3 Questions to Ask During an Assisted Living Facility Tour

If you are looking for a St. Petersburg assisted living facility, you may not know exactly what to look for. Many facilities offer similar amenities, but if you are new to assisted living communities, it can be hard to differentiate and determine what is the best fit. 

Choosing where to live or where to place a loved one is a big decision, and one you shouldn’t make until you are fully informed. Here are three questions to ask during an assisted living facility tour.

1. What Is the Caregiver to Resident Ratio?

Caregivers are one of the most important components of Saint Petersburg assisted living facilities, along with the caregiver to resident ratio. 

If the ratio is high, that means the caregivers will have more responsibilities and less time to dedicate to each resident. On the other hand, if the ratio is low, residents tend to receive more personalized care. 

2. What Are the On-Site Dining and Meal Options?

Regardless of the reasons you or a loved one will be moving to assisted living, you should know what meal options are offered each day. Some facilities offer robust dining options for each meal, while others offer more modest meal services. 

The type of food services offered can make a big difference in the quality of life and how much time is needed to dedicate to dining and food preparation. Make sure to get a tour of the meal facilities if there are any. 

3. What Level of Security Is Provided?

One of the main benefits of moving into assisted living is the added layer of security the community can provide. Make sure to ask what type of security measures the facility has. Ask if they have a 24/7 security officer and security cameras, and find out what their visitor protocols are. 

In addition to providing security for the community, the facility should have detailed plans for keeping residents safe at all times. Ask about protocols for dangerous situations such as falls and medical emergencies and what type of emergency response is available to residents.

Finding a Home in St. Petersburg Assisted Living 

Assisted living should feel like home. Selecting the right facility can not only make sure all needs are met but go a long way in making you or your loved one feel comfortable. 

Whether you are touring a facility in person or attending a virtual appointment, all of your questions should be answered by the end of your visit. Understanding exactly what a facility offers is the best way to make an informed decision.

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

The Ultimate Packing Checklist for Your Move to Assisted Living

Moving to an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, is an exciting time. You are starting a new chapter and will be in a comfortable environment that caters to your needs. 

Still, moving involves change, which can be hard for people at any age. The transition to assisted living may take a little adjustment, and if you don’t plan properly, you may find yourself in an unnecessarily stressful situation. Take the guesswork out of the move by adhering to this ultimate packing checklist.

Photos

You want to make your new space in assisted living feel like home. A good way to do this is by surrounding yourself with photos of family and friends. Familiar photos will quickly make your new space feel more like home.

Decorations and Art

In all likelihood, your new assisted living accommodations are not pre-outfitted with any art or decor, so make sure to bring your own. Decorations are another easy way to personalize your space and settle in.

Legal and Financial Paperwork

You must always have easy access to important legal and financial paperwork. You never know what could happen, and you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you don’t have access to the documents you need.

Clothes for All Seasons

Florida residents enjoy warm weather for most of the year, but you need to be prepared even in Saint Petersburg assisted living facilities. Make sure to bring warm clothes, clothes for hot weather, and clothes for the rainy season.

You never know when there will be a last-minute outdoor activity, or a fun opportunity to travel offsite with other residents, so you’ll want to make sure you always have clothing options for various weather situations.

Activities

Assisted living facilities can keep you busy with lifelong learning, music, theater, active wellness opportunities, and more. However, there will always be times when you find yourself alone in your living quarters. Whether you like to sketch or do puzzles, make sure to pack activities that you enjoy to fill your days during your retirement.

Moving to an Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg, FL, offers some of the most impressive assisted living facilities around. They offer great accommodations and amenities and give residents a real sense of community

Whether you are looking to remain very active or settle into a slower pace of life, you can find it in assisted living. With the help of a packing checklist and a little planning, your move to your new residence can be stress free.

Switching Assisted Living Facilities? How to Ease the Transition

While some seniors move into assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, and never move, that’s not always the case. There are a variety of reasons seniors may be switching facilities. Maybe the facility is closing down, perhaps there was a negative change in staff, or maybe the community just didn’t have the right services and amenities.

Whatever the reason, switching assisted living facilities can be a big change. Here are a few tips to ease the transition.

