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.

7 Ways to Make Your New Jacksonville Independent Living Home Your Happy Place

When deciding on independent living in Jacksonville or a CCRC Jacksonville, FL, facility, it is important to take steps to make yourself feel more at home. Otherwise, you might feel that you have a hard time adjusting to your new environment. Here are a few different ways that you can adapt to your new living situation and provide yourself with the help that makes sense for your needs. 

Bring Along Your Favorite Decorations 

While you might need to downsize when transitioning into an independent living in Jacksonville lifestyle, you can always bring various decorations for your room. Things like photos, paintings, sculptures, and more can all help to make your new environment feel like home after you move into your new home.

Put Up Photos of Your Family 

When staying at a CCRC Jacksonville, FL, home, make sure you decorate your space with pictures of your family! This step can help your area feel much more like home. Just as importantly, it can help you stay connected to your loved ones and keep cherished family memories close to your heart, even if some family members may be at a distance across the state or even country.

Use Your Bedding and Pillows 

There’s nothing that can make your space feel more like home than bringing along your favorite comfy bedding and pillows! A familiar feeling is a simple step that can help make your space feel more familiar and like home. With some added relaxation at the end of a fun day, any homesickness will be a thing of the past.

Interact With Residents 

Most CCRC Jacksonville FL facilities will have many residents with whom you can build friendships and forge true emotional bonds. Doing so will help to make your experience more enjoyable and give you a feeling of being at home. Take advantage of the plentiful recreation opportunities to enjoy yourself.

Continually Explore Your Environment 

Lastly, make sure that you explore your environment when you move into a facility for independent living in Jacksonville. Check out where the kitchen is located, explore the grounds around the facility, and feel comfortable getting around to ensure that you don’t run into any trouble navigating the space.

You Can Feel at Home When Getting Care 

When you move into a CCRC Jacksonville, FL, facility, you can follow these steps to ensure that you feel comfortable and at home when settling into your new lifestyle. By taking these steps into consideration, you provide yourself with the help that you need to avoid any complications or concerns. Just as importantly, you make your life easier and your experience that much more enjoyable.

The Best Games and Indoor Entertainment for Seniors

As great as it is to get outside and enjoy the day, it’s just not always feasible. Some days the weather is stormy; other days, you just don’t feel like going out. Seniors with limited mobility or certain health conditions may also be limited in the amount of time they can spend outside. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun while inside. Below are some of the best indoor games and entertainment for seniors in independent living in Jacksonville.  

Benefits of Indoor Entertainment for Seniors

Indoor games and entertainment are crucial for senior citizens. Not only do they prevent boredom, but they help keep your mind active and sharp. No matter what kind of games you play, you can reap benefits, such as: 

  • Improved focus
  • Enhanced memory
  • Better mood
  • Heightened awareness
  • Increased attention to detail
  • More social interaction


Boggle is excellent for senior citizens because it’s easy to set up, play, and clean up. It can be played alone or with friends and provides a fun but challenging mental exercise. Other word games like Scrabble, Scattergories, and Bananagrams have similar effects to Boggle and improve cognition.


Chess is a great strategy game for people of all ages and can be a great way to have some intergenerational fun. There is a slight learning curve, but it becomes a very cerebral game of strategy and planning once you are past that. 

Card Games

You can pass the time with dozens of games when you have a simple deck of playing cards. When it comes to card games, there is something for everyone, including games such as:

  • Gin rummy
  • Solitaire
  • Bridge
  • Uno
  • Spades
  • Go fish
  • Crazy Eights
  • Pinochle

The only downside to card games is having to keep up with all of the cards. But that can become a game in and of itself!

Jigsaw Puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles can be challenging to complete – but they also provide plenty of entertainment for an afternoon! They are also proven to reduce the risk of dementia and can even help patients already suffering from dementia. Unlike other games with winners and losers, everyone wins when you finish a jigsaw puzzle, and you are left with a sense of accomplishment and feeling proud. 

Video Games

Video games aren’t just for the younger generations. Believe it or not, video games can be very beneficial for senior citizens. They provide unparalleled auditory and visual engagement and can improve reflexes and hand-eye coordination. 

