How Vocational Pursuits Enhance Independent Living In Jacksonville

Here at Westminster Woods’ independent living community in Jacksonville, our My W Life wellness program is built on eight key dimensions of wellbeing: physical, lifelong learning, nutritional, social, emotional, spiritual, community, and vocational.

But just what is vocational wellness? For many of us, the term “vocation” might simply refer to the work you do for a living. But while that may be the traditional understanding, Merriam-Webster actually defines vocation as “a summons or strong inclination to a particular state or course of action,” with the “voc-” coming from the Latin word for “to call.” So really, vocational wellness is all about finding meaningful ways to dedicate your time — and here at Westminster Woods, opportunities abound.

Just read on as we share a few fun ways to find your vocation in and around our Sunshine State community!

Volunteer With A Cause You Care About…

One of the best ways to get involved is to volunteer with a cause you care about! Westminster Woods is nestled among the largest city in the Sunshine State — and while you might not know it with our lush, back-to-nature landscape, the heart of this metropolitan area is just beyond your backyard. So there’s no shortage of opportunities for getting involved in local initiatives.

… Or Spearhead A New One

Maybe you have a particular soft spot for the environment or four-legged friends. Whatever your cause may be, you’re sure to meet other Westminster Woods community members who feel the same and want to help you give back in meaningful ways!

Share Your Unique Gifts

Many of us have hobbies that we think are “just for fun,” but can actually serve a powerful purpose in the world around us! For example, if you love arts and crafts, you can do anything from painting local murals to gifting loved ones with custom wall décor. If you’re an amazing home chef, you might enjoy getting involved with a cooking class — or maybe helming your own — or preparing helpful meal plan guides for friends and family.

Tap Into Your Inner Child

Not sure where to find your passion? Sometimes it can be helpful to look back to the things you loved best as a child, and starting from there!

For example, maybe you loved getting lost in a good novel — which could, perhaps, make you a great library volunteer or book club leader. Or maybe you were a budding musician — which you could use as a springboard to work with local youth music programs. There are endless connections to be made, but you get the idea: Look to the past for an idea that sparks your future!

Explore Your Surroundings

When you hear the world “calling,” your mind might jump to serious, world-changing work — but we say, start small! Your days can be just as meaningful by exploring your surroundings, finding inspiration in the people and places you meet along the way. Westminster Woods provides the perfect backdrop to starting new creative pursuits, a love of wildlife, and myriad other pastimes that you can turn into a full-fledged passion.

We hope that these ideas help you get started on the search for a vocation — but of course, these are just the beginning! The more time you spend exploring Westminster Woods, the more you’ll find opportunities to explore your interests around every corner.

Celebrate National Memory Day At The Heart Of Memory Care In Jacksonville, Florida

March 21st is National Memory Day — but here at Westminster Woods’ memory care in Jacksonville, Florida, we recognize the importance of memory support firsthand, all year long. Our brand-new Memory Care Center is home to private apartments for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, thoughtfully connected with a comforting neighborhood layout that makes them feel right at home. A spacious courtyard and beautiful memory garden carry the serene lifestyle outdoors, too, providing a vibrant environment that encourages mind-and-body wellness at every step of the way.

Empowered by quality care, a host of meaningful activities, and a specialized program designed to support cognition, your loved one will be in an environment where they can truly thrive — and that’s just the beginning. In honor of National Memory Day, here are just a few of the myriad meaningful ways our services and amenities support all those who call Westminster Woods’ Memory Care center “home.” Just read on to learn more!

Food As More Than Just Fuel

Wholesome, feel-good food is one of those things that transcends time and place — which makes cuisine an especially important consideration for loved ones in memory care. Customized “Small Bites” make nutritious eating easier, while our thoughtful approach to food also informs other areas — such as family-style and open kitchen environments, for example, that lend a familiar feel to the dining experience.

And of course, the very act of preparing something special to eat (like through our baking and cooking activities) can help bring residents together for a truly empowering experience. It’s not just about the end product itself — which will, of course, be delicious — but about tapping into a long-running tradition of food and community.

Fun & Games

Speaking of community, there are abundant opportunities for community fun at Westminster Woods’ Memory Care Center — including arts and crafts, puzzles and games, and other enriching activities that prioritize play and connection.

