What Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community?

As you move toward your retirement years, it’s natural to start thinking about what type of accommodations you want in the future. Maybe it’s important to you to stay in your family home for as long as possible, or maybe you just retired and are considering Florida assisted living facilities. 

No matter where you are in your retirement journey, it’s worth considering whether a continuing care retirement community is right for you. 

Continuing Care Retirement Communities: The Basics

Continuing care retirement communities, also known as CCRCs, are communities focused on providing long-term care options for older people who want to stay in the same place regardless of how their needs change over time. 

Seniors may move into a CCRC and need very little assistance, but if their health changes as they get older, the facility is equipped to provide the assistance they need, all the way up to long-term skilled nursing care

Benefits of a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Florida

There are benefits of living in any retirement community, but CCRCs have unique benefits that you can’t find elsewhere. A continuing care retirement community in Florida gives you peace of mind that you won’t have to move if you experience health changes over time. 

In addition, CCRCs in Florida provide all of the benefits of other assisted living communities, including dining, activities, wellness programs, and more. Living in a CCRC gives you the independence you want along with the care you need.

Is a Continuing Care Retirement Community Right for You?

No matter what type of community you’re considering moving to, there are many factors to consider. If you’re early in your retirement and want certainty that you can move to a community where you can stay for the long term, a CCRC may be an especially good fit for you. 

Congratulations To Our Volunteers and Team Members Of The Year

We’re beginning our celebration of Westminster Communities of Florida’s Volunteers of the Year and Team Members of the Year! Over the next two weeks, beginning on Wednesday, we’re holding recognition banquets in Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Orlando to celebrate these individuals. Be on the lookout for our announcements of the winners prior to each banquet, and fun photos from the event itself.

Congratulations to all the amazing people who make Westminster Communities of Florida a great place to live and work!

Volunteers of the Year

Team Members of the Year

4 Ways to Prevent Loneliness in Seniors

Loneliness is a growing problem among the elderly that impacts mental and physical health. Loneliness can manifest in a number of physical symptoms and can contribute to long-term health issues.

Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent loneliness for seniors living in Florida assisted living facilities and seniors living independently. 

1. Make a Plan

One of the most effective ways to combat loneliness in seniors is to make a family plan. An effective family plan can include activities like weekly visits, outings to visit friends, shopping, or going to a show. 

Having a plan in place ensures that seniors never find themselves going days or weeks without any social interaction.

2. Sign Up for Classes

One of the best parts about retirement is the additional time seniors have to explore and learn new things. Assisted living in Florida offers seniors opportunities to learn new skills year-round. Seniors interested in lifelong learning can take a language class, learn how to draw, or even sharpen their computer skills.

3. Pick Up a New Hobby

New hobbies, such as painting, swimming, or art collection, can keep seniors busy and encourage regular social interaction. Hobbies are an easy and effective way to ensure that seniors don’t find themselves bored and lonely.

4. Adopt a Pet

While pets are not appropriate for all seniors, in the right situation, a pet can add a lot of value to a senior’s life. Pets give seniors companionship and a sometimes needed sense of responsibility that can keep them engaged and connected.

Join a Community for Assisted Living in Florida

Florida is a wonderful place for seniors to spend their retirement years. The warm weather and active population of seniors make it possible to thoroughly enjoy retirement and prioritize whole-person wellness that will keep loneliness at bay.

Ex-translator who fled Afghanistan starts fresh in Orlando with nonprofit’s help – Orlando Sentinel

From the window of his fourth-floor apartment near downtown Orlando, the man who calls himself “M.Z.” has an expansive view of his odd new world. Amid oak-lined streets and tiny, tranquil lakes, he is starting over here at age 35.

Everything he worked for in his prior life, half his extended family and all his friends are 7,600 miles away.

“But I feel pretty much comfortable here,” Mohebullah Zyarmal says one recent afternoon. “I do not hear the sound of bullets or the sound of bombs in [the] nine months since I leave Afghanistan. When I was there, every single day I hear those sounds, but since I come here it is quiet. This is [a] good difference.”

Read more on the Orlando Sentinel’s website.

We are proud to provide housing and employment for people like M.Z. as part of our program with Lutheran Services of Florida.

4 Tips for Choosing the Best Medical Alert System for Seniors

A medical alert system is an excellent, life-saving device that allows seniors to call for help if they fall or get injured. These systems can be helpful for seniors living independently, seniors with home care, and seniors living in one of the many Florida assisted living facilities.

Here are four tips for choosing the best medical alert system for seniors.

1. Make Sure It Has the Features You Need

While all medical alert systems are designed to make it easier for seniors to get help when in need, some have more features than others. Here are just a few of the features that you may find with medical alert systems:

  • Fall detection
  • Medical monitoring
  • Cellular capability
  • Location detection
  • Movement monitoring
  • Check-in services
  • Carbon monoxide detector

Fall detection may not be necessary for a senior who is very active but has a heart condition. Location detection may be very important for seniors who tend to get lost. Make sure to check the system’s features to determine which one is the best fit.