There are even several video games that claim to be “brain training.” These claims are often exaggerated, but they can still be a fun and engaging way to kill some time. 

Jacksonville, Florida, Assisted Living

Many senior citizens choose to move to an assisted living facility once they start having memory issues. While not every facility specializes in memory care in Jacksonville, Florida, there are a handful that do.

Of course, you do not need to have memory issues to make the move to an assisted living facility. For senior citizens in Jacksonville, Florida, assisted living can be a way to take back your free time and live life how you want while also getting the healthcare you need. 

4 Things at Your Independent Living Facility That Are Surprisingly Good for Your Health

Happy Retirees Work Hard to Maintain Their Health

A Merrill Lynch/Age Wave survey revealed that most retirees believe excellent health is crucial to their experience happily pursuing a lifestyle of independent living in Jacksonville. Exercising and eating a nutritious diet have been shown in studies to lower your risk of acquiring certain health disorders, enhance your immune system, and improve your mood.

CCRC Promotes Strong Social Ties

Hobbies and activities with people you like can improve life pleasure, especially after we leave the workforce and our social networks can dwindle. According to one Gallup poll, happier CCRC Jacksonville, Florida, retirees had more social interactions.

Keeping socially active can be associated with a decreased risk of heart disease, stroke, dementia, melancholy, and anxiety. Low levels of social connection, believe it or not, are just as dangerous as smoking, obesity, alcohol abuse, or physical inactivity. Getting involved at retirement communities in Jacksonville can be the perfect way to create new connections and benefit your health, too! 

Happy Retirees Discover a Clear Sense of Purpose

Finding happiness at an assisted living facility in Jacksonville FL no longer hinges on time spent golfing, strolling along the beach, or reading classic novels. While enjoyable, these archetypal retirement leisure activities may not always provide a feeling of purpose or meaning, which many retirees believe is necessary.

The Merrill Lynch study notes that volunteering provides this sense of meaning, along with other benefits to retirees. Our facilities dedicated to independent living in Jacksonville take this to heart. Retirees who gave money or volunteered also reported a greater sense of purpose and self-esteem, as well as being happier and healthier.

Independent Living in Jacksonville Offers Non-stop Learning

Experts feel that continuing your education and learning new things can help you stay mentally bright, simply by encouraging you to keep your mind engaged. For residents of any assisted living facility in Jacksonville, Florida, brain exercise may aid in keeping your cognitive abilities sharp!

According to the Harvard Medical School’s Healthbeat newsletter, “challenging your brain with mental exercise is thought to activate systems that help preserve individual brain cells and increase communication among them.” So, benefit your brain and your interests by pursuing continuing learning while enjoying independent living in Jacksonville!

How Expensive Is It to Move into a Jacksonville Life Plan Community?

Since costs for life plan communities are not regulated externally, there may be a significant difference in various communities around Jacksonville, Florida. Multiple factors affect retirement communities in Jacksonville. Although life plan community costs may appear higher than other forms of long-term care initially, they end up being lower when calculated over a lifetime. The following are costs linked with life plan communities.

Entrance and Buy-in Fees 

Enrolling occupants pay a one-time, upfront charge when enrolling into a life plan community. The entrance charge may or may not be partially or fully refundable. Since the entrance fee typically covers the client’s health care costs, this cost is usually the essential cost, except if there is a buy-in fee. Entrance fees range from $20,000 for a non-purchase or rental contract, and buy-in charges cost approximately $500,000 or more in the most expensive life plan communities. These charges depend on the location and size of the unit and also the community.  

Monthly Fees

Life plan community costs can differ significantly based on the cost schedule. Some charge as low as $500, while others charge $3,000 or more. This depends on the client’s service plan and the contract. Monthly fees cover ongoing care expenses such as housing. Sometimes, the fee may also cover health care services. You should expect an increase in monthly payments when the inflation level rises. Monthly fees also increase when a client shifts between care levels or housing components. For instance, moving from assisted living care to skilled nursing. Some life plan communities provide a pay-as-you-go program where you can make only monthly payments. This is a month-to-month rental plan, and it can be costly if a client needs health care during their stay in independent living in Jacksonville.

