Discover 5 Smart Sustainability Ideas For St. Augustine Independent Living

It’s safe to say that spring is the season most associated with the color green — with new plants coming to life, with spring-break palm trees swaying in the breeze, with stunning paths lined with green grass you want to stop and have a picnic on. There’s a lot of beautiful greenery to admire from Westminster St. Augustine’s independent living community. But in addition to admiring the view, we can also go green — that is, make sustainable steps toward an eco-friendly future.

Caring for the environment is a great way to show some love to the planet and the people and communities who call it “home” — including yourself! So, let’s get started. Here are a few of our favorite ways to make small, sustainable changes that truly add up to something great — all from the comfort of your Westminster St. Augustine home.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

The three R’s form the core tenet of sustainability. And remember, no effort is too small! Recycling is a great idea — not just for paper and plastic products you put into your bin, but also recycling in the more general sense of giving new life to items you would otherwise throw away. Can old clothes become a cozy blanket, for example, or serve as part of a care package for those in need?

Can old sauce or jelly jars be turned into DIY gifts for friends and family, perhaps, or hold countertop essentials in your bathroom?

These are just a few ideas to get you started. Soon, you’ll find your own one-of-a-kind ways to put sustainability into acting in your St. Augustine home.

Take A Walk Or Bike Ride To Your Destination

Sometimes, you need a car to drive to appointments and events that are too far to walk or bike to. Fortunately, Westminster St. Augustine residents have access to nearly everything they need right here on site — so if you’re able, consider taking a walk or bike ride to lunch, the fitness center, or wherever else you’re off to for the day! This is another of one of those sustainability swaps that isn’t just good for the planet, but for you as well. After all, the mental and physical benefits of spending time in nature and too numerous to count!

Phase Out Single-Use Bags & Water Bottles

It’s handy to have disposable water bottles on hand — and many people like to keep a small stockpile in case of hurricanes, which the Sunshine State is known to experience from time to time. However, for everyday hydration, it can be helpful and more sustainable to reach for a reusable water bottle. Not only does this reduce plastic usage, but it can also be a great way to remind yourself to drink throughout the day; some bottles even have written measurements that help you track how hydrated you are. And similarly, a reusable cloth tote bag can be a great way to hold farmer’s market goodies and other odds and ends that you might pick up throughout the day.

It’s A Community Effort

Above all, sustainability doesn’t have to be a solo goal! In fact, making these sustainable steps with friends can be a great way to connect with loved ones and do something good for the environment in the process. For example, maybe you’ll attend a local clean-up event as a group, or maybe you’ll get into the habit of exchanging items with each other to give old clothes and household wares new life — thereby saving them from the garbage bin.

Make Smart Swaps

If you’ve ever heard the term “smart home,” your mind might have conjured up imagery of a futuristic 22nd-century home with a flying car in the driveway. But in reality, smart features are just technologically equipped to save you energy — which is good for the planet! These might include things like programmable air thermostats, LED light timers, and more.

We hope that these ideas help inspire you to enjoy a sustainable spring — and an eco-friendly summer, fall, and winter, too!

5 Big Benefits Of Playing Golf At Your Life Plan Community In St. Augustine

Spring is here again! And at this time of year, many of us are looking for new ways to spend quality time outside. May we recommend the simple pleasure of golf?

For folks living in Westminster St. Augustine’s independent living community, golf is effortless to enjoy. A love of the sport permeates our slice of the Sunshine State — carried in the air like the sea breeze that eventually reaches us all. Not only is golf a pivotal part of our culture, but it’s also one of the many perks you can enjoy at Westminster St. Augustine — where residents get privileges at World Golf Village. (Specifically, you can use several world-class golf courses and amenities, too, like tennis courts, swimming pools, and the fitness center.) You can also keep your skills in tip-top shape at our very own, on-site putting green! Anywhere you look, you’ll find nods to our golf-loving lifestyle — and the means to make it your new favorite pastime, should you want.

And, well, you should! Here are just five of the myriad benefits that go along with a regular golf routine.

Low-Impact Aerobics

According to the Keiser University College of Golf, picking up the sport comes with many physical benefits. Walking from hole to hole, for example, is a low-impact aerobic activity that lends itself to cardiovascular health. There’s also a strength component involved, of course, in the movements that go into every swing. So while golf may seem simple on the surface, a lot goes into every maneuver.