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Another major pillar of memory care is, of course, residents’ physical surroundings. Their space should be a place they feel safe, secure, and at home — and that’s exactly what Westminster Woods provides, with personal spaces that promote family visits and socializing. The end result is an environment that feels like a vibrant, connected community of neighbors — which, you’ll soon find, defines the Westminster Woods experience at every level.

All-Around Lifestyle

Of course, another key tenet of memory care is the ability to preserve independence as much as possible — which is why you’ll find everyday lifestyle activities mixed into the Westminster Woods routine! These include an on-site beauty salon and barber shop, support with care and grooming tasks, and plenty of opportunities to practice familiar housekeeping tasks like laundry. On National Memory Day and all year long, we celebrated our loved ones with familiar activities that bridge the past, present, and future. Please get in touch today if you’d like to learn more about Westminster Woods on Julington Creek — from memory care to independent living, we’re here to support your family any way we can

How Floral Fun Can Enhance Your Jacksonville Florida Assisted Living Space

Spring is right around the corner — and even though Sunshine State plant life blooms all year long, the switch of season is still a great time to bring some floral flair into your home! Westminster Woods’ Jacksonville, Florida assisted living facility is surrounded by the colors of nature everywhere you look — whether you’re strolling by the shores of Julington Creek or hanging out on your own patio. Why not use that vibrant backdrop as inspiration for your own floral arrangements?

Just read on as we explore some of the big benefits of adorning your home in florals — and our favorite tips on how to do exactly that!

Learn About Nature

Getting into floral arrangements can be a great, sneaky way to learn about science and nature — even if it feels like you’re just having pure, good-old-fashioned fun! As you start to care more about the health of your flowers in their vase, you’ll find yourself wondering about things like how plants respond to light (have you ever watched tulips bend and grow toward a window?) and the difference water acidity can make on cut flowers. Caring for plants inspires a spirit of organic curiosity that you can’t replicate just anywhere!

Inspiration Is Everywhere

You might feel like you aren’t equipped to make your own stunning floral arrangements, but think again! Inspiration can be found anywhere and everywhere you look — from your favorite magazine, to the flowers that abound throughout Westminster Woods. No one gets it right on the first try, but you’ll have fun experimenting with different arrangements and discovering what looks best in your home.

Take A DIY Approach To Vases

Another unsung perk of getting into floral arrangements? You have an excuse to use various vases, jars, and containers you’ve been saving for a day when they might come in handy. This is that day! Working with flowers inspires you to get creative when finding the perfect home for a new, freshly cut bouquet.

Go Dramatic… Or Thematic

There are so many different options when it comes to putting together fun, thoughtful floral displays. They can be a statement piece at the heart of your home, or follow a unique motif that flows throughout your space — like, for example, flowers of the same color (there are so many beautiful yellows to work with!) or flowers that double as natural air fresheners, such as hyacinths.

Make It A Community Effort

Like so many activities, florals are even more fun when you add a friend or family member to the mix! You can your neighbor can even combine your flower finds and have fun arranging them in a breezy weekend get-together, seeing how you take different approaches to the same set of stems.

Feel-Good Florals

Even a few minutes of exposure to colorful flowers can have a positive impact on your mood, according to a study featured in the National Library of Medicine. Interestingly, the study found that one color — bright and cheery yellow — was the most powerful at producing positive results! So if you’ve been thinking of bringing the happy color into your space, you definitely should give it a try.

Leave The Maintenance To Us

Westminster Woods is a maintenance-free community, so you don’t need to worry about plants outsidegiving you more time to devote to fun activities like arranging flowers in your home!

You’ll find gorgeous flora throughout Westminster Woods — so it only makes sense to continue the bright, springtime motif in your own home. We hope that today’s guide gives you inspiration on how to liven up your space with colorful flowers that don’t just look good but make you feel good, too.

Deck Out Your Independent Living In Jacksonville With These 10 Spring Décor Ideas

Spring is right around the corner here in the Sunshine State. And even though we’re lucky enough to enjoy bright, balmy weather all year long, the arrival of a new season still gives us a fun excuse to reexamine our surroundings — starting with our abodes!

