Age gracefully on your own terms with Home Care from Mind & Mobility

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Your top choice for compassionateIn-Home Care in Odessa, FL

It's often said that the golden years of your life are the most enjoyable. For most older adults in the U.S., it's a time to unwind, reflect, and live in the comfort of familiar surroundings. And that's how it should be - most senior citizens in America worked hard to build a better economy, serve their communities, and raise their families. Shouldn't they be able to age with grace and dignity at home?

The answer is undoubtedly "yes," but as seniors age, they sometimes need assistance to live independently. Unfortunately, many older adults are unable to rely on adult children for help due to busy schedules, a lack of expertise, or both. That's where Mind & Mobility's home care in Odessa, FL begins to make a lot of sense.

Our in-home care services cater to those who want to stay in their homes as they age but require ongoing care that their loved ones cannot provide. Nowadays, most seniors prefer to live away from long-term care facilities and closer to their home where they feel most at ease.

If you or your senior loved one wants to thrive in their own house and avoid care facilities, in-home care is an effective, safe way to give family and friends the care they need when they need it the most.

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Home Care Odessa, FL

The Mind & Mobility Difference

Mind & Mobility is a home care agency that takes pride in helping seniors enjoy life at home with grace and comfort. One of the biggest reasons why so many seniors and their families choose us is that our senior caregivers in Odessa, FL, do more than just change bedsheets and prepare meals. They make it a point to provide compassionate care and connect with patients on a personal level.

Instead of eliminating independence from our senior population in Florida, we believe in maximizing it - a goal that's not always supported by assisted living facilities and nursing homes. In fact, those locations are often overpriced, understaffed, and known for the spread of disease. Senior care from Mind & Mobility provides a more emotionally and financially relieving option, whether you need a little help around the house or more involved services like companion care or dementia care.

While we take pride in providing compassionate caregiving services for seniors at home, we also offer clients free access to our Mind & Mobility Homecare Center in South Florida. Here, your senior can receive treatment from therapists who are experts in physical, occupational, and speech therapy.

Our therapists work collaboratively in a supportive environment, taking into consideration the client's needs and concerns. They combine their expertise with the latest research in their fields to deliver cutting-edge, evidence-based services. With unlimited access to one-on-one sessions, our therapists' top priority is to help seniors live and age gracefully at home without having to relocate to an assisted living facility.

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What is Senior Care in Odessa, FL?

Many older adults in the United States prefer to age at home, as it offers a sense of security, comfort, and familiarity. According to an AARP report, three out of four adults aged 50 and above wish to stay in their homes and communities as they age.

However, as adults approach their 60s and 70s, some may require assistance around the house, especially when family members are too busy or live far away. The truth is that the natural process of aging can make it challenging to continue living at home. Simple tasks like running errands become more difficult due to mobility issues. Preparing healthy meals and keeping track of medications and appointments can also become a challenge. Safety becomes a concern, and family members may worry about the well-being of their loved ones.

In these situations, in-home care is often a perfect fit. It allows seniors to enjoy personal independence while also receiving trustworthy assistance from a trained caregiver.

Mind & Mobility provides a comprehensive range of home care services to help seniors stay healthy while they receive the help they need to remain independent. If you have a senior loved one who needs some extra help to stay happy and healthy, giving them the gift of senior care is one of the best ways to show your love, even from afar.

Some of the most common home care services offered at Mind & Mobility include.

  • Light Housekeeping
  • Nutrition Monitoring
  • Assistance with Technology
  • Meal Preparation
  • Dressing, Bathing, & Grooming
  • Medication Reminders
  • Laundry Services
  • Activity Escorts
  • Much More
 Senior Care Odessa, FL
 In-home Care Odessa, FL

Did You Know?

U.S. adults over the age of 60 have a 59% higher chance of being unable to perform daily routines and activities if they're lonely.

Our in-home care services are covered by medical insurance, long-term care policies, and private pay. Members have the freedom to choose their own caregiver and can benefit from unlimited physical and occupational therapy, regular visits from a registered nurse, and care management from a licensed clinical social worker.

Curious if home care in Odessa, FL is right for you or your older loved one? Contact our office in Florida today for a no-pressure discovery call to learn more. If you or your loved one is ready to live life to the fullest, getting in-home care from Mind & Mobility is a quick, easy three-step process.

1. Speak to a Care Representative

One of our skilled care representatives will speak with you in person or over the phone and help you select the best home care plan to keep your loved one happy at home.

  Senior Caregivers Odessa, FL

2. Go Over Your Care Plan

A local care professional from Mind & Mobility will travel to your home and sit with you one-on-one to discuss the details of your care plan.

 Companion Care Odessa, FL

3. Thrive from the Comfort of Home

Once your care plan is selected, you will have the pleasure of watching your senior loved one enjoy an independent life at home with the help of a compassionate caregiver.

Home Care Odessa, FL

Companion Care You Can Count On

Aging in place refers to the practice of aging adults living in their homes as they grow old. Studies show that around 77% of retirees prefer to stay in their homes for as long as possible, and home care can be an excellent way to bridge the gap between receiving elder care and staying at home.

Allowing your aging loved ones to maintain their independence is one of the greatest gifts you can give them. This can contribute to their overall health and well-being, as opposed to a living facility where they may feel powerless and depressed. Unfortunately, these facilities often take away a senior's ability to do simple things like cooking for themselves, scheduling visits with family and friends, and even bathing in the comfort of their own homes.

Home care in Odessa, FL, including companion care services, is designed to provide both medical and non-medical solutions that your senior needs in order to maintain their independence. That way, your senior doesn't have to destabilize their life or adjust to a new way of living away from home.