2. Consider the Cost

Medical alert systems come at varying price points. There are budget-friendly options with basic functionality, and there are higher-priced options that come with a variety of features. 

You’ll want to ensure that the system you choose fits your budget and that you are not overpaying for features you don’t need.

3. Research the Functionality of the Equipment

Medical alert systems are meant to be worn at all times. They should also be easy to use in a variety of situations. You should find out how heavy the system is, whether it is waterproof, and how hard you have to push the buttons that call for help. If the equipment is hard to wear or use, that drastically decreases the chances that the senior will wear it all the time.

4. Find Out How the Response Works

While some medical alert systems call 911 automatically, others route a call for help to a response center or even a family member. The response options can be particularly helpful to seniors who live in Florida independent nursing facilities, as the call for help can be routed to on-site skilled nursing staff who can assist in a matter of moments.

Safety in Florida Assisted Living Facilities

Even if your loved one is in a Florida assisted living facility, they can still benefit from a medical alert system. No matter what the senior’s situation, medical alert systems can provide peace of mind for them and their families.

Refugees Help Westminster Communities of Florida Fulfill Mission, Find New Team Members

Mohebullah Zyarmal and Rohullah Azizi are two of the 42 new Afghani team members now working for Westminster Communities of Florida. Zyarmal and Azizi work at Westminster Towers, a Life Plan Community in Orlando.

After watching the crisis in Afghanistan unfold in August following the United States’ withdrawal from the country, and the ensuing Taliban takeover, Westminster Communities of Florida contacted Lutheran Social Services, the local resettlement agency, to ask about partnering to fold Afghan refugees into its open positions.

“Long-term care and senior housing has always had workforce and recurring challenges,” Westminster Communities of Florida Chief Human Resources Officer Mary Klein told McKnight’s Senior Living. “We’ve always had to think outside the box on how to do it smarter, faster, more creatively.”

Read the full article on McKight Senior Living’s website

Westminster Oaks Residents Enjoy Performance By The Atlantic City Boys

On April 5, Westminster Oaks residents enjoyed a lively performance by the Atlantic City Boys! This fun event was made possible by the Westminster Communities Foundation’s Cultural Endowment Fund. Donors who supported the Cultural Endowment Fund were invited to a meet-and-greet in the St. Andrews Pub prior to the event, where they enjoyed delicious appetizers and wine.

The Atlantic City Boys stopped by to thank the donors for making the event possible. The lead singer, Sammi, was happy to meet resident Patsy, as he knew of her late husband, Ray. Ray was an exceptional choral director known all over Florida.

During the program, the Atlantic City Boys pulled Gail, Joyce and Bob out of the crowd to participate in the show. After the show, Judy said, “It was a fun evening, and our folks being a part of it, made us feel like they were a part of us.”

To learn more about how you can support the Westminster Oaks Cultural Endowment Fund, please contact Gail Alexander, Director of Philanthropy, at (850) 878-1136, or visit the Foundation web page.

The Effects of Dementia on Personal Relationships

The expression of intimacy may change over time, but the human need for physical connection remains, even as people age. That is especially true between people who have been partners for a long time. 

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia may affect emotions and a person’s ability to express them, as well as physical interactions. 

Dementia and Changes in Physical Interactions

Watching the changes a partner goes through with dementia can be heartbreaking. There are many financial, health, and day-to-day concerns that arise during this time, and you may decide that living in a continuing care retirement community in Florida is a more practical choice than staying at home. 

But no matter where you live, one concern that people are hesitant to talk about is physical intimacy. 

How Physical Interactions Can Change with a Diagnosis of Dementia

Concerns about the future may overshadow normal interactions, including everyday expressions of love like hugs or hand holding. Another reason for loss of intimacy is that dementia may cause changes in personality or hygiene habits. In addition, a partner who becomes a care provider may feel overwhelmed with their new responsibilities.

All these changes are normal under the circumstances, but that doesn’t mean they are not difficult to navigate. A loss of affection from one partner can be very frustrating to the other, even when it has an understandable medical or emotional cause. 

Maintaining Intimacy

If both partners want to maintain a loving and intimate relationship, they may find that the habits they have enjoyed in the past may have to be re-evaluated. Finding new ways to connect and maintain both physical and emotional intimacy is important. 

Consider the following ideas for maintaining a sense of closeness with your partner:

  • Share moments of emotional intimacy, such as reminiscing or sharing a favorite meal together
  • Take advantage of opportunities to provide simple, but meaningful physical touch, such as cuddling or holding hands
  • Talk to your partner about your feelings, even if it is difficult

Keep in mind that there is no single right way to maintain an intimate connection with your partner. Each couple needs to find new ways of expression that meet their current needs. Speaking to a counselor or support group may help as well. 