When you call Westminster Woods’ independent living in Jacksonville “home,” you can enjoy the comfort and convenience that comes with a thoughtfully designed space: one that’s no smaller (or bigger) than the perfect square footage for your needs, whether that means a gorgeous studio or spacious villa.

Our homes are designed to make life fun and effortless — the ideal backdrop to any style or sensibility you might bring to it. When the seasons change, like they will again this March, you can switch up your décor and accessories to celebrate a time of renewal and natural beauty. Just read on for a few of our favorite ways to do exactly that!

Brighten Your Space With Floral Arrangements

Nothing says spring like fresh flowers — and by adding some to your kitchen countertop, nightstand, or dining room table, you can bring the beauty of the outdoors in! Seasonal blooms such as daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths are just a few fun options that will instantly brighten any room. Want a longer-lasting option that brings all the beauty without the regular water changes? High-quality silk flowers can mimic the beauty of real ones, minus the need for maintenance.

Swap Out Your Linens

Changing heavy, winter fabrics for lighter, spring alternatives can transform the look and feel of your space. While you’re at it, consider replacing bedspreads, throw blankets, and pillow covers with wares in pastel hues or floral patterns. This simple switch can make your space feel lighter and more appropriate for the season. Let the plaid and flannel do its thing in fall and winter!

Create A Nature-Inspired Centerpiece

A centerpiece inspired by nature can serve as a focal point for springtime decor. You can do this on your own, or invite a friend or family member to get involved for a fun craft session! Some of our favorite such centerpieces incorporate branches, leaves, and flowers to create a stunning (but seemingly effortless) natural display. Adding thematic elements like fake bird nests, eggs, or even a small potted plant can enhance the centerpiece for spring holidays, making it a unique conversation starter.

Refresh Wall Art

Swapping out wall art is an easy way to reflect seasonal changes, too. Spring-themed prints — whether floral, landscape, or abstract — can add a fresh vibe to any room. You don’t need to run out and purchase new artwork for this subtle swap! Get creative by framing seasonal greeting cards or making your own art. This is your space, after all — so shouldn’t it reflect the person who calls it “home”?

Introduce Pastel Accents

Incorporating pastel accents through decorative pillows, vases, candles, or even tableware can infuse a room with the soft palette of spring — not to mention, it practically screams classic Florida. These subtle touches can make a significant impact without overwhelming the space, creating a serene and inviting atmosphere.

Maximize Your Windowsills

Despite just taking up a sliver of square footage in your home, the tiny windowsill can have a mighty impact. It provides the perfect spot to celebrate spring with small potted plants or herbs, — which, depending on the species, can often thrive in the ample sunshine.

Embrace Light & Airy Curtains

Just like you swapped your bedroom linens, it’s time to replace last season’s heavy drapes with light and airy options! Sheer fabrics allow more natural light to enter while still providing privacy, making the space feel brighter and more open — a perfect match for the spirit of the season.

Get Creative With Spring Symbols

Incorporating spring motifs through accessories can add a playful touch to your décor — think birds, butterflies, and flowers. These elements can create a cheerful theme that resonates with the season’s themes of rebirth and renewal. Have fun with it!

Savor The Sunshine

Don’t just think about the view of your living area, but from it. That is to say, a fresh look starts with shifting your viewpoint! Rearranging furniture can help you make the most of natural light, making your space feel brand-new even if you don’t buy a thing. Consider positioning seating areas near windows to enjoy the view, or creating a cozy reading nook that takes advantage of the spring sunlight. Daylight saving time is almost here, and you deserve to soak in every extra minute in style and comfort.

Grow Delicious Herbs

An indoor herb garden is not only decorative but super functional (and delicious), too. You just need a tiny patch of counterspace, or a spare windowsill, for small containers to grow powerhouse herbs like basil, mint, and cilantro. These tiny green additions bring life to the kitchen area, offer fresh ingredients for cooking, and fill the room with pleasant aromas.

Decorating for spring is a great way for Westminster Woods residents to embrace the season’s spirit of renewal and joy. We can’t wait to see what you do with your one-of-a-kind space!