Mind & Mobility companion care incorporates a number of different services, including.

  • Spending Time with Your Senior
  • Conversation
  • Homemaking Support
  • Planning Outings
  • Mobility Assistance
  • Help with Nutrition
  • Staying Active
  • Memory Skills and Games
  • Running Errands
  • More

Getting Started with Companion Care from Mind & Mobility

To learn more about our companion care services, you can contact any of our nine locations in Florida to request a care consultation with one of our representatives. During your consultation, we'll assess your needs to ensure that we provide the right caregiver at the right time to meet your specific requirements.

Doing so helps us ensure that we get it right the first time. We'll also be happy to answer any questions you may have and introduce you to the team of senior home companions who will provide you with companion care services in Florida.

Need home care companion services on short notice? As a respected senior care business with more than a decade of experience, we have access to a large pool of senior caregivers in Odessa, FL who would be happy to provide you or your senior with last-minute support.

 Senior Care Odessa, FL

Take a Break with RespiteCare Services from Mind & Mobility

Taking care of a senior loved one can be a tiring and overwhelming task, particularly if the caregiver is employed full-time and has other responsibilities to handle. Taking care of an older adult in such a situation can result in caregiver burnout, which can lead to a decline in the quality of care provided and even illness. To combat this issue, many adult caregivers choose respite care as a solution instead of full-time home care in Odessa, FL.

According to AARP, more than 53 million adults in the United States provide care to someone aged 50 or older. Unfortunately, many of these caregivers experience stress, fatigue, and even depression.

Respite care services offer a short-term break to family members and unpaid caregivers from their caregiving duties. This is a crucial service that benefits both seniors and their caregivers and can be arranged for a few hours or even several days, depending on their requirements.

What are the Benefits of Respite Care from Mind & Mobility?

Respite care services can have a significantly positive impact on the health of your elderly loved one, as well as your own. Whether it's for an extended period of time or just a few hours a week, respite care can help ease the burden of caregiving.

Taking some time off for yourself may seem selfish at first, but it's crucial to recharge your batteries to be able to continue providing care. Taking a short (or longer-term) break can also improve the overall quality of your care. Plus, professional respite care services offer your senior an opportunity to learn from and engage with a compassionate caregiver from Mind & Mobility.

 In-home Care Odessa, FL

Some of the most common caregiving services provided by our respite care professionals include.

  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Medication Reminders
  • Meal Preparation
  • Help with Dressing and Grooming
  • Bathing Assistance
  • More

Our respite care services in Florida are typically offered on a temporary basis. However, we also serve many clients who require assistance on a weekly or monthly basis, depending on their specific needs. We recognize that care needs and schedules can be subject to change, and we strive to be flexible in our approach to ensure that your and your family's needs are met.

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Three Hurdles That Family Caregivers Face

Caring for your aging parents can be a fulfilling act of love. As you reminisce about the care they gave you while growing up, you now have the opportunity to return the favor. However, providing care for loved ones can be challenging. It's important to anticipate the obstacles you may face and learn how to manage them to protect your own health and well-being.

Here are three of the toughest challenges that family caregivers have to face when caring for their senior parents or loved ones.

Enough Support

Not Enough Support

It's common to feel like you're carrying the majority of the burden when it comes to taking care of your aging parents. However, assuming that you are solely responsible for their care can be overwhelming and cause strain in other relationships. It's important to remember that caring for someone else is not a one-person job. Attempting to do so can lead to burnout, depression, and other serious health issues. It can also negatively impact the level of care your parents receive.

Enough Sleep

Not Enough Sleep

Interrupted sleep can be a problem for older adults whose circadian clock has shifted, leading them to wake up more frequently throughout the night. It can also be a result of stress and worry. If dementia is a factor, you may need to stay alert due to sundowning and wandering. Those tasks can be difficult and require a sharp mind that has had plenty of rest. In fact, getting enough sleep is crucial for your ability to provide the best care for your parents, as well as for your own physical and emotional well-being.

Enough Privacy

Not Enough Privacy

Sharing living space with your parents can compromise both your physical and emotional privacy. This is especially true if one or both of your parents have dementia, which can cause them to feel afraid or disoriented when you're not around. At the same time, your parents may also find it difficult to maintain their privacy while under your care.

That begs the question - how can you conquer the challenges that most family caregivers face on a daily basis?

In-Home Care in Odessa, FL Helps Alleviate Your Burden

Mind & Mobility's in-home caregivers can be there to help you ensure the best care for your parents and a healthier life balance for yourself. Taking a break from caregiving is not just a great idea; it's essential.

Our respite care services offer you regular breaks from caregiving, which allows you to take care of yourself while enriching your parents' lives. We provide opportunities for socialization and engaging activities, along with the necessary support to ensure safety and comfort. You can rest easy knowing that your parents are in the best of hands while you take a break.

Reliable In-Home Care for Parkinson’s Disease in Florida

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative condition. That means that people who are affected by Parkinson’s have symptoms and difficulties that increase over time, and often in different stages. It’s a disease that affects more than 69,000 individuals in Florida. That number is expected to grow to over 120,000 people by 2030. Given that many older adults are misdiagnosed or underdiagnosed, the number of Parkinson’s patients in Florida is probably even higher.

When caring for individuals with Parkinson’s, it’s important to focus on continually adapting both the home environment and daily routines. As the patient's condition progresses, their health and abilities will change, necessitating adjustments to their care plan. Being proactive in anticipating and accommodating these changes can help to maintain their independence and quality of life for as long as possible.

