Commonly Asked Questions About Assisted Living Answered

If you’re approaching your golden years or have a family member of retirement age, you’ve probably heard about assisted living or looked into it yourself. As you’re researching assisted living facilities near you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the options available.

What You Should Know About Assisted Living Facilities in Jacksonville, Florida

If you’re on the lookout for great assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida, here are the answers to some of your most pressing questions. Having useful answers will help you to make an informed decision for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.

Assisted Living vs. Independent Living in Jacksonville

One of the first questions that most people looking into assisted living ask is about the difference between assisted and independent living.

Assisted living involves 24/7 care and support to the degree that it is needed based on the resident’s current health and mobility status. Independent living embraces a more hands-off approach to elder care while still providing support when needed. 

Most assisted living facilities also offer independent living options for residents, and independent living residents can always transition to an assisted lifestyle when needed.

Who Is Assisted Living Right For?

Assisted living provides an elevated lifestyle for seniors that could benefit from some assistance with daily tasks such as taking medications, getting around the house, cleaning, cooking, and other responsibilities. 

At assisted living facilities, seniors can get the help they need while also joining a community of people enjoying their golden years together. 

Many seniors who need help with daily tasks don’t want to rely on family members for assistance or don’t have family nearby. This is where a great assisted living facility can provide immeasurable value. 

Additionally, many residents move to assisted and independent living facilities primarily because they want a sense of community and kinship with other residents.

Why Are Seniors in Assisted Living Often Happier and Healthier?

There are many reasons why seniors living in assisted or independent living communities tend to be healthier and happier. One obvious reason is the fact that any medical needs they might have can be tended to by professionals on-site right away, keeping seniors safe and in optimal health. 

Additionally, assisted living facilities feature a wide variety of activities, clubs, and enriching experiences for residents to enjoy. Seniors who maintain an active social life while continuing to do things they enjoy on a regular basis are much more likely to be happier and healthier into their golden years.

Exploring the Classics: 5 Books to Read This Winter

Getting lost in a great book is one of the best ways to pass the time during the winter months in a Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living community. Not only does it provide an escape from reality, but it also engages and stimulates your mind to help keep you sharp. 

But which book should you reach for? Rest assured, you can never go wrong with these five classics. 

1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald 

The Great Gatsby does a great job of transporting you back in time to the unique atmosphere of the roaring ‘20s. The titular Gatsby is a tragic hero and is widely regarded as a metaphor for the American dream. Full of romance, adventure, style, and wealth to spare, this book is the perfect escape during winter. 

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 

Little Women is a coming-of-age story with a little something for everyone. Despite taking place in the reconstruction era following the Civil War, many of the characters are still highly relatable to this day. 

3. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens 

Great Expectations follows an orphan named Pip throughout his life in the United Kingdom. His constant desire to ascend the social ladder leads him to learn some tough life lessons that are still just as poignant today. 

4. The Fellowship of The Ring by J. R. R. Tolkein 

If fantasy is more your style, it’s hard to beat The Fellowship of The Ring. From the Shire to the volcanoes of Mordor, it’s easy to get lost in the fantastical and immersive world Tolkein creates. But don’t let that distract you from the great character development along the way. 

5. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Who says you can’t enjoy a good modern classic? Mexican Gothic is a thrilling horror novel that will keep you guessing at every turn. When a young woman is invited to an isolated castle by her newlywed, ill cousin, it’s a race against time to find out what’s really going on in this modern page-turner. 

Pick Up a Great Book in Your Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Community

If you live in one of the many assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida, there’s a good chance you already have access to many of these books at your fingertips. All you have to do is explore your community’s library to find your next literary adventure.

Passing Down Traditions: How to Make Thanksgiving Memorable in Your Senior Years

As you reach your golden years, you’ve earned the right not to have to plan Thanksgiving dinner! Still, you can enjoy the holidays with some wonderful new traditions that won’t take as much time and energy as planning an entire get-together. 

Whether you’re sticking to your Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living community or heading out to see family, you can take these ideas with you!

Be a Helper

Maybe you’ve never been the type that can sit around and watch others do work. If that’s the case, offer to help to the best of your abilities. If you’re still physically fit enough to do some cooking, go for it! If setting the table is more your speed, that’s okay, too. The point is to be involved with your loved ones and friends.

