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 www.WestminsterOaksFL.org or call (850) 878-1136.

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The Benefits of Exercise For Adults with Alzheimer’s

For those in assisted living in Florida, the opportunity for exercise is a critical part of any community. Not only is exercise good for the overall body and mind, but it has unique benefits for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.

Continue reading to learn more about the benefits of exercise for adults with Alzheimer’s.

Exercise May Slow Down Cognitive Decline

The link between exercise and mental and cognitive benefits has long been established. This link is especially strong when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, physical activity helps your brain by keeping blood flowing and increasing the chemicals that protect the brain. Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day may help:

  • Improve reasoning, judgment, and thinking skills
  • Increase the part of the brain that’s responsible for memory formation
  • Delay the start of Alzheimer’s for people at risk of developing it
  • Slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease

When it comes to choosing between Florida assisted living facilities, ensuring that there are ample opportunities for residents to exercise is critical. 

Many new facilities focused on memory care prioritize exercise as part of a holistic treatment approach to help Alzheimer’s patients.

Exercise Promotes Regular Sleep

One of the best things Alzheimer’s patients can do to promote brain health is to maintain a regular sleep schedule. A regular sleep schedule includes an established routine like going to sleep and waking up around the same time each day.

Seniors should also sleep seven to nine hours each night. Some Alzheimer’s patients need more or less sleep depending on the severity of their disease. The exact amount of sleep should be determined after consulting with the patient’s doctor.

Exercise Reduces the Risk of Falls and Injuries

Alzheimer’s patients are at an increased risk of falls, as they can easily forget where they are going, where furniture is placed, and so on. Exercise helps maintain muscle mass, which protects bones in case of a fall.

Exercise also helps with agility and general mobility, so Alzheimer’s patients can catch themselves if they do run into an obstacle or trip. If an Alzheimer’s patient does fall and experience an injury, patients who have been exercising regularly tend to recover faster.

Exercise Improves Confidence

One of the secondary symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease can be a loss of confidence. Alzheimer’s patients begin to second-guess themselves after forgetting things they used to know, and their confidence can slowly decline.

Exercise is a great way to help build back confidence. Keeping active is easy to achieve on an everyday basis, and it is something that is within the patient’s control. It also makes them feel like their best self, which may help restore their confidence.

Keeping Active in Assisted Living in Florida

Florida is one of the best places to seek assisted living services, particularly when a loved one has Alzheimer’s disease. Exploring options for transitioning to memory care can be a great way to ensure that your loved one is getting the care they need as they manage their disease.  

5 Myths About Senior Living Debunked

It’s never an easy choice to move from independent living to senior living. Departing from your long-term home to start a new adventure can be intimidating, to say the least. 

But if you keep an open mind and heart, the experience can be fulfilling and beneficial to everyone involved. At the very least, senior living gives seniors and their loved ones the peace of mind that comes from professional care.

If you’re still worried about what the switch to senior living might entail, keep reading. We’ve debunked five of the most common myths regarding the move.

  1. There’s a Right Age to Move to Senior Living

A question we get asked a lot is, “When is the right age for transitioning to senior living?” The truth is, there is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. While the mid-60s may be the best time for one person, another person may not be ready until they reach their 70s or 80s. 

Put simply, assisted living in Florida is not a one-size-fits-all situation. If you are ready to join an active community of people in a similar stage of life, it may be time to make the switch. But if you are thriving at home and have plenty of support, there may be no harm in waiting. 

  1. Assisted Living in Florida Is Lonely

Many seniors combat feelings of loneliness on a daily basis. But that doesn’t mean a move to a senior living facility will exacerbate the problem. In fact, joining a new community may be the exact change you need. Most senior living centers have a packed activities calendar so you can stay busy and meet new people.

  1. Senior Living Meals Are Bland

If you’re worried that a move to a senior living facility will limit your culinary experiences, think again. Most centers are dedicated to creating new, delicious, and nutritious meals for their residents. So if you’re really worried about a dull menu, make sure to shop around until you find a community with all of the spice you’re looking for.

  1. With Senior Living, You Can’t Leave the Premises

Senior living options come in all shapes and sizes. If you are looking to maintain your independence, you can opt for independent living solutions that allow you to come and go as you please.

  1. Senior Living Is Boring

The idea that senior living is boring couldn’t be further from the truth. Most Florida independent nursing facilities and assisted living care centers have ample resources to keep residents busy and fulfilled. 

In your new community, you can expect a complete activities calendar, access to a fitness center, and a range of dining options. If you find yourself bored, you only need to walk outside and see what the rest of the community is up to.

Is It Time to Move to Senior Living?