If your senior loved one has Parkinson’s, there’s no doubt that you’re stressed about how to give mom or dad the best care possible. To solve this challenging problem, many adult children in Florida turn to Mind & Mobility. Our non-medical in-home caregivers work with Parkinson’s patients daily and have the compassion and commitment to care for your senior so you can breathe easier.

Mind & Mobility caregivers are trained and educated to understand the nuances of caring for a person with Parkinson’s. Some of those training highlights include:

  • Strategies to Spot and Manage Motor and Non-Motor Parkinson’s Symptoms
  • How Parkinson’s Changes and Advances Over Time
  • Fall Prevention
  • Nutrition and Diet
  • Home Safety
  • Medication Timing and Reminders
  • Light Exercises to Foster Better Balance and Mobility
  • Making Adjustments to Maintain Balance and Hand-Eye Coordination

How Mind & Mobility Caregivers Help Loved Ones with Parkinson’s

At Mind & Mobility, we know that your senior needs help to stay independent and healthy in their home. Unfortunately, having to continually adapt to the varying stages of Parkinson’s can be extremely challenging. An in-home care professional who specializes in non-medical Parkinson’s care can help make those gradual transitions easier, by providing compassionate assistance when you need it most.

As Parkinson's is a progressive condition, the care needs of your loved one will evolve as the disease advances. Initially, they may require assistance with daily errands, but this might progress to needing help with personal care and daily activities. At Mind & Mobility, we understand that each individual's care needs are unique, and we work closely with our clients to develop personalized care plans tailored to their specific requirements.

Some of the tasks that our Parkinson’s caregivers focus on include the following:

Mind & Mobility caregivers will assist and supervise your loved one as they walk around their home, helping to avoid accidents. Our caregivers can also help perform light housekeeping chores, which include picking or cleaning up potential trip hazards that seniors may not see.

When an older adult has Parkinson’s, preparing and cooking meals can be truly difficult. A non-medical in-home caregiver will help assist with meal prep and can even help your loved one eat if they’re having a tremor episode. Since medications for Parkinson’s often causes dry mouth, our caregivers will also ensure that your senior stays well hydrated to avoid dehydration.

Staying fit can be hard when you have Parkinson’s, but being physically active is important to focus on as the disease progresses. Our caregivers help seniors with Parkinson’s start and complete activities like mobility exercises that your doctor may recommend.

Caring for someone with Parkinson’s disease can be emotionally draining and physically exhausting. We provide respite care for family caregivers and peace of mind for every member of your care network, from close friends to family members.

At Mind & Mobility, our approach to non-medical Parkinson's care starts by having a complete understanding of your situation. To do that, we set up a care consultation where we learn more about you, your senior, and the scope of care needed. This important step helps us confirm that having an in-home caregiver is a good fit for your senior.

Once we know the level of care your loved one needs, we'll craft a customized in-home care plan that alleviates your stress and allows your senior to live comfortably at home. Since Parkinson’s changes over time, your in-home care plan may also change, so we can provide the best care possible.

Contact Mind & Mobility today to schedule your initial consultation and learn more about how our caregivers provide compassionate support for patients with Parkinson’s disease.


Compassionate Alzheimer’s Care in Florida

Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive, debilitating condition that affects more than five million people in the U.S. In Florida alone, more than 600,000 individuals are affected. By 2030, that number is expected to increase to five million people. Like many forms of dementia, the impact of Alzheimer’s extends beyond the person diagnosed with it, leaving families in Florida with a crucial question:

“How can we give mom or dad high-quality, dependable Alzheimer’s care?”

For many adult children, the answer to that question is non-medical in-home Alzheimer’s care from Mind & Mobility. Many seniors in the early or middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease can receive affordable care at home, especially when compared to the costs of nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

At Mind & Mobility, our specially trained memory caregivers provide dignified care in the comforting environment of home on a recurring basis that fits best with you and your senior loved one’s needs. We understand the significant burdens you bear when a family member is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

As such, our compassionate approach to Alzheimer’s in-home care services helps families manage the disease by:

  • Maintaining as much independence as possible by allowing your senior to stay in the familiar, comforting environment of home.
  • Providing reliable, high-quality Alzheimer’s care services to maintain your parent’s dignity and provide relief to family caregivers.

How Mind & Mobility Caregivers Help Loved Ones with Alzheimer's

Our in-home care services for Alzheimer’s cater to those who want to stay in their homes as they age but require ongoing care that loved ones cannot provide. Nowadays, most seniors prefer to live away from long-term care facilities and closer to home where they feel most at ease. That’s especially true when a senior is experiencing cognitive decline or is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Our professional, highly-trained caregivers help your senior loved one maintain dignity and quality of life with Alzheimer’s in a number of ways.

Alzheimer’s patients have specific physical and mental needs and require ongoing engagement. Clinical studies have shown that engaging in familiar activities at home could help slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s, especially when compared to long bouts of inactivity. Our caregivers understand that fact and take the necessary time to interact with your senior loved one in a purposeful, gentle manner.

An Alzheimer’s caregiver from Mind & Mobility provides assistance with day-to-day living service, prioritizing one-on-one attention and interaction, which is key to providing the best dementia and Alzheimer's care possible. Some of the tasks our caregivers help with include the following:
  • Social Engagement
  • Mental Stimulation
  • Grooming, Dressing, and Toileting
  • Transportation to Doctor Appointments
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Meal Planning
  • Medication Reminders
  • Maintaining a Safe Home Environment Free of Hazards
  • Keeping a Regular Routine to Minimize Agitation
  • Much More

At Mind & Mobility, our non-medical Alzheimer's caregivers know how to mentally engage dementia patients. Some of the activities that provide active mental stimulation include the following:
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Reading
  • Viewing Family Photos
  • Playing Board Games Like Bingo
  • Singing Songs
  • Figuring Out Jigsaw Puzzles
  • Listening to Music
  • Much More
Our caregivers always take a supportive, flexible approach to your senior’s Alzheimer's care and understand that this disease affects each person differently. That’s why we offer a range of mental stimulation activities that keep seniors engaged so that their neurons continue to fire.