These physical attributes help make golf a natural addition to any fitness routine. It doesn’t have to replace your tried-and-true favorites, of course. Rather, it can help you diversify your exercise regimen with a fun activity that gets you out of the gym and onto lush, never-ending horizons!

Live Like You’re On Vacation

You know that special mindset you slip into when you’re on vacation — the easygoing approach to life, and the savoring of all its simple pleasures?

Here at Westminster St. Augustine, we think you can (and should!) embrace the vacation vibe every day of the year, and getting into golf is a great way to do that. After all, the Sunshine State is home to some of the most renowned courses in the world — and our enviable weather makes the sport a year-round pastime. What better way to celebrate your community than by living it up to the fullest?

Smart Swings

According to Keiser University, golf doesn’t just improve your physical fitness but your mental fitness, too — promoting cognitive function, memory, and more.

Mental Health

Exercise also releases endorphins. And spending time next to green and blue spaces (which you’re sure to stumble upon while golfing) has been shown to promote a calm, positive mindset and long-term mental health benefits. So when you golf, you’re not just having fun — you’re also doing something meaningful for your mind and body in the process!

A Social Sport

Golf is a sport that’s easy to enjoy with friends by your side — taking turns at the tee while enjoying chat, snacks, and a leisurely pace in between. Spending time with friends is a great way to feel more connected with your community, a natural mood-booster.

Of course, these are just a few of our favorite reasons to enjoy golf this spring. What are yours? Whatever they are, we hope this classic sport gets you closer to fun, friends, and serious mind-and-body benefits in 2024 and beyond.

The Therapeutic Benefits of Art and Creativity in St. Augustine Memory Care

At Westminster St. Augustine, we understand the challenges those with memory loss face when it comes to engagement and quality of life. Finding activities that stimulate the mind, encourage social interaction, and boost overall wellbeing can be difficult, especially for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other cognitive issues. However, the arts have proven to provide significant therapeutic benefits for those living in St. Augustine memory care communities.

Creative pursuits ranging from painting to poetry, music to dance can greatly enhance physical, emotional, and cognitive health. The sensory nature of hands-on art making activates parts of the brain in unique ways, allowing those with memory disorders to unlock self-expression. Furthermore, group creative sessions facilitate social bonds and peer support at a time when community is vital.

As a continuing care retirement community (CCRC) serving St. Augustine area seniors, we witness these therapeutic effects firsthand. The joy and sense of accomplishment residents experience while crafting art, no matter their level of ability, is truly inspiring. We’d like to share some research-backed reasons why art therapy should be integral for memory care.

Art Boosts Motor Skills and Cognitive Function

Artistic activities like painting, drawing, sewing, and woodworking exercise fine motor control in impactful ways. The meticulous hand and eye coordination needed for these creative pursuits helps maintain dexterity and flexibility. This is key for performing tasks of daily living as we age. What’s more, utilizing both sides of the brain stimulates neural pathways, boosting cognitive function despite dementia or Alzheimer’s.

Art Fosters Emotional Wellness and Self-Esteem

Beyond physical gains, artistic endeavors provide incredible therapy for one’s mood and emotional state. The act of creating, whether following step-by-step direction or allowing free form inspiration, enables a powerful release of feelings. Using art as an outlet gives seniors struggling with communication issues due to dementia or Alzheimer’s disease a much needed voice.

Difficult emotions like grief, fear, and frustration can take form through paint strokes, choice of colors, textures of clay, or lyrical poetry. This liberates bottled up sentiments in constructive ways, preventing isolation. What’s more, displaying finished art generates immense pride and bolsters self-confidence for memory care residents. When memory fails, artistic identity offers reassurance of one’s self worth.

Art Facilitates Meaningful Engagement and Social Bonds

Finding activities suited for varying cognitive levels is one of the biggest challenges memory care communities face when devising engagement programming. However, art transcends physical and mental limitations in ways few other therapies can. Participants, regardless of their degree of memory loss, take part in collective creative action according to their individual pace and ability.

Sessions often begin with recognizable themes, such as seasons, holidays, local culture, resident histories, etc. This fosters shared connections and conversations even for those struggling with expression. Visual, musical, and language art forms get memories flowing and relationships interweaving. Laughter fills the rooms as brush strokes bring joyful purpose. Not only does art unite residents, display of completed works enables family bonds too. Loved ones beam seeing the pieces made just for them by their loved one’s hand.

