Hurricane Ian Update

Westminster Communities of Florida is closely monitoring Hurricane Ian, and our top priority is ensuring the safety and well-being of our residents and team members. We are actively planning and preparing for the storm and are taking all necessary precautions. We will provide updates as they become available and throughout the storm. Please click here for the most up-to-date news.

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4 Tips to Simplify Video Calls for Seniors

Staying connected is so important for seniors. Social interaction helps seniors stay engaged, motivated, and healthy. Today, social interaction is no longer limited to face-to-face encounters. 

With the help of technology, talking to family or friends is just a video call away. However, seniors don’t always catch on to new technologies as quickly as younger generations.

Here are four tips to simplify video calls for seniors

1. Invest in a Quality Device

To video call, you need a connected device like a computer, phone, or tablet. Newer models are user-friendly and have incorporated years of user testing into their designs. They also tend to be easier to use and fix, and they last longer than older models. 

If a senior uses an outdated or low-quality device, it can be less reliable and more difficult to navigate. In addition, low-quality devices usually come with other problems like poor battery life and minimal volume. 

Investing in a quality device will make things easier and more enjoyable. A good device can last years and become a staple in any senior’s home.

2. Choose a User-Friendly and Safe App

Selecting the right device is only half of the equation when it comes to video calls. Many apps on the market provide free video calling services, and some are more user-friendly than others. 

Do some research before downloading the app to make sure it is user-friendly and safe. Some apps are simple to use and only involve a few button clicks, while others are a bit more complicated. Many apps offer built-in tutorials to walk a new user through the steps and features.

Many apps are high quality and truly free. Others claim to be free but actually have ulterior motives. Seniors are more susceptible to internet scams, so make sure your app is reputable and trusted. 

3. Provide a Tutorial

Even for the most user-friendly devices and applications, a tutorial can always be helpful in learning how to navigate a video call. If you are helping a senior loved one, take some time to show them how to use their device and the app. Usually, it only takes one tutorial to empower them to use their new tool whenever needed.

4. Take It Slow

Today’s video calling devices and services have more features than ever before. From screen sharing to filters, video calls can offer a lot of features to advanced users. While these features can be helpful, they can also be overwhelming for seniors who are trying out the technology for the first time.

Especially when they are first starting, take it slow and only take on the simple calls at first. Make sure to answer all of their questions. Trying to introduce too much complexity at once can deter seniors from wanting to use the technology.

Stay Connected at Assisted Living Facilities in Orlando, Florida

Assisted living facilities in Orlando, Florida, offer wonderful communities where seniors have the chance to spend more time doing the things they love in a beautiful environment with convenient amenities. 

Seniors in assisted living also have plenty of opportunities to get involved in the community and meet new friends. Despite all that assisted living offers, it is still critical that seniors stay connected with family and friends, and they can easily do that through video calling. 

No matter where seniors live, whether in their own home, assisted living, or in an Orlando skilled nursing facility, they can stay in touch with the people they care about with just the click of a button. 

Shared Decision Making in Older Adults: How Important Is It?

As seniors enter a period in their lives when they need more support, there can be a lot of tough decisions to make; from finances to where to live to what kind of care is needed, it can be an uncertain time. Sometimes seniors need help in making the right decision for their future. 

However, family members and caregivers should never take over important decisions without input from the senior. Read on to learn how important shared decision-making is and how inclusive decision-making can make a difference to seniors.  

Shared Decision Making Is Critical for Older Adults

For most seniors, there comes a time when family or a caregiver naturally steps in to help provide support, and that often includes making decisions. 

Sometimes seniors experience cognitive decline and need help sorting out the implications of small and big decisions. However, seniors must remain a part of the decision-making process.

When older adults do not get to weigh in on decisions, it can lead to anxiety, frustration, and a sense of helplessness. If big decisions are being made about their future, they are likely already experiencing feelings of uncertainty. Making decisions and plans without them can increase the intensity of these feelings.

The opposite is true as well. If seniors are experiencing cognitive decline, it may not be a good idea to let them have total autonomy over important decisions. They may not realize the full consequences of their actions, and they can even be susceptible to undue influence from a friend or family member or fall victim to a scam

For these reasons, it is critical to ensure that any decisions are made together and all options are considered.

How Making Decisions Together Makes a Difference to Seniors

While it can be tempting to let seniors make their own decisions or just make decisions for them, this is generally not the right approach. Shared decision-making can make a big difference to seniors on several fronts.

