‘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!

Westminster Communities of Florida enters into affiliation agreement with Florida Presbyterian Homes

Life Plan Community in Lakeland, Fla., will become part of the not-for-profit organization with 23 communities throughout Florida

ORLANDO, August 25, 2023 — Westminster Communities of Florida, the largest not-for-profit senior living provider in Florida, has entered into an affiliation agreement with Florida Presbyterian Homes, a Life Plan Community in Lakeland, Fla. The agreement is contingent upon various state and federal approvals.

Westminster Communities of Florida will make Florida Presbyterian Homes part of its mission and ministry of creating and preserving excellent residential and health care communities. The community will benefit from the expertise, fiscal strength and stability of the nation’s 11th-largest not-for-profit senior living organization.

Westminster Communities of Florida Chief Executive Officer Terry Rogers said, “We’re honored and delighted to be welcoming Florida Presbyterian Homes into the Westminster family, and to extend our mission of service to their residents.”

The two organizations have much in common, including a shared mission of service to our residents. Westminster’s mission is to serve from the heart and inspire older adults to live happy, healthy and purposeful lives. As faith-based organizations serving older adults, our mission is at the core of all that we do, including emphasizing well-being and active lifestyles, honoring each individual’s dignity and independence, and good stewardship of our resources. Westminster Communities of Florida is pleased to hold an investment-grade bond rating of A- from Fitch Ratings.

Rogers said that Westminster is continuing to seek partners for other potential affiliations. “We have a saying that ‘bigger isn’t better, stronger is better.’ We have expanded our mission over our nearly 70-year history to more older adults through affiliating with other quality mission-driven organizations. Our family of communities is stronger together.”

Joe Xanthopoulos, Chief Executive Officer of Florida Presbyterian Homes, said, “This affiliation makes perfect sense for both organizations. Florida Presbyterian Homes has long held and well-deserved positive reputation here in Lakeland, one of the fastest growing cities in the country. This affiliation with Westminster positions our organization to best meet the needs and ambitions of present and future residents for decades to come.”

The affiliation agreement is contingent upon receiving approvals from federal and state agencies. Management by Westminster Communities of Florida is anticipated to begin in September. Details of the transaction have not been released.

Florida Presbyterian Homes and Westminster Communities of Florida look forward to continued service to our residents and furthering our shared mission of service.

# # #

About Westminster Communities of Florida: Westminster Communities of Florida is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization serving more than 7,000 residents in 22 communities throughout Florida who are in search of an enlightened, fully integrated, person-centered approach to health and wellness. Since 1954, we’ve been Florida’s best choice in active senior living. Our Mission of service commits us to creating and preserving excellent active living communities and honoring each person’s dignity, rights, self-respect and independence.

About Florida Presbyterian Homes: Since 1955, Florida Presbyterian Homes has been serving older adults seeking high quality living options, life enriching programs and services, best in practice long-term and rehabilitative care, and an array of exceptional resident amenities, all at our beautiful Lake Hunter campus. Florida Presbyterian Homes is a not-for-profit life plan community whose ministry is to serve older adults from all faiths with holistic, compassionate care and support in maintaining independence and achieving greater wellness.

Pursuing Personal Passions with the Team Member Scholarship Fund

This fall, more than 1 million students will attend Florida’s colleges and universities, with the many associated costs. The average student will borrow more than $7,200 each year to attend college. For Westminster Communities of Florida team members and their family members, however, a few minimum requirements and an application are all that stand between them and access to educational aid to pursue their educational goals.

Each year, Westminster’s Team Member Scholarship Fund provides more than 75 scholarships to team members throughout the state and raises more than $150,000 to support team members now and in the future.

“We have money! We have over $100,000 to distribute and we want to get rid of it,” said Ray Petty, chair of the Team Member Scholarship Fund Committee at Westminster Suncoast, our Life Plan Community in St. Petersburg.

The committee has approved nine scholarships in the last 12 months at Westminster Suncoast, just one of Westminster’s 10 Life Plan Communities. Other communities have many participants too: In 2023 alone, the Team Member Scholarship Fund distributed almost 60 scholarships and just shy of $110,000 of educational aid state-wide. In Orlando, a Certified Nursing Assistant at Westminster Towers is attending the registered nurse program at City College Orlando; Westminster St. Augustine’s Social Services and Admissions Director is taking on a Ph.D. program at Keiser University; and a Dining Server at Westminster Shores is pursuing a degree in psychology at St. Petersburg College, all with the help of the Team Member Scholarship Funds.