Art Promotes Reminiscence and Preserves Memories

Art therapy taps into long term memories and nostalgia in profoundly touching ways. Certain songs, familiar landscapes, cultural symbols, even scents through ceramics glazing kindle remembrance from decades past. Opening this vault fires up senses and cognition for those with dementia in miraculous fashion.

Suddenly, a tune from the 1940s has seniors dancing as if no limitations exist. Sharing these sparks across patients at varying stages fosters peer support and community. Even when the moment passes and confusion returns, something special happened. Moreover, the art left behind preserves that memory and sense of self. Family members who visit delight seeing this tangible prompt of their loved one’s personality.

Art Allows Safe Risk Taking and Freedom

For memory care residents who feel increased dependence and lack of control in daily functioning, art making grants much needed autonomy. Creative action allows safe risk taking without fear of mistakes amid cognitive decline. There are no wrong strokes, off key notes, or diction errors when it comes to expression. Patients tend to feel more at ease exploring art materials, musical instruments, dance movements knowing limitations exist free from judgement.

Especially for those in more advanced dementia stages who lack recent memories entirely, creative therapy offers cognitive stimulation combined with new positive sensations. Instead of failing at missing recollections, participants succeed through color play, textural clay manipulations, rhythm and melody. This instills pride and self assurance during memory loss.

Art Boosts Overall Physical Health and Longevity

While the mental, emotional, and social perks of art therapy for memory care patients appear obvious, several studies reveal physical health gains too. The visual arts in particular improve dexterity, range of motion, muscular control, and coordination. Movement required while producing artwork strengthens core muscles, arms, hands, and shoulders. What’s more, standing to paint large canvases or complete sculpture engages leg and back muscles preventing stiffness.

Dance therapy adds cardiovascular benefits through rhythmic steps and patterns. Charged memories attached to beloved music motivate residents to get moving while increasing blood flow oxygenation. For those in wheelchairs, seated dance therapy improves respiration, digestion, balance, and spatial awareness. This all helps aging bodies and brains stay healthier longer.

Memory Care at Westminster St. Augustine

At Westminster St. Augustine, our team incorporates art into assisted living and memory care residential offerings. Residents can paint alongside neighbors at communal easels displaying their latest still lifes. Out their windows, lush tropical vistas from our St. Augustine campus inform palette choices. The textures of fiber crafts like knitting, crochet, embroidery, and quilting keep their hands dexterous. Even garden walks on our lavish grounds spur imaginative observations put to paper or canvas.

We encourage loved ones to join their family member’s next art session while visiting our St. Augustine retirement community too. Watching your loved one bring vision to life colors new bonds and understandings.

Thrive with Purposeful Living at Westminster St. Augustine

Our onsite amenities, diverse engagement options, and cutting edge memory care approach aim to help St. Augustine area seniors thrive. We desire residents to live each day with purpose, dignity, and community no matter their physical or cognitive health. Art therapy is just one of the ways we ignite passion and grant freedom to thrive. To learn more about Westminster St. Augustine’s signature senior living lifestyle in Florida, contact us today.

Embrace Beach Décor While Independent Living In St. Augustine, FL

From our sunny grounds in Westminster St. Augustine, you’re never far from the laidback fun of a proper beach day — or a splashing pool session even closer to home! Located in Florida’s oldest and most vibrant city, a love of the water is built into our lifestyle of independent living in St. Augustine, FL. And that’s a good thing for your mind and body! Studies show that exposure to natural blue spaces can help reduce stress and improve your overall wellbeing.

But if you simply can’t get enough of the beachy vibe, why not bring it into your home? Your Westminster St. Augustine apartment, villa, or patio home is the perfect place to adorn with coastal décor, accessories, and reminders of your favorite Florida landscape. Just read on as we share a few of our favorite ideas on how to do just that.

Opt For A Calming Color Palette 

One of the things we love best about the beach is the sense of calm that washes over you with every breeze and white-capped wave that rolls in. So naturally, this is a great place to start when implementing a beachy vibe in your Westminster St. Augustine home! Opt for a simple, sand- or ocean-inspired color palette whose shades of cream, driftwood, and coastal blue inspire you to relax and recharge to the fullest. These colors occur together in nature, so they’ll likely look wonderful in your bedroom or living space as well.

