A Guide for Couples: How to Choose the Best Independent Living Community

If you and your spouse or partner are considering independent living in Bradenton, FL, you have lots of choices. Whether you want to enjoy retirement together with daily activities or explore your own hobbies independently, you can do so in an independent living community. 

No two independent living facilities are the same, so it’s important to consider all of the factors together before making your decision. Read on for a few tips for couples on how to choose the best independent living community.

Look for Living Accommodations for Couples

Communities that offer independent living in Bradenton, FL, offer accommodations for both individuals and for couples. Make sure to explore the living quarters offered for couples, as the standard living quarters may not be set up to accommodate two people. 

If you and your partner are transitioning from a house, it is especially important to envision yourselves there and confirm there is adequate space for both of you along with your belongings.

Seek Out Activities You Enjoy

If you are transitioning to independent living as a couple, it is important that both of you are able to continue to enjoy the activities you love. Retirement should be spent relaxing and dedicating more time to family, friends, and hobbies, so you’ll want to make sure your favorite activities are easy to access.

Consider Your Finances

While independent living may be more affordable than you may think, it is still a change in your financial situation. Do your research to understand the long-term financial implications of making the move. You can also work with a financial advisor to plan out your options and ensure that you are secure for the future.  

Plan for the Future 

During retirement, it is critical to have a plan for your future. While you certainly hope for a long and healthy life with your partner, unfortunately, that is not always the case. Consider what your future could look like if one of you is no longer able to continue in independent living. 

Having a plan in place will help take away any uncertainty should the unexpected occur. 

Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

Transitioning to independent living as a couple can be a stressful decision, but it should also be a happy time. Independent living can offer many conveniences that allow you and your partner to spend more time together and more time doing the things you enjoy. 

If you take your time in making a thoughtful decision, the best of retirement is ahead of you.

3 Reasons to Settle Down in Florida After Retirement

Retirement is a time to rest, relax, enjoy hobbies, and spend more time with friends and family. There are many places you can spend your retirement years, but Florida offers a unique experience for seniors. 

If you are considering independent living in Bradenton, FL, you’ll find everything you are looking for and more. Whether you are planning to stay active every day, relax with a spouse, or do anything in between, Florida can cater to you. 

Here are three reasons to settle down in Florida after retirement. 

1. The Weather

There’s no doubt about it, Florida attracts retirees from all over the country because of the wonderful weather. The warm climate opens the door for outdoor activities all year round, and there’s no need to worry about snowstorms or freezing temperatures. 

Fresh air and sun are proven to be good for your health and improve your mood, and there is no shortage of those things in Florida. Communities that offer independent living in Bradenton, FL, feature beautiful outdoor areas to relax or enjoy activities so you can make the most of your retirement. 

2. Access to Activities

Since Florida is home to so many retirees, there is never a shortage of activities to keep you busy. From book clubs and walking groups to art classes and lifelong learning courses, there are activities that cater to all interests. Activities are an easy way to learn new skills, stay social, and add variety to your daily schedule.

Whether you want to settle down in your own home or transition to independent living in Bradenton, FL, you’ll have ample opportunities to pick up new hobbies and stay active.

3. Strong Senior Community

Florida has more retirees than almost any other state. That means making friends and being part of a strong senior community is easier than ever. As you move through the later years in life, maintaining strong social ties is especially important. 

Seniors who do not take time to socialize can experience loneliness, which comes along with significant negative health effects. Transitioning to independent living brings a community right to your door and keeps feelings of isolation at bay. 

Retire in Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

Bradenton is a wonderful place to spend retirement and offers a variety of assisted living options that cater to every senior’s interests and needs. Whether you plan to stay active for years to come or are ready to settle into a slower pace of life, you can find what you need in Florida.

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

Easy, Practical, and Fun: A List of the Best Apps for Seniors

Today’s seniors are living active lives that include connection through technology. There are hundreds of apps that are great for communication, tracking health, and learning. 

For seniors who live at home or in independent living in Bradenton, FL, apps can help make everyday life a bit easier. Below are a few apps that are especially helpful and practical for seniors. 