Maintaining Independence

As seniors age, it’s not uncommon for them to lose a little independence. They may experience health challenges or mobility issues requiring a little more support. They may not be able to do everything they once did. Making decisions without them can further take away their independence.

Involving seniors in important decision-making gives them a sense of independence and makes them feel like they still have some autonomy in their lives.

Empowering Seniors

Involving seniors in decision-making can make them feel empowered and help ease feelings of uncertainty. Making decisions without them can take away their power and even lead to feelings of helplessness. 

Empower your loved one to weigh in on decisions and feel heard in the process. It can make a big difference in how they feel and in the overall relationship dynamic.

Ensuring Senior Safety

It’s important to always include seniors in decision-making, but a part of that is oversight to ensure safety. Sometimes caregivers or loved ones need to step in when a senior is making a decision that may pose a risk to their safety. 

For example, when seniors want to continue to use their home with stairs or drive a car, a third party may need to step in and ensure they remain safe. 

Inclusive Decision Making in Orlando, FL, Assisted Living

For seniors who need a little extra support in their day-to-day lives, Orlando, FL, assisted living can be a good option. Independent living in Orlando is another option for seniors who want to maintain an active lifestyle through retirement. 

Regardless of the senior’s needs, retirement communities offer beautiful facilities and amenities where seniors have an active role in the decisions that impact their lives.

What Is the Difference Between Independent Living and Assisted Living?

When it comes to retiring in Florida, seniors have many options for living accommodations. Living at home, transitioning to independent living, or moving into an assisted living community are all readily available choices. 

Because each senior has unique needs and preferences, they should learn the details about each option. There are a few key differences between assisted and independent living in Orlando.

Daily Services

One of the major benefits of transitioning to a retirement community is the convenience factor. Taking care of a home as a senior can be a major task, and retirement communities take some of this burden away. 

While both independent and assisted living facilities in Orlando, Florida, offer assistance with daily tasks, the level of service provided is different.

In independent living, residents receive the community benefits of security, landscaping, dining, housekeeping, and many other amenities. However, they do not receive a lot of extra support when it comes to things like cooking, managing schedules, or taking medication. 

On the other hand, assisted living residents receive more hands-on assistance and are usually responsible for fewer day-to-day tasks and chores.

Supportive Care

The level of supportive care needed is often the deciding factor when seniors are considering independent vs. assisted living. Seniors who need some degree of support are better suited for assisted living. 

Assisted living can provide a range of supportive care, from simple check-ins with nursing staff to more extensive assistance such as help with bathing and medication management. 

The best assisted living communities are set up to cater to the different levels of care needed. Some residents may need assistance only with selected tasks, while others may need around-the-clock support.

In independent living, residents have access to staff and support when they need them but generally don’t receive any day-to-day supportive care services. Independent living is intended for seniors who are still maintaining an active lifestyle and who do not need to be supported in carrying out daily activities.

Living Spaces

Privacy is of the utmost importance in any senior living community, so both independent and assisted living communities offer private residences for community members. 

Independent living community members may want a bit more space for things like activities and entertaining. Residents can choose from small studio units to two-bedroom open floor plan apartments. All living spaces are outfitted with everything a personal home would have to enable a fully independent lifestyle.  

While assisted living residences are also spacious and include all of the modern amenities, they also must be able to accommodate caregivers on a daily basis. They tend to be a bit more accessible and in some instances do not include things that may be a hazard to that particular resident, such as hot cooking surfaces or irons.

Family Involvement

Regardless of a senior’s status or ability, family is an important component of their life. In independent living, families are encouraged to visit as much as possible, and residents are encouraged to attend outings and activities off-campus with family members. 

Generally, the interaction between family and independent living staff will be minimal.

In assisted living, on the other hand, some seniors aren’t as mobile so families are encouraged to come on-site to visit rather than venturing out all of the time. In addition, families are often more involved with staff to ensure that their loved one is receiving the care they need. 

Family may also be involved in things like helping to coordinate medical visits or even making medical decisions.

Independent vs. Assisted Living Facilities in Orlando, Florida

Orlando is home to some of the best retirement communities in the country that cater to seniors of all abilities. Both independent and assisted living communities offer seniors the services, conveniences, and amenities that can make retirement enjoyable and allow seniors and their families to have total peace of mind.

Highlights of Living in Downtown Orlando

Orlando has been a premier retirement community in Florida for many years, and for good reason. With warm weather, ample activities, access to nature, and a bustling senior community, it is the perfect place to enjoy retirement. 

Whether you live alone, need daily support, or are exploring independent living facilities in Orlando, FL, the city has something for you.