Show Off Beachy Souvenirs Of Yore

Whether you grew up in the Sunshine State or took vacations here growing up, there’s a good chance you have a few beachy souvenirs to show off — such as seashells, beach figurines, or sand bottles. Give them a designated space in your home’s décor to create a splash of surf-loving spirit wherever you need it!

Lean Into Maritime History

As we mentioned earlier, St. Augustine holds the distinction of being the oldest city in Florida. But did you know that it’s technically the oldest city in the entire country, too, even predating the Pilgrims and the first Thanksgiving? With all that being said, if you’re a history buff at heart, you might be looking for ways to infuse your space with old-world charm — and that actually goes hand in hand with the beach motif! Old nautical paintings, ship-in-a-bottles, and rustic wood accents that look like they’ve been pulled straight off a shipwreck are all charming ways to add maritime history to your space.

Take An Unexpected Turn

Sometimes, the best beachy accents are the least obvious. For example, while we love seashells and ship décor, you can also opt for unexpected flourishes of metallics that replicate the way the sun glimmers on the ocean’s surface. It will be an eye-catching addition your guests are sure to notice!

Add Your One-Of-A-Kind Perspective

Because we live so close to the water, why not snap some photos of your surroundings and turn them into wall art for your home? No one’s perspective is exactly the same, and it’s fun to bring your one-of-a-kind point of view into your space through beautiful photography.

One of the best parts about calling Westminster St. Augustine “home” is the ability to blend the easy nature of maintenance-free living with the independence of a space that’s totally you — and surrounding yourself with beachy décor is a great way to do that. We can’t wait to see where inspiration takes you!

4 Activities to Serve Your Mind, Body, and Spirit This Winter

Even in temperate Florida, cooler temps and drizzly days can drive you inside during the winter months. Spending more time indoors could cause your activity level to wane, and when you add in the stresses of the holiday season, you may feel frazzled. 

Luckily, there are plenty of fun activities that will give you a boost and keep your spirits high.

1. Schedule a Round of Golf with Friends

One great way to boost your mind, body, and spirit in one fell swoop is with an energizing round of 18 holes at your favorite local golf course. Moving your body and enjoying the sunshine and breezes let you leave worries behind. 

When you add in the social element of competitive camaraderie, you’ll find your spirit buoyed. Afterward, enjoy a relaxing meal at the clubhouse with friends to cap off an incredible day.

2. Join a Yoga or Tai Chi Class

If you’re seeking activities in your St. Augustine assisted living community, look into fitness classes that get your body moving and your blood pumping without necessarily having to head outdoors. 

Tai Chi and yoga offer opportunities for exercise that you can customize to your needs or limitations. They focus on mind-body connection that helps you de-stress during the hectic holiday season, even as you work on strength and flexibility. 

These classes may also be available at local gyms, senior centers, or through your parks and recreation district.

3. Start a Book Club

The winter months are an ideal time to catch up on that stack of books that sat gathering dust all summer long. 

While reading is typically a solo activity, you can add a social element by starting a book club to turn reading into a rousing weekly or monthly discussion among like-minded friends. Throw in some afternoon tea or a potluck dinner for a more substantial gathering.

4. Host a Toy Drive

The winter holidays are a time of giving, not only to loved ones but also to those less fortunate. Whether you can donate money or not, you can always find ways to help those in need, and toy drives are a great way to spread holiday cheer to families struggling to make ends meet.

All you have to do is connect with local non-profits that can pass the toys along or find a local Toys for Tots campaign or collection site to contribute to. From there, you can organize within your assisted living in Saint Augustine to manage and deliver collections.

Keep Active in Your St. Augustine Assisted Living Community

With options for physical fitness, mental enrichment, and volunteer efforts to keep you busy throughout the winter months, you can enjoy excellent overall health and wellness that extends into the new year.

Discover Active Senior Living at Westminster St. Augustine

Nestled along the Historic Coast in St. Augustine, Florida, Westminster St. Augustine offers an engaging lifestyle for seniors seeking both comfort and vitality. Our picturesque community provides amenities and activities tailored to help you thrive in your golden years.

From delicious dining to world-class golf, let us show you all that our community has to offer:

Savor Elegant, Freshly-Prepared Meals

Our dining program is designed to nurture body and soul. We believe sharing delicious, nutritious meals builds community. Choose from several dining venues based on your mood or schedule:

Main Dining Room – Enjoy lake views with breakfast, lunch and dinner served restaurant-style. Our talented culinary team prepares fresh, seasonal menus daily. 