Be a Storyteller

Whether it’s your children/grandchildren/great-grandchildren or others living in assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, you can entertain and connect through stories. 

For the kids, this might be acting out a book or moments from your own life. For adults and seniors, this could be more about sharing what you’re thankful for in your own life. This will form that sense of bonding that is so important.

Give

Take part in the spirit of Thanksgiving through the act of giving. This can mean donating to a charity, but it’s more than that. It can be giving a loved one a special object that connects you to them, such as an old photograph or piece of jewelry. It can also mean giving wisdom or sharing a skill. 

Perhaps you have a grandchild who wants to know how you did woodworking crafts, sewed quilts, or played a musical instrument. You have the experience they crave.

Play

Get out the board games, cards, and even video games if you’re into them! Watching the football game on TV is great, but participating in a game is even better. Find some games you know everyone will love and break them out to enjoy.

Celebrate New Thanksgiving Traditions in Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Facilities

As you age, you’ll have to work at keeping your mind fresh and young, and that means starting to let go of your past routines. Maybe you’ve slowed down, and your home isn’t the de facto Thanksgiving gathering place anymore, and you may even be in assisted living now. 

Wherever you find yourself on Thanksgiving, make sure you engage in some meaningful traditions for yourself and those you love.

The Link Between Chronic Pain and Depression in Seniors

Chronic pain and depression are two of the most common problems reported by people over the age of 65. Unsurprisingly, many people suffer from both conditions at the same time. Often, the development of chronic pain can actually lead to depression — and vice versa.

Chronic Pain

The likelihood of persistent pain increases with age. This is due to all manner of different causes, including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Low back pain
  • Injury
  • Neuropathic pain

Importantly, the experience of persistent pain is a general mental health stressor. It taxes the mind to constantly be experiencing pain, which can lead to other mental health concerns. It can also interfere with practices that are mentally beneficial, such as sleep and exercise.

Depression

Depression is an increasing problem among people over the age of 65. Again, there are several different factors that can lead to depression, including:

  • Social isolation
  • Loneliness
  • Loss of loved ones
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Physical illness

Depression has several consequences of its own and can cause people to pull away from others and experience chronic fatigue and feelings of hopelessness.

How Pain and Depression Are Interconnected

Pain and depression can both lead to older adults feeling as though they don’t have the capacity to participate in everyday life and activities, which can cause them to develop symptoms of the other condition.

For example, a person with chronic knee pain may turn down the opportunity to go on a walk with their friends or family. By missing this activity, they can begin to feel sad, isolated, and alone. These feelings, if they persist for a significant amount of time, can contribute to a diagnosis of depression in the future.

Similarly, a person who is depressed may turn down the walk with their friends and family. By doing so, they miss the chance to exercise and strengthen their body. They may eventually be more vulnerable to injuries and illnesses that can lead to chronic pain.

Treating Pain and Depression at a Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Facility

One way to ensure that chronic pain and depression are dealt with is to join a Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living facility

Assisted living facilities in Jacksonville help older adults stay active both physically and mentally and can provide additional support when seniors need it most. In this way, the symptoms of both chronic pain and depression can be minimized, and seniors can live long and fulfilling lives.

What Is Sundowning?

Sundowning is a common behavior among people with dementia. It refers to a phenomenon that can begin in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or other forms of cognitive impairment. Sundowning behaviors include wandering, agitation, confusion, and even aggression or violence.

Sundowning is not caused by medications or any other medical condition. Instead, this condition is often related to stress and anxiety about the coming nightfall and all that it represents for someone living with dementia. The term “sundowning” comes from the fact that these behaviors often occur around sunset.

Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living Experts Weigh in: Why Do People Experience Sundowning? 

Even though there are no definitive answers about what causes sundowning symptoms, there are a few theories about why it occurs. 

When people with dementia become anxious or stressed, they may exhibit signs of sundowning. This could be because when it gets dark outside, they become confused about where they are and what time it is.

Some experts believe that sundowning is related to circadian rhythm disorders. People with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia tend to have disrupted sleep patterns, which can contribute to sundowning behaviors.