7 Big Benefits Of Outdoor Time At Independent Living In Jacksonville, FL

From your cozy home in Westminster Woods on Julington Creek, you are perfectly positioned to experience the best natural beauty that Jacksonville (and the Sunshine State as a whole) has to offer. After all, Jacksonville may be Florida’s largest city — but our corner is delightfully removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, providing a serene natural backdrop for your everyday life and fun-filled activities.

That’s good news in more ways than one! Independent living in Jacksonville, FL takes on an all-new meaning when you don’t need to travel far — or even get in a car — to experience the restorative benefits of some quality outdoor time. Our lush walking paths, heated outdoor pools, and expansive waterfront views give you plenty of room to relax, reflect, and unwind in a truly singular Sunshine State paradise. Just read on as we explore some of the big benefits of outdoor time in and around our community — and why it’s worth getting out there this spring!

Improved Mental Outlook

It probably won’t surprise you to find that one of the biggest benefits of spending time in nature is stress relief. After all, don’t we all feel a little bit better after a walk through the trees or a trip to the beach?

However, the benefits aren’t just in your head — they’re purely scientific! A study in the National Library of Medicine, for example, found that proximity to both the coast and to greenery can decrease inhabitants’ stress and improve well-being.

The tranquil waters of the St. Johns River and its offshoots, like Julington Creek, provide Westminster Woods residents an endless blue backdrop perfect for daily walks, birdwatching, or simply kicking back and enjoying the view. It’s a sonic pleasure, too, with the gentle hum of the moving water delighting the ears and providing a welcome alternative to street and city noise.

Enhanced Physical Health

Regular outdoor activities such as walking, gentle yoga, or swimming in our heated pools can improve physical health by increasing mobility, flexibility, and endurance. The mild climate of Jacksonville encourages year-round outdoor exercise, which is helpful for maintaining muscle strength and cardiovascular health.

Don’t worry — our fitness center means you can reap all the benefits of a fitness regimen, rain or shine. But when the weather permits — as it so often does, here in the Sunshine State — there’s a lot to be gained from even a few minutes outdoors. (As always, throw on your sunscreen, shades, and protective gear to show your skin some love in the strong spring sun.)

Connection With Friends, Family, & Neighbors

In our community, outdoor communal spaces foster social interactions and create opportunities for neighbors (and visiting loved ones) to connect. Participating in group activities like birdwatching, gardening, or outdoor fitness can lead to meaningful relationships and a strong sense of belonging. But even if you’re not taking part in an organized get-together, you’re still sure to run into several friends while you’re out and about on your daily travels!

Cognitive Benefits

Spending time in nature has been shown to improve cognitive function, too — particularly in areas such as attention, memory, and creativity. The diverse landscapes of Jacksonville and, specifically, Westminster Woods provide stimulating environments that can enhance mental clarity and encourage cognitive engagement through exploration and discovery. In short? Be curious, and stroll somewhere new. It pays off!

Better Sleep

Natural light exposure during the day helps regulate sleep patterns by reinforcing the body’s circadian rhythms. Engaging in outdoor activities can lead to better sleep quality and duration, which is good for mental health and general well-being, too.

Connection With Nature

The act of connecting with nature, has inherent psychological and physical benefits. The diverse ecosystems in Jacksonville, from coastal beaches to riverfront promenades, allow locals the chance to experience a deep connection with the natural world — fostering a sense of peace and contentment.

Inspiration & Creativity

Just take a look around you: The beauty of the natural world can spark creativity and inspire artistic pursuits, if you’re the crafty type. Or maybe you’re just not one yet! Jacksonville’s scenic landscapes provide a wealth of inspiration for painting, photography, writing, and other creative activities that stimulate the mind, and help you express personal experiences and emotions. So if you’re a creator in a creative slump, well, take a mental break outside. You never know where it will lead, both literally and emotionally.

The great outdoors offers a world of benefits that contribute to a happy, healthy life — and in our corner of the state, there’s an especially abundant selection of landscapes and activities to enjoy. From the stress-relieving properties of waterfronts to the social and mental advantages of communal green space, nature provides a therapeutic and enriching backdrop for whatever’s on your daily schedule.

5 Big Benefits Of Taking A Fitness Class At Your Jacksonville Independent Living Facility

We all know the importance of fitness and working movement into our everyday lives. This only becomes more essential as we grow into our golden years — however, you don’t have to tackle your entire exercise routine alone. In fact, if you call the Jacksonville independent living facility of Westminster Woods “home,” you have access to a wealth of community resources designed to promote your overall wellness — including fitness classes.