Additional Fees

If you want to avoid hidden continuing care charges in an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, Florida, you should enquire about the available services and their costs. Begin by inquiring about things that are not listed in the contract. They could include professional assistance with daily living activities, health care, transport, housekeeping, meal plans, and beauty services. Know all services that can incur extra charges before signing the agreement. It would help if you also planned for miscellaneous continuing costs like pet deposit, late charges, maintenance, TV and internet, phone and utilities, storage, wellness, parking, and programs.

Costs for life plan communities vary from one facility to another. Many factors determine these costs. However, if you want to avoid hidden charges, you should enquire about all the costs before signing your contract.

What to Bring to Your New Jacksonville Independent Living Apartment

Moving can be a stressful process for anyone. Still, it’s especially true for seniors moving into independent living in Jacksonville, Florida who must decide what to bring with them. Encourage your loved ones and help them make a list of what’s essential and what isn’t. Here’s what to bring to your new Jacksonville independent living apartment.


If you can obtain the square footage and design of the home before moving day, you will find it much easier to begin the packing process. Your loved one must be able to transport their prized possessions, such as favorite furnishings and sentimental things, into their new living area. 

Knowing how much space you’ll have available will enable you to assist your loved ones in making more informed judgments about what can accompany them. In general, you should bring the following items to your new assisted living Jacksonville, Florida community:

  • End tables, nightstands, sofa, and chairs
  • Guest folding chairs
  • Dishes, glasses, and cutlery are examples of kitchenware
  • Bedding includes a comforter, quilt, and decorative pillows
  • Lamps
  • Knick-knacks and mementos

Photographs and Artwork in Frames

It’s crucial to make your loved one’s atmosphere feel as “homey” as possible, but don’t over-pack these possessions. Because their new living area will most likely be smaller than their old one, develop a list of the most important objects.


  • Appliances (if not provided) – microwave, coffeemaker, and mini-fridge
  • Timer for the alarm
  • Hangers for clothes
  • Eyeglasses, hearing aids, and canes/walkers are examples of assistive devices
  • For a quick clean, use cleaning wipes
  • Radio and television
  • Books and magazines that you enjoy reading

Assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida may be able to provide some necessities, so check first to see what your loved one may already have.


  • Sweatpants, jeans, and sweaters are all good options
  • Robes and pajamas
  • Socks, slippers, and shoes
  • Jackets and warm coats are recommended

For exceptional occasions, formal attire is appropriate. Bring a range of outfits appropriate for the climate where your loved one will be staying.


  • Prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Shampoo and soap
  • Lotions and a razor
  • Make-up

Again, most assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida offer a wide range of services and amenities, so gather a list of what will be available before making a special trip to the store for supplies.

Is Now the Right for Memory Care in Assisted Living?

Over time, it is natural for an individual’s memory to show signs of decline. Aging, illness, or accidents may begin to compromise a person’s memory. Age-related cognitive decline, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, may not show any immediate signs of effect. Instead, individuals exhibit symptoms over a period of time. This makes it hard to determine when an individual truly needs memory care in assisted living facilities in Jacksonville, Florida. The following are signs that may indicate a person needs memory care in a Jacksonville, Florida assisted living facility.

Diagnosis of Dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Another Related Condition

Although many people can be forgetful sometimes, that level of forgetfulness increases with age. However, frequent forgetting of important dates, locations, dates, and bill payments may exhibit signs of an abnormal condition. These are usually the first signs of dementia; therefore, there is a need to visit a doctor. After a diagnosis, there is a need to consider memory care in independent living in Jacksonville. A person may opt to stay at home as long as they want in the initial stages of the condition.

Caregiver Stress at Home or In Jacksonville Assisted Living Facilities

Caring for a loved one who needs memory care requires a lot of effort, understanding, and willingness. It may be difficult to support an individual with this condition without participating in frequent breaks. Whether in home-based care or with qualified memory care providers, patients with mid to later stages of memory loss need high-quality medical assistance. If a person approaches or is already in a phase where caregiving is too time-consuming, there is a need to consider memory care at an assisted living facility in Jacksonville, Florida.

