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We Enjoy Active Living, Fun and Games in the Sun At The Fourth Annual St. Pete Games

February 16, 2018

At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida enjoyed Westminster’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG, February 16, 2018 – In the sunlight on a pleasant Friday afternoon at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, nearly 400 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from nine active senior living communities around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together for Westminster’s fourth annual St. Pete Games. This year’s event featured outdoor lawn games and a tai chi demonstration by the residents. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! Attendees competed as teams by community in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.

The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed tai chi, corn hole, ring toss, a foam javelin throw and more — plus live music and dancing. Eckerd College students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

Garry Hennis, Westminster Communities of Florida chief operating officer, celebrated the day’s intent. “Today is all about fun — and we know that Westminster knows how to have fun!” Hennis said. “Let’s go and enjoy the great outdoors!”

“We’re so glad to be celebrating with great weather, wonderful music and a great time together,” said Eckerd College chaplain Doug McMahon. “On behalf of our president and everyone here at Eckerd College, welcome!” The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida.

More than 400 residents were at this year's St. Pete Games from all around the state. "We came down from Tallahassee, and we're having a really good time here," said Sue Gambill, a resident at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee. "My best event was cornhole. I did really bad in some events. But I still had fun!"

"I'm out here to have fun! I stay active and have a good time in this beautiful weather," said Buz Smith of Bradenton. "My community, Westminster Point Pleasant, is going to win!"

Congratulations to this year's winners: First place went to to Westminster Towers of Orlando! Second place was Westminster Point Pleasant of Bradenton, and third place to Westminster Shores of St. Petersburg.

Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.

 

Westminster Communities of Florida Thanks Employees for Legendary Service During Hurricane Irma

September 19, 2017

When Hurricane Irma approached Florida, the seniors we serve around the state were at risk. As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, we’re thankful to have the support of so many who helped provide for our residents throughout the storm and power outages—especially our employees. Our staff spent countless hours in their communities to ensure the safety of our residents and we are grateful for their dedication and service. Click and enlarge the image below to read the letter from CEO Roger Stevens, COO Garry Hennis and CFO Hank Keith to all employees.

September 18, 2017

Dear Westminster employees,

A little more than a week ago, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. The devastation in the Caribbean, the Florida Keys, and throughout Southwest Florida that we have seen on the news and via social media is simply heartbreaking.

Every one of our communities, and every member of our extended family of residents and employees, was affected in some way. In preparing for the storm, continuing to serve through it, and cleaning up in the aftermath, your service to our Ministry and Mission of serving residents was truly extraordinary. Some of you sheltered in place; others evacuated to their sister communities, or to points beyond. In every case, your hard work allowed our communities to continue without a hitch, from nursing support, to dining services, to lifestyle and wellness, to maintenance and housekeeping.

Last week, a member of our Management Support Services staff, who volunteered to help serve residents in one of our communities, described with tears in her eyes how our community staff selflessly worked long hard hours supporting, serving and encouraging residents through the storm. Through your tireless efforts, we were able to ensure the safety of all of the residents.

We are fortunate to have the best employees and teams around. You are why our residents chose to live at a Westminster community!

We thank you all for going above and beyond the last several days helping us achieve our Christian Mission of serving older adults. We appreciate you all so much!

Sincerely,

Roger Stevens, Chief Executive Officer

Garry Hennis, Chief Operating Officer

Hank Keith, Chief Financial Officer

 

Westminster Gets "Chopped": Culinary competition brings the heat

June 27, 2017

For our chefs, culinary skills aren't just about keeping a sharp knife. July may be National Culinary Month, but the Westminster Communities of Florida dining teams are taking a bite at excellence already! Last week, we had an all-day training highlighted by a special "Chopped" culinary competition, held in the Acosta Foodservice kitchen in Orlando.

Each team of five chefs had one hour to make an appetizer, entree and two sides, using the same food basket of ingredients: Chicken breasts, sausage, cabbage, bananas, granola and more – and they set out to create the best appetizer, entree and sides.