The impact of Alzheimer's Disease often involves a decline in mental cognition while the body remains seemingly strong. Inactivity can lead to a decline in overall health, potentially resulting in complex medical issues or life-threatening infections. It is crucial to keep individuals with Alzheimer's active and moving to maintain their current health for as long as possible. Our experienced caregivers understand that each patient's level of activity depends on their physical capabilities. For instance, a person in a wheelchair may engage in modified sitting exercises. We assess each situation and promote moderate activity to keep individuals physically engaged, which in turn supports cognitive function. A few of the most common physical activities our caregivers provide for Alzheimer’s patients include:
  • Going on Walks
  • Swimming
  • Bed Exercises
  • Standing Exercises
  • Seated Exercises
  • Grocery Shopping
  • Light Household Chores
  • Gardening
  • Dancing
  • Much More
We understand that caring for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia can be demanding and overwhelming for caregivers. That’s why we offer adaptable Alzheimer’s care assistance – to help alleviate your caregiving responsibilities for a temporary or extended duration when you need it most. Contact Mind & Mobility today to learn more about in-home care for your loved one with Alzheimer's Disease.

Compassionate Care When You Need It the Most

At Mind & Mobility Home Care, we take pride in our commitment to helping older adults maintain a high-quality life. Our team of senior caregivers cares deeply about the well-being of our clients and works together to craft personalized services that are backed by research and experience.

Our home care services are designed to support clients in various ways. Whether it's recovering from hip surgery, preventing falls, enhancing cognitive abilities through brain training, or pursuing new hobbies, you can rest easy knowing we have your senior's health and happiness at heart.

Of course, every one of our clients has their own unique needs and goals, and we adjust their levels of care accordingly. But one aspect of our home care services never changes - and that's the compassionate care we provide to seniors so that they may remain independent.

Contact Mind & Mobility today to take the first step toward aging gracefully at home. We'll be there by your side every step of the way.

Latest News in Odessa, FL

Odessa primed for upscale development with first project already in the pipeline

County Commission approves Town Centre, then its first mixed-use community.ByPublished June 21, 2023|Updated June 21, 2023Back in the day, the southwest corner of State Road 54 and Gunn Highway was known for its massive flea market overflowing with everything from produce and fishing gear to jewelry and furniture.But Pasco County leaders have been working on a new plan for the spot, one of the last large swaths of undeveloped property in the area, turning it into a mixture of apartments next door to businesses whe...

County Commission approves Town Centre, then its first mixed-use community.


Published June 21, 2023|Updated June 21, 2023

Back in the day, the southwest corner of State Road 54 and Gunn Highway was known for its massive flea market overflowing with everything from produce and fishing gear to jewelry and furniture.

But Pasco County leaders have been working on a new plan for the spot, one of the last large swaths of undeveloped property in the area, turning it into a mixture of apartments next door to businesses where residents can shop, eat and work.

This week, the County Commission approved a change in their long-term development plan creating the Odessa Town Centre, 86 acres in three distinct “villages” tied together with a road and trail system. Those separate areas would be geared toward high-density residential, commercial and industrial uses.

Also on Tuesday, they approved the first major portion of that development, the Gaeto project, which will include 12,000 square feet of commercial and office space on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors in the entrance buildings.

Indoor and outdoor amenities are also planned. There will be 320 apartments in the development spread over approximately 17 acres. The development plan includes multiuse trails along the western border from that development south to Interlaken Road, with another leg of the trail running east to connect in the future with Gunn Highway and eventually tie into other trails in the area.

The project is in Commissioner Kathryn Starkey’s district. She said she did not want that large land area along a major roadway become just another stretch of strip commercial centers and fast food restaurants.

In the works for the last two years, the planning district was developed with help from those involved with the Gaeto project and through a series of meetings with many of the approximately 20 local land owners. While the development plan will guide future projects, it will not require existing owners to do anything until they are ready to change the existing use of their property.

Herbert Heap, who owns nearly 12 acres in the area on Old Gunn Highway, said he was concerned that the county’s plan for the district included two new roads running through his property. He said he has had dozens of interested buyers reach out to him to make offers.

To create a cohesive project, the planning district designates three areas of development. The first, to the far western side of the zone, is set aside for a mixture of uses like the Gaeto project. The middle section is focused on employment-generating uses, and the eastern side along Gunn Highway for light industrial.

The large corner parcel where the flea market used to be is slated for a Lowe’s Home Improvement store. Starkey said she wished that the development zone had been set up before then so that the parcel could have also been included in the overall district.

Joel Tew, representing the project, said that the developer is Altis Cardinal, an upscale building development company based in Miami that has been building similar projects throughout the region. The Gaeto project will be the first in Pasco County. He said the hope is that the first project will “be a kind of catalyst” to get the planning district started.

Tew also defended the developer’s requests to reduce the amount of land set aside for parks and to remove the distance requirements between land uses that provide alcohol and schools and churches.

Starkey said that the idea of the project is to create a village atmosphere with multifamily residences rather than single-family homes, with nearby businesses to attract the residents to enjoy outdoor seating areas and activities.

