year AND WE’RE STILL GOING STRONG! Donations are being accepted through Friday, June 26. Join Team Memory Makers and help fight Alzheimer’s here:

Community Update – June 24th

. Posted in FPH

June 24, 2020


Hi Family & Friends,

I have been waiting a few days to send out this community update in hopes that I had the COVID test results that were done on June 9, 2020. These were conducted for the Assisted Living residents and Independent Living residents by the National Guard and sent to the Department of Health (DOH). On Monday evening, June 22nd, the DOH’s epidemiologist gave me a verbal report that all tests were negative. I have not received any written confirmation and will continue to follow up daily until they are received.

There are no confirmed cases in our skilled care currently.

We have made arrangements with a private lab for the residents in residential living houses who would like to get tested.

The Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), adopted an Emergency Rule on June 15, 2020 requiring nursing home and assisted living staff to be tested for COVID-19 every two weeks with testing provided by the State. On June 23, 2020, AHCA sent a memo with some logistic information on which vendor they have contracted with to distribute all testing kits and to perform the analysis. We should get more direction by the end of the week with more details. Testing will be conducted every two weeks beginning July 7, 2020 unless there are changes.

Below is an article from ABC Action News:

“A mandate to require face masks in the City of Lakeland failed to make it to a vote. The motion to vote died from a lack of a second so it never got to the voting stage of the process. The measure is similar to mandates recently passed by the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg and Hillsborough County that require masks to be worn indoors.

During Monday’s meeting, city commissioners heard from Danielle Dummond, the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Lakeland Regional Health and Dr. Steven Achinger of Watson Clinic.

Dr. Achinger said this is a “critical time point” to act and make a huge impact in the spread of the virus in Lakeland. He also said masks are the most cost-effective way of continuing to open the local economy in a safe manner.

‘The more masks that we have being worn in a public space, the safer that public space is. No question,’ Dr. Achinger said.

During the meeting, Dr. Achinger compared asking the public to wear masks to second-hand smoke. He said banning smoking in public spaces wasn’t a popular decision, but it protected those who were damaged by the choices of others.

Dummond told commissioners that LRH has seen an increase in ventilator use. She said of the 50 ICU beds available at LRH, 48 are currently in use and, of those, 30 are COVID-19 positive patients.

Despite city commissioners hearing from Dummond and Dr. Achinger on why mandating masks to be worn in the city of Lakeland is important, nobody seconded Mayor William Mutz’s motion to approve the executive order.

‘Alright, so there is no motion to accept the executive order, and we will not do a mask mandate,”’ Mayor Mutz said. ‘”And the result of that will be in the numbers.’”

This article can be found at,

We at Florida Presbyterian Homes, continue to mandate the use of masks and highly encourage staff and residents to wear masks when they are out of their homes. We have and continue to offer masks to any resident in the community that are in need of one, and recently gave a goodie-bag to all employees with cloth masks, surgical masks, hand sanitizers, etc. to keep in their vehicles or on their person when out and about.

We have communicated to Lakeland Regional Hospital that we will resume admissions for short-term care. These admissions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and analyzed by the clinical team to minimize any spread of this disease.

Our Life Enrichment continues to offer new and adjusted programming to keep residents engaged. If you would like to schedule a video chat with your loved one, please reach out to Alexis Bautz, Associate Executive Director.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.


Continued blessings to you and your household,

Maria Rivera, RN, Administrator

Community Update – June 19th

. Posted in FPH

June 19, 2020

Hi family & friends,

We hope this letter finds you well. As of today, there have been no new confirmed cases at FPH. The employee who tested positive a few weeks ago was followed by us and the DOH and remains with no symptoms and was released to work this week per CDC guidelines.

Over the past week and a half, we completed baseline testing on all staff, all Porter McGrath (PMG) residents, and all consenting Assisted Living residents. All residents and guests of PMG tested negative and we are waiting on the results of those in Assisted Living. All new hires will be tested for COVID as a pre-employment condition. We ask that any home health personnel report to the screening area before and after their visit and abide by the protocols set forth by the clinical team. All contracted providers must show proof of a negative COVID test or be tested with our employees. As you know, the State of Florida is in Phase 2 of reopening. We urge everyone to remain vigilant and cautious: wearing masks, social distancing, and washing hands.

The most recent Executive Order, issued on June 16th by Gov. DeSantis, requires testing for nursing home and assisted living facility staff every two weeks, effective July 7th. We are still waiting to hear more information on this and are working with our industry partners to come up with a plan for testing.

We continue to screen all employees, wear masks, clean frequent high-touch surfaces, and screen residents. We halted non-resident admissions to PMG and will resume after all pending test results come in. Once we resume admissions, we will continue to ask for COVID testing with negative results prior to admission.

Our Life Enrichment Team continues to work hard to bring engaging programming to the residents in each area of living. We welcome any videos or pictures that you would like to send to your loved ones at FPH. If you would like to schedule a video chat with your loved one, please reach out to us to schedule a time.

Again, we urge everyone to wear a mask, avoid groups, social distance, and wash hands.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Continued blessings to you and your household,

Maria Rivera, RN, Administrator and Alexis Bautz, Associate Executive Director

Food & Nutrition Classes Offered This Summer

. Posted in Events, News

Food-AND-Nutrition-Classes-Offered-All-Summer-Long-Online-And-FreeThanks to the University of Florida’s Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Program, everyone is eligible to participate in a series of food and nutrition classes being offered online.

These classes are free and open to the public. They begin in June and run through the middle of August 2020.

FPH residents, staff and family members are encouraged to participate, however, you must sign up by clicking through to the registration links found here.

The UF/IFAS Extension Polk County Family & Consumer Sciences division is dedicated to providing science-based information to empower individuals and families to make changes to improve their health and quality of life.

If you have questions, please contact Andrea Nikolai, UF/IFAS Extension Polk County, Family and Consumer Science Agent at or 863-519-1041.

June is Cataract Awareness Month

. Posted in FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

– By Alison Kennedy Hand, MS, Wellness Director, Florida Presbyterian Homes

Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States. The longer cataracts are left untreated, the more difficult it can be to successfully remove the cataract and restore vision.

Cataract-Awareness-Month-Is-JuneWith June being Cataract Awareness Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology reminds the public that early detection and treatment of cataracts is critical to preserving sight. Early cataract detection signs include:

  • cloudy vision
  • difficulty seeing at night
  • increased light sensitivity
  • appearance of halos and glare
  • detection from a routine eye exam.

Regular eye exams are especially important for older adults. An eye doctor can detect the presence of cataracts even before a person experiences any vision problems.

Be sure to schedule your eye exam annually. If you’re having eye problems such as the ones listed above, see an eye doctor immediately.



© 2019 Florida Presbyterian Homes
16 Lake Hunter Drive - Lakeland, FL 33803
Phone: 863-688-5521 or Marketing: 863-577-6001