A Decline in Overall Health

A person with memory issues may face difficulties performing other activities like driving, preparing food, making a grocery list, or even remembering to eat. Additionally, losing track of time and days has a terrible impact on circadian rhythm. This may lead to insomnia, Sundowner’s syndrome, and other sleep conditions that affect a person’s well-being.

Little to No Social Life

Some people with dementia experience a considerable decline in their social life. However, residents in memory care centers or retirement communities in Jacksonville experience vibrant social lives. There are daily activities, creative outlets, and supervised excursions in most centers.

Memory loss is a condition that requires an extra care level. Although a person may opt to stay at home, there is a need to consider a memory care facility if the condition becomes severe. Call Westminster Woods today to learn more about our Jacksonville assisted living facilities.

Oral Care Tips for Residents of Jacksonville Retirement Communities

While getting older, residents of assisted living facilities in Jacksonville should take some extra time to care for their oral health. Poor oral health can have consequences – such as dealing with tooth loss, gum conditions, root decay, and dry mouth. So, how can you best avoid these problems and have the healthiest teeth possible? Read on for a few top oral health tips for seniors.

Floss and Brush Daily

Probably, you have heard about the importance of flossing and brushing since childhood. Regular brushing and flossing are the perfect ways to enhance and maintain oral health. Dentists recommend that a person should brush twice daily. As you age, you can benefit from more fluoride; therefore, select a toothpaste containing high mineral levels. You should also remember to floss once per day. If you or a loved one faces challenges due to conditions such as arthritis while brushing, try a flossing tool or water pick. Staff at your assisted living facility can also help you combat any of these challenges!

Use a Good Toothbrush

A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head that can reach the back of the mouth is perfect for brushing. Find products accredited by reputable dental associations. However, conditions like arthritis may make it hard to brush. In that case, you should consider purchasing a battery-operated toothbrush to have a perfect daily cleaning. Change your toothbrush after every three months or any time bristles begin to fray. 

Avoid Tobacco Products

To maintain good oral health, you should avoid chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes. Besides lung cancer, smoking can also lead to mouth and throat cancer. In addition, tobacco can also cause tooth decay and gum diseases. You can consult a doctor about developing a treatment plan to help with quitting smoking. 

Apply Antibacterial Mouthwash

Bacteria and germs in the mouth may lead to plaque build-up, gum conditions, and eventually tooth loss. Seniors should use a mouthwash that has antibacterial properties to facilitate the prevention of gum conditions. Remember to use mouthwash daily. This can help to eliminate mouth bacteria. If a senior wears dentures, they may be more exposed to bacterial build-ups.

For regular, expert assistance with your oral health and other parts of your healthy, active lifestyle, turn to Westminster Woods! Our Jacksonville assisted living facility gives you the freedom and fun to enjoy active senior living. Contact us today to discover how living at Westminster Woods can benefit you!

4 Ways to Stay Connected with Family in Assisted Living Through Technology

Now more than ever, physical distance is the greatest obstacle keeping families apart, especially for those with loved ones in assisted living facilities. Even with COVID-19 afoot, we are still enabled to remain in touch with those in assisted living, both inbound and outbound. Technology makes this easier than ever! Continue reading to learn how to optimize technology to remain close with family despite distance and disease.

Smart Phones

According to a recent report, four out of ten seniors own and operate a smart phone – a figure that has doubled since 2013. These incredible inventions allow owners to hold the power of the internet within the palms of their hands, which means anything is possible with a viable Wi-Fi connection. Furthermore, smartphones offer access to an array of communication apps which make it possible to connect face-to-face, in addition to a plethora of other benefits. Phones don’t have to be used only as text machines, and the elderly are also more proficient than ever at mastering these tools, which makes smart phones incredibly useful for staying in touch.

