Wellness Committee Recognized for Important Role at FPH

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes has awarded the entire Wellness Committee with the Wellness Star for December 2019. Typically, one FPH resident is selected each month based on their commitment to a particular dimension of wellness. But this month’s wellness star focuses on the many, many aspects of wellness.

Wellness-Committee-Florida-Presbyterian-HomesAccording to Wellness Director Alison Kennedy-Hand, Florida Presbyterian Homes is lucky to have such a wonderful blend of residents to represent their resident Wellness Committee. They’re a committed group of individuals who set time aside to meet monthly, help with various wellness activities throughout the year, manage a wellness budget, and plan activities all for the benefit of the FPH residents.

“I’m only a department of one,” said Alison, “and I truly could not do what I do without their support and help.” Members of the Wellness Committee include: Marilyn R., Barbara K., Chris W., Don P., Roger C., Dolores J., Fran H., Sally F., Bud W. and Grace W.

The Wellness Committee works closely with Alison to keep residents active. Their purpose is defined by the following: The Wellness Committee aims to provide and promote wellness opportunities for FPH residents by coordinating with staff to encourage participation in a variety of activities — physical, mental, spiritual and social. The committee focuses on maximizing a healthy lifestyle for each resident for as long as possible.

“The members work very hard to keep residents active with their unwavering commitment to fulfill the purpose of this committee,” said Alison. “Their continued devotion to helping improve resident quality of life is to be commended.”

Congratulations to the Wellness Committee for this month’s Wellness Star award. You are recognized for volunteering your time on behalf of the residents and for your ongoing assistance with the Wellness Program at Florida Presbyterian Homes. Way to go!

6 Low-Maintenance Plants for Easy Gardening in Florida

. Posted in Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

 – By Brian Conner

Florida is famous for its sun, sand, ocean breezes — and as a retirement mecca. The Sunshine State beckons with its warm climate, casual lifestyle, and promise of carefree days.

One way to keep those days carefree is to make yard work a pleasant hobby rather than a chore. The key is to choose landscaping elements that are easy to maintain. Fortunately, Florida has plenty of beautiful ornamental plants that fit the bill.

Caladium planters-red and white. You’ll find a wide selection at reputable nurseries, but here are six of the best low-maintenance plants for easy gardening:

  1. Caladiums – These big-leafed plants come in a choice of subtle colors and are perfect for Florida’s warm, humid climate. They prefer a shady area that gets a few hours of sun, and they display their long leaves from spring through fall.
  2. Beach Sunflower – A favorite of Floridians, this native likes sunshine and will handle dry conditions. It blooms almost year-round and remains colorful when other plants shrink from heat and cold. You can have fun relaxing on the lanai and watching the blossoms follow the sun through the course of the day!
  3. Coral Honeysuckle – This shrub will grow anywhere in Florida and produces distinctive flowers that bloom from spring through summer. The flowers are an irresistible magnet for hummingbirds and butterflies. The plant’s berries also draw songbirds in late summer and fall.
  4. Black-Eyed Susan – This tough little favorite is drought- and salt-resistant, making it the state’s most popular for landscaping. Its yellow flowers will persist while others wilt in the summer sun. Butterflies love it.
  5. Passion Flower – This perennial is easy to grow and can tolerate dry weather. Its big lavender and purple flowers have quirky little fringes that appear to wave in the breeze.
  6. Bougainvillea – This Southern belle can handle the sun and dry soil, and blooms in an array of colors. Technically a vining shrub, it will grow on fences, trellises, and even in a pot. It should be covered during freezes and frosts.

Senior woman gardener Beds of ornamental plants can cut back on the area of your yard devoted to turf — and that means less ground to mow. Because Florida’s turfs are warm-weather varieties that don’t grow well in shade, shade-tolerant native plants can fill in the bare spots. You can also cut back on yard work with other non-turf elements, such as water features that recycle water, a cozy meditation nook, paths of pavers, and a pergola.