As part of the My W Life wellness program, we offer fitness classes that aim to teach participants about reaching their potential, avoiding unhealthy habits, making educated health decisions, and getting medical support when needed. To that end, you’ll always want to check with your medical team before starting a new workout regimen. But in the meantime, read on for a taste of what to expect from Westminster Woods fitness classes!

Social Connection

Any form of movement is a good thing — and solo walking and workouts can definitely be a part of your overall routine! However, at the same time, there’s something special to be said about the fun of working out in a group environment. You might find it’s easier to laugh and show yourself some grace, for example, because you realize in real time that no one else is perfect their first time trying a new workout either! Alternatively, if you’re someone that thrives on a bit of healthy competition, having friends join you for your workout can inspire you to do your best.

Either way, the social connection that comes with a fitness class is a benefit unto itself — a way to bond with others and your body. We call that a win-win!

No Motivation Needed

Sometimes, it can be hard to motivate yourself to do a workout — even when you know it’s good for you. But when that workout is part of a group commitment on your calendar, you might feel even more compelled to get out there and get moving.

Guided Movement

We’ve all been there — it can certainly be daunting to try a new workout routine or form of movement with your body. That’s one of the ways a fitness class can help! You’re never alone and are always learning from an instructor who’s happy to help guide you through new or confusing steps, removing some of the nerves that can come with a new exercise regimen.

Making Fitness Fun

Above all, a fitness class makes movement fun! When you’re working out as a group, it might feel more like a classic PE class from your school days rather than another task on your to-do list. There will be lots of laughs and feel-good endorphins released, making you that much more excited about physical fitness in the long run.

Lasting Changes Well Beyond The Class Itself

Speaking of the long run, the benefits of a Westminster Woods fitness class aren’t contained to the class itself! Things you learn — whether they’re inspirational quotes or practical movement tips — will linger in your mind as you continue your fitness journey, and that’s definitely something to be happy about.

When you sign up for a fitness class at Westminster Woods, you’re also signing up for all of the benefits and lasting memories that come with it! Get in touch to learn more about My W Life and other ways you can embrace overall wellness from the comfort of our Jacksonville community.

Start Your Retirement With Maintenance-Free Living at Westminster Woods

Are you looking forward to retiring soon and want to make the most of your golden years? Consider making Westminster Woods your new home in retirement! As a senior living community in Jacksonville, Florida, we offer maintenance-free living in a vibrant neighborhood surrounded by natural beauty. Keep reading to learn why Westminster Woods is the perfect place to start your retirement.

Location, Location, Location

Our convenient location in Jacksonville puts you close to everything you could need or want in retirement. We’re just minutes away from shopping, dining, entertainment, parks, trails, golf courses, and beaches. You’ll love being able to easily access all that this charming coastal city has to offer without having to deal with traffic or parking hassles.

And when you do want to venture out, our neighborhood has quick access to major highways and roads. So getting around town or going on day trips is a breeze. We know how important it is to stay active and engaged in your golden years. Our prime location allows you to do just that with ease.

Natural Beauty Surrounds You

While being close to urban amenities is great, having natural settings right outside your door is a major perk of living at Westminster Woods. Our community is situated on Julington Creek with lakes, gardens, wooded areas, and walking paths. You can enjoy leisurely strolls surrounded by vibrant greenery and the peaceful sounds of nature.

Watching the sunrise over the water while sipping your morning coffee is a perfect way to start each day. Meandering along the walking paths and spotting birds and other wildlife never gets old. And you’ll love seeing the gardens burst into color in spring and summer. Living at Westminster Woods truly allows you to feel one with nature while still being part of an engaging community.

Maintenance-Free Lifestyle

One of the biggest benefits of living at a senior living community like Westminster Woods is being able to enjoy a maintenance-free lifestyle. When you move here, you don’t have to worry about mowing the lawn, raking leaves, shoveling snow, cleaning gutters, or making repairs ever again. You can say goodbye to household chores and spend your time on the hobbies and activities you love.