1. Facebook Mobile 

Facebook is a great tool that seniors can use to keep up with family and friends. Many seniors already use the desktop version of Facebook to remain connected. The Facebook mobile app lets them stay up to date while on the go, and they can also use the app’s messaging feature.

2. Skype 

Keeping up with family and friends, no matter how far away they live, is now possible with video calling. Skype is a free app that lets seniors make video and audio calls to loved ones right from their mobile devices. The app is easy to use and compatible with most mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets.

3. ShopWell 

Keeping up with a healthy diet is important during all stages of life, but it is crucial for seniors. ShopWell is an app that makes it easier for seniors to maintain proper levels of nutrition and simplifies the shopping process. 

The app matches foods to the senior’s health needs and automatically makes a shopping list. It also suggests healthier alternatives to a user’s favorite foods.

4. Pill Monitor 

Many seniors are on some type of medication regimen. It is easy to forget to take medication from time to time, even if seniors have easy access to pharmacy services. The Pill Monitor app allows seniors to set schedules and then reminds them when it is time to take medication. 

Particularly useful for seniors in independent living in Bradenton, FL, the Pill Monitor app can help make sure its users don’t forget about any medication. 

5. MedWatcher 

Taking medications as directed is only part of staying healthy. It is also important to stay up to date on notifications from medication manufacturers. Sometimes new information becomes available about the efficacy of a medication, and other times, there may be recalls.

Doctors share this information with patients, but MedWatcher can provide critical updates between visits. 

Benefits of Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

Bradenton, FL, is a wonderful place for seniors to spend retirement. From the sense of community in assisted living facilities to the ample opportunities for outdoor activities, seniors can enjoy their lives fully in independent living.

The Empowering Effects of Senior Transportation

Getting from point A to point B is a critical part of life. From completing chores and errands to meeting friends to exploring the community, transportation is critical at all stages of life. But unfortunately, as seniors age, driving can become an unsafe method of transportation.

When seniors stop driving themselves, they sometimes aren’t supported in finding alternative means of transportation. This means that they can find themselves feeling stuck and isolated overnight. 

However, with the support of family, or by transitioning to independent living in Bradenton, FL, seniors can regain their ability to get around. When transportation is restored for seniors, it can have significant empowering effects.

Restores Feelings of Independence

When seniors can no longer drive, they can suddenly feel helpless or dependent on others. Losing independence can be difficult to cope with, particularly for seniors who live alone.

With effective and available transportation options, seniors can resume their normal activities and retain their sense of independence.

Provides Motivation to Stay Active

Even for seniors in independent living in Bradenton, FL, losing access to transportation can result in losing the motivation to stay active. There are few things worse for overall senior health than staying indoors and letting daily activity levels drop.

With access to transportation, seniors feel more motivated to stay active through events, hobbies, and time with friends.

Maintains Control of Health Choices

One of the most important reasons for senior transportation is getting to health care appointments. When seniors lose access to transportation, they can sometimes deprioritize health. 

Regaining access to transportation gives them the power to take control of their health and play an active role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Reduces Feelings of Isolation

Losing access to transportation can feel incredibly isolating, even for seniors surrounded by family and friends. Seniors with limited or no transportation options may develop feelings of isolation or loneliness that can have real impacts on their mental and physical health.

Senior transportation allows them to get out of the house with ease and keep feelings of isolation at bay.

Transportation Options with Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

There’s no reason for seniors to drive unsafely or be denied access to transportation during retirement.

Bradenton, FL, is home to some of the most convenient and impressive independent living facilities around. Along with a variety of on-site services and amenities, Bradenton’s independent living facilities also offer scheduled transportation to get seniors where they want to go.

Making a Move to Independent Living? 4 Helpful Tips to Plan for Financing

Maybe you’re looking to spend your golden years in a tight-knit community of like-minded individuals, or you’re helping a loved one make this transition to independent living. 

Either way, it’s common knowledge that successfully making the move from your home to an assisted orindependent living facility requires some financial planning.