Symptoms of Sundowning

People with sundowning may:

  • Become agitated or anxious at night
  • Have hallucinations or delusions
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Fail to recognize family members or caregivers
  • Wander or sleepwalk
  • Feel depressed or irritable
  • Cry or exhibit mood changes

People with dementia may show these symptoms during the day, but with Sundowning, this behavior often worsens at night. This can make it hard to get a good night’s sleep. And if they’re unable to sleep well, it can cause even more confusion and agitation the next morning.

Coping with Sundowning — Tips from a Leading CCRC in Jacksonville, Florida

Sundowning can be very difficult for both the person suffering from it and their family. However, there are some things you can do as a caregiver to help make this process easier.

Help your loved one manage a daily routine. A healthy routine can help individuals with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease feel less stressed daily. Moving to a Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living community can help, as trained staff members help residents confidently navigate their daily routine.

Try not to ask your loved one too many questions at once; it may overwhelm or confuse them. Instead, ask one question at a time and wait until they’ve answered before asking another.

Don’t force your loved ones to do anything they don’t want to do. Instead, try suggesting fun activities that won’t make them feel stressed or anxious.

If your loved one becomes agitated, stay calm and try not to argue. If you lose your temper, it could make matters worse and lead to an escalation of aggressive behavior.

If possible, plan your outings to avoid late-afternoon hours, and try to keep your loved one inside during these hours. This prevents them from getting lost or wandering away from home. If you must go outside during this time of day, make sure someone is always with your loved one.

Top Books for Independent Living in Jacksonville, Florida, This Summer

With plenty of time to enjoy leisure activities, part of the enjoyment of independent living in Jacksonville is the ability to grab a good book and enjoy it without interruption or responsibilities. Here are some excellent reads you should put on your list this summer:

The Hotel Nantucket

New York Magazine calls Elin Hilderbrand, author of The Hotel Nantucket, the “queen of beach reads.” If you’re a fan of fast-paced stories full of drama between gossipy characters, this book is for you. 

The Hotel Nantucket is written from the perspective of the ghost of a teenage chambermaid who died in a suspicious hotel fire in 1922. The book is as intriguing as it sounds, and the reviews are glowing.

City of Orange

Author David Yoon might be more familiar to young-adult readers, but he’s transitioned into an excellent writer of adult stories. 

City of Orange takes place in a postapocalyptic setting and centers on a man coming to grips with how to survive in this newly destroyed world. If you like your stories a bit darker, the LA Times raves about this novel of “humor and dread.”

Counterfeit

Perhaps you want to get away from darker subjects and instead delve into an exciting caper. 

Kirstin Chen’s Counterfeit focuses on a Chinese-American lawyer who accidentally gets embroiled in a scheme importing counterfeit handbags. It’s a fun story that works to buck stereotypes and builds up to a compelling twist ending. Make sure you only check out reviews that won’t spoil the end for you.

Normal People

If you’ve heard about the BBC/Hulu adaptation, read Normal People before you watch it! This novel by Sally Rooney is all about the relationship between two teenagers in Ireland during the 2008 economic downturn. As they grow up, their relationship dynamic changes, matures, and intensifies. 

One incredible quality of this book is that it seems to grip readers of every age. Yes, even if you’re retired and enjoying independent living in Jacksonville, Florida!

Remarkably Bright Creatures

If you enjoy stories told from the perspective of animals, Shelby Van Pelt’s Remarkably Bright Creatures may be up your alley. The book centers on Marcellus McSquiddles, an octopus who escapes his aquarium captivity and becomes, to quote the Washington Post, “the town’s secret matchmaker.” It’s funny, engaging, and touching. 

The Benefits of a Daily Routine for Seniors with Dementia and Alzheimer’s

Seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s can experience difficulty in many areas of their lives. Managing these diseases isn’t always easy, and seniors can quickly experience stress and feelings of despair. 

One thing that can make a big difference in learning to live with memory loss is a daily routine. Whether a senior lives in assisted living or in a skilled nursing facility in Jacksonville, FL, a routine can help take the guesswork out of daily life and make them less dependent on their memory. 

Here are a few benefits of a daily routine for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Prevents Distraction

Seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s can become easily distracted, which can cause confusion and make daily life more difficult. Without a daily schedule, there can be endless distractions that get the day off track. 