Our dedicated maintenance staff handles all outdoor and indoor maintenance for you. We look after everything from landscaping and common area upkeep to cleaning and apartment repairs. The only space you’ll need to keep tidy is your own apartment home. And with light housekeeping included, we’ll even help you take care of the dusting and vacuuming.

Apartment Homes Geared for Comfort

Your home at Westminster Woods will have everything you need to live comfortably. Our variety of floor plans ranging from studios to two bedrooms allow you find just the right space for your needs. Every apartment comes with a kitchen and bathroom space to fit your needs. You’ll feel at ease knowing staff is on-site 24/7 respond to any needs.

We know your comfort is a top priority, so we outfit each apartment with high-quality flooring and cabinetry, as well as granite countertops and stainless steel appliances. Little details like these make your apartment at Westminster Woods feel like a true home.

Vibrant Lifestyle with Five-Star Amenities

In addition to maintenance-free living, Westminster Woods also provides a stellar array of amenities you would expect from a luxury senior living community. Our beautiful campus has been designed to provide the perfect backdrop for an active, social lifestyle. There’s always something happening here.

Dining is a true delight at Westminster Woods. Our talented culinary team provides a menu of chef-prepared meals made with fresh, delicious ingredients. Enjoy fine dining in our elegant dining room or grab a casual bite.

Our state-of-the-art fitness center features innovative equipment and programming tailored for seniors. And our heated outdoor swimming pool is the ideal place for doing laps or just relaxing after a workout.

Engaging Lifestyle Programming

Of course, amenities are just one aspect of what makes Westminster Woods so special. We also offer an unmatched range of activities and events for residents. Our dedicated lifestyle director plans a full calendar of programming to keep you active, entertained, and engaged with your neighbors.

You’ll never run out of ways to stay busy and involved here at Westminster Woods. We have programs that appeal to a variety of interests so every resident can find their niche.

On-Site Healthcare with Extra Care Options

Another major benefit of living at Westminster Woods is having easy access to top-quality healthcare and support services. Our elegant care center offers assisted living, memory care, and skilled nursing services right on campus. If your needs change, you’ll have total peace of mind knowing you can get extra assistance while remaining in the community you know and love.

For those in assisted living and memory care, we provide 24-hour staffing, medication management, personalized care plans, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and engaging programming tailored to different abilities. Our team creates a welcoming, supportive environment where residents thrive. In our Medicare-certified skilled nursing center, you’ll receive around-the-clock nursing, physical/occupational therapy, and short-term rehabilitation after injury or illness. Our close affiliation with area hospitals makes transitions seamless.

Making the Decision 

As you approach retirement, choosing the right senior living community is a very important decision. You want a community with a stellar reputation, prime location, top-notch amenities, engaging lifestyle, and accessible healthcare like Westminster Woods offers. And it’s best to make the move to senior living while you’re still active enough to take full advantage of all we provide.

We’d love to welcome you into our Westminster Woods family. To learn more and schedule a tour, please contact us today. Let us show you all the ways we can help you start your retirement on the right foot with maintenance-free living in a vibrant community. Discover why residents rave about calling Westminster Woods home. We can’t wait to help you embark on this exciting new chapter!

A Seamless Transition: How Life Plan Communities Cater to Your Evolving Needs

Life is full of unexpected twists and turns. As we navigate this unpredictable course, each phase brings new challenges and experiences that shape our needs and desires. Although your senior years present a unique set of aspirations and requirements than your youth, here at Westminster Woods on Julington Creek, we seek an environment that can keep up with your changing circumstances. We aren’t just another senior living community. We champion the philosophy of a Life Plan Community. This approach caters to your every need. Our residents are assured that your transition through the stages of senior living is filled with warmth and understanding.

Comprehensive Care Under One Roof

Life Plan Communities or Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), like Westminster Woods, provide a continuum of care. We offer different levels of care from independent living to skilled nursing. Residents don’t need to worry about relocating or the logistics of finding a new facility if your needs change. A Life Plan Community offers the luxury of having diverse levels of care all within one single community – which means a familiar environment, known faces, and a consistent quality of service to ensure peace of mind for both residents and their loved ones.

