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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.

3 Important Steps Older Adults Should Add to Their Skincare Routines

Most younger people understand the importance of a regular skincare routine to prevent aging, but in fact, people of all ages should have a thorough skincare routine to keep their skin healthy and looking its best. As skin ages, it’s important to take natural texture changes into account when crafting the perfect skincare regimen.  

Assisted Living in Tallahassee: Why Is a Skincare Routine Important for Mature Skin?

As you get older, one of the biggest changes you’ll experience in your skin is a reduced level of moisture. This is the main reason why most skincare routines for mature skin will include daily moisturization in addition to some of the basics like cleansing and toning. 

3 Steps to Add to Your Skincare Routine

However, there are a few other skincare practices that should be non-negotiables for older adults enjoying their golden years in independent living in Tallahassee, Florida. Let’s take a look at these practices and how they can make a difference in the health and vitality of your skin.

1. Exfoliate a Few Times Per Week

Exfoliation is the practice of removing dead skin cells from the skin’s surface, and it should be a part of any skincare routine, no matter your age. Regular exfoliation becomes even more important as you get older, as your skin will lose some of its ability to shed its dead cells on its own. 

Daily exfoliation can cause damage to mature skin but performing this step two to three times per week can make a huge difference in the brightness of your complexion.  

2. Include Eye Cream

The skin underneath the eyes and eyelids tend to be some of the most sensitive skin on the body, so this area needs its own special products to cater to its needs. 

This skin also tends to lose its elasticity as you age, creating the appearance of undereye bags. A dedicated eye cream can help keep your undereye skin firm and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines around your eyes.

3. Don’t Forget Sunscreen

If you’re enjoying your retirement in assisted living in Tallahassee, you know firsthand how too much sun exposure can leave your skin feeling dehydrated. Plus, UV rays are one of the most significant causes of visible skin damage as you age. 

You don’t have to give up your fun in the sun, but you can prevent further damage to mature skin by remembering to wear sunscreen each day.

6 Common Aging Myths Debunked

Getting older can be a scary idea for many adults, partly because there are many misconceptions about getting older. Aging does not have to mean that your quality of life or health automatically goes downhill. Today, older adults live longer and are healthier than ever before. 

Read on to learn about six common aging myths.

Myth 1: Loneliness Is Normal

One of the greatest fears and biggest myths about aging is related to loneliness. The myth is that older people live alone and rarely see their family and friends, leading to extreme loneliness. This is, in fact, not true for most older adults.

Whether adults are living in their own home or in assisted living in St. Petersburg, FL, older adults are one of the most active and social demographics in the community. Between meet-up groups, volunteer opportunities, clubs, and more, getting old does not mean loneliness. 

Myth 2: Older People Can’t Learn New Things

Indeed, learning some things, such as learning a new language, during old age becomes more challenging. However, this principle does not apply across the board. 

Some of the most common activities for seniors include learning new skills, from piano to golf to painting. Older people learn things all the time, and learning can make retirement more enjoyable. 

Myth 3: Aging Means Memory Problems

While diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia are certainly real diseases that impact families across the world, aging does not necessarily mean you will experience memory problems. Many older people have memories that are perfectly intact and report no problems with memory at all.

Myth 4: Older Adults Should Slow Down

Your later years in life should be some of the most enjoyable. You have the time you need to enjoy your hobbies, explore new passions, and spend more time with family and friends. Whether you choose to live in your own home or choose independent living in St. Petersburg, FL, aging does not have to mean slowing down.

Myth 5: Older Adults Must Give Up Driving

While there may come a time that health or other issues prevent you from driving, many seniors enjoy driving well into their 70s and 80s. Older adults are perfectly capable of being safe drivers. As you age, you can still drive yourself around, get to appointments, and pursue the things you want at your convenience.

Myth 6: Exercise Is Too Dangerous for Older Adults

There is a myth that older adults should back off from exercise for fear of experiencing an injury. In fact, exercise is perhaps more important for older adults than any other age group. As adults age, exercise keeps them mentally and physically healthy, and is critical to enjoying a long life. There are plenty of exercises that can be done safely without risk of injury.

Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, FL

If you or a loved one is exploring the options for living arrangements during retirement, assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, is a great option. The wellness programs, independence, and services and amenities are unmatched. You’ll be able to make the most of your retirement years in style and comfort.