Cafe – Stop by our cafe for lighter grab-and-go fare like soups, salads and sandwiches. Perfect for a quick bite after activities.

Pub – Unwind with friends at our cozy on-site clubhouse pub featuring a full bar and casual menu.

With flexible dining hours, we make it easy to nourish yourself on your own schedule.

Stay Active at Our Pool, Fitness Center and Beyond

An active lifestyle nurtures the body, mind and spirit. Our community is thoughtfully designed to help you stay fit and engaged:

Pool – Swim laps or simply relax poolside at our spacious heated outdoor pool. The soothing water makes exercise gentle on joints.

Fitness Center – Our fully equipped fitness center offers equipment for personalized workouts.

Golf – As a Westminster St. Augustine resident, enjoy privileges at World Golf Village’s renowned courses designed by golf legends. Perfect your swing or simply take in the verdant scenery.

And our community offers many more ways to stay active beyond traditional exercise. With birdwatching, hiking trails and beaches nearby, you’ll find endless ways to keep your body and mind engaged.

Stimulate Your Mind Through Events and Activities

Keeping your mind sharp and engaged is key to healthy aging. At Westminster St. Augustine, you’ll find endless opportunities for personal growth and fun through clubs, classes and social gatherings:

Lifelong Learning – Expand your knowledge by attending lectures and skill-building classes. Sample topics include art, languages, history, and more.

Clubs – Join a club to explore hobbies and develop friendships. Come share your passions!

Outings – Join in on group excursions to enjoy the best of St. Augustine.

With our excellent location, it’s easy to stay connected to St. Augustine’s rich arts, culture, education and entertainment offerings.

Tailored Care to Support Your Needs

While we aim to nurture your independence, it’s comforting to know personalized care is available if needed. Our experienced Wellness Team provides:

– Care through our on-site nursing and therapy services

– Physical, occupational and speech therapy

– Care planning and coordination

– Assistance with activities of daily living

We’re devoted to delivering excellent continuing care tailored to your individual needs. Our scenic, private campus allows you to receive top-quality care while maintaining your dignity and independence. 

Start the Next Chapter in Your Life

The time for fulfilling your retirement dreams is now. Choose Westminster St. Augustine for resort-style amenities, endless opportunities to enrich your spirit, and a caring community to call home. Contact us today to schedule your personal tour. We can’t wait to welcome you!

Embracing a New Community: Social Life at Westminster St. Augustine

Looking for the right independent living community is like shopping for a new home, but more; this time, you’re considering its community, a lifestyle, and a new beginning. So, let’s sit back, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and chat about hidden gems in St. Augustine, Florida – Westminster St. Augustine. It’s not just a place to stay; it’s a place to live, surrounded by friends and engaging activities.

You see, Westminster isn’t just a place to stay; it’s a place to live. Picture waking up with the sun on your face, surrounded by friendly faces who quickly become friends. Imagine a day filled with engaging activities, laughter, creativity, and even some newfound hobbies. But it’s not all fun and games. There’s a support system, a family atmosphere, and a genuine caring spirit that makes Westminster more than a community; it makes it home.

The Whole Package in One Spot

Westminster isn’t just any senior living spot. It offers everything: independent living, assisted living, and even skilled nursing. Think of it as a one-stop shop where you can find comfort, care, and company. Plus, there’s a constant buzz of activities to jump into. Boredom? What’s that?

First off, it’s got everything covered: independent living for those who still feel like dancing, assisted living for when you might need a little help with the two-step, and skilled nursing if you need someone to watch over you along the way.

Westminster is a community where you can truly have it all. If you want to wake up and hit the gym, we got you covered! Feel like making art? We have a class for you to join! Hungry for social gatherings? We offer musical performances, cultural outings, and more; check out our social calendar. And the staff, they’re not just there to take care of the chores. They’re part of the community, helping everyone find their groove, whether that’s in the garden, the game room, or even the dining hall. Boredom? At Westminster, that’s a word you’ll quickly forget.

Living Independently, But Together

Living independently here means having your personal space, but also a bunch of pals right next door. Picture having your cozy little nook where you can rest, put your feet up, read a good a book, or enjoy a good tv show. It’s your personal haven, but when you step outside, it’s a world of activities and friendly faces.

But what we love most about Westminster’s Independent living is that it’s not just about doing stuff. It’s about sharing experiences with coffee chats by the garden, friendly nods in the hallways, and shared smiles at the dinner table that make every day feel like a gathering of friends.