Orlando is home to almost 300,000 people, so there are many different neighborhoods to choose from, from the heart of downtown to the outskirts of the city. Here are just a few highlights of living in downtown Orlando.

Arts and Culture

Orlando is home to a robust arts community that includes up-and-coming artist groups and several art galleries. From modern to contemporary to classic, Orlando is home to a diverse range of artists who share their work with the community. 

In addition, there are several art museums in the downtown area where residents can discover historic art and learn a bit about the history of Orlando at the same time.

For live art, there are frequent opportunities to see live music, shows, and theater in downtown Orlando. Whether you enjoy seeing a live pianist, a full-piece band, or community theater, the city has many options.

Dining

Downtown Orlando is home to some of the best restaurants in the city. Of course Orlando is known for its fresh seafood, but there’s so much more to explore. From traditional American fare to authentic cuisine from around the world, you can find it downtown. 

There are dozens of quaint lunch spots to spend the afternoon enjoying the weather. You also have countless options for both casual and fine dining. In addition to restaurants, you’ll find that downtown is home to unique coffee shops, bakeries, cheese shops, and more. 

Activities

Whether you are living independently or enjoying assisted living in Orlando, it’s important to stay active. A major benefit of downtown Orlando living is the access to activities. From sporting events to classes, you can easily find a new activity to do each day if you are so inclined. 

Between the minor and major leagues, you have the opportunity to see almost any sporting event you’d like, from football to baseball to hockey. You can even get involved in the downtown community’s youth sports events.

Lifelong learning is easier than ever in downtown Orlando. Take a cooking class, learn how to make pottery, or simply spend an afternoon reading in the library. 

There are also several colleges close to downtown, some of which open up classes to the general public. Consider taking a course on writing, a second language, or another topic you are interested in.

Access to Nature

While some downtown areas have failed to preserve any green space, Orlando has been very thoughtful in city planning and preserving nature throughout the city. You have access to multiple parks, walking trails, hiking paths, and more.

There are few downtown areas in the country that offer the green space that downtown Orlando does. Just steps away from the business of the shops and restaurants you can take a peaceful walk through the park or spend an afternoon bird watching.

Downtown Assisted Living in Orlando

Regardless of your mobility, living in downtown Orlando makes it easier than ever to maintain an active lifestyle through retirement. With so much to do just steps away from your community, you may find yourself busier than ever exploring new interests and making new friends. 

Whether you are looking for a relaxing and slow pace of retirement or an exciting lifestyle filled with new challenges, downtown Orlando can cater to you. 

3 Benefits of Assisted Living for Wheelchair-Bound Seniors

Wheelchair-bound seniors may have to make some adjustments to their way of life, but they should still have access to everything they need to enjoy retirement. Transitioning to assisted living in Orlando can make it much easier to get around and access not only daily necessities but also fun activities. 

Living at home or in an independent living community can be comfortable, but it can also be difficult to move from place to place in a wheelchair. Assisted living facilities are often constructed to better accommodate wheelchairs and seniors with limited mobility.

Here are three benefits of assisted living for wheelchair-bound seniors.

1. Safe and Accessible Spaces

Unlike family homes or some independent living communities, assisted living facilities are built to be easily accessible. You’ll never find a doorway or hallway that cannot fit a wheelchair. In addition, individual living spaces are often outfitted to accommodate wheelchair-bound seniors, so they can access anything they need without help.

This type of environment not only gives seniors access to services and amenities, but it also allows them to maintain a level of independence that just isn’t possible in most other living situations.

2. Help from a Caregiver 

One of the major benefits of assisted living in Orlando is access to caregivers. Even with accessible spaces and thoughtfully constructed living spaces, sometimes wheelchair-bound seniors need a little extra help. No matter what time of night or day it is, a caregiver is available to provide assistance. 

Caregivers in assisted living facilities are highly skilled and trained to accommodate seniors of all mobility levels. They know how to assist seniors while still allowing them to have their independence.

3. Transportation

For wheelchair-bound seniors, leaving their homes can be quite a challenge. Between accommodations that may be needed to access the outdoors and modifications that need to be made to vehicles, transportation is out of reach for many wheelchair-bound seniors.

Assisted living facilities are set up for wheelchair transportation and have all of the tools needed to make transportation easy and seamless. Seniors can get to and from appointments, family visits, entertainment, or other activities stress-free. 

Enjoy Retirement in Assisted Living in Orlando

With the help of dedicated staff, seniors who are wheelchair-bound can still enjoy all of the benefits that retirement has to offer in an Orlando skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility. From socializing with other residents to enjoying on-site and off-site activities, nothing is off-limits.