The Importance of Self Care: Is It Time to Consider a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Florida?

Caring for a loved one with dementia can start to feel like it’s taking over your life if you don’t have help. If this is the case for you, it may be time to consider your options for Florida assisted living facilities. 

The amenities and support offered in an independent living or assisted living facility can ease the pressure of constant care for your partner, leaving you the time and energy to enjoy your relationship, even in light of complex medical needs. 

With the right support networks in place, you can enjoy meaningful time spent with your partner while still taking care of your own needs.

Fun Activities to Learn in Your Golden Years

The retirement years are called “The Golden Years” for a reason, and you’ll likely want to make every minute of them count. Independent living in Sarasota can be the highlight of your retirement, whether you reside in one of the beautiful Florida assisted living facilities or not. 

Since free time is pretty much guaranteed, you may be looking for ideas about what to do with it all. Following are five ideas for activities to learn in your golden years:

1.     Take Up Photography

One of the best ways to enjoy every minute of your golden years is to slow down and take a really good look at the world through a camera lens. You don’t have to begin with a big, expensive camera, either; a low- to mid-range one will do. 

Read up a bit on photography for beginners and get out there! Take photos of sunsets, birds, paths, trees, parks, and people. You can join photography Facebook groups and enroll in online photography classes, too, if you like.

2.     Practice Yoga

What better way to tone your body and improve your health without the joint strain that many other types of exercise create? Yoga keeps your body flexible and strong, and it’s an excellent activity for the mind as well as the body.

You can practice solely at home or join a community-based yoga class, where you can find friends among members of your neighborhood. Many seniors have found that adding yoga into their daily routine can greatly improve independent living in Sarasota.

3.     Learn a New Language

Whether you learn a new language or you explore any other subject in which you’re interested, there are endless benefits to continuing your education. Keep your mind sharp and expand your view of the world without having to leave your home. 

You can check with your local university or library to see what online language courses are available. Here’s a bonus tip: You can check online educational websites that offer courses on everything from foreign languages to filmmaking and wine tasting.

4.     Learn How to Play an Instrument

Quit playing the clarinet decades ago? Always wanted to learn how to play the piano? The golden years are a great time to return to music or become introduced to it.

There are many free classes and tutorials on YouTube, and you can also inquire with your local library about the availability of music instruction books. Many local shops have instruments for sale and for rent.

5.     Take an Art Class

Wanting to get involved with something fun and easy after you retire is the perfect reason for signing up for art classes. There are so many options available, from sculpting to drawing to painting, that the opportunities are endless. Contact local museums, libraries, art galleries, and universities for classes.

Other Activities for Independent Living in Sarasota

If you’d like to volunteer in your community during your golden years, check out organizations like Senior Corps. Senior Corps can connect adults who are 55 and over with opportunities for volunteering in their communities.

New Memory Care Neighborhood At Westminster Oaks Recognized For Excellence In Construction

Director of Construction Bill Andersen and Construction Manager Rob Clerici with the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction.Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida are delighted to announce that the new Memory Care neighborhood in the Life Plan Community in Tallahassee has been recognized by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of North Florida with its Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction.

The Eagle Award, shared with the project’s general contractor, Cook Brothers Inc., recognizes and celebrates outstanding projects built by North Florida ABC members and the workmanship of those who contribute. Teamwork and cooperation between general contractors, specialty contractors, and material suppliers are prerequisites for building excellence into any construction project.

“It is quite an honor to receive this award,” said Bill Andersen, Director of Construction for Westminster Communities of Florida. “We are very appreciative of this award and are thankful to Cook Brothers for the quality product they produced. The new Memory Care neighborhood is a beautiful building in an attractive setting for the residents at Westminster Oaks, with spacious units, a large, home-like living and gathering areas, country kitchen dining spaces, and a large exterior courtyard setting for getting outdoors. Plus, the facility incorporates some of the newest and most innovative technologies for Memory Care.”

The new Memory Care neighborhood is an expansion of the Life Plan Community, which serves more than 600 residents with Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Nursing Care, Rehabilitation and more. Residents will receive Memory Care and Assisted Living services in spaces custom-designed to support their needs. The building was designed as a set of small, secure neighborhoods with spacious private apartments, a memory garden and more. In addition, it features innovative and sustainable building features, like higher-efficiency HVAC systems, zero VOC paints and sealants, and long life-span construction materials, and was constructed to the National Green Building Standard Silver level.

Congratulations to Westminster Oaks, the Westminster Communities of Florida Construction & Design Department, and Cook Brothers Inc. for this prestigious recognition.

Westminster Oaks is a Continuing Care Retirement Community set amid the rolling hills of Florida’s capital. The community offers Independent Living, featuring Westminster Communities of Florida’s exclusive My W Life program for wellbeing of mind, body and soul, as well as Assisted Living, Nursing Care, Memory Care and more. To learn more about Westminster Oaks, visit us online at or call (850) 878-1136.

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