When it comes to choosing plants, think native when possible. Native plants, whether trees, shrubs, or flowers, are already adapted to the climate, meaning they’re hardwired to be low maintenance. They also attract beneficial wildlife and usually need less watering.

Florida has a climate ideal for gardening and a rich resource of ornamental plants to choose from. Putting them to use in your yard can make life a sea-breeze!


Brian Conner is a landscape designer and eco-conscious living expert. He prefers to use only native plants that will attract pollinators and other wildlife to backyards. He also specializes in using pest-repelling plants and flowers.

Balance Class Set to Begin In January

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

Balance-class-set-to-begin-in-January-at-Florida-Presbyterian-Homes-in-Lakeland-FLThe Wellness Department at Florida Presbyterian Homes is pleased to announce the next program dedicated to reducing the fear of falling and increasing activity levels among older adults. Entitled “A Matter of Balance: Managing Concerns About Falls,” this evidence-based class will begin on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 and run once a week for 8 weeks. It’s FREE and open to FPH residents and Lakeland community members. It will be held each week at 10 am on Tuesday mornings on campus at Florida Presbyterian Homes.

The program will benefit older adults who:

  • Are concerned about falls.
  • Have sustained falls in the past.
  • Restrict activities because of concerns about falling.
  • Are interested in information concerning fall prevention.
  • Are interested in improving flexibility, balance and strength.
  • Are age 60 or older.

Space is limited, so call the Wellness Department at 863-577-6022 to reserve a spot in this upcoming class. A lite snack and workbook are provided. Sign up today!

Resident Boxes His Way to November Wellness Award

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes has awarded resident Paul D. with the Wellness Star for November 2019. This month’s wellness star focuses on the physical dimension of wellness, which can be defined as making lifestyle choices that maintain or improve health and functional ability.

November-Wellness-Star-Award-WinnerPaul has been active throughout his entire adult life enjoying tennis and basketball. However, five years ago, he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. But that didn’t stop Paul from staying active. He still exercises seven days a week engaging in different forms of exercise. Paul continues to play tennis and has even added a variety of Parkinson’s related exercises to his weekly regimen, such as Rock Steady Boxing.

“Exercise keeps me moving and helps sustain my quality of life,” said Paul. Rock Steady Boxing, in particular, has helped Paul with cognitive improvements, such as added alertness and a heightened ability to follow instructions. “Rock Steady Boxing has given me a wonderful support group where we share ideas and help one another.” Paul’s wife, Sarah, recommends getting started on Parkinson’s exercises as soon as possible after diagnosis.

Paul says some days are better than others, but the key is to keep moving. “It’s important to stick to your exercise program, don’t skip class and don’t give up.”

When asked what wellness means to Paul, he said, “Being active and doing the things I enjoy — working out, reading my Bible, talking to my wife and being sensitive to those around me.” We applaud Paul’s wellness journey and his faithfulness to his exercise routine despite his illness.

Congratulations, Paul, for being our November Wellness Star award winner. You rock!

Wellness Tells the Real Story for FPH’s October Wellness Star

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes has named resident Barbara H. as the Wellness Star for October 2019. And it’s her love of storytelling that helped her to win this award.

Storyteller-Wins-October-Wellness-Star-at-Florida-Presbyterian-HomesWhen you first meet Barbara, her captivating stories keep you engaged. It’s a skill she’s had since her youth. In fact, Barbara’s entire family, both mother and father, would sing and tell stories. She has fond memories of sitting on her father’s lap while he sang and told stories about living in the mountains of North Carolina. Even in the car, when the radio wouldn’t pick up a signal, members of Barbara’s family would tell stories and sing together for hours. As a young adult, Barbara spent time singing in church and school choirs, eventually singing lullabies to her own children when they were small.

According to Barbara, storytelling can be sung or spoken. Different stories appeal to people in various ways and the storyteller uses their own finesse to deliver the story whether speaking or singing. Barbara has performed storytelling at churches and schools. She writes many of her own stories, but never tells stories about her personal life. Barbara also uses folk songs and folktales in her storytelling. “I can make people laugh and cry with the same story,” said Barbara. “Storytelling can make a person recall the past and also think about the future. It’s an emotional and spiritual experience.”