How to Plan for Your Move to Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

Whether your loved one is already beginning the moving process to an independent living community or they’re simply considering it as a possibility for the future, it’s never too early to start planning out the financial details. Take a look at the four top tips for successful financial planning when it comes to retirement community living.  

1. Be Transparent with Family About Finances

Though the overall costs of living in a retirement community can often average out to less than the costs of homeownership, making the shift to such a community still requires a good deal of inter-family planning and financial allocation. 

If you are helping a loved one fund their transition to independent living or working with other family members to finance the move, all parties involved should be transparent about their own financial situations.

Discussing finances can be uncomfortable, especially between older parents and their adult children. However, maintaining a high level of honesty and open communication around the topic will help family members avoid conflicts or heightened emotions and make the process as smooth as possible.

2. Plan in Advance as Much as Possible

If your loved one wants or needs to move into an assisted living facility within a time frame of just a few months to a year, you may not be able to put away very much to help financially support the transition. 

However, if you are able to plan your family member’s move to assisted living in advance, you’ll be better off monetarily as well as emotionally and logistically. 

Your family will be able to create a fund dedicated to future assisted living costs, and you and your loved one will also be able to start planning the logistics of the moving process well before it begins. This extra time can ensure a smooth and stress-free transition.

3. Consult with a Financial Advisor

If you’re unsure how best to finance your loved one’s move to an independent living community, meeting with a financial advisor is always a good idea. A professional in the field will help you be realistic about what’s possible based on your resources and work alongside you to form a plan for financing independent living for your family member. 

Though you may have to pay a bit upfront for a financial advisor’s services, the value you’ll gain from their expertise will be worth it in the long run. 

Plus, a financial advisor can help you determine whether your family member qualifies for any public benefits such as veterans aid, private credit lines for seniors, or even tax-exempt monetary gifts from family that can help keep them comfortable in their golden years.

4. Make Sure You Understand All of the Costs

As you’re exploring your options for independent living in Bradenton, FL, it’s important to make sure you’re being as detailed as possible when you speak to representatives and learn more about the costs included. 

Always ask for a detailed rundown of what your family member’s monthly bill at the independent living community would include and take the time to compare it side-by-side with their current living expenses as a homeowner or renter. This will allow both of you to be financially prepared for the years ahead.

How to Downsize Your Loved Ones Home for an Independent Living Community

Moving from your home to an independent or assisted living facility is a big change that can require some significant lifestyle adjustments. In general, making the move to a retirement community can mean downsizing if you’re coming from a larger home.

There are many positives to enjoying your golden years in an independent living community but choosing which items from your home to take with you and which to leave behind can be difficult. 

If you’re currently helping a loved one get ready for their move to assisted living, you can take a few steps to make sure the downsizing process is as smooth, efficient, and productive as possible.

How Can I Make My Loved One Comfortable in Independent Living in Bradenton, FL?

Keeping a positive and supportive attitude is crucial when you’re helping your family member make the transition to retirement community living. However, in addition to your positive outlook, it’s important to have a plan of action in place so that everything that needs to get done is completed on the right timeline. 

Take a look at some of the most crucial steps to success when you’re helping your loved one downsize for assisted living.

Visit Their New Home with Them

Move-in day shouldn’t be your family member’s first time seeing and experiencing their new home inindependent living in Bradenton, FL. You should take the time to tour your loved one’s new home with them and take a good look around the grounds to help them get a feel for the place and start to feel more at home. 

Plus, they’ll be able to ask the community staff any moving-related questions during their initial visit before they even start the moving process.

Make a Detailed Plan

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to moving, especially if you have to downsize and prioritize certain items over others. That’s why it’s important to make a plan before you begin any moving activities. 

Decide when you’re going to pack and move certain items and make a schedule for the bigger downsizing decisions so that neither of you will feel overwhelmed on any given day.

Make a List of Non-Negotiables

If your family member has to downsize significantly in order to move into independent living, they may be feeling a bit stressed out about all of the items they’ll have to either keep or let go of. This can be particularly difficult if many of their items have some kind of emotional value to them or have been a part of their life for a long time. 