These funds are generous tax-deductible gifts made by residents wishing to express their appreciation for team members. Their donations provide financial aid for qualified team members to engage in post-high school educational studies at local universities, colleges and professional training centers. The scholarship also extends to family members who are financially dependent on the team member.

Registered Nurse Gabina Jean was introduced to the Team Member Scholarship Fund when her daughter Gabriella started college. Gabina has been caring for patients in the Rapid Recovery Unit at Westminster Woods on Julington Creek, our Life Plan Community in Jacksonville, since 2012, and after utilizing the fund to assist with her daughter’s college education, Gabina was encouraged to apply for the scholarship herself by one of her co-workers.

Today, both mother and daughter are pursuing advanced degrees with assistance of the Team Member Scholarship Fund. For Gabina, a Master of Science in nursing with a specialization in psychiatric mental health nursing from the University of St. Augustine, and for her daughter Gabriella, a degree in health sciences from the University of North Florida, with plans to graduate this fall. Combined they have received more than $20,000 to further their education from the community’s Team Member Scholarship Fund.

Gabina said the support of her fellow team members, supervisors, scholarship fund committee members and residents has been incredible. “The people at the community that donate the money, they come to me and say, ‘I’m so glad to see that the money I gave is helping you!‘” Gabina said.

The funds are unique in that the scholarships are not required to be used for the benefit of the organization; instead, the money is allocated to meet the educational interests of the team member.

“We approve something that the team member wants, not something that Westminster Suncoast wants,” Mr. Petty said. “In other words, what they’d like to study is what we provide the scholarship for. For example, we had a lady that did nail science and she’s having a ball with it!”

For many, receiving the Team Member Scholarship is a jumping off point for them to pursue their personal passions.

“One of the team members who works in the kitchen is getting his degree in physical therapy,” Mr. Petty said. “We also had a young lady who is a CNA (Certified Nursing Aide) who wanted to become a phlebotomist. She had to go to a special school here in Pinellas County which prepares them for the phlebotomy exam, and we paid for that. There are only 15 people admitted to the program and there were 50 applicants and she got in.”

“I feel like it’s an easy process,” college senior Gabriella said about her time applying and reapplying for the scholarship over the last three years. “There’s two short essays, three prompts, you fill out your information — it is easy to apply.”

What stands between team members and the scholarship is the application process, and having been through it multiple times, team member Gabina encouraged her coworkers to take the plunge and apply.

“I keep telling people about the scholarship, my coworkers and everybody, and most of them are afraid of the process,” she said. “Don’t overthink it. Just go and do it! Start the process and ask questions. There’s always somebody that is going to help you.”

The support for team members extends beyond financial support for recipients of the scholarship. At Westminster Suncoast, they try to pair recipients with team members or residents who have experience in the area they’re studying.

The same support resonates at our Life Plan Community 217 miles away at Westminster Woods on Julington Creek. Gabina recounted how Elaine Goleski, chair of their Team Member Scholarship Fund committee, stays in contact and routinely reaches out to offer encouragement. “She’s very involved,” Gabina said. “Residents and team members, everybody follows up! For me they are very supportive.”

At Westminster Communities of Florida, we recognize and encourage our team members’ pursuit of personal passions. With the Team Member Scholarship Fund, the 2,700 team members throughout the state and their families have the opportunity to pursue their educational goals and further their careers without the financial burden.

To join the team at Westminster Communities of Florida, serve seniors throughout the state and pursue your personal passion, find the opportunity that suits you today at!

Beat the Heat with our Community Dimension of Well-Being

Living in a community brings many benefits to our lives, from fostering meaningful connections to providing a sense of purpose and belonging. It is also important to consider how our lifestyle and choices impact our community, both environmentally and socially.