1. Plan Ahead

Change can be difficult and even scary at times, but it can be made much worse without a proper plan in place. A plan to move to a new assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, can include considerations like making a timeline for packing belongings, deciding who is going to help with the move, and assigning the people who will be involved with settling in at the new community.

Planning ahead takes a lot of guesswork out of the move and gives everyone involved more time to get used to the idea of the transition. Without a plan, seniors and family members may have to make last-minute arrangements, which can make for a stressful time.

2. Get Help from Family

Having family assist with the transition to a new community can be invaluable in making the process feel easier and more familiar. Family members can also help with the logistics, such as packing and transportation. 

Taking on a transition without the help of family can add to feelings of uncertainty and make moving more difficult.

3. Communicate with the New Community

A critical component of transitioning to a new space is communication with the staff of the new community. The staff will need to be involved in coordinating the physical move, but their participation can make the transition easier in other ways, too. 

Start having conversations with the staff early on in the process so that they have time to prepare for their new resident. Staff can also accommodate any special needs or requests, which can often foster a more relaxing and stress-free process.

Moving to a New Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

Even though change can be hard to embrace, moving to a new community can be a positive transition. Finding the right fit in assisted living is important. When a senior finds a place where they feel like they have real community, it can make all the difference in their ability to enjoy their retirement.

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits: Are You Eligible?

Some seniors miss out on the lifestyle they deserve because they think they don’t have the financial support to pay for it. However, seniors on a budget can still enjoy the benefits of St. Petersburg assisted living with the help of programs such as the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit.

What Are Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits?

The Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit is a financial benefit that helps veterans and their spouses pay for the assistance they need in everyday functioning, such as eating, bathing, and managing medication. Importantly, the benefit can be used toward the cost of assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida.

This program is often referred to by other names, including “veterans eldercare benefits” or “VA assisted living benefit.”

Who Is Eligible for the Benefits?

While the Veterans Aid and Attendance benefit is intended to help veterans and their surviving spouses, not all people in these categories are eligible. Generally, there are two categories of eligibility requirements: non-financial and financial.

Non-Financial Requirements

First, veterans or their surviving spouses must be at least 65 years old or disabled. There is also a military service requirement, as the veteran must be considered a “wartime veteran,” meaning they served at least 90 days total and served at least 1 day during these specific wartimes: 

  • World War II: Dec 7, 1941-Dec 31, 1946
  • Korean War: Jun 27, 1950-Jan 31, 1955
  • Vietnam War: Aug 5, 1964-May 7, 1975 (or Feb 28, 1961-May 7, 1975, for Veterans who served in Vietnam)
  • Gulf War: Aug 2, 1990-a date yet to be set 

In addition to these requirements, veterans cannot have been dishonorably discharged. Finally, if a surviving spouse is applying for the benefit, they must have been living with the veteran at the time of their death and must be single at the time they apply.

Financial Requirements

A veteran’s income level must be below a certain threshold to qualify for the benefit. It must be less than the pension amount for which they are eligible. 

In addition to income level, the VA also considers the veteran’s net worth. In calculating overall net worth, they take into account assets in bank accounts, stocks, mutual funds, bonds, and property other than a primary residence and primary vehicle. As of December 1, 2020, the net worth limit is $130,773.

Utilizing Benefits for Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

Seniors eligible for Veterans Aid and Assistance may use their benefit to pay for high-quality assisted living. These programs are a wonderful opportunity for veterans to take advantage of the care they need and deserve, regardless of their financial standing. 

Vision Impairment in Older Adults: How to Reduce the Risk of Falls

One of the most common causes of injury for older adults is falling due to visual impairment. Many seniors struggle with their vision, making it difficult for them to navigate their living spaces. In skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, special precautions are taken to reduce fall risk in seniors with vision impairments. Read on to learn more about how older adults can avoid sight-related falls.

Preventing Falls in an Assisted Living Facility in St. Petersburg, FL

To reduce the risk of falls and serious injury for older adults with visual impairment, the following are four tips that seniors and their caretakers should follow.

Wear Appropriate Eyewear

Seniors who struggle with visual impairment often have issues with depth perception, peripheral vision, and other visual difficulties. These impairments can make navigating even familiar spaces hard. When you cannot see objects on the ground, barriers like walls or counters, and other potential obstacles, you are more likely to suffer from falls.