Admission Requirements: How to Qualify for Assisted Living

If you or your loved one is considering moving to an Orlando assisted living facility, there are a lot of factors to consider. You want to make sure that the facility can meet all of the needs of your loved one, employs quality caregivers, and is overall a good fit. 

If you have not explored assisted living options before, you may be surprised to know that there are admission requirements that must be met prior to transitioning to the community.

Read on to learn more about admission requirements and how to qualify for assisted living. 

Daily Assistance Is Necessary

While seniors can sometimes benefit from assistance when their mobility starts to decline, assisted living facilities cater to seniors who truly need help. In order to be eligible to live in an assisted living facility, seniors must need assistance in “activities of daily living.”

Activities of daily living include: 

  • Grooming
  • Bathing 
  • Dressing
  • Making meals and eating
  • Transitioning from sitting to standing, lying to sitting, etc. 
  • Handling basic toileting needs

Of course, determining when assistance is necessary is subjective, and it can be hard to know when exactly to make the move. The best thing you can do is talk to your loved one — along with the staff at an assisted living facility — about their daily living situation. 

Residents Must Be Predictable and Stable

To qualify for assisted living, residents must be predictable and stable. But what does that actually mean? 

Generally, predictability and stability mean that the senior can be looked after on a set schedule, even if it requires a high level of care, but they don’t require 24/7 care or monitoring. 

Residents who have medical conditions that are not under control may not be approved for assisted living. Similarly, seniors who have a history of violent or disruptive behavior may not qualify.

Qualifying for Orlando Assisted Living

If you or a loved one is looking into assisted living in Florida, the best thing you can do is talk to a health care provider and the staff at an individual assisted living facility during a tour

Staff can help walk you through the specific requirements for qualifying, and a healthcare provider can make recommendations on what type of living arrangements are best. You may find that an Orlando skilled nursing facility or another type of accommodation is more appropriate. 

With a little research, you can find a facility that is a good fit for the long term.

Congratulations To Our Volunteers and Team Members Of The Year

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

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

Volunteers of the Year

Team Members of the Year

Should You Sell Your Home to Pay for Assisted Living?

Housing cost is often a significant part of a senior’s monthly budget. Whether you’re living in your own home or in Orlando assisted living, you need to plan for housing expenses. One big decision that seniors often face is whether they should sell their homes to pay for assisted living.

Selling a family home is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. If you’re thinking about selling your home to pay for assisted living, here are a few considerations that may help you decide.

How Urgent Is the Need?

If you’re experiencing sudden health problems or have reached a point where it’s no longer safe to live on your own, you may need to transition to assisted living sooner rather than later. 

If you haven’t planned on transitioning to assisted living, selling your home can be a good option to fund the transition and make the move as soon as possible.

What Are the Other Options?

If you haven’t saved for costs associated with assisted living, selling your home isn’t necessarily the only way to pay for it. You can consider renting your home as a source of income or explore government programs that may be able to assist in covering the costs.

Long-Term Considerations

While selling your home can provide a large sum of cash upfront, that doesn’t always mean it will be enough to pay for assisted living in the long term. 

Before you sell your home, consider whether it will yield enough profit to cover your long-term assisted living expenses. If it won’t, then selling your home will only be a short-term solution.

Lifestyle Considerations

Some seniors put off selling their homes because of emotional attachment, despite the fact that they will be safer and more comfortable in assisted living. Assisted living facilities in Orlando, Florida, can provide a lifestyle that includes convenient dining, help with everyday chores, and social events that can improve your quality of life. 

Cost of Orlando Assisted Living

Orlando is a wonderful place to enjoy retirement in assisted living. Some seniors think that the cost of assisted living is out of reach. However, with flexible pricing options and government assistance programs, the cost of high-quality assisted living may be more affordable than you think.

Whether to sell your home to pay for assisted living can be a difficult decision. Lean on friends, family, and your trusted financial advisor to make the best long-term decision for you.

3 Financial Options All Seniors and Their Families Should Know About

Paying for retirement and planning for the future can seem like a daunting task. Finances should not keep seniors from living how they want to live, whether that’s independently at home or in an Orlando, FL, assisted living community. Luckily, there are several programs and ways to leverage assets to help cover costs.

Here are 3 financial options all seniors and their families should know about.

1. Social Security Income

Most people have heard of Social Security, but few families know the specifics of how it can work for an elderly loved one.

Social Security was created to support the older population by paying retired workers a continual income (from a fund they’ve likely already paid into).