This week, we’re exploring the community dimension of well-being and showing how you can thrive in your community this summer. At Westminster Communities of Florida, we strive to provide our residents with opportunities to make their community a part of their well-being. From understanding and valuing how your personal lifestyle and choices impact our community to introducing ways to embrace community every day, we’re diving into how to make your community a part of your overall well-being.

Be dedicated to making the community your home.

Being part of a community is a fundamental part of well-being. Creating meaningful connections with others and feeling like you belong somewhere helps to foster personal growth and improve your overall well-being. That’s why we believe it’s so important to dedicate yourself to making the community your home. Investing in your local area by getting involved in local activities, volunteering, or joining community groups can all help to create lasting relationships with those around you and fill your life with purpose.

It doesn’t stop there either; getting involved in community activities provides an opportunity for people to come together and celebrate common goals, values, and beliefs. Studies show that participating in communal activities results in increased feelings of satisfaction and contentment—so it’s no surprise that dedicating yourself to making your community your home has such positive effects on mental health.

Understand how your personal lifestyle and choices impact our community.

It is important to recognize that the choices we make as individuals have an impact on our community, both environmentally and socially. We must be mindful of how our lifestyle and choices can affect the well-being of others in our community and take steps to ensure that we are creating a safe, healthy environment for everyone.

On the environmental side, small changes in lifestyle can have a big impact. Simple things like buying local produce or using reusable containers instead of disposable plastics can help reduce pollution and waste in our community. We can also choose to use public transportation or carpooling when possible or walk or bike instead of driving for short distances. These small changes add up to create a cleaner, healthier environment for everyone in our community.

Socially responsible actions are equally important when it comes to community well-being. Participating in local events such as clean-up days or fundraisers helps build social cohesion within the neighborhood and strengthens connections between members of the community. Additionally, supporting local businesses helps foster economic growth and development within the area which benefits everyone in some way.

At Westminster Communities of Florida, we provide scheduled transportation, reducing the number of cars on the roads. Our dining teams source local farmers markets for ingredients used in our dishes, and even use fresh herbs and vegetables grown in our resident-cultivated gardens. Residents have plenty of chances for social interaction from volunteering and putting together backpacks filled with school supplies to donate to local students in need, to holding events featuring goods from local businesses, our communities are a great place to support the local community.

Ways to embrace community every day

We all have the power to make a positive impact on our community every day. It’s as simple as choosing to be conscious of how we interact with those around us and to take an active role in bettering our neighborhood and city. Here are some practical tips to embrace community every day:

  1. Get involved: Participate in local events or join a club or organization that works towards making your community better. This could include volunteering at a food bank, cleaning up your local park, or helping out with an animal rescue organization. Not only is this beneficial for the people around you, but it also gives you an opportunity to meet new people and explore new interests.
  2. Shop locally: Choose local stores over big chains whenever possible to support small businesses and keep money circulating within the community. Buying locally-made products also helps reduce environmental costs associated with large-scale production and transport of goods from other places.
  3. Give back: Donating time or money to causes that are important to you is a great way to make a difference in your community without even leaving home! Whether it’s donating items that can be reused or recycled, giving money directly to charities, or providing mentorship through volunteering opportunities—everyone can make an impact no matter their financial means or availability of time.

Strive to make an impact in your community

Taking steps to embrace your community every day can have a positive effect on your well-being. At Westminster Communities of Florida, we recognize the importance and provide our residents with opportunities to get involved, frequent local businesses, and give back.

When you choose to live at a Westminster community, you’ll have access to opportunities and programming with all eight of our dimensions of well-being in mind, including supporting our local community. Learn more about the lifestyle you can enjoy and find the community near you today!

The Importance of Physical Activity: Wellness Programs with Westminster

Florida’s sun doesn’t just light up the skies; it illuminates our lives here at Westminster Communities of Florida. Here, physical activity isn’t just about movement; it’s a symphony of experiences.

Ensuring your golden years shimmer with liveliness, we’ve devoted our community to creating a wellness program that caters to each resident’s unique needs. At Westminster, we believe in keeping both your body and mental wellbeing in excellent shape.

Physical Activity – The Joyous Rhythm of Life

Imagine waking up each day with an eagerness to embrace new adventures. That’s the lifestyle we envision for our residents at Westminster! For our younger seniors, those who still have mountains to climb and oceans to sail, staying active keeps the winds of adventure blowing in their sails.

