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.


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.”


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.


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.

Why Doesn’t My Loved One Want to Discuss Assisted Living Options?

Put yourself in your parents’ shoes — getting older can be frustrating and sometimes a little frightening. The thought of moving from a home filled with a lifetime of memories into an assisted living facility may feel like an insult — a way of telling someone they’re no longer important. But nothing could be farther from the truth. 

Some Jacksonville, Florida assisted living facilities are premium properties that offer a variety of services and amenities to help seniors live a fuller, more active life than they did before.

If health concerns are making it dangerous for your parent to live alone, moving into assisted living is a great solution. But how can you convince your mother or father it’s the right move if they won’t even talk about it?

5 Things to Do When Your Loved One Refuses to Discuss Assisted Living Option

Your parent or spouse wants to remain independent and may believe they are still capable of living alone. If a senior in your life won’t even talk about the possibility of assisted living, these five tips might help you avoid frustration and help them see the benefits of assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, FL.

1. Talk with Siblings and Family Members

It’s important to make sure all of the most influential members of the family are on the same page. Discussing living options with the rest of the family before approaching your loved one will help minimize stress and potential disagreements from the beginning.

2. Be Respectful

It’s natural for the roles to switch when parents age but treating them like children won’t help the situation. Don’t push or threaten ultimatums. Unless you have legal guardianship, your loved one is still in charge of making their own decisions.

3. Tour the Facility

Some elderly people believe stereotypes of what assisted living facilities are. They may be surprised to see the vibrant, modern apartments and learn about all the available activities. Agreeing to a tour without any obligation is a productive first step in opening up the conversation.

4. Have a Professional Weigh In

If your loved one has a doctor or attorney they trust — or even a close friend — ask that person to share their perspective on living in an assisted facility. Of course, you’ll want to have a private conversation with them first to make sure they agree moving is a good idea.

5. Focus on the Benefits — Not Your Concerns

Don’t try to guilt your loved one into moving by emphasizing how much you worry about them and how much easier things would be for you. This reasoning is bound to cause resentment and even more frustration. Instead, focus on how assisted living would benefit them. 

No more laundry or housekeeping to do, no more meals to prepare if they don’t want to cook — doesn’t that sound appealing?  In assisted living, support is available 24/7, but only if you need it. Residents are free to live independent lives with as much or as little community involvement as they prefer.

Jacksonville, Florida Assisted Living Options

Whether your loved one needs skilled nursing or is still fully independent, there is a facility option to meet their needs. With fun social activities, in-house fitness centers, and wellness programs, today’s facilities offer a new kind of retirement option. 

Reassure your loved one that the ultimate decision is theirs to make, but make sure they understand all that a modern assisted living facility has to offer. 

Yoga for Beginners: 3 Easy Poses for Seniors to Try

Yoga is a popular pastime among people who want to maintain their mental and physical health. In addition to its amazing benefits for your muscles, bones, and joints, yoga is designed to be mentally soothing. Certain poses even increase blood flow to your brain.

One of the best things about yoga is the fact that anyone – from the brand-new beginner to the advanced athlete – can reap the benefits of regular practice. Even though yoga may tout some advanced poses, it also focuses heavily on the basics with simple, repetitive movements. 

3 Poses You’ll Learn at Assisted Living Facilities in Jacksonville, FL

Looking to stay healthy and fit in your golden years? Many of the best CCRC Jacksonville, Florida options feature yoga classes to support all-around wellness for their residents

Let’s take a look at three easy, senior-friendly poses that are sure to make you feel great in your body and mind! 

1. Seated Forward Reach 

The seated forward reach is a classic stretch that is used in yoga to lengthen the spine and target the hamstrings, calves, and feet. All you have to do is sit on your mat with your legs stretched out in front of you and slowly bend forward, focusing on keeping your back as straight as you can.

If you can’t reach your feet in this stretch, don’t worry! Simply grab a towel or belt, wrap it around your feet, and gently pull on either end as you lean into the stretch. 

2. Bridge Pose 

A yoga class at the best-assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, FL is sure to introduce the bridge pose to its students. This pose is easy to do while simultaneously building strength in your thighs, hamstrings, lower back, and even your shoulders, which can help you move more comfortably throughout your daily life.

Lying on your back on your mat, place your feet roughly shoulder-width apart and slowly lift from the hips, keeping the soles of your feet flat. 

If you need extra support for this pose, you can tuck a folded blanket beneath your lower back. 

The pose should feel relatively comfortable at first, but you’ll start to feel a good burn in your thighs and hamstrings as your muscles start to really work. 

3. Easy Seated Pose 

The easy seated pose may seem too simple to be effective, but in fact, this pose is quintessential to any yoga practice. This is because the easy seated pose is an efficient way to stretch the hips and groin area while also subtly building strength in the abdominal and back muscles over time.

Begin by sitting comfortably at the edge of your mat with your legs extended in front of you. Then, cross one shin over the other, slip your feet underneath the opposite knee, and rest your hands on your legs. If you need extra support, you can sit on top of a pillow or folded towel.