As you’re helping your loved one sift through their things, start by determining which items will be taken to the new home no matter what. These should include anything with a high emotional value, along with the most efficient and reliable items for household use. 

Once the non-negotiables are separated, it’ll be easier to parse through the rest and decide what’s worth keeping. Plus, if other family members or friends are willing to take on some of your loved one’s items, it may be easier for them to part ways with them as they move to an independent living community.

It’s Okay to Be Undecided

As you’re going through your family member’s items, you may find yourself becoming frustrated if they are having trouble determining whether they want or need to take a certain item with them to their new home. Remember that it’s normal to be undecided during the moving process, and they can always make a firm decision later.

How to Discuss Unsafe Driving with an Aging Parent

Driving can be a dangerous activity at any age, but it can become especially dangerous for some older adults. Gradual memory problems, health issues, and problems with vision can all contribute to unsafe driving. 

Unfortunately, these issues often present themselves slowly, so your aging parent may not realize that their driving is becoming unsafe. While it is an unpleasant conversation to discuss your aging parent’s driving, it is necessary to ensure their safety and the safety of others in the community. 

Here are four tips on how to discuss unsafe driving with an aging parent.

1. Be Respectful

One of the best ways to have a productive conversation about driving with an aging parent is to be respectful. Approach the conversation with kindness and understanding, not in a condescending manner. 

Understand that the transition to relying on others for transportation can be hard and listen to what your parent has to say. Make sure to listen to their point of view and convey that you are coming from a place of love and concern.

2. Give Examples

No one wants to admit that their driving may be unsafe, no matter what age. When you approach the conversation around unsafe driving with an aging parent, it can be helpful to give specific examples that you or others have observed. 

Maybe there have been instances of accidents or near-accidents that can help guide the conversation. Even seemingly minor things like not seeing stop signs or hitting curbs can be a cause for concern. Giving examples can be more effective than expressing general concern, which may be easily dismissed.

3. Offer Alternatives to Driving

The transition to relying on others for transportation can be a significant change, and your parent may feel stranded or dependent once they stop driving. 

As you approach the conversation, make sure to include alternatives to driving in the discussion. Offer to drive them to appointments or activities, and research what public transportation options may be available. 

This also may be a good time to explore independent living in Bradenton, FL, as many communities offer transportation and can support an active lifestyle.

4. Include Others in the Conversation

When approaching the topic of unsafe driving with an aging parent, it can be helpful to include others in the conversation. Encourage other family members or even family friends to partake in the discussion. 

Including multiple people can alleviate the pressure on one person. While you don’t want to host an intervention, having multiple perspectives can be helpful in finding common ground.

Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

Oftentimes, the development of unsafe driving in aging parents can be the first sign that they may need a little more help in their day-to-day lives. If you are looking for transportation alternatives for your aging parent, it is a good idea to start looking at independent living options.

Independent living in Bradenton, FL, offers everything that your loved one could ever want or need in retirement. Independent living facilities offer a sense of community, support active lifestyles, and offer needed support.

The Surprising Effects of Loneliness on Senior Health

Loneliness is an unfortunately common phenomenon among seniors. As spouses and friends pass away and families get busier, seniors can find themselves spending more time alone. While loneliness can be hard to cope with on its own, loneliness can also have significant health effects on seniors.

If your loved one is experiencing loneliness, it is a good time to explore independent living in Bradenton, FL. Independent living offers endless opportunities for social interaction that keep feelings of loneliness at bay.

Read on to learn about four surprising effects of loneliness on senior health.

1. Reduced Overall Physical Health

When seniors are lonely, it can be harder to find the motivation to do activities alone, like getting out of the house and exercising. Staying active and continuing to exercise is a critical piece of maintaining physical health for older adults. 

When seniors are busy spending time with friends and family, their mood is higher, and they have a routine to look forward to. Prolonged periods alone can significantly and negatively impact the physical health of seniors.

2. Cognitive Decline

As adults age, it is more important than ever to pursue social activities and lifelong learning. Continuing to stimulate the brain is the best way to keep cognitive decline at bay. 