You’re never alone unless you want to be. And even then, you know your pals are just right next door, always ready for a chat, a laugh, or a shared adventure. It’s like living in that friendly small town where everyone knows your name, all wrapped up in the warm, welcoming embrace of Westminster. Now that’s independent living with a cherry on top!

A Helping Hand When You Need It

Assisted living at Westminster gives that extra bit of support without compromising on the fun part. The dedicated staff has got your back, making sure you’re part of all the action while ensuring everything you need is right at hand. We understand that life doesn’t stop being fun just because you need a little extra support. And we’re all about keeping the good times rolling.

And get this, our staff doesn’t just take care of your needs; they take the time to know you. Your likes, your quirks, your favorite stories – they’re all ears. It’s like having a personal concierge, friend, and family member rolled into one, always ready to lend a hand or share a joke.

Top-Notch Care With A Slice of Fun

The skilled nursing here? It’s top tier. But beyond the excellent medical care, it’s the laughter and connections that stand out. The team ensures you’re not just cared for, but also involved, entertained, and cherished. Here, feeling at home is the norm.

At Westminster nurses don’t just check your vitals, but also check in on your day. A place where therapists aren’t just concerned about your mobility but also concerned on if you’re up and moving in the fun department. The staff at Westminster’s skilled nursing don’t see you as a patient; they see you as a person. They love knowing what makes you smile, what sparks your interest and what makes you, YOU! That’s why they tailor activities, entertainment, and even menus to fit not just your needs but your tastes. Love watching classic movies? They’ll pull up a chair and join you. Craving a taste of a family recipe? They’ll do their best to whip it up. Want to stay connected with family and friends? They’ll set up video chats and help you stay in touch.

Think of it as stepping into a community where feeling at home isn’t just a nice sentiment; it’s the norm. And trust us, that makes healing not just more manageable but a whole lot more enjoyable, too!

More Than Just Neighbors – We’re A Community!

Westminster doesn’t exist in a bubble. We’re intertwined with the hustle and bustle of St. Augustine. Residents often find themselves exploring local events, diving into the area’s history, or just soaking in the local energy. We’re not just in St. Augustine; we’re a part of it!

Finding a new community is like starting a new chapter, filled with fresh faces, experiences, and stories. Westminster St. Augustine is that perfect blend of care, camaraderie, and local culture. Whether you’re thinking of moving in yourself or looking for someone dear, this might just be the place. Curious? Pop over to our website or better yet, come on down and check it out yourself!

‘God put us here for a reason’: Serving the residents during Hurricane Idalia is part of our Mission

When a hurricane or tropical storm threatens Florida, like Hurricane Idalia this week, team members at Westminster Communities of Florida have a top priority: Ensuring the safety and well-being of the residents we serve. Our Mission is to serve from the heart and inspire older adults to enjoy happy, healthy and purposeful lives.

What impact has Hurricane Idalia had? Some of our dedicated team members are living out our Mission, today, by evacuating with residents or sheltering at their communities through the storm. Regardless of their normal jobs, their principal responsibility right now is to provide for the residents’ needs.

Today we caught up with five of these team members to learn about their experiences, why they chose to stay at their community or evacuate with residents, and what is inspiring them to stay hard at work during a storm.

Jackie Walker Ellison, Cook, Westminster Shores, temporarily at Westminster Winter Park

In St. Petersburg, Westminster Shores was forced to relocate residents out of the path of the storm. Jackie Walker Ellison always knew she would be with the residents, from the moment she first heard. “The residents said to me, ‘Jackie, are you coming with us? I know we’ll be OK if you come with us.’ So I had no doubt,” Ellison said. “I knew for sure I would be evacuating, I called my husband and my mother and I told them, ‘I’m going with my residents, I’ll see you whenever.’ ”

The group of 24 residents was accompanied by Ellison to Westminster Winter Park, where they’re enjoying the hospitality of the residents and team members there. The Westminster Shores team is occupied with providing for the needs of the residents during Hurricane Idalia. “I think it brings everyone together as a team,” she said.

Ellison has worked at Westminster Shores for 29 years, and “I love my residents. I wouldn’t have been here so long if I didn’t love this place and my residents. God put us here for a reason,” she said. “Right now, the residents are happy, we’ve been watching movies and playing games, and everything is going smoothly.”

