SENIORS ENJOY ACTIVE LIVING, FUN AND GAMES IN THE SUN WITH WESTMINSTER COMMUNITIES OF FLORIDA
March 6, 2017
At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida
enjoyed the organization’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities
ST. PETERSBURG, March 6, 2017 – In the bright sun on a pleasant day last Friday afternoon, more than 300 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together at Eckerd College’s GO Pavilion for Westminster’s third annual St. Pete Games. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! The attendees competed as teams in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.
The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed shotput, horseshoes, putting, lawn darts, croquet and more, plus live music and dancing. Eckerd students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.
“What a beautiful day! I’m glad to be here and having so much fun,” said Terry Arnn, a resident at Westminster Winter Park, who traveled down to St. Petersburg for the day. “It’s been great seeing the smiles and the positive attitude. Plus, I was 5-for-5 in lawn darts!”
The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida. “Welcome back!” said Eckerd chaplain Douglas McMahon. “Our partnership with Westminster has grown so much through the years. We’re fortunate to have here two institutions with a passion for lifelong learning.”
Marcia Mensing, a resident at Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, said that she had been at all three games. “I love seeing everyone outside and active,” Mensing said. “Wow, it’s nice seeing everyone in such a different context.”
Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.
Valentine's Day Kids Continue Annual Tradition
February 13, 2017
Originally published in the Northeast Journal.
For 7 years now, “The Valentine Kids” have made an annual visit to Westminster Palms, an active senior living community right here in Old Northeast. Over the years, the kids come bearing gifts of hand-made valentines, homemade cookies, candy and, most importantly, friendly faces, warm smiles and big hugs.
The ringleader/mom, Sharon Kantner, who lives in Old Northeast, came up with the idea in 2011. She knew it would be a good life experience for her daughters to reach out to the seniors at Westminster Palms. Each year Sharon recruits additional children to join the troop of merry-makers. Over the years, 13 different children have made Valentine’s Day visits to the residents, and Sharon’s two daughters, Kate and Caroline, have always participated. The girls and their friends spend hours making beautiful and heartfelt valentines, always writing a personal message on each card.
When the kids arrive, each year they take a photo in the lobby – and my-oh-my have they grown! Over the last seven years, the kids have visited with hundreds of different residents, always bringing smiles, laughter and love. They leave behind goodies, handmade valentines and sweet Valentine’s Day memories.
Westminster Communities of Florida Partners with Florida State for Heart Health
February 8, 2017
Westminster Communities of Florida is celebrating Heart Health Month this year by offering "Taking Care of Your Heart Health" seminars throughout the state, in partnership with the Florida State University College of Medicine.
In February, classes will be offered in Bradenton, Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee. In these classes, teams of medical students in their third and fourth years give presentations to seniors with useful knowledge on their wellbeing. More than 70 medical students have participated, giving presentations to hundreds of Westminster residents. The current topic is the third series of health-related presentations, starting with "Brain Health" in spring of 2016 and followed by "Fall Prevention" last summer.
Sandra Knoble, Director of Quality Initiatives for Westminster, facilitates the project, part of a research grant with FSU. "We are proud to partner with the FSU College of Medicine and we are glad for the opportunity to provide these classes to seniors who would not have such opportunities," says Knoble.
This program is part of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project (GWEP), focusing on educating seniors on better health and better communication with their physicians. The student facilitators are mentored by local physicians and adjunct faculty in preparation for post-graduate work experience. The FSU College of Medicine prepares the content for these programs and provides presentation scripts to the medical students. The students are equipped with an action plan to lead their teaching, as well as handouts of resources that would be relevant for seniors. Afterward, the seniors are encouraged to ask questions and develop personal action plans to increase healthy behaviors.
Heart health classes began in January and will continue throughout the spring. Previously, the classes offered included "Brain Health" and "Fall Prevention."
"The classes are limited to 20 older adults," says Knoble. "This class size fosters better interpersonal reaction between the participants and the medical students giving the presentations."
The program has encouraged more than 200 seniors to learn more about their personal health and wellbeing.
To learn more about the program and upcoming presentation dates, contact Jennifer Gilmour at (941) 746-9425.