When struggling with visual impairment, the appropriate eyewear can make a world of difference. Older adults who have difficulty seeing should wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses that can improve their vision. With this improvement in their sight, most seniors can avoid falls caused by visual impairment.

Make Use of Mobility Aids

One of the best ways to reduce falls in older adults is to use mobility aids. Some seniors may be apprehensive about using mobility aids, as they feel it can infringe on their independence. The reality is that mobility aids are an incredibly useful tool that helps older adults maintain their independence by allowing them to move around in the world without assistance.

Mobility aids like canes and walkers provide added stability to older adults who are at risk of falling. These things can help seniors who struggle with visual impairment by providing them with increased stability and guidance when navigating their space. Canes may be used to detect changes in the level of the walking space, such as steps or holes. Walkers can act as a barrier that indicates objects or barriers on the ground that could trip someone with visual impairment.

Get Regular Eye Exams 

While poor vision is common with age, there are certain visual issues that can be resolved if caught early on. Many visual impairments can be treated or avoided with regular eye exams. Older adults should have their eyes examined at least once a year to check for eye conditions commonly found in seniors. This includes the following and more:

  • Glaucoma
  • Age-related macular degeneration
  • Cataracts
  • Retinopathy
  • Dry eye
  • Presbyopia

Regular eye exams can diagnose some of these visual problems early enough to resolve them or slow progression. Maintaining healthy vision can help seniors avoid sight-related falls. For this reason, residents in an assisted living facility in St. Petersburg, FL, should have annual eye exams.

Remove Excess Clutter

A common cause of falls, especially for those with vision impairment, is excess clutter throughout the living space. When there is too much clutter around a home, there are more things for older adults to walk into or trip over. Seniors with poor sight are more likely to trip and fall over objects in their homes, particularly in smaller spaces. 

In order to reduce the risk of falls, older adults with visual impairment should have clean, tidy living spaces. Rooms should be free of clutter and unnecessary objects that can be fallen over. Furniture should be situated around the edges of rooms, allowing for open walking space. Reducing clutter and creating a living space that is easy to navigate will help reduce potential falls.

3 Supplements Adults Over 60 Should Be Taking

As you age, your body undergoes natural changes that can affect your overall health and well-being. Seniors are more susceptible to conditions like arthritis, heart disease, cognitive decline, and more. You can take certain dietary supplements to reduce your likelihood of developing these issues or to combat some of their symptoms. Below are three of the most beneficial supplements adults over 60 should be taking.

What Supplements Should Seniors in Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, FL, Take?

Older adults are especially vulnerable to health concerns like broken bones, memory loss, and cardiovascular issues. To avoid these issues and more, seniors should take action to make sure that they have all of the vitamins and minerals they need. The following are three supplements adults over 60 should take on a regular basis.

1. Vitamin B12

Cognitive decline and memory loss are among the most common concerns for older adults. A daily vitamin B12 supplement can help reduce the risk of dementia and other cognitive issues. Vitamin B12 is one of many vitamins and minerals that are essential for proper brain function. Unfortunately, the amount of B12 your body absorbs will decrease as you get older. 

When you’re younger, your stomach naturally produces acid that extracts vitamin B12 from the foods that you eat. After the age of 50, there is a decline in the production of this stomach acid, leading to poor vitamin B12 extraction and absorption. Supplementing vitamin B12 in the form of a liquid or capsule can restore a healthy level of this vitamin in your body. To see cognitive benefits, the recommended daily dose of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms.

2. Calcium

One of the biggest health concerns for senior citizens is bone weakening. As you age, your bones will become more brittle and prone to breakage. This is how simple falls can become medical emergencies, particularly for seniors in independent living in St. Petersburg. Many older adults experience broken legs, arms, and more due to vulnerable bones. Seniors are also susceptible to bone fractures from minimal impact. This is what makes calcium one of the most important supplements for adults over 60.