Michele McCann, Assisted Living Activities Coordinator, Westminster Palms, sheltering in place

“I choose to be with the residents during the most emotional time, like a hurricane, because that’s my quality as a caregiver,” said Michele McCann, Assisted Living Activities Coordinator at Westminster Palms. “Challenging times like this bring out the best in people, and I get to see it and share it.”

McCann was sheltering in place at the community in St. Petersburg, along with residents from Westminster Palms and residents from Westminster Point Pleasant in Bradenton. She has lived in Florida for more than 7 years, and has experienced three hurricanes in St. Petersburg so far. McCann said she feels that the way the team bonds, whether through an evacuation or sheltering in place, makes the team stronger. “We are going to come out better on the other side of this! We always do. We are so lucky that we are here, in our home, together, instead of relocating like so many had to. I have come to feel like this is my home, too.”

Carlos Santiago, Maintenance Engineer, Westminster Point Pleasant and Tiffany Mestre, Administrative Assistant, Community Support Services, temporarily at Legacy Pointe at UCF

A group of residents from Westminster Point Pleasant were also with Maintenance Engineer Carlos Santiago and Tiffany Mestre, an administrative assistant at our Community Support Services office in Orlando. The residents had evacuated from Bradenton due to the risk of storm surge and flooding, and were enjoying the hospitality of Legacy Pointe at UCF.

Santiago, the maintenance engineer, said that he had been through the worst in 2017 when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. “We were there with no power for 60 days, and we weren’t able to do anything,” he said. By comparison, he felt that everything was under control and being well maintained for the residents through both of his hurricane experiences as a Westminster team member.

“This job is personal for me,” Santiago said. “The residents are my family and I want to make sure that they are well taken care of.” In 2022, Santiago was recognized as Westminster Point Pleasant’s Team Member of the Year for his dedicated service to the residents. He said it was his honor to serve the residents.

Evacuating with the residents is just another extension of his commitment to the community, Santiago said. “This is my second time evacuating with the residents, and it doesn’t matter how many more. I will always volunteer to be there for them. We are here for each other and for the residents.”

Countless storms had also affected Mestre, a Florida native. But she had never had an experience like today’s. “It’s wonderful to help the residents and hear about their interests and stories. This is a great way to see how the residents live,” Mestre said. “I am getting to know what a day in the life of a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) and an ADON (Assistant Director of Nursing) are like. It has opened my eyes. Bless their souls for doing all of this.”

The effects of the storm had been mild in Orlando, but Mestre said that nevertheless, she and the residents felt more secure and had been brought closer together by the experience – and the residents were thankful for the security. “This has really brought our Mission to life for me in a way I had not experienced it,” said Mestre.

For Santiago, part of living in a hurricane zone meant more practice – and that he had found that the team is getting stronger through the experience. “The more we do this together, the more we become comfortable with each other, and the better organized we become. When you send a group of people together for one purpose and for our Mission, we get the opportunity to grow together and learn from each other,” said Santiago.

Beth Szabo, Services Coordinator, Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, sheltering in place

Another part of the Westminster Mission is to serve residents with low to moderate incomes, in our affordable Rental Retirement Communities. Beth Szabo, services coordinator at Riverside Presbyterian Apartments, was sheltering in place at the community to ensure that the residents were well cared for throughout the potential effects of the storm in Jacksonville.

“I’ve lived in Jacksonville since 1976, so I have lost count of how many hurricanes I’ve been through now. In 2004 they were coming so frequently we all said, ‘I’m over it, just let it go,’ ” said Szabo. “We have had to evacuate a few times over the years, like for Hurricane Matthew in 2016. But we did not have to this time.”

For Szabo, serving during a hurricane is a natural extension of her choice to work at the community, because the residents are like her extended family. “I have a heart for seniors, and the residents here mean a lot to me,” she said. “If something happens then I want to be here to help them.”

Szabo added that she feels safer riding out a storm at Riverside Presbyterian Apartments than at home. “Here at the community, I know that we have a great team looking out for everyone. We’re very small but we support each other.”

A facet of our Mission

While a hurricane is unexpected, serving the residents and supporting their fellow team members wherever we are and however we can is just another facet of the Mission of Westminster Communities of Florida: We serve from the heart and inspire older adults to enjoy happy, healthy and purposeful lives.

Be sure to learn all about how you can make a Westminster community your home to live or to work – find a community near you or follow us on Facebook and on LinkedIn!