When seniors experience loneliness, it is often because they are not getting enough social stimulation by spending time with others. Persistent feelings of loneliness can accelerate cognitive decline and even lead to earlier development of diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

3. Increased Risk of Depression

Unfortunately, seniors are at high risk of developing depression. Declining health and the loss of loved ones often contribute to the development of depressed feelings. If your loved one is experiencing loneliness, those feelings can easily become persistent and develop into depression. 

4. Long-Term Illness

According to the CDC, social isolation and loneliness significantly increase a person’s risk of premature death from all causes. Many factors may contribute to this correlation, including lack of exercise and failure to seek treatment for illness symptoms in a timely fashion.

Ensuring that your loved one has adequate social interaction can make a big difference in their overall long-term health.

Symptoms of Loneliness

Sometimes loved ones will be upfront about how they are feeling and express that they are feeling lonely, but not always. Keep an eye out for these common signs and symptoms of loneliness: 

  • Feelings of despair
  • Overall sadness
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Lack of energy
  • Loss of motivation
  • Sleep issues

If you notice any of these signs in a loved one, explore whether they may be experiencing loneliness. 

Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

One of the best ways to keep feelings of loneliness at bay is to consider transitioning to independent living. Independent living communities offer countless ways to interact with staff, peers, and visitors, so residents never have to be lonely.

Independent living is a great solution for combating loneliness and providing supportive services to assist seniors with their needs now and in the future.

Healthy Snacks for Your Next At-Home Movie Night

As you prepare to get comfortable and settle into the couch for your next at-home movie night, consider adding some healthy snacks to your plate. 

Movie nights are traditionally filled with buttery popcorn and chocolate candies, but you can choose alternatives with less fat, salt, and sugar. Here are five healthy snacks for your next home movie night!

1. Butter-Free Popcorn

That’s right, you can still enjoy the classic movie snack without the added fat and extra calories. Popcorn itself is not unhealthy, and you can make it even more nutritious by skipping the fatty butter and extra salt. 

You can enjoy plain popcorn during your next movie night or add some flavor with coconut oil and a dash of salt. You don’t have to give up popcorn to stay healthy and enjoy a night in! 

2. Fruit

Instead of reaching for sugary candy, opt for mixed fruit instead. Fruit will satisfy your sweet tooth without the refined sugars and other unhealthy ingredients often lurking in candy. 

If you can’t kick your craving for chocolate, try dipping your fruit in melted dark chocolate. 

If you live in an apartment for independent living in Bradenton, Florida, you may not want to make frequent trips to the grocery store for candy and other snacks. The fruit and dark chocolate combination is much healthier than store-bought candy and is very easy to make at home, too. 

3. Trail Mix

Looking for that satisfying crunch to go with your movie? Then trail mix is a fantastic choice! Most trail mixes contain nuts and dried fruits, making them much healthier than some traditional movie night snacks. 

You can get healthy fats from the nuts and beneficial sugars from the dried fruits. Best of all, trail mix is crunchy, savory, and sweet, all at the same time. It is great for curbing unhealthy cravings during a night in. 

4. Kale Chips

Kale chips might not be your first idea when it comes to delicious movie night snacks, but they are super satisfying and healthy. Kale chips are easy to make; just pop chunks of kale into the oven with some salt and oil. Once they are done baking, you will have savory, crunchy snacks with minimal calories! 

5. Veggie Chips with Guacamole

This savory snack is sure to satisfy your salt cravings during your at-home movie night. You can find chips made out of different vegetables to save on refined carbs. Guacamole is a good source of healthy fat from avocados. Paired together, your veggie chips and guacamole will give you your savory snack fix during your favorite film. 

Movie Nights for Independent Living in Bradenton, FL

There are many activities to do in independent living in Bradenton, Florida. During your next at-home double-feature, consider swapping the unhealthy treats for more nutritious options. Your health and waistline will thank you later.

Healthy snacks will help you feel, look, and perform your best each day. You can spice up your home movie night with these healthy movie snacks without sacrificing delicious flavor. 

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