In the same way, if you’re envisioning a haven for your loved one, we know you imagine a place filled with laughter, energy, and zest. Westminster pledges to be that vibrant sanctuary for all our residents.

Embracing Our My W Life Program

At Westminster, we’ve given it a lot of thought, and we’ve come up with something truly special for our residents: the My W Life program. Wellness isn’t just about doing a few stretches in the morning or having a salad for lunch (though both sounds pretty good!). We believe wellness touches every aspect of our lives, from our bodies to our spirits and everything in between.

Let us break down the aspects of our program for you:

Physical Wellness: We’re not talking just any old fitness classes. Our offerings are all about reaching your personal best, making those smart health choices, and knowing when to seek a helping hand.

Lifelong Learning: Keep that brain of yours buzzing! Whether you’re diving into the arts, picking up some Spanish, or gazing at the stars (thanks, Hubble Telescope!), there’s always something new to learn and explore.

Nutritional Wellness: Picture this: delectable, restaurant-style meals that not only taste amazing but also nourish your body. That’s our goal at Westminster’s communities!

Social & Community Connection: Here, it’s all about bonding and belonging. Strengthen ties with family, make new friends, and immerse yourself in a community that truly values the environment and social harmony.

Emotional Balance: Life can be a roller coaster, and that’s okay! We’re here to help you navigate the highs and lows, express yourself, and find that ever-important emotional equilibrium.

Spiritual Growth: Seeking deeper meaning? We’re on the journey with you, supporting you in aligning your actions with those core beliefs and values that make you, well, YOU.

Vocational Pursuits: Remember those passions and skills you’ve honed over the years? There’s always a place for them here. Dive into volunteer programs or partner with the community to keep that spark alive.

So, when we talk about the My W Life program, it’s not just a program; it’s a lifestyle, a commitment, and a promise we make to all our residents.

Fitness Tailored to Individual Flair

Westminster isn’t one-size-fits all. We understand that every individual has their unique story, everyone has their own unique rhythm. That’s why our fitness initiatives, inspired by the vast resources at Westminster Communities, span a spectrum. From cutting-edge gym facilities to aquatic workouts that merge fun with fitness, choices abound. And for those who seek tranquility with a touch of spirituality, our yoga sessions resonate with peace and poise.

Embracing Nature’s Embrace

Life at Westminster extends beyond the gym walls. Step outside, and nature beckons with open arms. Walking isn’t just about physical exercise; it’s a journey through lush landscapes, where each step reveals a story and every corner whispers a secret. For those with a green thumb, gardening opportunities are a canvas. Plant a seed, nurture it, watch it grow – it’s not just gardening; it’s the creation of life, mirroring the new beginnings our residents experience here daily.

The Rhythmic Pulse of Dance and Music

A community that dances together, thrives together. Dance is an expression, a celebration, and at Westminster, it’s a way of life. It’s not just about steps; it’s about expressing oneself, feeling the music, and letting go. And for those who prefer serenading to sashaying, music programs promise harmony in every note, striking chords that resonate deep within.

To describe life at Westminster Communities as just “retirement living” would be an understatement; it’s reimagining what life in the golden years can be like. Through our commitment, epitomized by programs like My W Life, we’re not merely offering a place to live. We’re offering a realm where every day is a canvas, waiting for our vibrant residents to paint it with their dreams, hopes, and adventures. Every sunrise at Westminster’s communities brings new opportunities, every activity sparks a new passion, and every resident feels at home.

Why Choose Florida? The Advantages of Retiring in the Sunshine State

Have you ever seen a Florida sunset just melting into the ocean, lighting up the sky in hues of gold and purple? Or maybe you’ve strolled around the lively cultural festivals, soaked up the art scenes, or just enjoyed the laid-back, flip-flop lifestyle that Florida embraces. It’s a little piece of paradise that makes every day feel like a vacation. But for seniors, Florida has got an extra sprinkle of magic. It’s not just about the sun-kissed beaches or the palm trees swaying in the breeze. The Sunshine State delivers real, practical benefits that can turn retirement into a grand new adventure. So, grab a cup of coffee and let’s dive into why Florida, especially within a retirement haven like Westminster Communities, is the perfect spot to put your feet up and relish your golden years.

