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!

Needs Assessment: Why Is It Important for Assisted Living Residents?

The level of care assisted living residents need can vary greatly from one individual to the next. That’s why most residents receive a needs assessment before settling into their communities. A needs assessment will be important if you’re considering independent living in St. Petersburg, Florida.

A needs assessment may involve physical examinations, mental tests, and interviews aimed at providing a better understanding of the level of support a senior needs. This type of evaluation fulfills several key functions.

It Identifies Gaps

Seniors don’t always ask for the help they need; some may not even realize they need help. A needs assessment identifies gaps in a senior’s daily life, like difficulty completing tasks, or missing medications. Filling these gaps is critical to ensuring residents’ health, safety, and comfort.

It Indicates the Appropriate Level of Care

It’s crucial that seniors receive the appropriate level of care. When they don’t receive adequate care, their safety and well-being can be at risk. 

Conversely, when seniors receive too much care, it can threaten their sense of independence and take valuable resources away from other residents. A needs assessment can point to the appropriate level of care.

It Allows Caregivers to Develop a Plan

Developing thoughtful care plans is one of the most important aspects of serving residents in senior living communities. Care plans are developed with input from medical professionals, family members, and of course, the residents themselves. 

Care plans ensure everyone is on the same page and that the individual in question gets the exact type and scope of care they need. They can also lay out goals for seniors receiving therapy or rehabilitation or working toward long-term physical goals.

It Uncovers Health Concerns

A needs assessment is also a way for caregivers and medical professionals to uncover health issues.

Seniors and their families don’t always know what signs to look for when underlying medical issues are present. With a needs assessment, the examining professional can detect early warning signs and refer the senior to a doctor.

Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

All seniors should undergo a needs assessment prior to transitioning to assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida. This evaluation will ensure a smooth transition and make the individual, their loved ones, and their caregiver more prepared.

With a proper needs assessment, seniors can immediately settle into their new assisted living accommodations and look forward to the next chapter in life.

Questions to Ask Before Picking a Retirement Community

Choosing a retirement community is a big decision.

Every community has its own unique structure, characteristics, and amenities, and not every one may work for you. Whether you’re exploring assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida, or leaning more toward an independent living arrangement, there are a few important questions you’ll want to ask.

Question One: What Kind of Amenities Are Offered?

The amenities are one of the best parts of retirement communities. They make everyday life easier and more enjoyable and are usually available for you to utilize at your leisure.

Look for a retirement community offering amenities that match your needs and interests. Examples may include:

  • On-site dining
  • Libraries
  • Computer rooms
  • Game rooms
  • Spas
  • Common areas
  • Outdoor areas
  • Fitness centers

Make sure you familiarize yourself with the amenities available to you before making a decision.

Question Two: What Are the Care Options?

A central feature of retirement communities is the care they offer to residents. Even if you don’t need much support today, ensuring staff is available should an accident occur is highly prudent.

Additionally, if your health or mobility changes over time, you’ll want the peace of mind that you’ll get the care you need in your current community.

Question Three: How Much Does It Cost?

The living expenses associated with retirement communities encompass a broad range. Since you’re unlikely to want to move again later on, you’ll want to ensure you have the financial capacity to stay in your preferred community for the long term.

Most communities are willing to work with you and your family to find an agreeable financial solution. It’s also a good idea to consult a professional financial advisor who can help you budget and plan for the coming months and years.

Question Four: What Is Daily Life Like?

Before selecting a retirement community, you’ll want to have some idea of what you can expect on a day-to-day level.

Ask the staff or current residents how they spend their days and what they think about the community they work or live in. Make sure you focus on the specifics, such as daily dining options, scheduled activities, transportation, and other perks. The answers you receive should give you a better sense of what your life could look like in a particular retirement community.

Exploring Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

There are numerous options for both independent and assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

Florida is home to some of the best retirement communities in the country, so at least one is bound to fit your needs and interests. Take your time making your choice. When you find the right match, you’ll feel right at home from day one.

Must-Do Winter Activities in Saint Petersburg, Florida

Saint Petersburg is known for its warm weather and fun attractions, especially during the winter months, when it’s still comfortably temperate. Here are five great things to do if you’re spending the winter in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Take a Morning Stroll on the Beach

Saint Petersburg is known for its scenic beaches. Since the area is still relatively warm in the winter, you’ll enjoy the perfect weather for taking a relaxing jaunt along the shore.

Early mornings are a great time to visit the beaches, as they aren’t overly crowded. While you’re out, pop in a local bakery or café to grab some breakfast or coffee.

Visit the Museums

If you enjoy viewing beautiful works of art and immersing yourself in exciting exhibits, you might visit one of St. Pete’s many museums or cultural centers. Places like the Salvador Dali museum are popular attractions in St. Pete, and they make a great day trip for those looking to stimulate their imagination on a winter day.