Starkey said Tuesday that her advice to the developer was, “You need to build a place I can go hang out on a Saturday night.”

With water availability drying up, the City Council approved a first reading for a growth moratorium.


Published June 14, 2023|Updated June 14, 2023

Facing a daunting things-to-do list, Zephyrhills City Council this week unanimously gave its first approval to a yearlong development moratorium.

The move, which will get its final vote in two weeks, will allow the city to pause new development and annexation applications, giving officials time to get a handle on future growth. Most importantly, the city is working to increase its water-use permit, which limits how much water the city can use for existing customers and promise to future development.

Currently, the city is nearing its maximum water use allowed under the existing permit.

In addition, city officials want to review impact fees, an assessment charged to new development to pay for the effect of growth on city services ranging from roads to parks. They also will discuss potential new limits on housing density and negotiate with the county and the state over transportation needs.

A year is a short time to get all of that done, warned council president Lance Smith. Still, he said it was the right thing to do to make sure that Zephyrhills has water not just for incoming development but also for current customers.

The water pinch is ironic because Zephyrhills’ motto is “City of Pure Water” and it may be best known for its water bottling plant producing the Zephyrhills brand of water.

“We’re trying to be proactive,” said City Manager Billy Poe of the moratorium. “We’re coming very close to our water-use permit, the allocation we’re allowed to pump.”

To analyze where the city stands with current use, water use already promised to development projects in the pipeline and other new developments on the horizon, he said the city needs to put on the brakes for a bit.

The city has a current water-use permit with the Southwest Florida Water Management District that authorizes it to use 3.3 million gallons per day, but there were times this past winter where usage crept over the 3-million-gallon mark. Projections show the need would top 4 million over the next 20 years. Poe has already sought the permit expansion.

Zephyrhills has seen tremendous growth in recent years, with the population topping 17,000, making it Pasco’s largest city in the 2020 census.

The moratorium won’t stop development applications already filed, but those in the earliest stages will be warned that approvals will be based on the availability of water capacity.

As news of the city’s discussion of a moratorium spread, a batch of new applications has appeared, but city staff acknowledged that none of them were surprises. Minor modifications to existing but not-yet-built developments will still be allowed, as will small-scale building on lots an acre or less.

City officials are slated to meet in the coming weeks with the county about water issues. In the longer term, they also want to talk about concerns they share with Pasco over growing traffic congestion.

Talks with the city’s impact fee consultant have begun, another process that could take months to complete. Smith said he planned to keep reminding city staff of the ticking clock to get all of those chores done.

City Council on Monday also approved the annexation of 7 acres owned by Blue Triton, the company that took over running the Zephyrhills bottled water plant from Nestle several years ago. The company plans to use another 128,632 gallons of water a day over the next five years.

Poe said Triton’s operation is the largest water user in the city but it won’t affect the current water situation. The water management district has determined that bottled water operations account for less than 1% of all water use in the district.

Alpacas: Come for the cute, stay for the uniqueness

ODESSA, Fla. — Alpacas. Freshly shaved, they look like baby giraffes, act like elusive cats, and like their llama cousins, are related to camels.Why the animal talk?Because today’s episode of Florida on a Tankful takes us the to Golden Spirit Alpaca Ranch in Odessa, Florida.What You Need To Know It’s where Brenda Crum is opening up a shelter and inviting her alpacas to come eat.“Good m...

ODESSA, Fla. — Alpacas. Freshly shaved, they look like baby giraffes, act like elusive cats, and like their llama cousins, are related to camels.

Why the animal talk?

Because today’s episode of Florida on a Tankful takes us the to Golden Spirit Alpaca Ranch in Odessa, Florida.

What You Need To Know

It’s where Brenda Crum is opening up a shelter and inviting her alpacas to come eat.

“Good morning boys! Who wants to go to a new pasture?” she calls out as the alpacas trot past her.

Raised for their soft alpaca hair, the South American camel cousins are cute, but don’t go thinking you are going in for a cuddle.

“Much like cats,” Crum explained, “they have a very elusive nature. They’re gonna do things on their terms, not your terms.”

That’s why Crum does the tours: to demystify these animals for those unfamiliar.

“They don’t understand all the uniqueness about them until they get to experience being with him and learning about their behaviors and seeing those in action,” said Crumb.

And she also gets to show off her natural and renewable resources in her gift shop, with rugs made from the ranch alpacas. Alpacas have neutral colors, and artists can dye the lighter shades.

Long necked little creatures with mop tops and sweet lashes act like cats and look like tiny lamb giraffes. PICS to follow! @bn9 @BCollinsPhotog

— Virginia M. Johnson (@VirginiaJohnson) August 3, 2023

Crum carries all manner of clothing- the baby socks are so stinking cute they could be a Christmas tree ornament.

And back out in the pasture, freshly cut alpacas look like a mix of baby donkey/lamb giraffes. A tuft of fluffy hair, sometimes curly, crown the alpacas’ heads.

You can watch them roll themselves neck first in the sandy pasture ground like a dog.

And If you stand still with a handful of feed, hand out flat, they will eventually approach, sniff and eat.

They are a herd animal and shy of strangers.

But it’s that close up interaction that Crum hopes will bring humans closer to understanding these animals in our world.

“To see that cute factor is nice,” said Crum, “But to really understand their behaviors and their general nature helps me feel like they’re gonna be a safer animal.”

