Don’t Let Isolation Get the Best of You

. Posted in Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

 – By Marilyn R., Wellness Committee Co-Chair

According to a recent article I read written by a therapist, isolation not only zaps our energy but can also lead to depression.  The recent pandemic and quarantine has certainly taught us that.

Don't-let-self-isolation-get-you-downLet’s be mindful of ways to help ourselves when the impact of isolation sets in:

  1. Keep a good schedule every day, waking up at the same time, eating healthy meals, and getting plenty of exercise. Prayer or meditation can help as well.
  2. Contact friends and family by social media or phone.  It’s a good chance to catch up and the interaction will lessen your feelings of separation.

This is all easier said than done. But, by helping yourself, you can help others too.

Recognizing Falls Prevention Week

. Posted in FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

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

In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “Prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This holds a lot of truth for Falls Prevention, as well.

Falls are a leading cause of death due to injury for people over the age of 65. But, there are several things older adults can do to stay fall free.

Considering Falls Prevention Week is Sept. 21-25, 2020, now is a great time to take these 6 simple steps to prevent a fall in the future:

  • Keep moving – find a good balance/exercise program. And wear sensible shoes too!
  • Talk to a Doc – make an appointment with your health care provider and be prepared to answer questions.
  • Be aware – review your medications with your doctor for any potential side effects or interactions that may impact your balance or risk of falling.
  • Hear it – schedule an annual hearing test.
  • See it – get a vision test each year
  • Remove home hazards – keep your home free of clutter and tripping hazards. Also, keep it well lit, consider nonslip mats, and install hand rails and grab bars where appropriate.

For more information visit

Community Update – Sept. 21, 2020

. Posted in FPH

The above chart was reported on September 14th by the Florida Department of Health (FDOH) on their website. There were 83 confirmed new cases in Polk County on Sept. 14th and only 53 new cases the day before . . . the trendline is better. Bars opened at 50% occupancy and with more stringent protocols. On 9/12 we saw a bit of a spike of new cases to 134 in Polk County possibly related to the recent holiday. The average age of cases has dropped from an average median from March through August of about 54 to 40 (as of Monday per the FDOH) largely due to younger people (34 and under) cases rising. The City of Lakeland and many area businesses continue to mandate mask-wearing and social distancing.

A new Visitation Policy and related protocols and forms for Porter McGrath (PMG) and Assisted Living (AL) have been implemented. Visitation in PMG and AL is by pre-scheduled appointment only. Per the Visitation Policy and in keeping with the Governor’s Emergency Order, first, the PMG or AL resident (or his/her legal representative) completes a form designating their chosen Essential Caregivers (2 people), Compassionate Care Visitors (2 people), and General Visitors (5 people) allowed to visit them. Anyone who is not on a designation form will not be provided a visitation. Those who have been designated will receive a packet including a Consent Form they must sign and return our Visitation Policy, a copy of the Emergency Order, Visitation Protocols for Window Visits, Outdoor Visits, and Indoor Visits, as appropriate. Approved “general” visitors must use “SignUpGenius,” a free web-based event registration tool to schedule a visit. They will be asked to arrive early for their visit to complete their infection control and protocols training before they can participate in a visit. General visits are required to be monitored by staff and General Visitors must maintain social distancing and wear a mask at all times. Visits are limited to 20 minutes. Should we have a positive COVID test-result, general visitation must be put on hold for at least 14-days.

The state’s required bi-weekly testing of all AL and Skilled Care staff ended last week. The federal government’s weekly testing of staff who work in Skilled Care started last Monday. If Polk County averages a positivity test rate of 10% or greater for 7+days, we would be required to test twice a week. If we get one positive resident or staff member, we will be required to test twice a week and we heard last week that they may require us to test all PMG residents (we presently have zero confirmed positive residents).

Please reach out to a member of our team if you have any questions or concerns.

Be well,

Joe Xanthopoulos, Executive Director and CEO

September Wellness Star Awarded to Faithful Exerciser

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes has named resident Gerry H. as the Wellness Star award winner for September 2020. This month’s wellness star focuses on the physical dimension of wellness, which can be defined as lifestyle choices designed to maintain or improve health and functional ability.

Wellness-Star-Award-Winner-for-SeptemberWhen you think about Gerry, you think about her being faithful in two ways —

  1. committed to her faith, and
  2. faithful to exercise as a means to improve her quality of life.

Gerry has been very faithful about exercise since graduating from her rehabilitation program with Lisa, her FPH physical therapist. “It was a smooth transition from rehab to the wellness program because I was already familiar with the machines,” said Gerry. “I go to the McArthur [Exercise] Center every day except Sunday to do the strength machines or to ride the NuStep.”

After finishing rehab, Gerry said she needed to be persistent and keep doing the exercises even when she didn’t feel like it. “A person doesn’t have to get weaker just because they’re getting older,” said Gerry. “The machines help to develop muscles and make you stronger, even with your daily activities. I’m able to put on a fitted bed sheet, to move more confidently around the house, and I can get up and out of a chair without help.”