Weather and Natural Beauty

Think about this – how amazing would it be to wake up to sun-drenched days almost 365 days a year? That’s Florida for you. We live in one of those rare spots where you can hit the golf course, take a boat ride, or just wander along the beach nearly every single day. And let’s not forget about the lush green parks, teeming with all sorts of amazing critters, and those jaw-dropping sunsets that look like someone painted the sky. This isn’t your average beauty – it’s a bit of everyday magic that just adds an extra sparkle to life here.

Financial Advantages

Did you know Florida’s got your back when it comes to taxes? Seriously, no state income tax, no estate tax, and no inheritance tax. This means you get to keep more of your hard-earned retirement dough in your pocket. And when you’re living somewhere like Westminster, where all your care needs are rolled into one steady price, managing the budget gets a whole lot easier. It’s a win-win for all of us in our golden years.

Quality Healthcare

Guess what else is great about Florida? We’ve got some of the best healthcare around, and that’s a big deal when you’re looking for a place to retire. Plenty of places here focus specifically on our needs as we age, making sure we get the top-tier care we need, tailored just for us.

And if you’re kicking back at Westminster, you’re all set. We have a whole spectrum of care covered, from residents who just need a little help now and then to those who need more specialized professional nursing care. The best part? Even if your health needs change, you’re close at hand to the care you need. You get to stay right there, in your own community, with the same friendly faces and caring staff you’ve come to know and trust.

Rich Cultural and Recreational Opportunities

Retiring in Florida is anything but boring. This state is bursting at the seams with fun stuff to do. Fancy checking out some local art or getting your groove on at a concert? No problem – Florida’s got you covered. There’s always some fun event or happening in town.

And if you’re hanging your hat at Westminster, you’ll have an all-access pass to all the action. Our community allows access to everything from day trips to local hotspots, big social calendars, and even art classes if you’re feeling a bit creative. Life here isn’t just about taking it easy – it’s about staying busy, keeping your mind sharp, and most importantly, having a whole lot of fun.

Active and Connected Community

Being part of a community isn’t just about having people to wave good morning to. It plays a huge role in keeping our spirits high and minds sharp during our golden years. And in Florida? We’ve got this covered. With so many seniors choosing the Sunshine State, you’ll find plenty of folks who are right there with you.

At Westminster, we strive to create an environment where everyone is looking out for each other. That’s what we call real community living!

Choosing Florida for your retirement isn’t just about trading snow shovels for beach umbrellas. It’s about diving headfirst into a lifestyle that’s buzzing with activity, full of laughter, and rewarding in so many ways. And with top-tier healthcare around the corner and some sweet financial perks, it’s an easy decision.

Westminster Communities isn’t just a place to live, but a place to thrive, to discover new hobbies, and to make lifelong friends. It’s the kind of place where seniors aren’t just getting by, they’re living it up. No surprise then, that the Sunshine State is becoming the top pick for folks to spend their golden years. And at Westminster, we’re making sure that choice is one of the best you’ve ever made.

Personalized Gifts to Send your Grandkids Back-to-School in Style

It’s back-to-school time, and if you have grandkids or great-grandkids who are heading for a new year a learning, why not send them back to school with these personalized gifts?

These gifts include customized water bottles and pencil cases with the child’s name and favorite colors, or even a personalized school bag or backpack.

Pencil Case

Rainbow Glitter Pencil Case

Crayon Name Pencil Case

Large Letter Pencil Case

Keychains for backpack

Name Cut Out Keychain

Raised Name Keychain

Beaded Name Keychain

Name tags for school supplies

Holographic Name Tags

Mario Name Tags

Boho Name Tags


Classic Yellow Pencils

Pastel Color Pencils

Rainbow Pencils


Corduroy Backpack

Black With Leather Tag Backpack

Sleeping Animal Backpack

Water Bottles

Colorful Water Bottle

Mermaid Water Bottle 

Dinosaur Water Bottle

Achieving Emotional Wellbeing Through Our Eight Dimensions of Well-Being

At Westminster Communities of Florida, we believe that wellbeing is much more than just physical wellness, and that you must consider the entire being—body, mind and spirit—to be well. This summer, we’re diving into each of Westminster’s Eight Dimensions of Well-Being to guide you to whole-person wellbeing.