Odessa Hooters Girl Places In Top 10 Of Miss Hooters World Pageant

ODESSA, FL — Kiana Mahabir, who works at the Odessa Hooters, placed in the top 10 in the Miss Hooters International pageant in Las Vegas on Aug. 3.Mahabir represented the Tampa Bay region and competed against 50 Hooters Girls from all over the globe for the title of 2023 “Miss Hooters International” and a cash prize of $30,000. This is the first time the Land O’ Lakes resident has competed in the Miss Hooters International Pageant....

ODESSA, FL — Kiana Mahabir, who works at the Odessa Hooters, placed in the top 10 in the Miss Hooters International pageant in Las Vegas on Aug. 3.

Mahabir represented the Tampa Bay region and competed against 50 Hooters Girls from all over the globe for the title of 2023 “Miss Hooters International” and a cash prize of $30,000. This is the first time the Land O’ Lakes resident has competed in the Miss Hooters International Pageant.

“Being chosen to compete in the Miss Hooters International Pageant was a dream come true and little did I know I was going to place in the top 10," Mahabir said. "It was absolutely surreal hearing my name called on stage. The flood of emotion and happiness is something I can never forget. I am so thankful for my family and friends for always supporting me in every facet and my corporate team for shaping me into the person I am today. My experience being in the pageant was absolutely amazing and exceeded every expectation I had. Everyone was so kind and welcoming and I felt at home with the girls and my coaches."

Mahabir noted that she shared a room with Emily Johnson who was named Miss Hooters International.

"She gave me the confidence to be myself and encouraged me to work hard," Mahabir said. "I have no doubt she is going to be an amazing role model for other women as she was for me. I hope to attend next year's pageant with the goal of bringing home the crown."

Find out what's happening in Land O' Lakeswith free, real-time updates from Patch.

Mahabir is 21 and has been working at the Odessa Hooters at State Road 54 and Suncoast Parkway for two years. She has lived in Land O’ Lakes since the age of 2 and graduated from Sun Lake High School. Mahabir recently finished studying at Pasco Hernando State College and will attend the University of South Florida to study journalism and communications.

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and giving back to local organizations while working at Hooters including volunteering at golf tournaments to benefit education and veterans, the American Cancer Society Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk, and fundraisers for Moffitt Cancer Center.

She appeared in the Hooters Calendar and had the opportunity to shoot for the 2024 Hooters Calendar. Odessa Hooters is located off State Road 54 and the Suncoast Parkway.

In addition to Mahabir, Caitlin Barkey, who works at the North Tampa Hooters location also had the opportunity to compete in this year’s pageant.

Hooters is celebrating 40 years in business on Oct. 4.

In honor of the anniversary, on the fourth of every month, Hooters will host “throwback” events bringing the '80s back. The next throwback event will take place on Sept. 4 in the Tampa Bay and Chicagoland Hooters locations.

As a thank you to their customers, Hooters in Tampa Bay and Chicagoland will be offering wings for only 83 cents on the fourth of every month. There will be several in-store specials throughout the year, including $19.83 crab legs and a $6 Tito’s Strawberry Lemonade cocktail in a Hooters Collectible Cup. Hooters Girls will be wearing '80s accessories for the throwback events.

In addition to the “throwback” events, Hooters will be bringing the legendary rock band Chicago to Clearwater for a good cause. Hooters, in conjunction with the city of Clearwater, are holding a benefit concert for breast cancer research. The Grammy award-winning group will be playing at The Sound at Coachman Park on Saturday, Oct. 7. Proceeds from the benefit concert will be donated to Moffitt Cancer Center and Morton Plant Mease Hospital. Ticket prices are $40, $25 and $9. All tickets can be purchased at

Hooters was created and fittingly incorporated on April Fool’s Day in 1983 by six businessmen: L.D. Stewart, Gil DiGiannantonio, “Uncle Billy” Ranieri, Ed Droste, Dennis Johnson and Ken Wimmer. Soon after, the doors to the first Hooters restaurant opened on Oct. 4 at 2800 Gulf-To-Bay Boulevard in Clearwater.

“We are proud to give back to the wonderful communities that have welcomed us for decades," said HMC Hospitality Group CEO Neil Kiefer. "With the help of our great customers and hundreds of thousands of Hooters Girls, we have raised and donated millions, starting from our first week in business."

HMC Hospitality Group owns and operates 22 Hooters Restaurants in Tampa Bay and Chicagoland and three Hoots locations in Chicagoland.

Participating Tampa Bay Hooters locations are:

Top 5 Things to Do North of Tampa

We want to spotlight the best things to do north of Tampa, since our friends at WUCF covered a lot of territories, specifically in the downtown area, in their Tampa episode of Florida Road Trip.Additionally, we highlighted some of our favorite spots in Tampa ...

We want to spotlight the best things to do north of Tampa, since our friends at WUCF covered a lot of territories, specifically in the downtown area, in their Tampa episode of Florida Road Trip.

Additionally, we highlighted some of our favorite spots in Tampa in this Authentic Florida article: Top 10 Authentic Things to Do in Tampa, Florida.

Tampa is known for its world champion sports teams (shout out to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning, and the Tampa Bay Rays).

“The Big Guava” (an old nickname for Tampa) is also known for the Tampa Riverwalk, Ybor City, incredible roller coasters + exotic wildlife at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay amusement park, and endless authentic culture and cuisine.

There are plenty of fun things to do north of Tampa and throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Today we are focusing on a few of our favorite things to do north of Tampa, on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

So pack your bags, get in your car, put your seatbelt on, and let’s go.

Table of Contents

Explore the University of South Florida (USF)

Founded in 1956, USF serves more than 49,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, and Sarasota-Manatee.