Gerry says that she has had some tough times in her life, but her friend told her: God will give you whatever you need to get through each day. This faith-filled quote keeps her going and helps her stay faithful to her exercise program.

When asked what wellness mean to her, Gerry said, “Growth in spirituality and a dependence on God, thinking, eating, exercising, and living your best life.”

Well said, Gerry, well said.

Community Update – September 8, 2020

. Posted in FPH

On September 1st, the Governor issued the Division of Emergency Management Emergency Order No. 20-009 regarding visitation in long term care facilities (Assisted Living and Skilled Care/Short Term Rehab). The Order was implemented upon his signature, but the state has stated they would give AL and Skilled facilities time to put protocols and policies in place.

Each AL and Skilled Care resident or his or her legal representative may designate up to two “Essential Caregivers” (Those who provide assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as bathing, dressing, eating, and/or emotional support; two “Compassionate Care” visitors providing emotional support to help a resident deal with difficult transition or loss, an upsetting event, or end-of-life (more episodic occurrences); and up to five “General” visitors. In all cases, no more than two visitors at a time are allowed for a resident unless at imminent end-of-life. General Visitors are prohibited until a facility has 14 concurrent days with no new facility onset of staff or residents COVID-19 cases. For a positive staff member, it is 14 days from when a positive staff member was in the facility ten days prior to the positive test.

We are presently developing policies and protocols as the state required so it will be a few days before we have these policies and protocols in place and can then safely support visitation. We are allowed per the Order to:

  • set a limit on the total number of visitors allowed at any given point on campus based on staffing ability to screen and monitor visitations;
  • develop an agreeable schedule for visitation;
  • provide and require infection prevention and control training including proper use of PPE, hand hygiene, and social distancing;
  • require appropriate PPE to be worn while on campus;
  • limit the visitors’ access to the defined visitation area and require the visitor to wear their PPE and maintain safe distancing from all other residents and staff going to and from the designated visitation area;
  • maintain a visitor screening process and visitor log;
  • prohibit visits, except for compassionate care visits, if the resident is quarantined or if the resident is positive for or shows symptoms. General visitors would be prohibited;
  • after attempts to mitigate concerns, restrict, or revoke visitation if the essential caregiver or compassionate care visitor fails to follow prevention and control requirements or other COVID related rules.

The Order also states that we have to have sufficient staff to support visitations; adequate PPE for staff, adequate cleaning, and disinfectant supplies; and our referral hospitals must have adequate capacity.  We need to provide outdoor visitation spaces (which we have in place) and are developing safe indoor visitation spaces. The Order notes that general visitation must be scheduled, and we limit the length of visits, days of visits, hours for visitation, and the number of visits per week based on the ability of staff to screen and monitor scheduled visits.

No doubt this Emergency Order will be well received by both family and residents who have not been in the same room with their loved ones since the Governor’s Executive Order back in March. We recognize the Executive Order was put in place to best minimize the risk of COVID-19 to the most vulnerable population. Now, with this Emergency Order, we need to all work together to assure that it is rolled out in a safe and organized manner for the wellbeing of all.  If you would like to read the Order it can be found at  Once we have our: form for AL and PMG residents to list their Essential Caregivers, Compassionate Care Visitors, and General Visitors and a Visitation Consent Form for each visitor to complete and sign acknowledging they have completed training provided and they understand, accept and agree to adhere to the terms identified in the documentation provided; and all policies and protocols defined as stated in Emergency Order, we will assist AL and Skilled resident with completing their form and notifying their selected Essential, Compassionate, and General visitors they have been selected. Then we will provide those selected with Visitation Forms and our Protocols and Policies including how to go about scheduling visits.  We need to stress that no one can show up unscheduled on campus and expect to see their loved one under this Emergency Order.  We need to follow the requirements and guidelines identified in the Order.

We continue to ask every RL and IL resident to wear a mask when out of his/her home where social distancing could be difficult. Masks are required in all FPH buildings. For those out walking their dogs, running, walking, bicycling, have a mask with you, and should you approach someone, please wear your mask on until you are safely clear from the person.

Please reach out to a member of our team with any questions or concerns.

Stay safe and many blessings,

Joe Xanthopoulos

Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Healthful Tips – from the FPH wellness committee

. Posted in FPH, Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

 – By Marilyn R., Wellness Committee Co-Chair

Summer is here and the pandemic along with it. Combining the need to stay home with all this summertime heat can be challenging. Your wellness committee members would like to share some good food for thought:


  • Keep Moving. Even though you may be home, try to stay active.
  • Take a Breathe. Get some fresh air and sunshine.
  • Be Safe. Remember to stay 6-feet apart, wash your hands, wear your masks and use hand sanitizer.
  • Stay Hydrated. In other words – drink your water!
  • Keep Busy. Find something to do — read a book, do a puzzle, take a walk, make a craft.
  • Reach Out. Stay in touch with friends and family, virtually if you can.
  • Stay Connected. We’re all in this together.