Your emotional state has a large effect on your overall wellbeing. Our emotional dimension is guided by a goal of understanding your feelings, accepting limitations and dealing with the stressors of daily life in order to achieve stability.

In this blog post, we’ll look at what causes stress in seniors, how to identify stress in older adults, and the top five ways to manage stress as a senior. Let’s get started!

What Causes Stress in Seniors?

Stress is an unavoidable part of life, and it can be especially difficult for seniors who are dealing with additional physical limitations. In fact, older adults experience higher levels of stress than younger adults due to a variety of factors, including changes in lifestyle, health issues and even financial concerns.

One of the most common causes of stress in seniors is isolation. As people age, they tend to become less socially active due to physical constraints or the loss of loved ones. This lack of connection can lead to feelings of loneliness and depression, which can then cause increased stress levels.

How to Identify Stress in Older Adults

Identifying stress in older adults can be difficult, as the signs and symptoms of stress may manifest differently than in younger people. Common signs of stress in seniors include physical changes such as sleeping problems, fatigue, headaches, and digestive issues. Behavioral changes such as increased irritability, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and social withdrawal are also common indicators of stress. Seniors may also experience a range of emotions such as anger, sadness, fear or guilt that they have difficulty managing.

Top 5 Ways to Manage Stress as a Senior

There are many strategies and techniques that can help. Here are five of the most effective ways to manage stress and anxiety in seniors:

  1. Get Regular Exercise: Exercise is one of the most beneficial activities for reducing stress levels, as it helps to increase endorphins and reduce cortisol levels. Incorporating aerobic activities such as walking, swimming or dancing into your daily routine can help reduce feelings of anxiety and depression. Yoga is also an excellent way to relax tense muscles while also calming the mind.
  2. Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a form of meditation that focuses on being aware and present in the moment without judgement or criticism. Focusing on your breathing, paying attention to your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them, and engaging in activities such as yoga or tai chi can be very helpful in managing stress.
  3. Talk it Over: Talking about our feelings with someone we trust or even a professional counsellor can be extremely beneficial when it comes to managing stress. It’s important to express our worries rather than keeping them bottled up inside which can lead to further problems down the line if not addressed properly.
  4. Make Time for Yourself: Taking time out for yourself every day is essential for maintaining emotional wellbeing as an older adult – whether that means going for a walk or simply taking some time out from your busy schedule for reading or doing something creative you enjoy. Allowing yourself some ‘me-time’ will help you stay focused on what really matters and allow you time to relax away from any sources of stress or anxiety you may be feeling at any given moment.
  5. Stay Connected: Staying connected with friends and family members helps seniors feel supported, loved, accepted and less isolated – all key elements when dealing with stressful situations. It doesn’t have to be a physical interaction either – social media platforms like Skype or FaceTime allow us to stay in touch without having to leave our homes which can be particularly useful if mobility is an issue due age-related illnesses such as arthritis.

Take Steps Towards Emotional Stability

Stress is an unavoidable part of life and can be especially difficult for seniors. It is important to take steps to identify and manage stress in seniors in order to maintain their overall wellbeing. By following these steps, seniors can be better equipped to handle the stressors of life and achieve a state of emotional stability.

When you choose to live at a Westminster Life Plan Community, you’ll have access to fun programming with all eight of our dimensions of wellbeing in mind, including addressing your emotional wellbeing. Learn more about the lifestyle you can enjoy at a Westminster community, and find the community near you today!

Staying Safe and Healthy with the Help of Technology

Technology has revolutionized the way we live, including providing numerous benefits for seniors. Aging presents challenges with mobility, health, and safety, but with the help of modern technology, these challenges can be mitigated, allowing seniors to live independently and with greater ease. From telemedicine and remote patient monitoring to fitness trackers and smart home systems, there are countless ways that technology can enhance the health and safety of seniors and keep them connected to loved ones. With the help of technology, seniors can continue to enjoy an active, independent lifestyle full of possibilities.