Does My Loved One Need Memory Care? 4 Ways to Know

Memory care is a wonderful type of specialized care that can make all the difference for senior citizens struggling with memory loss. But knowing when it is time to seek memory care for a loved one can be tricky. Every situation and person is different, so the signs of memory problems can be unique and difficult to spot. 

If you are aware of what signs to look out for, you’ll be better equipped to make the decision when the time comes. Here are four ways to know that your loved one needs memory care. 

1. They Have a New Diagnosis

If your loved one has recently received a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, it is time to consider memory care. Unfortunately, these diseases currently have no cure, and they tend to get worse over time. 

Eventually, memory loss can make it difficult to get around and complete everyday tasks. Seeking memory care for a loved one early on after their diagnosis can help to ease the transition by allowing them to establish a routine.

2. Your Loved One’s Safety Is at Risk

While safety becomes more of a concern as your loved ones age, it might be at a greater risk when an older person is facing memory loss. Dangerous situations can include forgetting to turn off appliances, wandering or getting lost, forgetting to feed pets, or frequent, unexplained injuries.

By seeking memory care for your loved ones, you can ensure that they’ll be supervised appropriately while being supported in a safe environment. 

There are skilled facilities that offer memory care in St. Petersburg, FL. To learn about a particular facility and its safety protocols, you can request information online.

3. Their Health Is Declining

Declining health is not uncommon as your loved ones age, but it is important to keep an eye out for the underlying cause of the change. As people experience increased memory loss, doing everyday things like preparing food or remembering to take medications becomes more difficult. 

Sleep schedules are also often impacted by failing memory. 

If you notice any of the following health-related issues, it may be time to consider memory care:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns, including excessive exhaustion
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Not taking medication
  • Taking too much medication
  • Missing medical appointments
  • Failing to take care of their basic hygiene

At a memory care facility, your loved ones can get the care they need to maintain their health.

4. You’ve Got a Gut Feeling Something’s Wrong

No one knows your loved one better than you do. While doctors can make recommendations, they are not around all the time to witness behaviors. If you have a feeling that it is time to seek memory care, it probably is.

Memory Care in St. Petersburg, FL

If you are looking for memory care for a loved one, be aware that not all assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida offer memory care. It is a specialized type of care that requires additional training and protocols. By doing your research, you can find a skilled, compassionate partner to provide the care that your loved one deserves.

New Memory Care Neighborhood At Westminster Oaks Recognized For Excellence In Construction

Director of Construction Bill Andersen and Construction Manager Rob Clerici with the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction.
Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida are delighted to announce that the new Memory Care neighborhood in the Life Plan Community in Tallahassee has been recognized by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of North Florida with its Eagle Award for Excellence in Construction.

The Eagle Award, shared with the project’s general contractor, Cook Brothers Inc., recognizes and celebrates outstanding projects built by North Florida ABC members and the workmanship of those who contribute. Teamwork and cooperation between general contractors, specialty contractors, and material suppliers are prerequisites for building excellence into any construction project.

“It is quite an honor to receive this award,” said Bill Andersen, Director of Construction for Westminster Communities of Florida. “We are very appreciative of this award and are thankful to Cook Brothers for the quality product they produced. The new Memory Care neighborhood is a beautiful building in an attractive setting for the residents at Westminster Oaks, with spacious units, a large, home-like living and gathering areas, country kitchen dining spaces, and a large exterior courtyard setting for getting outdoors. Plus, the facility incorporates some of the newest and most innovative technologies for Memory Care.”

The new Memory Care neighborhood is an expansion of the Life Plan Community, which serves more than 600 residents with Independent Living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, Nursing Care, Rehabilitation and more. Residents will receive Memory Care and Assisted Living services in spaces custom-designed to support their needs. The building was designed as a set of small, secure neighborhoods with spacious private apartments, a memory garden and more. In addition, it features innovative and sustainable building features, like higher-efficiency HVAC systems, zero VOC paints and sealants, and long life-span construction materials, and was constructed to the National Green Building Standard Silver level.

Congratulations to Westminster Oaks, the Westminster Communities of Florida Construction & Design Department, and Cook Brothers Inc. for this prestigious recognition.

Westminster Oaks is a Continuing Care Retirement Community set amid the rolling hills of Florida’s capital. The community offers Independent Living, featuring Westminster Communities of Florida’s exclusive My W Life program for wellbeing of mind, body and soul, as well as Assisted Living, Nursing Care, Memory Care and more. To learn more about Westminster Oaks, visit us online at www.WestminsterOaksFL.org or call (850) 878-1136.

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