By LOIS KINDLE
Matt Permuth has a special affinity for working with seniors and finding ways to enrich their lives. As the program development manager for Vesta Property Services, it’s his job to plan, coordinate and carry out all kinds of activities and events for residents of Kings Point, but his involvement with them goes way beyond that.
Several weeks ago, the senior retirement community presented him an Award of Appreciation for his leadership role in spearheading its highly successful Covid-19 vaccination program in February.
He also was actively involved in a number of charitable endeavors during the past year.
With Permuth’s coordination, the Kings Point community fed more than 600 healthcare workers from South Bay Hospital, assisted-living communities, skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and the Sun City Center Emergency Squad during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Permuth, his Vesta team and Kings Point residents filled two busloads of nonperishable items for local food banks and helped raise more than $5,500 for local charities via the community’s outdoor concert series, Concerts for a Cause.
The young man’s generosity is well known outside of Kings Point, as well.
He volunteers as a board member for the South Hillsborough County Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the Southshore Senior Healthcare Partnership.
“Matt is an amazing asset to our community. He’s someone you can always count on,” said Lesley Lykins, marketing and communications director for South Bay Hospital in Sun City Center. “His boundless passion and energy enable him to support and connect people and organizations for the benefit of everyone in the community. I’ve worked with him on the South Hillsborough Chamber Board, and he gives so much of himself. His willingness to go above and beyond is truly exceptional.”
Janice Bayruns, owner of FirstLight Home Care Southern Hillsborough/Manatee County, agrees. “I’ve known Matt Permuth since he was still in college and led the after-school program at Apollo Beach Racquet Club, where I was a member and had the opportunity to meet and get to know him a little,” she said. “He was an immediately likeable person. I noticed at the time how completely engaged he was with the youth at the park. He seemed to know every one of the kids personally and had a genuine interest in them. He exuded an authority presence and yet approached his job with intelligence, humor, compassion, fun and lots of integrity. He was clearly a hard worker, took what he did seriously and was always striving to do the right thing. He always had a twinkle in his eye. After Matt left the club, I knew he and his wonderful talents went on somewhere to make a positive impact on everyone he touched.
“It wasn’t until a number of years later that I saw him again,” Bayruns continued. “Little did I know he would, much to my delight, go on to become involved in senior care. It’s not a glamorous industry, but we desperately need talented visionary, compassionate, young people like Matt, who brought all those beautiful qualities he had in his young start years ago with him. He’s truly a selfless, altruistic individual who genuinely wants to make a difference in every life he touches.”
Born in Peoria, Ill., Permuth earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing and management from the University of South Florida in 2005 and a master’s in business administration from the same school in 2011. He was general manager of Vesta’s King’s Point property for six years, then left to become director of operations for Club Link for two more. He spent almost two years as administrator at Sun Towers, before an opportunity presented itself for him “to come back home” and work with Ginger Anzalone, president of Vesta’s Amenities Division, and the Kings Point Community; this was “too much for him to pass up.” Accepting his current position also afforded him the chance to start Helping Hands Seniors Florida in September 2019.
“The move allowed me to do many of the things I’ve always wanted to towards helping seniors meet everything from their smallest needs to making informed, life-changing decisions,” Permuth said. “I get requests for everything from home health recommendations, advice on caregiver burnout to making doctor referrals.”
For example, immediately after the Kings Point’s COVID-19 vaccination program had ended and before other sites nearby had opened up, he learned of an 89-year-old Kings Point resident who had changed her mind about getting the shots. Without a moment’s hesitation, he made a call and arranged for her to be included within days at Valencia Lakes. The woman said she will be forever grateful to him for his help and to Valencia Lakes for including her. She felt he undoubtedly saved her life.
Helping Hands, a free referral service for seniors, works with 13 area independent living, assisted living and memory care residences in Brandon, South Shore and northern Manatee County. On nights and weekends, Permuth has personally researched each site, analyzed their state inspections and the results, read third-party reviews and thoroughly assessed each community’s day-to-day operations.
Meeting with each prospective client and/or family members, Permuth then learns everything from what the client needs, the person’s level of socialization and the size and type of facility to best serve this individual to meal preferences, how much assistance will be needed, budgetary factors and much more. By helping narrow the client’s options, he or she forgoes the stress of having to search on one’s own and is relieved of a time-consuming and overwhelming process. Working with other community partners, Helping Hands also offers support services to help to make the client’s move as smooth as possible and then follows up to ensure expectations are met.
“I’ve always wanted to help people, wherever I’ve worked,” Permuth said, noting he began volunteering at various food pantries while he was in college. “Over the years, I developed a deep compassion for seniors; making a positive impact in people’s lives has been a driving force for me.”
For more information on Helping Hands, call 813-787-9200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org/.