USF is a designated Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors. This places it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities.

Most of the campus confines itself to the lives of students, administrators, and faculty. However, the USF Botanical Garden is open to the public and is a perfect place to get up close and personal with nature.

USF Botanical Garden – College of Arts & Science

The USF Botanical Gardens are home to more than 3,000 species of plants & flowers and animal & insect friends indigenous to the area.

Keep your eyes open for butterflies in the butterfly garden, herb gardens, orchids, bromeliads, palms, fruit trees, begonias, carnivorous plants, ferns, and over 60 species of birds and gopher tortoises.

A new garden buddy named Tank was recently added to the edible garden! On one side is a mix of fragrant herbs, and on the other side is a colorful array of veggies, flowers, and more herbs.

Tank helps keep harmful insects at bay while pollinating the plants. Plus, he’s as cute as cute can be!

All proceeds go right back into maintaining the gardens. This means your visit helps keep the USF Botanical Gardens up & running!

USF Botanical Garden Events

USF Botanical Gardens Address: 12210 USF Pine Drive, Tampa, FL 33612

The Public Art program at USF focuses on site-responsive works, typically resulting in the creation of places instead of objects.

Most projects are in interjacent spaces between buildings — plazas, gardens, and courtyards.

These projects serve as informal gathering spaces for the various academic neighborhoods on the USF campuses. Download a map and discover some of the best places to gather on the USF Tampa campuses.

USF Public Art Program Location: 4202 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33620

Main/Mailing Address for Info: 3702 Spectrum Blvd. Suite 100, Tampa, FL 33612-9498

Visit Hillsborough River State Park

Located only minutes from downtown Tampa, Hillsborough River State Park feels a world away from city life.

This 3,000-acre park offers many outdoor activities, including seven miles of hiking and nature trails.

Recognized for its Class 2 river rapids (very rare in Florida), the park is also known for its beautiful oak trees.

As a matter of fact, in 1938, this park was one of the original eight parks that created the Florida State Park system.

It’s still a great place to connect with nature. This makes it one of the best things to do north of Tampa.

The park has natural habitats, including plants, animals, and native birds. When you visit, keep your eyes open for alligators, pine Flatwoods, cypress swamps, sandhill cranes, red-shouldered hawks, and some woodpeckers.

There’s a large swimming pool, but it’s currently closed for maintenance. It reopens in the summer of 2024.

Within the park are campgrounds with over 108 sites, picnic areas, a playground, and places to rent or launch a kayak or canoe.

For those who don’t like roughing it, check out Timberline Glamping. Glamping is glamorous camping, a getaway combining modern comfort and the great outdoors.

You can do a solo trip, a couples getaway, or even bring a group of up to 7 on a glamping adventure. It should be on everyone’s list of things to do north of Tampa.

For reservations, click Timberline Tampa.

Hillsborough River State Park Address: 15402 US-301, Thonotosassa, FL 33592

Discover the Town of Odessa

Odessa is a suburb of Tampa and a peaceful change of scenery from city life.

Located in Pasco County, Odessa has a few spots worth exploring, so we put it on our list of things to do north of Tampa.

Old McMicky’s Farm

Old McMicky’s Farm is an interactive educational experience focused on real farm living. There are hands-on introductions to farm animals along with tractor-drawn hayrides.

From milking a cow to catching chickens to riding a pony, there are many exciting farm activities for people of all ages to explore at Old McMicky’s Farm.

Old McMicky’s Farm Address: 9612 Crescent Dr, Odessa, FL 33556

Brooker Creek Preserve is the largest natural area in Pinellas County, clocking in at approximately 8,700 acres. The Preserve consists primarily of forested wetlands and pine flatwoods.

Bordered by dense urban development, the Preserve provides both a unique refuge for native flora and fauna as well as an opportunity for visitors to explore the natural beauty of wild Florida.

The Brooker Creek Preserve Environmental Education Center supports the Brooker Creek Preserve through educational programming and volunteerism.

The Center is a beautiful, 25,000-square-foot, three-building complex designed in old Florida Pioneer-style architecture.

Put a visit on your list of things to do north of Tampa.

Brooker Creek Preserve Address: 3940 Keystone Rd, Tarpon Springs, FL 34688

Odessa Equestrian Center has over 30 acres of 35 grazing pastures, a lighted outdoor grass arena, a lighted outdoor clay arena, an indoor footed arena, a round pen, and horse boarding facilities.

The center offers a family-friendly atmosphere with plenty of options for whatever your discipline – competitive riding or casual.

Both outdoor & indoor facilities feature jump courses that are well-lit.

Odessa Equestrian Center Address: 1320 Huntsville Rd., Odessa, FL 33556

The mission of the non-profit 501C3 Odessa Wildlife Rescue & Sanctuary is to provide animals of all types – wild, domesticated, and farm animals, a loving forever home.

In addition, over 1,000 animals have been helped since the Sanctuary opened in 1984.

Some residents who call Odessa Wildlife Rescue & Sanctuary home include zebras, raccoons, goats, rabbits, and domestic cats & dogs. Currently, 450 animals live in the sanctuary at a time.

When they arrive, the rescued animals are offered food, shelter, and veterinary care. In addition, they receive companionship & loving attention.

Location: 18404 Rustic Woods Trail, Odessa, FL 33556

Located about 50 miles northeast of Tampa, Boyett’s is a popular tourist stop in Hernando County that has entertained visitors since 1966.

This popular, family-owned, and operated roadside attraction has given visitors a real, “old Florida” experience for decades.

Boyett’s Citrus Attraction is perched on a hill surrounded by scenic pastureland and orange groves.