In the 1990s, a professional storytelling organization was started in Bartow and later moved to Lakeland. Barbara was named as president of the Polk County organization. While the local storytelling group is no longer in Lakeland, Barbara reports that the state of Florida Storytelling Association is still around today.

Storytelling is a part of wellness that focuses on the emotional, intellectual and spiritual dimensions of wellness, which are all very important to a person’s well-being. When asked what wellness means to Barbara, she says, “good health means body, mind and spirit combined.” Barbara’s unique gift of storytelling blesses all those who come in contact with her. May she continue to share her gift of storytelling for many years to come.

Congratulations, Barbara, for being awarded with the October 2019 Wellness Star!


Active Aging Week Set for October

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

 – By Alison Kennedy Hand

Active Aging week is a nationally recognized week from October 1 – 7 sponsored by the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA). This year’s theme, “Redefining Active,” is about engaging in all areas of wellness — physical, spiritual, emotional, social, intellectual, occupational and environmental.

Active-Aging-WeekICAA states that active aging is about engaging with family, friends and your community to learn and try new things, such as volunteering, mentoring and pursuing professional development or an entrepreneurial endeavor. Other ways to be engaged include traveling, maintaining an active spiritual/religious life, having a healthy lifestyle, and being more mindful. Ultimately ICAA states it is about positively engaging in all aspects of life benefitting both the individual and the community as a whole.

Florida Presbyterian Homes will be recognizing Active Aging Week with the following events:

  • Tuesday, October 1 – A Fall Tea – Celebrating the Season at 2:00pm in the Main Dining Room. Pam Herbert and ALF staff to host.
  • Thursday, October 3 – Brain Games – Cognitively Engaged at 10:00am in the Chapel presented by Etta Owens.
  • Friday, October 4 – Fall Prevention and What Healthcare Should Be at 2:00pm in the Chapel presented by Dr. Romero.

On behalf of FPH and the Wellness Team, we’re pleased to join with thousands of Active Aging Week supporters as we work to help change the way we age.


Resident Donna J. Awarded September Wellness Star

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes is pleased to award resident Donna J. with the Wellness Star for September 2019. Congratulations Donna!

Donna-Jones-September-Wellness-StarWhile it’s rare to find an activity that meets more than two dimensions of wellness, Donna has found it in gardening! Gardening covers several dimensions of wellness, including physical, social, spiritual, intellectual, environmental and emotional. She spends 30-45 minutes every day, except Sundays, tending to her garden. “It’s a great leg and arm workout, plus it’s relaxing and gives me something positive to anticipate,” said Donna.

Donna received her master gardener certificate 10 years ago. It’s a certificate that requires 50+ hours of training and annual continuing education to maintain it. Usually, continuing education involves providing volunteer hours. Donna acquired several volunteer hours working at Circle B Bar speaking to school aged children. “I enjoy it and it keeps me active,” said Donna.

Donna uses her alone time in the garden to pray. “It’s a peaceful place to think about God,” said Donna. She also feels gardening makes people happy. “I’m a giver and I love sharing plants with other people. A plant brings people together and can help you make a friend.” Donna credits gardening for keeping her brain active by determining which plants to place in her own garden while providing advice to others about plants for their gardens.

When asked what wellness means to her, Donna said, “It’s being able to enjoy life as much as possible and as long as possible. Staying physically fit to do the things I enjoy.”

Donna shared a segment of a poem that ties in with her love of gardening: “There is no unbelief; whoever plants a seed beneath the sod and waits to see it push way the clod – he trusts in God.” – By Elizabeth York Case

Shuffleboard Enthusiast Edith Weigert Receives August Wellness Star

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes has named resident Edith Weigert as the Wellness Star for August 2019. This month’s wellness star focuses on the physical and social dimensions of wellness. The physical dimension can be defined as lifestyle choices that can maintain or improve health by engaging in physical activity and the social dimension can be defined as social interactions with chosen peer groups or friends.


