Hurricane Irma

September 21st, 5:30 PM – Happy to be Home

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers during our Hurricane Irma evacuation! We are returning back to normal and enjoyed Oktoberfest today with beer and brats, of course!

 

September 14th, 5:15 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello Friends and Family Far and Wide,

What a wonderful morning to see 1,000 details falling so beautifully into place. We’re accomplishing far too many action-items to mention here, but rest assured it’s all coming together and The Fountains lifestyle is coming back to life before our eyes.

As we return to normal operations and  more typical staffing levels, we’re able to give our associates a much needed rest with their families. Nearly one third of our associates are currently without power at home. We have opened our doors, offering them temporary housing as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner to keep them healthy and fueled up to continue to serve our community and residents. We are proud to help those who have given so much to assure resident safety and comfort.

I’ll have much more to say in the coming days with a more formal thank you to our residents, associates and family members. We have clearly built a culture that has – literally – weathered the storm. The greatest part is we have come out the other side even stronger. I am thrilled to report that I can’t walk 10 feet in any direction without someone stopping me to tell a story of the great care, fantastic food, fun programs, or a story of a selfless associate who put a resident’s comfort above all else.

I’d also like to mention another thing we seem to be doing today. Somewhat to our surprise, we are already providing tours to many folks who are calling and stopping  by. These individuals and their families have seen “the other side” of enduring a hurricane at home. Every one of them has vowed that Irma will be their last. With this news I have a request. As the thanks and kudos are pouring in, if any of you can take the time to post your feelings or your experience in an online review such as Yelp, Google, Facebook, Caring.com or SeniorAdvisor.com, we would be honored and appreciate that very much. Many of you have already done so and we thank you sincerely.

Here’s to today and all our tomorrows ahead!

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director
Posted on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff.

 

September 13th, 10:30 PM – Hurricane Update – Power Restored

Hello all,

We have POWER!

We have incredible news. We have POWER. YES! We can now enjoy complete dining services, bright lighting and full-power air conditioning. We’ll deal with limited to no internet and cell service for some time, but we’ll be doing so surrounded by the cool comforts of home. We’re beginning to see signs of The Fountains lifestyle we love and missed.

Now, we will continue to clean up, settle in and give our selfless associates a well-earned break to take time with their families. Please excuse us for a couple days as we catch up; communication will continue to be a little slower than we’d like.

We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding.

Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay
Posted on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff.

 

September 13th, 5:45 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello all,

Hurricane Irma has been an incredible and challenging, learning experience. Earlier today, we bid our hosts from The Watermark at Trinity farewell. ALL of our residents previously residing at The Watermark at Trinity are now safe and sound back home at The Fountains and we are hard at work getting everyone re-settled and into place.

Thank you for the outpouring of love and support. Thank you also for placing your trust in us. With that, I implore everyone to be patient, as it will take time to respond to your replies and return calls by phone today considering the monumental task ahead. With no computers, no internet, and limited electricity, we are in a less than ideal situation for communicating with you.

We are operating on generator power and have plenty of fuel on hand. We expect power to be restored this week, but we don’t know exactly when.  For families temporarily housing loved ones, you (and they) may prefer to wait to return until our power has been fully restored.

We truly understand your concern and respect your need to hear that your loved one specifically is doing fine. I assure you we are all safe and sound. Please continue to check Facebook and the website where we are posting general updates and photos as frequently as possible as we wait for phone and cell services to become even more reliable. We sincerely thank you for your patience and understanding that everyone is fine – a little tired and glad to be home – but just fine.

With thanks,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay
Posted on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff.

 

September 12th, 11:00 PM – Hurricane Update – Mission Inn Residents are Home

Hello everyone,

After a very long but extremely productive day for everyone, we are thrilled to have our residents who were residing at the Mission Inn back home. As you know, we are returning to a community that is operating on generator power. We will have very little air-conditioning, partial lighting and a partial kitchen. We are renting a refrigerator truck to ensure we can keep food cooled properly.

As a reminder…

For our residents of Independent Living who are with friends and family, we will be able to receive you any time tomorrow, September 13, or any day thereafter. This will provide for a safe, smooth welcome-home transition.

For our residents of Assisted Living and Memory Care who are with friends and family, we will be able to receive you tomorrow, September 13, after 4:00PM or any day thereafter. Please report directly to the nurses’ station so we can officially receive you.

Thank you for bearing with us. Communication and logistics have been extremely challenging but we are so thrilled that our home did not sustain damage preventing us from moving back this soon.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay
Posted on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff.

 

September 12th, 4:30 PM – The Watermark at Trinity Resident Update

Residents located at The Watermark at Trinity enjoyed live music and wine with Ray Auclair, our wonderful and entertaining maintenance man. A few pairs of residents decided it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy a dance together when ‘In the Still of the Night’ came on.