How you can stay in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community

Are you considering a move to a senior living community but worried about how you’ll keep in touch with family and friends? You’re not alone. Many future residents have the same concerns.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep in touch with the people you care about. From FaceTime to card nights to private dining parties, residents have plenty of options to stay connected with their loved ones.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to keep in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community.

Enjoy a video call to have a virtual visit with family or friends whenever you like

A virtual visit can help maintain ties even when residents and their friends are separated by thousands of miles. Modern technology for video calling like FaceTime makes visiting easier than ever. Video calls allow residents to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with family or friends anywhere in the world, from the comfort of their living room. No expensive travel required!

Residents can use FaceTime or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom to stay in touch with those who matter most. Grandparents can share stories with grandchildren who live far away or have regular catch-ups with distant relatives. Video calling also makes it possible for to host a virtual event, like a game night or movie watch party.

Enjoy a card or board game night and mix the “old” and “new” friends

With many social connections in their current neighborhoods, the prospect of moving to a senior living community can be daunting for many older adults. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-person social opportunities at senior living communities — some of them more informal than others.
Many senior living communities have groups of residents who enjoy a night of card games or board games. Play poker, Clue, Settlers of Catan or whatever you prefer, and enjoy having social opportunities and good friends at your fingertips.

These social events offer a reason for residents to invite their friends and family members over for a night of fun and laughter. It also provides an informal setting for guests to meet other residents and engage in meaningful conversations.

For older adults who want to make sure they stay connected to their friends, one surefire way to make things more fun is to invite their “old” friends to meet the “new” at a game night. It can make for a memorable evening filled with laughter and good company — all while bonding deeper relationships with fellow residents at the same time.

Host a dinner party and let someone else do all the work

Dining is an important part of life at a senior living community. But a special event may call for having a few friends over for dinner, and who wants to do all the cooking and dishes?

That’s why many senior living communities offer residents a variety of catered dining options, to invite guests over for a special dinner party. A special menu developed with the Dining department makes it simple and convenient to plan an event. Enjoy a luxurious meal without lifting a finger!

Inviting friends and family over to experience their community is also great to help those who may be considering making the move themselves. Guests get an up-close look at the lifestyle offered at their friend’s new home. Private dining options allow potential new residents to get an idea of what life would be like for them.

From poker nights to private dinners, there are plenty of ways for residents of senior living communities to keep in touch with family and friends. To learn all about how additional socialization opportunities abound at a Westminster community, find the community that suits you today on our Web site!

3 Essential Questions to Ask on an Assisted Living Tour

Heading to your first St. Augustine assisted living tour? No matter where you’re located, there is important information you should ask about during these tours. 

Assisted living in St. Augustine can be a wonderful option for aging adults who want to remain independent and dignified. When you go on your tour, don’t forget to ask these 3 important questions. 

1. What Amenities Do You Offer?

Amenities can be the difference between an enjoyable living experience and a bored, unsatisfying one. Assisted living communities frequently offer amenities like pools, dining areas, and social spaces. 

The answer to this question will help you gauge whether the facility is right for you or your loved one. Try to find assisted living communities that align with your hobbies and interests. 

For example, if you value swimming, a community pool is a must-have at your assisted living facility. Others may enjoy resident crafting classes or other educational opportunities. You can learn about the community’s events and amenities by asking your tour guide upfront. 

2. What Are Your Residential Options?

Many assisted living communities have several types of residences to choose from. You will want to know your options so you can choose the best living space for you or your loved one. Most retirement communities offer independent living, assisted living, and rehabilitation spaces. 

Independent Living

Independent living is for aging adults who want to retire with excitement, joy, and plenty of opportunities to thrive. You gain access to all of the community amenities and services while maintaining your own residence. If you or your loved one does not need assistance with basic daily living, independent living is likely the right choice. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living is a blend between independent living and 24-hour nursing care (like what you would find in a nursing home). You get help with basic daily tasks like dressing, bathing, and cleaning. However, you can still remain independent. 

3. Do You Have a Health and Wellness Program?

Staying physically, mentally, and socially healthy as you get older is essential for graceful aging. Health and wellness programs help you thrive and stay informed about the best ways to care for yourself. These programs often include information about nutrition, cultural learning, and physical fitness. 

Find the Right St. Augustine Assisted Living Facility

By asking these essential questions, you will find the best St. Augustine facility for yourself or your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask additional questions — the staff is there to help.

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