Whether you need a little extra support, are tired of doing your own cooking and cleaning, or simply need a change, senior living could be the solution. And if you’re still on the fence, a tour of Florida assisted living facilities could help you decide whether the time is now. 

What is a Life Plan Community?

Introduction to Memory Care and Assisted Living

A life plan community aims to offer aging individuals a conducive environment to spend their senior lives healthily. The idea is to ensure that every senior has the peace of mind, comfort, and health they deserve. Often, you could also refer to these life plan communities as a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

Besides offering independent living residences, a life plan community provides higher levels of care. That means you could rely on assisted living Florida and other services if you need significant attention or long-term care.

Services Offered in a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Most life plan communities offer various health care services under one roof. Some of the continuum services you get in these facilities will include the following.

Assisted Living: Assisted living is a healthcare program aimed at helping seniors handle various everyday tasks. The idea is to ensure that the given individual maintains their independence.

Independent Living: This arrangement ensures that the individual maintains their independence, even as they age.

Skilled Nursing: These facilities boast various medical care professionals, including experienced nurses. These nurses will help provide occupational therapy, speech therapy, nursing care, and physical therapy to seniors.

Specialty Transportation: Specialty transportation is offered to seniors, ensuring that they run their errands comfortably.

Housekeeping Services: Housekeeping services cover various elements, including janitorial services and apartment cleaning. A hygienic environment ensures that seniors are less susceptible to different health conditions.

Flexible Dining Options: Seniors need access to nutritious and top-quality foods. Thankfully, life plan communities ensure that the individuals have convenient and delicious dining options!

Host of Programs: This facility gives the seniors access to various programs, including fitness, educational classes, and art programs. This way, they remain active and entertained.

Do Life Plan Communities Offer Memory Care?

Comprehensive memory care is a structured program that helps lower stress among people with Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is a high-level form of care, providing the expert support that these conditions require. Westminster’s life plan communities are prepared to assist your loved ones!

What is Memory Care?

Memory care facilities provide a secure environment, along with supportive dementia therapies, person-centered care, and coordinated health care. In conclusion, life plan communities are an incredible choice for seniors in any community. Enjoy a comfortable, healthy lifestyle with the personalized care that Westminster Communities can offer!

Should I Consider the Fitch Rating When Choosing a Retirement Community?

If you’re looking for a comfortable, vibrant retirement community, you should consider cost, amenities, quality of care, and reputation. If you can, ask friends and family members for their insights. Many retirees searching for assisted living in Florida also use sources like Yelp and Medicare for ratings and reviews.

You’re off to a great start if you are already doing these things to find the ideal community for yourself or a loved one. Your diligence will help you find the perfect place to live. However, there is one detail that many people never consider. Before you finalize your choice of Florida assisted living facilities, ask about their Fitch Rating.

What Is a Fitch Rating?

Fitch Rating is an American credit scoring company that assigns ratings to various institutions in multiple sectors, including active living communities. These ratings measure a company’s economic stability, creditworthiness, and other factors relating to financial health. 

Why should you care about this? Fitch Rating is one of the “Big Three credit rating agencies in the United States. It’s also one of only three organizations recognized nationally for its statistical ratings, and it will help you determine whether a living facility will or will not meet the financial commitments it makes in your contract.

Why Does Fitch Rating Matter When Choosing Assisted Living in Florida?

Anyone looking into Florida Independent nursing facilities should be concerned about creditworthiness. The Fitch Rating is one of the best measures of this. 

While each assisted living community operates under its own standards, most require a significant financial investment from residents. This often comes in the form of an entrance fee and an additional monthly service fee. 

The entrance fee guarantees a spot in the community and access to additional levels of care as needed. The monthly service fee covers a range of amenities. These costs can vary widely depending on the contract chosen. However, many retirees will spend a significant portion of their savings and monthly income on these costs. When you choose a community like Westminster with a high credit rating, you can feel confident that your investment will be well-spent.

The Benefits of a Retirement Community with Great Credit

When you choose a retirement community that is financially healthy with an excellent credit rating, you are more likely to experience:

  • Excellent food and amenities
  • Great staff to resident ratio
  • Low staff turnover
  • Assurance of lifelong stability
  • Excellent response to maintenance needs
  • The care you need at every stage of life

Most importantly, you will know that your retirement community has the financial resources and creditworthiness to meet its financial obligations in any situation. 

As we have seen over the past several years, crises can have devastating impacts on retirement communities. Sadly, the pandemic has led to many communities going bankrupt. Even before that, natural disasters and economic downturns have had similarly tragic results.

Final Thoughts

Please do your research before you invest a significant portion of your retirement savings and income into a retirement community. A community’s Fitch Rating is indeed an indicator of their ability to provide you with the care and amenities you need. It’s something you should take into consideration with other ratings and reviews.

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