In the end, the dishes had to withstand the heat of the judges. They scored each team based on their creative use of the ingredients, taste and presentation. Each team had to present their plate and explain the ingredients, cooking technique and inspiration. Beyond the food basket, they had use of a fully stocked pantry to assist them in creating the dishes.

The competition to win was fierce. Resident Experience Mario DeLuca said, "I wasn't surprised that the competition was so intense. We've developed a strong culinary team that has exceptional cookery skills and a true passion for food and the culinary arts. It's very rewarding."

Although the competition was intense, two stunning dishes were presented by the winning team to the judges: A flank steak bruschetta appetizer served on sweet banana tostones, and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and polenta, and an entree of granola-crusted chicken breast with a chorizo and root vegetable hash, slaw of napa cabbage and plum, and a balsamic molasses drizzle.

Congratulations to the winning team, composed of Westminster Winter Park Executive Chef Elijah Durham, Westminster Woods on Julington Creek Dining Services Director David Graham, Westminster Suncoast Executive Chef Kenny Hunsberger, and Westminster Point Pleasant Assistant Dining Services Director Melissa Paul.

Chef Durham said, "I had a great time! As a chef who was new to the organization, I was honored to be able to work with Chef Kenny, Melissa and David. Our team had great comradery and organization. We listened to each other's ideas and executed them well. I was very happy with our team and our placement in the competition, and very much look forward to the next competition!"

"Chopped" and trainings like it are all part of our commitment to enhancing the resident dining experience and providing training opportunities for all of our team members. After all, dining is one of the dimensions of our exclusive My W Life program.

 

SENIORS ENJOY ACTIVE LIVING, FUN AND GAMES IN THE SUN WITH WESTMINSTER COMMUNITIES OF FLORIDA

March 6, 2017

At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida
enjoyed the organization’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG, March 6, 2017 – In the bright sun on a pleasant day last Friday afternoon, more than 300 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together at Eckerd College’s GO Pavilion for Westminster’s third annual St. Pete Games. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! The attendees competed as teams in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.

The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed shotput, horseshoes, putting, lawn darts, croquet and more, plus live music and dancing. Eckerd students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

“What a beautiful day! I’m glad to be here and having so much fun,” said Terry Arnn, a resident at Westminster Winter Park, who traveled down to St. Petersburg for the day. “It’s been great seeing the smiles and the positive attitude. Plus, I was 5-for-5 in lawn darts!”

The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida. “Welcome back!” said Eckerd chaplain Douglas McMahon. “Our partnership with Westminster has grown so much through the years. We’re fortunate to have here two institutions with a passion for lifelong learning.”

Marcia Mensing, a resident at Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, said that she had been at all three games. “I love seeing everyone outside and active,” Mensing said. “Wow, it’s nice seeing everyone in such a different context.”

Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.

More than 300 residents took part in the Games, including shotput, horseshoes and more.

It's '90s again -- employees and residents dance the Macarena!

Several residents competed in croquet, another of the 10 games available for competition.

In the end, the winners were Westminster Suncoast, Westminster Shores and Westminster Manor. Congratulations to all the teams!

 

Westminster Communities of Florida Partners with Florida State for Heart Health

February 8, 2017

Westminster Communities of Florida is celebrating Heart Health Month this year by offering "Taking Care of Your Heart Health" seminars throughout the state, in partnership with the Florida State University College of Medicine.

In February, classes will be offered in Bradenton, Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee. In these classes, teams of medical students in their third and fourth years give presentations to seniors with useful knowledge on their wellbeing. More than 70 medical students have participated, giving presentations to hundreds of Westminster residents. The current topic is the third series of health-related presentations, starting with "Brain Health" in spring of 2016 and followed by "Fall Prevention" last summer.