Go on a Mural Search

Another great thing to do during the winter is to search for murals on buildings. St. Petersburg is famous for its creative street art, with thousands of giant murals painted on buildings throughout the city. Take a trip around the city on foot and see how many you can spot!

Walk the St. Pete Pier

One of Saint Petersburg’s most famous spots is St. Pete Pier. Located next to Vinoy Park along the beautiful coast, the Pier is a popular destination for residents and visitors alike. It’s home to many top-rated local shops and restaurants that people of all ages can enjoy at any time of the year.

Tour Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

With the warm weather, quality medical facilities, and fun attractions, Florida has become a popular place for senior living communities. If you have friends or family living in one of the many assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida, stop by to visit and make their winter a little warmer.

Winters in Assisted Living in St. Petersburg, Florida

From walks on the beach to museums and mural searches, there’s no shortage of fun things to do in St. Pete, including visiting senior living communities. If you or a loved one is a resident of assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida, you can make the most of this winter season by participating in fun activities and making memories at your facility or around the city.

How to Talk to People Living with Dementia

When a parent, family member, or loved one develops dementia, it’s often necessary to change the way you communicate with them. Not only will this facilitate understanding, but it can also reduce the stress and anxiety that is so common in people living with dementia.

Tips for Talking to People Living with Dementia

Dementia is a form of cognitive decline that is out of a person’s control. As such, talking to people living with dementia takes the same type of consideration that you would offer to somebody with any other speech difficulty. 

The most important tip for speaking with people living with dementia is to remember that their cognitive challenges are just as frustrating for them (or much more so) as they are for you.

Following a few simple strategies can facilitate conversation:

Speak in short, clear sentences at a reasonable volume, and enunciate your words to ensure that they aren’t misheard.

When asking a question, present uncomplicated options. You may need to word your question in different ways.

Be mindful of your tone of voice. Try to be patient and gentle, as letting frustration or anger seep into your tone can make your conversation partner less willing to engage.

Give room for them to respond. Sometimes, people living with dementia need extra time to articulate their thoughts. Be comfortable with silence, and don’t pressure them to respond right away.

Following these basic guidelines can help to minimize frustration and let people living with dementia have a voice. You can also consider helping your loved one transition to a community designed with their needs in mind. Moving to memory care in St. Petersburg, Florida, is often the best way to improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.

Habits to Avoid

Just as there are tips for facilitating conversation, there are also practices that should be avoided. A few examples include:

  • Avoid constantly correcting them — mixing up words or facts is out of their control
  • Avoid patronizing them by using baby-talk — treat them as an equal
  • Don’t test their memory — they likely recognize that they should remember details and can get frustrated when they don’t

By avoiding these lines of conversation, you can minimize both their frustration and your own.

Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

Moving to assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida, can be a great way to ensure your loved one gets the support they need. Communities are staffed by compassionate professionals who have the knowledge and tools to help people living with dementia communicate their needs, accomplish their daily routines, and continue to live fulfilling lives.

Depression in Seniors: 3 Signs and Symptoms to Watch for

Seniors have a lot of things to look forward to. Retirement means more time for hobbies, family, and the opportunity to relax and embrace a slower pace of life. However, retirement is not without its challenges.

Depression in seniors is more common than people think. The risk of developing depression increases with age and health challenges and can also affect seniors in skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL

The good news is that depression is often treatable. Here are three signs and symptoms to watch out for to detect depression in seniors.

1. Loss of Interest in Activities

One of the most obvious signs of depression in seniors is losing interest in activities. If your loved one suddenly loses interest in activities they normally enjoy, like attending a social event or a hobby, that is a strong sign of depression.

There is a difference between skipping an activity for a week and a pattern of loss of interest, so be attentive in recognizing this symptom.

2. Sudden Weight Loss

Depression often causes seniors to lose their appetite, resulting in sudden weight loss. If you notice your senior loved one is rapidly losing weight without explanation, it may be time to seek help. 

Weight loss is not always attributable to depression, of course. Medication side effects can also play a significant role in appetite and metabolism. It is best to see a doctor to help pinpoint the exact cause.

3. Trouble Sleeping

Sleep is essential for a healthy and active lifestyle. Regular and quality sleep is especially important for seniors. Those with depression often experience sleep disturbances and may have trouble falling or staying asleep. 

They may also begin sleeping for long periods during the day, which can negatively impact their health. If your loved one mentions having trouble sleeping, consider whether it could be a sign of depression. 

Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, FL

Sometimes a change of scenery and community can effectively keep feelings of depression and isolation at bay. When seniors begin to feel depressed, moving to assisted living can be a good option. 

Assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, is known for its great amenities, dedicated staff, and tight-knit community. A senior living community provides activities, care, and social interaction that can go a long way in improving mental health in the long term.

Top Tips for Making New Friends in Senior Living Facilities

Making new friends is difficult at any age. And when you’re so set in your ways, the idea of making new friends at a senior living facility can feel overwhelming or even a bit scary.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be. Whether you’re living in an assisted senior living facility or are still independent living in St. Petersburg, FL, read some top tips for how to make new friends in senior living facilities.

Join Activities

There’s nothing better than bonding over a shared passion. Not only will venturing out to participate in activities that interest you enrich your own life, but it will most certainly help you make new friends. 

When you move into your new living situation, ask staff for a copy of the monthly events and activities calendar. And if you commit to an activity, follow through with your plans! 

Find New Residents in Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, FL

If you live in assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, it’s likely that your building has other new residents. 

Ask staff to connect you with other new residents who may be facing the same hurdles you are. Your living facility may have a group dedicated purely to acclimating new residents. 

Host a Party 

Don’t want to meet other people? Bring the new people to you by hosting a “new to the neighborhood” party in your independent senior living space

Make sure to be open, pleasant, and welcoming. As the host, you’ll want to be as inviting as possible. Consider making the party fun by planning different games or turning the party into a screening of your favorite film. 

Listen, Listen, Listen

As sad as it is, most people engage in conversations only to talk about themselves. Rather than being that obnoxious person in a conversation, take the time to really get to know who you’re speaking with. Taking an interest in who the person is, where they grew up, and what they did for a living will engage the other person and help strike a deeper bond between the two of you. 

Ask for Help

Sometimes it can be overwhelming to go to a social event by yourself. And that’s okay! If you have friends or family outside of your living facility, consider inviting them to the next senior living center event so that you can meet people in your community while armed with the comfort of having a familiar face by your side.

Can Social Security Benefits Help Pay for Assisted Living Fees?

For most seniors, assisted living costs are more than what they receive from Social Security. According to a report from the National Center for Assisted Living, the median cost of assisted living is $4,000 per month.

Some seniors may be able to supplement their income with assistance from family members or friends. However, for many seniors, this is not an option. 

Regular Social Security benefits are not enough to cover assisted living costs completely. Optional State Supplements (SSS) may be available to some, but this additional income is often insufficient.

Optional State Supplements: What Are They?

Optional State Supplement (OSS) programs are run by states and provide additional income to supplement the federal Social Security benefits of low-income seniors and those receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

The exact amount is dependent on the applicant’s income and assets, as well as the state in which they reside, but most OSS programs top out at around $100-$200 per month. Payments are made directly to the assisted living facility on behalf of the senior.

To be eligible for OSS, applicants must:

  • Be 65 years of age or older
  • Reside in skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL
  • Receive federal Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
  • Have low income and assets
  • Meet any additional state-specific requirements

With these programs, it’s important to keep in mind that not all seniors will qualify and that each state has different requirements.

Can Social Security Benefits Help Pay for Fees for Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida?

There are several ways to help cover assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida, but Social Security benefits will only make up a small portion of the total cost for most seniors. 

Optional state supplements may be available to some, but these are often not enough to completely cover the costs. For many seniors, help from family and friends is essential to afford their care.

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

4 Ways to Simplify Video Calls with Older Loved Ones

Staying connected is one of the most important habits to adopt in the later years of life and is important for both physical and mental health. While assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida, can provide the community and connection seniors need, it is no replacement for connection with family. 

Video calling is a great way to stay connected with loved ones, even if they live far away. Here are four ways to simplify video calls with older loved ones.

1. Choose Easy-to-Use Apps

There are countless applications and websites that facilitate video calls. Some are easier to use than others. Make sure you have selected an intuitive app so that your older loved one can navigate it without ongoing assistance.

2. Give a Tutorial

Older loved ones aren’t always familiar with the technology that younger generations find obvious to use, so take time to give them a tutorial. If your loved one lives in one of the independent living facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, a staff member may be able to give a tutorial as well. 

3. Stay Patient

Now and then, your elderly loved one may have issues with video calling. The worst thing you can do is get frustrated and angry. Even if using the application seems easy to you, try to understand that it may be a challenge for them.

4. Make Sure They Have an Updated Device

Using an outdated device to navigate video calling applications can be a challenge for people of any age. Modern and easy-to-use video calling tools depend on modern devices to properly display the features. If your loved one has an older device, video calling may be more difficult to execute.

Staying Connected in Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

Assisted living facilities in Saint Petersburg, Florida, make it easier than ever to stay connected to loved ones. With dedicated spaces for video calling and staff members who can help seniors navigate technology, residents can always feel supported and included.

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