These are helpful tips that might not seem easy, but with a little effort, they can be.

Matter of Balance Class Set to Begin in September

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

Balance-class-set-to-begin-in-September-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, September 8 and run one afternoon each week for 8 weeks.

This class is only open to residents of FPH and will be offered on both the North and South sides of campus. The program is designed to 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 or email to reserve a spot by Tuesday, Sept. 1. A lite snack and workbook are provided. Sign up today!

Avid Runner Wins August Wellness Star Award

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

Florida Presbyterian Homes is pleased to recognize resident Joan B. as the Wellness Star Award winner for August 2020.

This month’s wellness star focused on the physical dimension of wellness, which can be defined as lifestyle choices that maintain or improve health and functional ability. And this month’s winner does just that — she embraces physical activity for a healthier lifestyle.

florida-presbyterian-homes-wellness-star-award-winner-august-2020Joan has been physically active throughout most of her life. She was a cheerleader and tennis player in high school and continued to be very active into adulthood. She enjoyed many activities with her husband such as sail boating, showing Quarter horses, running and cycling. Since she and her husband were able to retire early, it allowed them time to make several annual trips to Europe during the months of May and June, where they enjoyed cycling through different countries. “Those are good months in Europe because of the weather and not being crowded with too many tourists,” said Joan. All in all, they traveled through thirteen countries over the course of their cycling trips!

Another activity Joan enjoys is running. She has long been an avid runner, racing in events from a 5K to different marathons. Joan ran her first marathon in Italy at the age of 70. She also ran several half marathons at Walt Disney World and in Miami. She even won her age group at the Army ten miler!

Joan continues to stay active at FPH with group exercise classes and swimming. “Being active helps keep me independent and I feel better when I exercise,” said Joan. “It’s important for people to make the effort and find something they like to keep them active and not isolate themselves.”

When asked what wellness means to her, Joan said: “It is feeling good about myself, being around other people and having  confidence in myself.” Good advice from this month’s Wellness Star.

Sun Safety for All

. Posted in Journey to Healthy Aging Blog

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

Florida is the sunshine state and we need to protect ourselves from getting too much sun. The summer months can be especially harmful due the longer days, stronger sun and more people spending time outdoors.

What can you do to protect yourself from too much sun exposure? Here are some helpful tips to reduce your risk of skin damage and skin cancer:

  1. Remember to seek shade under an umbrella, tree or shelter when spending time outdoors.
  2. Wear long sleeved shirt or pants. Some clothing has ultraviolet protection factor built into it.
  3. Wear a hat with a brim that will cover your face, ears, and back of your neck.
  4. Wear sunglasses. Sunglasses protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. The best sunglasses are those that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  5. Use sunscreen. The best sunscreens are those that offer broad spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays. Choose a sunscreen that has at least a 30 SPF sun protection factor and water resistant. Check the expiration date before using your sunscreen. Most are good for 2-3 years.

By keeping these tips in mind, you should be all set to enjoy another beautiful, sunny day in paradise, otherwise known as Florida.

Source: CDC and the American Cancer Society

Community Update – August 11, 2020

. Posted in FPH

Dear Family and Friends,

The following is an excerpt from the news release, “Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Task Force to Explore the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities.” The full news release can be found at

“Tallahassee, Fla. – On Aug 6, 2020, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the formation of Florida’s Task Force on the Safe and Limited Re-Opening of Long-Term Care Facilities. Members of the task force will work together to develop guidelines on how to safely allow family members to visit their loved ones in Florida’s long-term care facilities where visitation has been prohibited since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

‘The last four and a half months have been difficult for all Floridians, especially our residents in long-term care facilities and their families,’ said Governor DeSantis. ‘In an effort to protect our most vulnerable, we made the difficult decision in March to prohibit visitation to these facilities. While these measures were necessary, it has taken an emotional toll on our families. I look forward to the ideas that arise from this task force on how we can continue our mission to protect the vulnerable while allowing for the much-needed human connection of spending time with family and friends.’”

We hope to get more information soon and will be sure to pass on the information as soon as possible.

Currently, we have no COVID cases in our resident population. Our two positive employees remain off the work schedule. We have a good supply of Personal Protective Equipment including N95s, gowns, and face shields. The use of UVC lights and/or fogging with an electro-static system has become a normal cleaning protocol following our typical deep cleaning practices after any room changes, discharges, or bouts of illness. Staff continues to be tested every two weeks, per the CDC guidelines. If you would like to schedule a video call (Zoom, FaceTime, Skype) with your loved one, please reach out to a member of our Life Enrichment Team.

Please reach out to a member of our team if there are any questions or concerns.

Stay safe and be blessed,

Maria Rivera, Administrator

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