Sandra Knoble, Director of Quality Initiatives for Westminster, facilitates the project, part of a research grant with FSU. "We are proud to partner with the FSU College of Medicine and we are glad for the opportunity to provide these classes to seniors who would not have such opportunities," says Knoble.

This program is part of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project (GWEP), focusing on educating seniors on better health and better communication with their physicians. The student facilitators are mentored by local physicians and adjunct faculty in preparation for post-graduate work experience. The FSU College of Medicine prepares the content for these programs and provides presentation scripts to the medical students. The students are equipped with an action plan to lead their teaching, as well as handouts of resources that would be relevant for seniors. Afterward, the seniors are encouraged to ask questions and develop personal action plans to increase healthy behaviors.

Heart health classes began in January and will continue throughout the spring. Previously, the classes offered included "Brain Health" and "Fall Prevention."

"The classes are limited to 20 older adults," says Knoble. "This class size fosters better interpersonal reaction between the participants and the medical students giving the presentations."

The program has encouraged more than 200 seniors to learn more about their personal health and wellbeing.

To learn more about the program and upcoming presentation dates, contact Jennifer Gilmour at (941) 746-9425.

 

Westminster Recognizes the Legendary Service of Employees During Hurricane Matthew

January 17, 2017

We recognize our employees throughout the state for their legendary service when Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast of Florida. After Westminster Woods on Julington Creek and Riverside Presbyterian House, both in Jacksonville, were ordered to evacuate, our dedicated team members throughout the state pitched in to continue to provide the highest level of service to our residents.

In appreciation, our executive leadership team presented proclamations of thanks to the communities of:

  • Westminster Woods on Julington Creek (Jacksonville)
  • Riverside Presbyterian Apartments (Jacksonville)
  • Riverside Presbyterian House (Jacksonville)
  • Westminster Manor (Bradenton)
  • Westminster Point Pleasant (Bradenton)
  • Westminster Asbury (Cocoa)
  • Westminster Canterbury (Daytona Beach)
  • College Arms Towers (DeLand)
  • Hugh Ash Manor (DeLand)
  • Westminster Towers (Orlando)
  • Westminster Winter Park (Orlando)
  • Westminster Oaks (Tallahassee) 

The staff of these communities worked long hours through the storm to provide shelter, food, care and entertainment for more than 100 residents and employees from the two communities evacuated. We extend a heartfelt thanks to the employees and residents of Westminster Communities of Florida for their dedication to our Mission and touching lives through service to the residents and staff of our organization.

Westminster Woods on Julington Creek

Riverside Presbyterian Apartments

Riverside Presbyterian House

Westminster Winter Park

Westminster Towers

Westminster Manor of Bradenton

 

UCF Veterans History Project interviews Westminster Towers residents to tell the stories of their service

November 11, 2016

In honor of Veterans Day, Westminster Towers was proud to host the UCF Veterans History Project to interview residents for their stories of how they served the United States in World War II and the Korean War. UCF students studying history conduct the interviews, whose goal is to capture the personal side of the wars that changed the face of America.

Tiffany Rivera, UCF Assistant Director of Educational and Training Programs, says, "So many veterans say to us, 'Oh, I don't have a story.' Well, yes, you do. Everyone has a story, a personal story, and we find many of our veterans have never shared their stories before, not even to family members."

At Westminster Towers, in downtown Orlando, a number of veterans have participated in these interviews in 2015 and 2016. This year, among many residents, UCF students interviewed David Kopf, 84, who recounted the night he found out that the Korean War had ended, and Thelma Anderson, 89, a former Naval training officer who recounted instilling discipline in her charges.

Read more about their stories from Orlando Sentinel reporter Kate Santich at OrlandoSentinel.com or on the Veterans History Project Web site.

Westminster Communities of Florida salutes those who have served the United States honorably, including the countless veterans among the residents we serve.