Improving Health and Safety

Technology plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and safety of older adults. For seniors living in remote areas, telemedicine, virtual visits and remote patient monitoring are invaluable services that provide access to medical care that may not otherwise be available. Those without reliable transportation or with other health issues preventing them from traveling can connect with a doctor or specialist remotely through video conferencing software or a phone call.

Fitness trackers are excellent for those who want to stay active and keep track of their daily physical activity goals. This data can even be shared with healthcare providers for better assessment of overall wellbeing. For those needing to keep track of medications, making use of digital medication management tools ensure seniors never miss a dose prescribed by their medical professional.

Smart Home Safety for Seniors

Equipping your home with smart devices is another way that technology can help seniors remain independent and safe at home. With smart home technologies like smoke detectors or carbon monoxide sensors installed in their homes, seniors can be alerted to potential dangers quickly so they can take prompt action if needed. Medical alert systems also provide an easy way to contact emergency personnel in case of an accident or illness. Smart sensors installed in the home can detect falls and alert caregivers if assistance is needed, while automated lighting systems can save energy and provide illumination for those with poor eyesight.

Digital Tools to Enhance Social Connections

Technology also helps seniors stay connected with friends and family. With digital tools like video chat, social media, and email, seniors can easily keep in touch with loved ones, no matter the distance. These tools also offer access to online communities where seniors can build relationships with like-minded individuals. Social networks are a great way for seniors to find others who share similar interests and hobbies. Online forums make it possible for them to ask questions of experts in various fields and receive advice from people all over the world. In addition to providing sources of entertainment and companionship, these online communities can be invaluable resources when it comes to staying up-to-date on important news or topics of interest.

The Westminster Advantage

Living in a Westminster community puts all these technological opportunities within reach – providing seniors with access not only to cutting edge technology but also support from staff members who are ready to help them learn how to use it.

Westminster Communities of Florida also offers a MyWLife App, an app for your phone or iPad that keeps you in touch with everything that is happening at the community. Residents also have access to MyWAssistant, a special, Alexa-enabled voice assistant package that they can use to learn about the day’s calendar of lifestyle activities, find out the dining menu and more. Because MyWAssistant is powered by Alexa, it can also control their lights, thermostats and more.

Living in a Life Plan Community offers the assurance of services and amenities to improve your lifestyle, like housekeeping and transportation services, plus a plan in place for the future, should your needs change, allowing seniors to remain independent while having access to any necessary help if needed.

Overall, technology has many advantages when it comes to helping seniors age gracefully while maintaining an independent lifestyle full of possibilities. With technological advancements such as telemedicine, smart sensors, automated lighting systems, social media platforms, online stores and delivery services – all accessible from Westminster communities – aging doesn’t have to mean sacrificing safety or convenience!

To learn more about how technology is enhancing lifestyles at a Westminster community today, find the location near you!

Beat The Heat With Our Social Dimension of Wellbeing

Westminster Communities of Florida has developed our MyWLife Program and its Eight Dimensions of Wellness, one of these eight dimensions is social. While being social isn’t always as easy as it sounds, it’s important to our health at all ages of life, and is integral to wellness in our latter years. It helps to reduce depression and anxiety, and can even provide a sense of purpose.

As we age, it can become harder to stay social. Seniors may lose connections with their friends, and don’t know where to make new ones. Our bodies and minds may limit our ability to get out, or we may struggle to find the energy for activities we used to enjoy. But Westminster’s MyWLife program for well-being of body, mind and spirit can be the cure: Our Resident Experience teams specialize in social well-being, and they have the needs and interests of residents in mind. They curate a calendar of fun and exciting opportunities to be social — every day!

And the summertime is no different when it comes to planning fun events!

So far this summer, every community has held so many actives. Some of our favorites include a resident dog show, a water volleyball game between residents and team members, art gallery visits and so much more!

But the summer isn’t over yet! There are still so many more things to come. Here are just a few of the upcoming events at Westminster’s Life Plan communities:

  • Line Dancing Lessons
  • Mystery Dinner
  • Comedy House Trip
  • Musical Dining Experience
  • Puppy Play Dates
  • Museum Visits
  • And more!

So no matter which Westminster Community our residents are at, they have countless opportunities to get out and make new friends, spend time with the ones they have, and get have a great time!

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