 

September 12th, 3:00 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello Family & Friends,

We have wonderful news. Today, residents of our INDEPENDENT LIVING neighborhood, currently residing at the Mission Inn, will be returning to our home at The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay.  The timing of their arrival is not precise, but we believe they will be arriving about 5:00PM. They will be served a light supper shortly after we arrive.

We are beyond excited but it is IMPORTANT TO NOTE that we are returning to a community that is operating on generator power. We will have very little air-conditioning, partial lighting and a partial kitchen. We are renting a refrigerator truck to ensure we can keep food cooled properly.  After careful consideration, we believe that returning home now is the best course of action. We have scheduled extra associates to be on duty for the next several days as we settle back in.

Regarding the power, we are in Duke Energy’s queue but we are unsure at this time when our building will be restored to full power. We have been elevated to priority #2 just after hospitals, which are without power.

For our residents of independent living who are with friends and family, we will be able to receive you any time tomorrow, September 13, or any day thereafter.  This will provide for a safe, smooth welcome-home transition.

As you know, the majority of our residents of ASSISTED LIVING AND MEMORY CARE are currently residing at The Watermark at Trinity.  We are planning to transport all of them safely home tomorrow, September 13th.  We will be getting them carefully settled in during the afternoon, so please do not visit until after 4:00PM.  Again, we are operating under less than ideal circumstances with very little air-conditioning and partial lighting, but we believe that returning home now is in the best interest of our residents.

For our residents of Assisted Living and Memory Care who are with friends and family, we will be able to receive you tomorrow, September 13, after 4:00PM or any day thereafter.  Please report directly to the nurses’ station so we can officially receive you.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director

Posted on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff.

 

September 12th, 11:45 AM – The Watermark at Trinity Resident Update

Making Sweet Memories with New Friends

After an early morning exercise yesterday to get the blood flowing and a bright, cheerful craft to get our creative juices going, residents of The Gardens neighborhoods of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay and The Watermark at Trinity connected together in the kitchen to bake a cake. It was the perfect way to melt our worries away in the wake of hurricane Irma. Each individual contributed to the creation and decoration of this delicious work of art. Together we enjoyed the sweet outcome among new found friends. Even in dark days we can always find light and thrive.

 

September 11th, 4:15 PM – Mission Inn Update – Power Restored

We have more good news! The power has been restored at Mission Inn. One more blessing to count.

 

September 11th, 3:15 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello everyone and thank you for your patience. We now have an update to share.

We are certain we will not relocate back to The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay today. Even if power were to be restored today, which is not likely, due to logistics and transportation challenges, so we are focusing our efforts on providing continued care and comfort to everyone in place. Beyond that we cannot estimate our return and we should know more tomorrow morning.

Although we will not be able to return to our community today, we have some great news.

Our housekeeping and maintenance leadership visited The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay to assess the damage. It appears we have been spared the brunt of the storm. Our water is drinkable (does not need to be boiled), toilets are flushing and elevators are working. We are so relieved and grateful for this news.

We are a priority #2 for Duke Electricity to restore our power. There are three hospitals in the area without power and they are priority #1. We await the word when we may have ours restored. Once we have power we will send a team to walk through the community, to clean, throw away spoiled items and check residence-by-residence checking for any leaks or safety concerns.

We sustained damage to our fencing, a couple trees are down and we have a cracked sliding door in the courtyard area. We are in action to make repairs as soon as possible.

We have learned that the 6pm high tide should not pose a risk.

At the Mission Inn, we are all doing well on generator power and expect an even higher capacity generator to arrive tonight and we will continue to be fine.

Words cannot express our gratitude. Although we are unsure exactly when we will be able to return, we are thrilled to be able to move back home in such a potentially short time. It was entirely possible that this process could have taken weeks or even months. We are eternally grateful for this news, for your support and patience. We are especially thankful for our ability to weather the storm in the warm hospitality of the Mission Inn and The Watermark at Trinity, our own sister community, also managed by Watermark Retirement Communities. It has been a challenging, inspiring experience but we have many, many blessings to count.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay

Posted on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff.

 

September 11th, 1:35 PM – The Watermark at Trinity Resident Update

Residents located at The Watermark at Trinity enjoying their morning breakfast. They wanted to let family and friends know they are A-Okay and being well cared for. Thanks for the outpouring of love and support!

 

September 11th, 12:45 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello Family & Friends,

Thank you for your inquiries and concern. We are experiencing an extremely high call volume on our 888 number.

Unfortunately at this time we have no new news to share except that we are safe and sound and our community appears to have sustained less damage than we had feared.