 

Westminster Towers Forms a Ribbon for Breast Cancer Awareness

October 21, 2016

Friday, October 21—On the putting green at Westminster Towers this morning, the Westminster family, came out to show support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. More than 100 people formed a pink ribbon, including residents and employees of Westminster Towers and Westminster Communities of Florida. The month of October is recognized nationally for increasing awareness and raising funds for breast cancer research.

This is part of our mission-driven commitment to wellbeing and our ongoing efforts to create awareness of breast cancer and the struggle for a cure.

Westminster Communities of Florida supports Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

 

'A Credit to Him': Westminster Towers's Thelma Wilkerson reflects on living the Westminster Communities of Florida Mission for 40 years

September 16, 2016

Assisted Living Coordinator Thelma Wilkerson celebrates 40 years at Westminster Towers.

By Wes Meltzer, Director of Communications

ORLANDO, September 16, 2016 – Thelma Wilkerson will soon celebrate 40 years of working at Westminster Towers. That's not just any milestone – it's an event. In anticipation of her anniversary, Thelma attributed this accomplishment to God. "My faith has been my strongest hold," she said. "I believe that you have to exemplify that faith every day. To have been able to do this for so long is a credit to Him."

If things had gone differently on her first day, in September, 1976, it might've been her last! She had no car and had to ride the bus and walk from the bus stop to work. Not realizing how long it would take her, she was late for her very first day. Fortunately, her supervisor saw her rain-drenched clothes and helped her out that day -- with the reminder that she needed to be on time in the future. Forty years later, Thelma is still there.

When Thelma started as a CNA, Westminster Towers had only been open for a year. There was no assisted living, and, she said, "Things were very different then." One thing about our organization has never changed: Thelma said that she had the support and dedication of her colleagues. She was promoted several times, and then began training in assisted living.

Today, she is the Assisted Living Coordinator, a job she began in 1998. "I am so thankful for the chance to be elevated, the chance to grow, and for the opportunity to train to do something more. I'm also thankful for my mentors," Thelma said. With their guidance, Thelma has been able to guide her team to provide great service to the residents and expand their services, including their ECC license in 2013.

"I never thought I'd still be here," she said with a smile. "Work hard, be steadfast and dedicated and eventually, your time will come. The organization will provide the support and education if you want it. And if you do, you, too, can be a 40-year employee one day!"

 

Detour Alert: FDOT to Close Part of Lucerne Circle on Tuesday, May 31

May 27, 2016

Please be aware that FDOT is closing a portion of the street that Westminster Towers is located on! Lucerne Circle will be closed where it crosses under State Route 408, beginning Monday, May 31, and is expected to be closed approximately eight months.

We will continue to offer complimentary valet parking for your convenience. However, you will have to access the Westminster Towers main entrance via a detour.

To detour around the closure, please use West Gore Street and South Lucerne Terrace, then turn right on America Street and right again on Lucerne Circle.

More information from FDOT (PDF)

 

We are thankful for our Employees and Volunteers of the Year

March 18, 2016

ORLANDO — Westminster Communities of Florida threw its 18th Annual Awards Banquet to celebrate its wonderful Employees of the Year and Volunteers of the Year, on Thursday, March 17.

There are so many accomplishments to celebrate: more than 140 employees were “caught in the act” of providing Legendary Service in 2015. We also had the help of more than 2,300 volunteers.

At the banquet we acknowledged the best of 2015 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Our theme was “You’re in the Movies!” complete with a red carpet and the flashbulbs of the Westminster paparazzi.

Read their stories about their wonderful contributions!

We want to thank all of Westminster Communities of Florida’s wonderful employees and volunteers for making this such a great organization; and to the Board of Directors and the Banquet Committee for making this event possible.

 

Better baking with Pillsbury's Gold Medal

March 16, 2016

Westminster Oaks Chef Oral Webb and Westminster Towers baker Rhonda Steele learn to make Black Forest cookies (below).

By Mario DeLuca, Westminster Communities of Florida Director of Dining Services

Cookies, muffins and cakes never tasted so good — introducing the new Gold Medal box-scratch program by Pillsbury, Westminster Communities of Florida's new baking partner!