Edith’s preferred sport of shuffleboard does both.

When Edith and her husband retired in 1990, they had a summer home here in Florida and that was the year she started playing shuffleboard. The community where they lived at the time had six shuffleboard courts to play on. It was only three short years later that she won her first gold medal at the Polk Senior Games in singles shuffleboard!

Edith went on to join the Lakeland Shuffleboard Club in 2008 and currently serves as treasurer for the club. The Lakeland Shuffleboard Club has 32 courts and is located on Lake Parker. Edith plays at least twice a week and says the club has about 100 members  — with an active tournament schedule that draws people from all over the state.

“Shuffleboard is a sport I truly enjoy and it’s a great way to make friends too,” said Edith. “People of all ability levels can enjoy the game.”

When asked what wellness means to her, Edith said, “It means exercising, eating healthy and being happy because happiness is a choice.”

Great advice from our August 2019 Wellness Star. Congratulations to Edith!

Tony Arce Recognized as FPH Employee Wellness Star for Q2

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes is pleased to recognize Tony Arce as the Employee Wellness Star for the second quarter of 2019. Tony was chosen based on his efforts to quit smoking. While he has proudly been smoke free since February, his journey hasn’t been easy. 

Quit-Smoking-Smoke-Free-Employee-Wellness-StarOver the years, Tony has tried to quit smoking more than 10 times. He stopped two years ago, but stress caused him to pick it up again. Then recent events made him reconsider quitting, including a close family member who had quadruple by-pass surgery and a trip to the hospital when Tony thought he was having a heart attack. Thankfully it was only muscle spasms. 

 Six months ago, Tony decided to quit — for good. He now knows the importance of changing his daily routine in order to make it stick, so he replaces his early morning cigarette with a full glass of water. After lunch, he immediately occupies himself to get his mind off of his cravings. And when he’s around others or in a social setting, Tony says everyone is respectful and makes an effort to avoid smoking around him, which really helps. 

Tony says he’s getting a lot of support from his family. Plus, he’s enrolled in a smoking cessation class that gives him tools to be successful. For example, in difficult moments when he feels the urge, Tony turns to deep breathing techniques or finds humor in the moment to avoid lighting up. 

“I’ve found three added benefits to quitting,” said Tony. “I don’t smell like smoke, I save money and food tastes better.” When asked what advice he would give to help others to go smoke free, Tony said, “Keep trying to quit. One of those times will be the exact time that everything will align and you won’t pick up those cigarettes again.”

 Congratulations to the Q2 Employee Wellness Star. Tony, we’re proud of your commitment to be smoke free. 


Note: Tony agreed to publicly share his story with FPH in an effort to help others. 

Resident Dances Her Way to Better Health

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes is pleased to award resident Dolores Johnson with the Wellness Star for July 2019. 

This month’s award focuses on the emotional and social dimensions of wellness. The emotional dimension recognizes a healthy expression of one’s feelings, while the social dimension represents the ability to relate and connect with other people in the world. As we all age, it’s vital to stay connected to people and to participate in various social activities. And Dolores Johnson does just that.

Wellness-Star-Dances-Her-Way-to AwardDolores is a dancer, but she didn’t start participating in regular dance classes until age 55. Her daughter began a belly dancing class and Dolores was quick to join in. After participating in that class, Dolores realized the movement was helping her injured shoulder. So she kept on dancing and now enjoys two types of belly dancing classes, Tribal and Egyptian, and has added a weekly line dancing class to her line up.

Dolores says there are many benefits to dancing, such as helping to build confidence, to be more assertive, to show good sportsmanship and to encourage others at various skill levels. Plus, dance classes help you form a social support system. “Dancing is a great way to socialize and have a network of people you can turn to,” said Dolores. “But most important, dancing is fun! Our group can make mistakes and we can laugh with each other.”

When asked what wellness means to her, Dolores said: “It’s getting enough movement and staying mentally active. Movement is a way of life and FPH has given me many opportunities to be active.”

Congratulations to Dolores Johnson — our July Wellness star…and may you keep on dancing.

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