The Boyett Grove has 30 acres of citrus trees, and the family picks, washes, waxes, packs, and ships their fruit nationwide.

In fact, you can select your own from the fruit bins at the grove stand.

This amusement and citrus attraction includes lots of quirky stuff, including an animated Pterodactyl, a growling Brontosaurus, talking Parrots, cowboys, stagecoaches, and much more.

It’s truly one of the most eclectic things to do north of Tampa.

Boyett’s also has a wildlife zoo with live zebras, emus, lemurs, pigs, goats, camels, alligators, monkeys, and more.

And that’s not all …

There are delicious homemade ice cream sundaes or old-fashioned sodas and root beer floats, a makeshift mine for panning precious gold, kitschy Florida souvenirs at its gift shop, a vintage arcade, and a miniature golf course – all alongside fresh oranges.

Without a doubt, Boyett’s is one of the funkiest, kitschiest, and best day trips you can take from Tampa and one you surely won’t forget.

Ensure it’s on your itinerary for things to do north of Tampa.

Boyett’s Grove & Citrus Attraction Address: 4355 Spring Lake Hwy, Brooksville, FL 34601

To learn more about Boyett’s and Florida’s Adventure Coast, check out: A Day Trip to Florida’s Kitschy Adventure Coast and Exploring Florida’s Adventure Coast, Brooksville – Weeki Wachee.

5) Stroll around Dade City

Located approximately 40 miles northeast of Tampa in Pasco County, Dade City is a hidden gem with that old-fashioned hometown feel.

The centerpiece of the town square is the classic 1909 revival-style beautifully restored courthouse on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bottom line is whether you want to check out some great antique stores, grab a bite to eat, or buy some unique gifts, the choices are endless in this small town.

Make sure you carve out time for a slice of cake or pie at Lunch on Limoges. This southern restaurant, gift shop, and women’s clothing shop offer chalkboard menu items with a Southern flair.

Plus, the staff is super friendly, and the food is delicious.

Dade City Address: 14112 8th St, Dade City, FL 33525

We hope you enjoyed our recommendations of things to do north of Tampa. Other areas you may want to put on your Florida or United States Road Trip bucket list:

Keystone, Odessa residents fight back against planned housing development

People are moving to Florida in record numbers. According to the US Census Bureau, Florida is the fastest growing state in the nation.As people continue to move to the state, more are popping up – including one in Keystone, Odessa.It’s known for its tranquil landscape of winding roads and horse farms. Keystone, Odessa is a dream for those looking for a quiet, rural lifestyle.It's why Vivian Vetere and her husband moved there. They have six acres on Patterson Road."Life as we know it is not going ...

People are moving to Florida in record numbers. According to the US Census Bureau, Florida is the fastest growing state in the nation.

As people continue to move to the state, more are popping up – including one in Keystone, Odessa.

It’s known for its tranquil landscape of winding roads and horse farms. Keystone, Odessa is a dream for those looking for a quiet, rural lifestyle.

It's why Vivian Vetere and her husband moved there. They have six acres on Patterson Road.

"Life as we know it is not going to be the same," explained Vetere.

They’ve got plenty of room for their two horses Red and Saucy to run free, but about a year ago, the quiet was cut by the sharp sounds of development.

"We just love the area, and we are absolutely devastated to find out about this," Vetere said. "There was no warning, nothing. Somebody approached me at my mailbox and said how are you going to like to see 196 houses come up across the street from you and I said what? I had no idea."

Missy Nordbeck lives here too and is among more than a dozen neighbors suing to stop the development of the 200-acre plot on Patterson Road.

"We can complain about anything we can think of to complain about to just slow it down, be a speed bump until we can get into court," explained Nordbeck.

It's owned by national home builder Taylor Morrison, who has plans for a 194-home development.

"It’s going to be a nightmare," said Vetere. "They’re going to have to put a light I heard they can’t widen this road there's going to be roughly 200 houses, so there's going to be at least 400 cars coming in and out of here, I mean this road can't manage that, the whole area can't manage that."

Nordbeck said development started without warning using an outdated zoning approval from 31 years ago.

"Yes there was a zoning approval for this site plan back in 1991," said Nordbeck. "They found it, they unearthed it, and they just started building."

The county passed a Comprehensive Protection Plan in 2001, which states only one home can be built per five acres.

"All were asking for is Taylor Morrison to have to abide by the county’s own rules," Nordbeck said. "I know that sounds crazy, were not asking for a dime we just want them to revoke the development order and start the process over using todays rules and regulations."

The county did issue a stop work order for Taylor Morrison once back in April 2022 along with a $310,000 fine for illegally removing trees without the proper permit.

Vetere remembers the day the trees came down, "There was a line of those very old, some of them hundreds of years old, there was a line of them all the way down the road, and they cut them down that’s illegal they dug up gopher tortoises by hand."

A spokesperson for Taylor Morrison released the following statement to FOX 13:


FOX 13 reached out to the Hillsborough County Commission for comment and were told by Chief Assistant County Attorney Robert Brazel that, "We have a longstanding policy in our office of not commenting on pending litigation, and we advise our commissioners and staff to do the same. We find it preferable to make our position known through our court filings and arguments to the court."

Until that day in court, this group of neighbors continues its fight to protect their rural community.

"We’ve done everything we can to prepare for this emergency hearing, and it is our first time in front of the judge, the first time in court to have our side heard by someone who can actually help us," Nordbeck said.

Taylor Morrison did submit traffic and school studies to the county in 2020 showing that the area could absorb the new development.

The emergency hearing will take place January 18th.


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