You may remember the Pillsbury Doughboy, aka “Poppin’ Fresh,” that we all grew up on and enjoyed baking their products. As part of our dining program, we will now be offering fresh-baked goods made with this iconic brand to our residents.

To help us grow, Gold Medal sent their corporate baking partners, including Orlando baker Trina Gregory, to train the entire Westminster dining team in hands-on baking training in March! We made sweet potato coffee cake, Black Forest cookies, mint chocolate chip cupcakes and more, all using Gold Medal mixes and added baking ingredients.

 

Westminster Communities of Florida Wins 2 Awards in 2015 National Mature Media Awards Program

August 27, 2015

ORLANDO, August 27, 2015 — Westminster Communities of Florida was a winner in the 24th annual National Mature Media Awards Program. The program, presented by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearing-house for the senior market, recognizes the nation’s finest marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs designed and produced for older adults.

The Westminster Shores “Announcing Bay Breeze” marketing campaign received a Silver Award in the category of Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. The series of direct mail pieces and advertisements in St. Petersburg helped the successful launch of Westminster Shores’s new Bay Breeze waterfront independent-living building. We congratulate Westminster Shores Executive Director Michael Shaw and the Westminster Shores marketing and sales team for their work in the campaign.
“Why Hang a Picture,” at Westminster Towers, received a Bronze Award in the category of Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. This direct mail and advertising campaign provided a look outside the spectacular picture-view windows of this community in downtown Orlando. We congratulate Westminster Towers Executive Director Lin Ferrol and the Westminster Towers marketing and sales team for their work in the campaign.

Those involved with the art direction and design of the campaigns were Vice President of Sales and Marketing Nicole Muller, Director of Communications Wes Meltzer, and Graphic Designer Chris Ware.
“We were honored to be selected as a winner, among so many great entries,” Muller said. “Westminster Communities of Florida was delighted to take part in the Mature Media Awards Program this year.”

The entries were judged by a distinguished panel of mature market experts from across the United States for overall excellence of design, content, creativity and relevance to the senior market.

About Westminster Shores: Westminster Shores is an active senior living community overlooking the Tampa Bay’s Little Bayou. Our beautiful campus nestled along the waterfront combines neighborhoods of single-family homes and detached villas with newly constructed waterfront apartment homes. We have served senior adults in St. Petersburg for more than 60 years, with an emphasis on exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Towers: Enjoy “Downtown Living At Its Best” at Westminster Towers, ideally located in downtown Orlando on the shore of beautiful Lake Lucerne. Our gardened, pocket campus offers beautiful residential choices in a high-rise building with spectacular skyline views. We have served senior adults in Orlando for more than 40 years, emphasizing exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, and backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Communities of Florida: Westminster Communities of Florida serves more than 6,000 residents in 19 active living communities around 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.

 

Touching Lives Through Service: 2013 Report

September 26, 2014

Westminster Communities of Florida’s Mission is a mission of service to seniors throughout Florida, and that thread runs through everything we do.

As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, serving the broader communities we serve is just one of the ways we can make an impact on the lives of those we serve. We provide benefits to the community in the form of housing, volunteer service, local partnerships, meeting space, hands-on training, clinical services, home care services, employment and service to low-income seniors.

Between our nine Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Orlando and Winter Park, we serve nearly 6,000 residents and more than 2,000 employees. Our residents and staff volunteers provided more than 200,000 hours of community service in 2013.

Our communities periodically prepare a Community Benefit Report, to celebrate these benefits. You can find these reports below for 2013, in PDF format.

Bradenton: Westminster Manor and Westminster Point Pleasant
Central Florida: Westminster Towers and Winter Park Towers
Jacksonville: Westminster Woods on Julington Creek
St. Petersburg: Westminster Palms, Westminster Shores and Westminster Suncoast
Tallahassee: Westminster Oaks

 

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