Video Chat

The ability to place video calls is not restricted to smart phones only, you can just as easily do the same thing with tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. These devices also provide a much larger interface and, therefore, a bigger and clearer picture of those you are chatting with. Not only is this practical for catching up with loved ones that you have not been able to see for a long time, but it is also a great benefit for telehealth and other ways of staying healthy during the pandemic. Besides this, video chats also allow participants to enjoy in games together, no matter how many miles may separate them. Skype and Zoom are two free and intuitive chat services that have taken off recently, and they are excellent tools for staying connected.


Yes, email is classic but it is just as effective as ever at keeping people linked together. Though email does not promise as personal a touch as video chatting, it is still easy to share photos, videos, recipes, and important family updates. Recent updates to email also allow users to share calendars, so that everyone in the family can be kept up to speed on appointments and other important life happenings, like birthdays or graduations.

Social Media

Social platforms such as Facebook have boomed since the turn of the century and they are still on their current trajectory towards the stratosphere. Social media can be an open forum for posts of all kinds from those that you friend or follow, but you can just as easily temper your intake of material by creating private groups with your friends and family to limit the white noise. All it takes is an account and you can instantly tap into your loved ones.

Seeking out an independent living or assisted living community for your elderly beloved does not have to be something to fear, because it is easier than ever to stay in touch even after they have begun their residency there. Westminster Woods on Julington Creek in Jacksonville, FL offers an interactive lifestyle without compromises and our residents benefit from a full array of services and healthcare options, including memory care and skilled nursing. Reach out as soon as possible to get started on finding your home here!

Easy Stretches that Alleviate Pain for Seniors in Independent Living Jacksonville

Even the smallest of tasks can begin to feel painful for older adults – feeling stiffness when you turn your head, getting painful sensations in your extremities, and so on. With improved flexibility, it is possible for many seniors to find a better quality of life again as they fight against the pain of aging! According to the CDC, roughly 50 million adults live with chronic pain which is proven to lead to depression, stress, and loss of sleep. By doing these stretches from the comfort of our Jacksonville independent living facilities, you can relieve pain and live better!

Overhead Side Stretch

First, stand with your feet firmly hip width apart, then raise your arms overhead and interlace your fingers. Keep your torso straight and gently lean to one side, holding that pose for 10 to 30 seconds before returning to center and repeating on the other side. This stretch strengthens the intercostal muscles, which support the ribs and facilitate comfortable breathing. Make it easier by sitting in a chair if necessary.

Shoulder Stretch

Do you often feel tension in your neck and shoulders? Stand tall with feet hip width apart again, then reach one arm across your body. With your opposite arm, grab the extended arm and slowly draw it closer to your body until you feel your shoulder stretching. Hold that for 10 to 30 seconds, then repeat the process with your other arm.

Hamstring Stretch

For this exercise, keep one leg straight while extending your opposite heel outward with toes up. Then, without rounding your lower back, gently lean forward from your hips until you feel a comfortable stretch. Hold that pose, then switch legs and repeat. It is important to never do more than what you are comfortable with so be sure to not push yourself too hard or you can risk injury.

Supine Knee to Chest Stretch

Lay on your back with your legs straight first, then lift one knee toward your chest as far as you can comfortably without lifting your upper body. Grasp the back of your thigh to draw your leg closer to your chest, then hold it there for 10 to 30 seconds. Release, then repeat with your other leg. This stretches your hip and lower back muscles and creates more space for nerves as they exit your spine, which relieves pain.

Cat-Cow Stretch

This popular yoga pose is said to improve posture and balance and it is an easy way to relieve back pain as well. Start on all fours with your hands below your shoulders and knees below your hips. Gently round your back up towards the ceiling – much like how a cat arches its back – while tucking your chin toward your tailbone. Then reverse your movement by arching your back downwards (like a cow) while lifting your hips and head. Alternate between these two positions for 10 to 30 seconds.

Again, it is always important to only do what you are comfortable with! By using these simple stretches, your muscles and joints will find relief in flexibility and your quality of life will be riddled with less pain. At Westminster Woods, an active lifestyle meets a beautiful, wooded campus with convenient access to cosmopolitan Jacksonville. Just outside your door, additional wellness opportunities abound, from yoga to our exclusive My W Life program. Contact us today to learn more about our Jacksonville independent living facilities and see how easy we make it for residents to pursue long and healthy lives.

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