That’s the good news. Our reality is that there is no power in the St. Petersburg area and we do not expect a notice that we can return anytime soon.

We will keep everyone updated as the situation unfolds.

Thank you for your patience and for understanding during this time.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay

 

September 11th, 11:30 AM – Hurricane Update

Good morning. We are beyond happy to report that all residents and associates of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay located at the Mission Inn as well as at The Watermark at Trinity are safe and sound. We are grateful to wake to calmer weather, and for our abundance of food, water and supplies. Everyone is being well cared for. The Watermark at Trinity did not lose power through the duration of the storm. Mission Inn is currently without power so the group of residents staying there from The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay are running on generator and propane. Now we must watch the storm updates and wait for news on the peak storm surge, especially at high tide. Today’s first high tide was at 4:47am and the next high tide is tonight at 6:03pm. We will provide an update as soon as we know more ourselves. Thank you for your support and patience and we hope that as this new day begins, your families, pets and homes are safe as well.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay

 

September 10th, 8:30 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello friends and family,

All residents are doing well at both locations, The Watermark at Trinity and Mission Inn. We’re are grateful for shelter and comfort. It’s definitely challenging but extremely inspiring to see the resilience of residents and the truly incredible dedication of associates.

We expect continued extremely heavy winds and rain tonight and we will likely by relying on generator power. As you know, we are ready for that possibility at both locations and have plenty of supplies and water on hand. We’re sleeping in interior rooms and away from windows. Everyone is receiving the care and comfort they need.

Our landline and cell services are becoming increasingly unreliable. Please rest assured we are safe and ready to weather the storm tonight. We look forward to the morning, with subsiding winds, slowing rain and eventually those rays of sun we know we can count on.

Thank you for your patience and support.  We hope you are safe and out of Irma’s path.

Posted on  behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay and Aileen Carlson, The Executive Director of The Watermark at Trinity.

 

September 10th, 5:45 PM – Mission Inn Resort Resident Update

It’s not all fun and games, but we are doing our best to keep spirits high.

 

September 10th, 2:00 PM – Hurricane Update

Hello everyone,

Today, we are all happy to wake up safe and together. Everyone slept much better last night, our second night in our temporary housing. As you know, we expect Irma to reach us mid-day today. We are braced for the worst and of course hoping for the best. Of course our situation is not the lifestyle to which we’re accustomed, but we are safe, well-fed and cared for. We’re also enjoying as much normalcy as we can, with morning stretches, group discussions and activities as possible, at both of our temporary locations. Staff is sleeping in short shifts to stay sharp and refreshed to serve residents.

At The Watermark at Trinity, I’m so proud to see our associates pulling together with our host associates like a seasoned team. Trinity’s Physician Assistant is weathering the storm on-site with us, which is a great comfort. For now, their phones are operable and the number is 1-727-777-5063.

At Mission Inn, we are grateful for their hospitality and shelter. Tonight we will sleep in a large ballroom with no exterior windows, which gives us great comfort for safety. The Mission Inn generator will be able to power the air conditioning on low, which is good news. Remember, please do not call Mission Inn directly.

If the Trinity phone lines become inoperable or to check on someone at Mission Inn, please use our Watermark toll free number: 1-888-694-4517 and we thank you for your patience as we are experiencing high call volume on this number.

We’ve been planning for this storm for days, following our preparedness standards and strategizing our next steps for the best possible outcomes. We hope that the order to return to The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay will take place mid next week. In the event we are temporarily unable to return to the community due to damage or flooding, we will be prepared. We are considering alternatives and discussing possibilities. Any families with the ability to take in their loved ones on a temporary basis will alleviate some of the pressure to secure adequate temporary housing. We thank you for your consideration of this request as the storm passes. Of course, it is our hope that we can return to the community and immediately resume The Fountains lifestyle.

We’ll send an update again tomorrow and we’re posting photos on our Facebook page whenever possible. We expect phone lines may go down and we are likely to rely on generator power at Trinity and the Mission Inn for at least part of the storm so please bear with us. I sincerely thank you all for your patience during this time as we may take a little while to return calls and follow through on inquiries.

Please know that we’re focused on keeping everyone safe and comfortable. Thank you for your support,

Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay

Sent on behalf of Suzanne Burtzlaff

 

September 10th, 1:15 PM – Mission Inn Resort Resident Update

Residents enjoyed a friendly game of Bingo and got to experience a special harmonica performance of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

 

September 10th, 12:45 PM – The Watermark at Trinity Resident Update

Residents and Associates from The Watermark at Trinity and The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay Find Camaraderie Under the Same Roof

Despite everything going on, both communities are working extremely well together. Residents have enjoyed some exercise and a fun sing-along. Both Community Life teams worked together to get residents some much needed fresh air by taking them on a walk. Everyone was extremely grateful to be outside. We also held a joint community Bingo game. Sometimes it is the simpler things in life that can get you through some of the hardest.
A special thanks to all of the associates who are working hard to provide our residents with a safe and friendly home while we ride out this storm.