With these three easy poses, you can improve flexibility and encourage long-term health!

How to Support a Parent Grieving the Loss of a Spouse

It’s difficult to console a person who is grieving the loss of a spouse, but it’s especially challenging when that person is your parent. 

All types of feelings follow the loss of a loved one, and they’re all normal. Some of these can include:

  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Loss
  • Fear
  • Shock
  • Loneliness
  • Numbness

In addition, your parent may begin to have difficulty sleeping and lose their appetite. They may also have a hard time making decisions and exhibit problems with concentration. 

Advice for Supporting Your Bereaved Parent

Your parent needs your help, even though you may also be trying to put your own life back together after the loss. How can you support a parent grieving the loss of a spouse?

Focus on Compassionate Contact

Since your parent is likely feeling lonely, it’s a good idea to contact them frequently. Whether you visit them often or give them a call each day just to see how they are doing, a few minutes of your time can go a long way in relieving some of their loneliness.

Lend a Hand

Your parent probably has many tasks to take care of—closing or transferring their spouse’s bank accounts, paying their final credit card bills, notifying institutions of the spouse’s passing. These can quickly become overwhelming for them. 

Helping with to-do lists, whether it be mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or anything else can relieve a lot of their stress.

Plan Ahead

Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries are often difficult for a parent grieving the loss of their spouse. People missing a loved one can dread those days and feel unhappy at their arrival.

Planning family get-togethers or special activities ahead of time will help with those negative feelings and give your parent something to look forward to.

Explore New Living Options

If your parent is left with a big house or too much responsibility to handle alone, suggest they enter an independent living community or an assisted living facility. With a new living arrangement, your parent could meet new people, form new friendships, and enjoy activities and opportunities that promote independence while being amongst supportive peers.  

Independent Living in Jacksonville, Florida

A parent that chooses a community for independent living in Jacksonville, Florida, can enjoy their freedom while still having caregivers nearby, should they need help with anything.

An independent living community can reaffirm your parent’s worth and purpose in the world. It can also help your parents rebuild self-confidence, try new hobbies and activities, and cultivate a happy, active lifestyle.

Assisted Living Facilities in Jacksonville

Assisted living facilities operate with the ultimate goal of promoting independence while also providing a safe, helpful environment in which your parent can live. 

An assisted living facility can open the door to many healthy opportunities. These facilities offer many of the same benefits that independent living communities do. They provide more assistance with daily activities, should your parent need it.

Supporting a parent after losing a partner is never easy. However, making frequent contact, helping with tasks, planning for hard days, and encouraging a new living arrangement may help more than you know.

Best Pets for Seniors in Active Lifestyle Communities

A pet can provide companionship, affection, and a great reason to stay active. Seniors who own pets often experience improved mental health and happiness. In fact, brushing or petting an animal can have a soothing effect as well as release endorphins.

However, it’s important to choose a pet that is best suited for you and your lifestyle. If you’d like a pet for companionship and enjoyment at your Jacksonville (Florida) assisted living community, here are some great pets to consider.

A Cat for Companionship

It’s easy to see why cats are such a popular choice among assisted living residents. They are exceptionally low maintenance, quiet, calm, and affectionate. At the same time, they can be quite playful without being overly rambunctious. 

Take time to get to know your cat before you decide to take them home for good. Also, consider an older or senior cat. They require less training and often have a perfect disposition for assisted living communities.

An Apartment-Friendly Dog

Cats are amazing, but dogs also make wonderful pets for seniors in Jacksonville (Florida) Assisted Living. Their need for physical activity like walking can provide the necessary motivation for an otherwise sedentary senior to get active. 

The key to finding the perfect dog is to take your lifestyle and abilities under consideration. Fortunately, there is a dog breed that is an excellent fit for nearly any circumstance. For example, consider a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. They are small and easy to train. These loyal dogs are also fine lap dogs.

A Fish Pal

What about seniors who need a pet that requires a bit less maintenance? In that case, a fish can be the perfect pet. So many fish do very well in small tanks and are perfect for residing in an assisted living facility. These include bettas, guppies, and neon tetras. 

Are you worried that you or a loved one can’t keep up with a larger pet or might be in danger of tripping or falling? There’s no danger of that with a fish. You can also look into hermit crabs or other small animals that can live in an aquarium.

Pet Alternatives

If keeping a pet simply isn’t an option, you may still be able to enjoy animals in other ways. Seniors are always welcome to volunteer at local animal shelters. Additionally, libraries and other facilities often host visiting animals as part of their community programming.

Enjoy Independent Living in Jacksonville with Your Pet

When you aren’t busy enjoying the many amenities at pet-friendly assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, the right pet can be the perfect companion. However, we encourage you to choose wisely or help your loved one select the ideal pet. Please consider your ability to provide proper care and find a pet that has the right personality.

If you determine that an emotional support pet would be the perfect option, many organizations help you find the perfect match and may also help with training and acclimation.

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