Seniors can apply for benefits online from the comfort of their homes. Eligible workers receive a monthly stipend that can be used to pay for everyday expenses like housing, utilities, and food.

While Social Security income payments can be helpful in covering expenses, most seniors find that the payments alone are not enough to cover all of their costs. Families should consider whether supplemental income will be needed.

2. Medicare

As seniors age, health care can become a significant expense. Between routine visits, unexpected health issues, and managing long-term diagnoses, health care costs add up quickly. Seniors and their families should be familiar with the Medicare program.

Medicare is a federal health insurance program serving certain individuals, including those over 65. Medicare can cover most, if not all, of the costs associated with hospital visits, routine doctor appointments, and medications. 

Medicare offers a number of different options that seniors must opt in to. Seniors and their families should work with a financial advisor or government official to determine what Medicare covers and which plan is best. 

3. Leveraging the Family Home 

Not all seniors have assets that they can leverage in retirement. But for those who own a home, it can provide meaningful income during retirement. 

There are several ways seniors can use the family home to provide income, including:

  • Renting part or all of it
  • Getting a home equity loan
  • Taking out a reverse mortgage

Decisions about real estate can have long-term impact, so it’s important to carefully consider the options and work with a professional who can offer honest advice.

Paying for Orlando, FL, Assisted Living

 

Many seniors miss out on the benefits of assisted living because they think they can’t afford it. However, with access to assistance programs and a variety of pricing options, even specialized services like memory care in Orlando can be affordable.

4 Benefits of Tai Chi for Older Adults (and How to Get Started)

Tai Chi is a slow, calm form of exercise performed by breathing and moving through a series of motions. It is low-impact yet still has health benefits. For this reason, it’s a valuable form of exercise for seniors. 

Because of tai chi’s popularity, some Saint Petersburg assisted living facilities offer tai chi classes onsite. Here are 4 benefits of tai chi for older adults. 

1. Enhances Concentration

While tai chi is a low-impact form of exercise, it still requires strong focus to perform. The practice of tai chi focuses on connecting your mind, body, and breath. To align all of those things takes concentration. 

Older or retired adults can fall into routines that don’t require much daily concentration, so this is a great way to ensure that the brain’s focus muscles don’t get ignored.

2. Helps Improve Balance

Some have compared tai chi to yoga, particularly because of the moves that require balance. Tai chi targets all the body parts and skills necessary for balance: core, arms, legs, flexibility, range of motion, and reflexes. 

These things tend to decline with age, which is why seniors are more prone to falling. Tai chi can help strengthen muscles and improve balance, decreasing the risk of falls.

3. Helps with Arthritis Pain

There’s a reason doctors often prescribe movement for arthritis pain—it’s one of the most effective ways to relieve it. Unfortunately, high-intensity forms of movement can be difficult for seniors with arthritis to perform regularly. 

Since tai chi is both low-impact and caters to a range of skill levels, it’s an activity that many seniors can stick with, even if they have mobility issues. Doing tai chi for even a few minutes a day can help ease arthritis pain considerably.

4. Relieves Stress

Tai chi is more than just movement; it’s a practice that integrates breathing and relaxation into every part of the exercise. In that manner, tai chi promotes a relaxed state of mind through gentle movements that connect the mind and body. 

It’s customary to listen to relaxing music while performing tai chi to enhance the experience of relaxation. The breathing exercises performed during tai chi movements have been shown to relieve stress. 

Stress contributes significantly to mental and physical disease, particularly for seniors, so engaging in a daily stress-relieving activity is critical.

How to Start Tai Chi

It can seem overwhelming to pick up tai chi if you’ve never tried it. However, it’s easier to learn than you think. There are a few ways you can get started. First, look for an instructor near you. Instructors can offer private lessons, and some may even travel to a St. Petersburg assisted living facility to teach you. 

Second, you can look for a local class. Many gyms and activity centers offer tai chi sessions on a weekly or monthly basis. 

Finally, you can learn tai chi in the comfort of your own home through video or online options. You can buy or rent a tai chi DVD or sign up for an online beginner’s class to learn the basics. You can even find programs specifically designed for seniors.

St. Petersburg Assisted Living

If you or a loved one is looking to transition to assisted living, St. Petersburg is a great community. You’ll find warm weather, like-minded seniors, and plenty of opportunities to stay active. 

Whether it’s tai chi or other activities, St. Petersburg communities prioritize wellness for their residents and help older adults make the most out of their retirement. Please talk to your health care physician before making any changes in exercise routines.

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