 

September 9th, 2:00 PM – The Watermark at Trinity Resident Update

A Beautiful Day in The Gardens
Gardens residents enjoying some afternoon activities at The Watermark at Trinity!

 

September 9th, 12:30 PM – Mission Inn Resort Resident Update

Residents and associates of our independent living neighborhood getting in their morning stretches at Mission Inn Resort. Please stay safe and thank you for your thoughts and support!

 

September 9th, 11:15 AM – Residents Safe & Sound

Hello everyone,

Thank you for your patience. Yesterday we were focused exclusively on ensuring residents from The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay were safe, sound and settled at The Watermark at Trinity and the Mission Inn. We are ready to weather the storm and thank our gracious hosts at Trinity and the Mission Inn. We hope to post photos sometime today; please check our Facebook page for updates.

If your loved ones reside in independent living, please do not contact the Mission Inn. Instead, please use our Watermark toll free number: 1-888-694-4517

If your loved ones reside in assisted living or memory care, you may check in by calling The Watermark at Trinity directly at 1-727-777-5063.

Please stay safe and thank you for your thoughts and support.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director of The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay

 

September 8th, 3:00 PM – Evacuation Underway

We have left The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay and are safely on our way to safe, secure, temporary homes during Irma.
Residents and associates of our assisted living and memory care neighborhoods are headed to The Watermark at Trinity located at 1960 Blue Fox Way in Trinity, FL 34655, just a three hour drive away where they will be welcomed by fellow residents and associates.

Residents and associates of our independent living neighborhood are headed to Mission Inn Resort & Club located at 10400 County Road 48 Howey-in-the-Hills, FL 34737. The Mission Inn is closer to The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay and they are ready to receive us.

Please do not call the resort or The Watermark at Trinity, instead please use our toll free number: 1-888-694-4517

We will continue to provide updates and when possible, we’ll stop to take a few photos of everyone safe, sound and making new friends. Thank you.

 

September 7th, 7:30 PM – Evacuation Details

As you can imagine, we are all in motion to ensure our evacuation goes as smoothly as possible. Here’s what we have in store and how you can help.

Tonight at 630pm we will host our last of many resident info meetings.

Tonight the management team is going door-to-door distributing evacuation travel bags and detailed lists of what to pack. The bag also includes an info sheet with step-by-step instructions on what to do between now and tomorrow morning.

Tomorrow at 6:00am we will begin the process for resident evacuation and associates will be relocating along with residents, remaining at their service throughout the duration of the evacuation.

If your loved one resides in our assisted living or memory care neighborhoods, they will travel by bus to our sister community, The Watermark at Trinity. They are located 2-3 hours from us at 1960 Blue Fox Way in Trinity, FL 34655. We thank you for keeping calls to a minimum so we may focus on getting everyone settled. However, if you must call the number is 727-777-5063 please ask for Catora East, Administrator of Assisted Living at The Fountains at Boca Ciega Bay.

If your loved one is a resident of independent living, they will be relocated to Mission Inn. PLEASE DO NOT CALL MISSION INN. Instead, call Jerry Dunham, Regional Director of Renovations and Plant Operations for Watermark Retirement Communities at 520-904-2706. For your information their address is Mission Inn Resort & Club 10400 County Road 48 Howey-in-the-Hills, FL 34737

Your LAST opportunity to pick up a loved one is by 10am tomorrow morning. At that point, our last bus will leave for relocation sites and no one will be left behind.

Although this is a challenging time for residents and associates alike, I am inspired by the commitment and dedication of our associates who are pulling together to ensure residents are safe and comfortable despite their personal homes, families and pets also at risk right here in the area. I offer my deep appreciation to them and I also thank each of you for the trust you place in us. We will be in touch as frequently as possible.

Sincerely,
Suzanne Burtzlaff, Executive Director

 

September 7th – 2:00 PM

As part of our preparation for the coming storm, we have established a 24-hour toll free number you can use to obtain information about our community and residents in the event our local phone number is inoperable. The number is 1-888-694-4517. Rest assured we have been preparing for this event and we have every precaution in place to weather this storm safely. Our communities are trained and prepared to do whatever it takes to assure the safety and comfort of our residents. At Watermark Retirement Communities this is our highest priority.

 

In the event of phone disruption from Hurricane Irma, please call 1-888-694-4517.