Calcium is an essential component of bone strength. While calcium is found in products like milk, leafy greens, and salmon, many people do not get enough of it from their diet alone. Getting enough calcium is even harder for older adults. As the body ages, it becomes more difficult to absorb calcium and experience its benefits. Seniors are often low in calcium, making their bones more susceptible to breakage and fractures. Low calcium levels are especially prevalent in older women after menopause. To see increased bone strength, adults over 60 should supplement their diet with anywhere between 1,200 to 2,000 mg of calcium per day.

3. Iron

Another important mineral for senior citizens is iron. Many older adults in assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, are low in iron, which provides a wide variety of health benefits. Iron helps support energy levels, heart health, and cognitive function. Those who are deficient in iron can experience all of the following symptoms and more:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Heart palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sores on or around the mouth
  • Strange cravings
  • Brittle nails
  • Hair loss

To avoid these health concerns, seniors should supplement their diet with iron in tablet or capsule form. Iron supplementation should be practiced carefully, as too much iron can also have adverse effects. Excessive iron in the bloodstream can lead to the formation of iron stores, potentially leading to cardiovascular issues. The recommended daily dose of iron for older adults is 8 mg per day. Please consult your trusted physician before adjusting your supplements.

Helpful Tips and Tricks For Seniors Living on A Budget

When you are on a fixed income, having a budget and sticking to it is extremely important. You worked long and hard to save for your retirement. Now it’s time to enjoy it. Making smart decisions with your spending is vital to ensure that you can live comfortably and enjoy your retirement. We are going to share some helpful tips and tricks to keep in mind when you are living on a budget.

Stick to Your Budget

When you see something you want that isn’t in your budget, it can be easy to ignore your budget and buy it anyhow. But, unfortunately, when you start letting your expenses slide, it becomes a slippery slope that can result in running out of money. And no one wants that.

Downsize

Housing costs make up a big part of any family’s budget. Downsizing to a smaller house or an apartment can help you save on a mortgage, property taxes, and utilities. Another great way to cut back on housing expenses is to look into a great St. Petersburg assisted living community. 

The assisted living options at Westminster Suncoast allow you to maintain your independent lifestyle with other great perks. You will be surrounded by a community of other residents and have access to many included services that can make an assisted living facility a great choice.

Ask For Senior Discounts

There are so many businesses that are happy to offer senior discounts. Often though, they are not advertised. So don’t be embarrassed to ask your local coffee shop or restaurant if they provide a discount for seniors.

Check Out Your Local Library

Did you know that libraries offer DVDs of movies and TV shows that you can borrow? There is also typically a section where you can use their computers at no additional cost.

Head to the Thrift Store

Thrift stores are a great place to find bargains. So if you have some extra time on your hands and you enjoy getting something for a steal, skip the superstores and check out your local thrift store.

Utilize Rewards Credit Cards

It’s important to be extra cautious with your credit card spending on a budget. However, if you have a card that rewards purchases, make sure you utilize that perk. Many rewards cards give you discounts on travel and gift cards, and sometimes they even offer cashback rewards. A great way to stay out of credit card debt while also utilizing rewards is to pay for bills, groceries, etc., with your credit card and then pay off your balance when your bill comes in.

Coupons

Coupons are everywhere these days! From in-store coupons to weekly newspaper inserts, you can save money on things you use the most by taking a little extra time and matching coupons to your shopping needs.

You want to relax and enjoy your retirement. And you deserve to do that without having to worry about finances. By creating and sticking to a budget and using some of the tips we provided above, you can have the best of both worlds.

Stay Connected: The Importance of Phone Conversations for Seniors in Assisted Living

When an older loved one enters an assisted living facility, maintaining certain aspects of daily life can support their well-being. One that may be overlooked is regular conversation. While seniors in assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, will be able to interact with staff members and fellow residents, remaining connected to friends and family outside is still essential.

One way for older adults in assisted living to maintain connections with the people they care about is through phone conversations. Having weekly or daily phone calls from a friend or family member can have a significant impact on an elderly individual. Read on to learn three major reasons that phone conversations are important in assisted living facilities.

3 Ways Phone Conversations Help Residents in Saint Petersburg Assisted Living Facilities

Regular phone conversations present several benefits for older individuals. This is especially true for those living in Saint Petersburg assisted living facilities. Below are just three of the main ways that phone conversations help seniors in assisted living.