A Financially Sound Decision

We all know that planning for the future can be a daunting task, especially when you’re considering the unpredictable nature of possible healthcare costs. Westminster Woods provides a simple solution to this by offering monthly fees that cover a range of services and care levels. This forward-thinking financial structure shields residents from fluctuating market rates and makes the future more manageable and less stress-inducing.

A Community That Celebrates Life

This is more than just a place to live – it’s a way of life. Westminster Woods is a community that fosters connections, nurtures hobbies, and encourages personal growth. With an extensive calendar of events and a plethora of amenities, our residents can really dive into their passions. Whether it’s art, fitness, or gardening, Westminster Woods offers it all! It’s a place where neighbors become close friends, and friends turn into an extended family – family that shares laughter, offers support, and celebrates every milestone, big or small.

Wellbeing is a Priority

Although physical health is a large benefit of joining a Life Plan Community, it extends beyond that as well. Westminster Woods is committed to ensuring the mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our residents. We have programs that focus on lifelong learning, spiritual nourishment, and emotional health. We strive to enable our residents to lead a balanced and enriched life.

Simplifying the Lives of Family Members

Making the decision to transition a loved one to a senior living facility can weigh heavily on families. The goal of Life Plan Communities is to alleviate these concerns. Family members can have peace of mind knowing that Westminster Woods provides comprehensive care that has a future-focused financial structure and also emphasizes our residents’ well-being. Rest assured that your loved ones are in a nurturing environment and are equipped to meet their evolving needs.

You deserve your golden years of life to be filled with an enriching and supportive environment. A Life Plan Community like Westminster Woods on Julington Creek is a place that adapts as seamlessly as possible while the different chapters of your life unfold. We anticipate the ever-evolving needs of seniors and craft solutions that cater to these changes. We stand as a testament of what senior living can, and should, aspire to be. Join us, and witness how we’re redefining senior living, one resident at a time.

‘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!

How you can stay in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community

Are you considering a move to a senior living community but worried about how you’ll keep in touch with family and friends? You’re not alone. Many future residents have the same concerns.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep in touch with the people you care about. From FaceTime to card nights to private dining parties, residents have plenty of options to stay connected with their loved ones.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to keep in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community.

Enjoy a video call to have a virtual visit with family or friends whenever you like

A virtual visit can help maintain ties even when residents and their friends are separated by thousands of miles. Modern technology for video calling like FaceTime makes visiting easier than ever. Video calls allow residents to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with family or friends anywhere in the world, from the comfort of their living room. No expensive travel required!

Residents can use FaceTime or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom to stay in touch with those who matter most. Grandparents can share stories with grandchildren who live far away or have regular catch-ups with distant relatives. Video calling also makes it possible for to host a virtual event, like a game night or movie watch party.

Enjoy a card or board game night and mix the “old” and “new” friends

With many social connections in their current neighborhoods, the prospect of moving to a senior living community can be daunting for many older adults. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-person social opportunities at senior living communities — some of them more informal than others.
Many senior living communities have groups of residents who enjoy a night of card games or board games. Play poker, Clue, Settlers of Catan or whatever you prefer, and enjoy having social opportunities and good friends at your fingertips.

These social events offer a reason for residents to invite their friends and family members over for a night of fun and laughter. It also provides an informal setting for guests to meet other residents and engage in meaningful conversations.

For older adults who want to make sure they stay connected to their friends, one surefire way to make things more fun is to invite their “old” friends to meet the “new” at a game night. It can make for a memorable evening filled with laughter and good company — all while bonding deeper relationships with fellow residents at the same time.

Host a dinner party and let someone else do all the work

Dining is an important part of life at a senior living community. But a special event may call for having a few friends over for dinner, and who wants to do all the cooking and dishes?

That’s why many senior living communities offer residents a variety of catered dining options, to invite guests over for a special dinner party. A special menu developed with the Dining department makes it simple and convenient to plan an event. Enjoy a luxurious meal without lifting a finger!

Inviting friends and family over to experience their community is also great to help those who may be considering making the move themselves. Guests get an up-close look at the lifestyle offered at their friend’s new home. Private dining options allow potential new residents to get an idea of what life would be like for them.

From poker nights to private dinners, there are plenty of ways for residents of senior living communities to keep in touch with family and friends. To learn all about how additional socialization opportunities abound at a Westminster community, find the community that suits you today on our Web site!

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