A daily routine keeps the senior’s attention focused, and can take some of the uncertainty out of the day.  

Reduces Stress

The stress of daily life can affect people at any age. However, for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s, the uncertainty that comes with not being able to recall information can lead to a perpetual state of stress. 

Stress is known to cause negative health side effects and can really take a toll on senior health. A daily routine introduces stability and predictability that can minimize anxiety. 

Improves Sleep Quality 

Sleep is critical for health at all ages, but especially for seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Without a schedule, seniors may lose track of time, which can take a toll on their sleep schedule as well as their quality of sleep.

Daily Routine in a Skilled Nursing Facility in Jacksonville, FL

One of the primary benefits for seniors living in a skilled nursing facility is the daily routine established by the staff. A community that offers memory care in Jacksonville, Florida, can be the best place to establish routines and cope with the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s. 

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

A Guide to Helping Seniors Cope with Losing Older Pets

Pets can provide important companionship and a sense of purpose for seniors. Many assisted living facilities in Jacksonville allow pets so seniors can have a furry friend all through retirement.

The loss of an older pet can be devastating, and seniors often need support to get through the grief. Loved ones can help seniors cope with the loss and move on to the next stage in life. Here are a few tips to help seniors cope with losing older pets.

Listen and Support

When a senior is grieving the loss of an older pet, sometimes they just need someone to listen to them or to keep them company. While there is nothing you can say to bring back the pet, you can be an outlet for a senior to express their feelings and feel heard.

Offer Assistance

When seniors are going through the grieving process, they may need help with everyday things like chores and cooking. Seniors in Jacksonville, Florida assisted living may already have the help they need. 

However, sometimes it is nice to have extra help from loved ones. Offer your help if they need it without overstepping and causing conflict.

Help Find a New Pet 

While a new pet does not alleviate the sadness of losing a previous pet, it can offer some relief and give seniors something new to look forward to. 

You shouldn’t offer the idea of getting a new pet if the senior isn’t ready. If and when they are ready, you can help by researching the best pets for seniors and assisting them in finding a new furry friend.

Develop a Supportive Community with Jacksonville, Florida Assisted Living

During a time of loss, having a supportive network can make all of the difference. Jacksonville assisted living facilities offer a true sense of community where seniors feel like they belong. 

When seniors experience loss — including the loss of a pet — they will be surrounded by people who care about them and support them through any difficult time.

Before You Choose: What to Look for in an Independent Living Facility

Whether you are looking for independent living or assisted living in Jacksonville, Florida, you have plenty of options to consider. There are many communities that offer independent living, each featuring their own amenities and services. Here are four things you should look for before choosing an independent living facility.  

Dining Options

One of the reasons many people transition to independent living is that it allows them to have less responsibility and more time to do what they enjoy. That’s why it’s important to ensure that the community has ample dining options. You should have easy access to fresh, nutritious meals while still being able to cook for yourself if you choose. 

In addition, look for things like cafes or grab-and-go dining options that can give you flexibility when you don’t have time for a sit-down meal.

Staff Levels

Even if you don’t need a lot of help with your day-to-day activities, you’ll still want to ensure that the community has adequate staff levels. The high staff-to-resident ratios, the more access you will have to staff when you need them. 

Communities with lower the staff-to-resident ratio often have a harder time keeping up with basic resident requests.

Activity Plans

A big part of moving to independent or assisted living facilities in Jacksonville is staying active. If you choose a community that prioritizes wellness, you should have plenty of opportunities to meet new residents, exercise, and pick up new hobbies. 

A community that offers frequent activities can make a big difference in how exciting and enjoyable you find your retirement.

Amenities

When you move to an independent or assisted living facility, you should be able to continue with all your desired routines and hobbies. Something that can make this easier is a well-rounded amenity offering. 

Look for amenities and services, such as gyms, libraries, pools, and cleaning services. Having these amenities on-site means that you can cut out some of your transportation time or even add new activities to your schedule.

Assisted Living in Jacksonville, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida, is home to thousands of retirees, partly because it is also home to top-notch assisted living communities. With ample outdoor space, warm weather, and dedicated staff, the communities in Jacksonville make residents feel right at home. 

No matter what type of services, amenities, or assistance you are looking for, you will be able to find it in a community in Jacksonville.

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