1. Remaining Connected to Friends and Family

The biggest benefit of phone conversations for seniors in assisted living is that they keep residents connected to their friends and family. Many seniors have friends or family members who live far away and cannot visit their living facility. Phone calls with these individuals help them to stay connected and remain a part of their loved ones’ lives. 

A weekly phone call from a friend or family member can indicate to an older individual that they are still an active part of that person’s life. Keeping them informed on recent family events or making small talk maintains their connection to the people they care about but don’t often see in person.

2. Keeping Memory and Cognitive Skills Sharp

Many older adults begin to struggle with cognitive decline as they age. Studies have shown that conversation can help keep memory and overall cognitive skills sharp. When living in an assisted living facility, residents often engage with staff members and one another. When this is not possible, phone conversations are of great help.

Having regular phone conversations with loved ones is a great activity for keeping seniors engaged. These phone calls help keep memory and recall skills strong in older adults who may experience brain fog or other cognitive concerns. 

3. Boosting Mood and Enthusiasm

Some older adults in assisted living can struggle with depression and feelings of sadness. Regular phone conversations can provide a boost of enthusiasm and an improvement in overall mood. Conversing with loved ones often lifts their spirits and helps them feel more connected to the people they care about.

Daily or weekly phone calls also give seniors in assisted living something to look forward to. While seniors in assisted living in Saint Petersburg, FL, will often participate in designated activities, many still benefit from scheduled phone calls with friends and family. These regular conversations can help elevate anticipation and energy throughout the week.

Why Depression Warning Signs Are Commonly Missed in Older Adults

In recent years, mental health issues have continued to grow in prevalence amongst all age groups. With the ongoing pandemic, more people are experiencing mental health concerns. This development is especially true for older adults who struggle with loneliness, isolation, and feelings of depression.

While there are many seniors who battle depression, their struggle often goes unnoticed. The signs and symptoms of depression can be subtle or be mistaken for other underlying issues. Read on to learn why depression warning signs are commonly missed in older adults.

Tips from St. Petersburg Assisted Living Facilities: 3 Reasons Depression May Go Unnoticed in Seniors

When a loved one is in a St. Petersburg assisted living facility, it may be difficult to pinpoint when a resident is struggling with depression. Below are three common reasons that signs of depression go unnoticed in seniors:

1. Mistaken for Other Concerns

The most common reason that depression goes unnoticed in older adults is that the warning signs can often mimic the symptoms of other conditions. 

Many seniors struggle with health ailments like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, or cancer. These medical concerns can produce feelings of hopelessness, extreme fatigue, weight fluctuations, and lack of interest in activity — all of which are common signs of depression. 

For those who work with the elderly, mental health issues can inadvertently be overlooked simply because medical concerns are so prevalent among seniors. 

When an older individual experiences signs and symptoms of depression, most healthcare workers first consider their physical health. This process leads to many seniors being diagnosed with a medical ailment rather than depression. 

2. An Inability to Communicate

Whether it be due to cognitive decline or other medical circumstances, some older adults struggle with communication. They may be unable to speak or properly express emotions, making it impossible to convey that they are experiencing feelings of depression. 

In skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, employees are often trained to look for nonverbal or physical cues that a resident is struggling. 

With that being said, depression looks different from person to person. Some older adults do not show any outward signs of depression, like self-isolation or irritability. In these seniors, it can be harder to pinpoint their mental health concerns without clear communication.

3. A Lack of Awareness

Frequently senior depression goes unnoticed due to a simple lack of awareness. Many people are not aware of the signs and symptoms of depression in older adults. When you are not fully informed on what depression looks like, it can be very difficult to spot in other people. 

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of depression in seniors:

  • Extreme weight loss or weight gain
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Intense fatigue
  • Disinterest in activity
  • Self-isolation
  • Insomnia
  • Sudden feelings of guilt or remorse

Proper education and depression awareness can help inform those who work with seniors. 

In St. Petersburg assisted living facilities, placing emphasis on the signs and symptoms of mental health struggles can make diagnosis and treatment much easier. When these signs and symptoms are noticed early on, they can help ease the severity of depression in older adults.

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