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Westminster Communities of Florida Thanks Employees for Legendary Service During Hurricane Irma

September 19, 2017

When Hurricane Irma approached Florida, the seniors we serve around the state were at risk. As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, we’re thankful to have the support of so many who helped provide for our residents throughout the storm and power outages—especially our employees. Our staff spent countless hours in their communities to ensure the safety of our residents and we are grateful for their dedication and service. Click and enlarge the image below to read the letter from CEO Roger Stevens, COO Garry Hennis and CFO Hank Keith to all employees.

September 18, 2017

Dear Westminster employees,

A little more than a week ago, Hurricane Irma hit Florida. The devastation in the Caribbean, the Florida Keys, and throughout Southwest Florida that we have seen on the news and via social media is simply heartbreaking.

Every one of our communities, and every member of our extended family of residents and employees, was affected in some way. In preparing for the storm, continuing to serve through it, and cleaning up in the aftermath, your service to our Ministry and Mission of serving residents was truly extraordinary. Some of you sheltered in place; others evacuated to their sister communities, or to points beyond. In every case, your hard work allowed our communities to continue without a hitch, from nursing support, to dining services, to lifestyle and wellness, to maintenance and housekeeping.

Last week, a member of our Management Support Services staff, who volunteered to help serve residents in one of our communities, described with tears in her eyes how our community staff selflessly worked long hard hours supporting, serving and encouraging residents through the storm. Through your tireless efforts, we were able to ensure the safety of all of the residents.

We are fortunate to have the best employees and teams around. You are why our residents chose to live at a Westminster community!

We thank you all for going above and beyond the last several days helping us achieve our Christian Mission of serving older adults. We appreciate you all so much!


Roger Stevens, Chief Executive Officer

Garry Hennis, Chief Operating Officer

Hank Keith, Chief Financial Officer

Westminster Gets "Chopped": Culinary competition brings the heat

June 27, 2017

For our chefs, culinary skills aren't just about keeping a sharp knife. July may be National Culinary Month, but the Westminster Communities of Florida dining teams are taking a bite at excellence already! Last week, we had an all-day training highlighted by a special "Chopped" culinary competition, held in the Acosta Foodservice kitchen in Orlando.

Each team of five chefs had one hour to make an appetizer, entree and two sides, using the same food basket of ingredients: Chicken breasts, sausage, cabbage, bananas, granola and more – and they set out to create the best appetizer, entree and sides.

In the end, the dishes had to withstand the heat of the judges. They scored each team based on their creative use of the ingredients, taste and presentation. Each team had to present their plate and explain the ingredients, cooking technique and inspiration. Beyond the food basket, they had use of a fully stocked pantry to assist them in creating the dishes.

The competition to win was fierce. Resident Experience Mario DeLuca said, "I wasn't surprised that the competition was so intense. We've developed a strong culinary team that has exceptional cookery skills and a true passion for food and the culinary arts. It's very rewarding."

Although the competition was intense, two stunning dishes were presented by the winning team to the judges: A flank steak bruschetta appetizer served on sweet banana tostones, and topped with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese and polenta, and an entree of granola-crusted chicken breast with a chorizo and root vegetable hash, slaw of napa cabbage and plum, and a balsamic molasses drizzle.

Congratulations to the winning team, composed of Westminster Winter Park Executive Chef Elijah Durham, Westminster Woods on Julington Creek Dining Services Director David Graham, Westminster Suncoast Executive Chef Kenny Hunsberger, and Westminster Towers & Shores Assistant Dining Services Director Melissa Paul.

Chef Durham said, "I had a great time! As a chef who was new to the organization, I was honored to be able to work with Chef Kenny, Melissa and David. Our team had great comradery and organization. We listened to each other's ideas and executed them well. I was very happy with our team and our placement in the competition, and very much look forward to the next competition!"

"Chopped" and trainings like it are all part of our commitment to enhancing the resident dining experience and providing training opportunities for all of our team members. After all, dining is one of the dimensions of our exclusive My W Life program.

Westminster Oaks Breaks Ground on Construction of New Addition to Community: Canopy Oaks

May 2, 2017

Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida senior leaders, future residents and local dignitaries turned the earth for the groundbreaking of Canopy Oaks, the newest neighborhood at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee. From left to right: Vice President of Sales & Marketing Nicole Muller, Dr. Al McCully, Pat Johnson, Mary Louise Hester, Sue Dick, Bryan Desloge, CEO Roger Stevens, Gail Pease, COO Garry Hennis, Westminster Oaks Executive Director Don Wilson and Westminster Oaks Assistant Executive Director Shannon Sauls.

After a ceremonial turning of the shovels, construction set to begin on new building featuring 40 spacious new apartment homes

TALLAHASSEE, May 2, 2017 — Today, executive leadership from Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida participated in the groundbreaking for its new Canopy Oaks building, featuring 40 apartment homes at the crest of a hill overlooking the Tallahassee campus, with beautifully appointed amenities and finishes. Canopy Oaks is being built adjacent to a new parking garage, and will be connected to the community’s main hub via a new climate-controlled walkway.

This addition to Westminster Oaks, the capital city’s premier active senior living community, is the latest phase in enhancing the Continuing Care Retirement Community. It signals the ongoing commitment of Westminster Oaks to serve senior adults in the greater Tallahassee area, and to provide excellent choices in living options for today’s seniors. Canopy Oaks, an investment in the community of $23 million, was designed by ELM of Jacksonville and engineered by George & Associates Consulting Engineers of Tallahassee. The apartment building and parking garage will be built by Cook Brothers, Inc., of Tallahassee.

Construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks, with an opening projected in late fall 2018.

“The fact that these 40 apartments sold out in the first six weeks shows the level of enthusiasm among older adults for the exciting and active lifestyle at Westminster Oaks,” said Westminster Oaks Executive Director Don Wilson. “Today marks another day of progress and growth for Westminster Oaks, Westminster Communities of Florida and Tallahassee.”

Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer said, “Too many folks don’t move to an active senior living community early enough. It’s an opportunity to enjoy music, culture, and education. That’s what Westminster Oaks is all about! I congratulate the whole Westminster Oaks family on this new building.”

From U.S. Senator Bill Nelson’s office, MaryLouise Hester, Deputy Director of Outreach, offered the senator’s congratulations as well. “With the construction of Canopy Oaks, seniors in Tallahassee will have even more options for active lifestyles and wellbeing. Best wishes as construction begins!” Hester said.

“We are faith-based, mission-driven and with a strong focus on serving senior adults with excellence. Exactly what that future looks like will be determined by the residents who will live at Canopy Oaks,” said Roger Stevens, chief executive officer of Westminster Communities of Florida. “We’re going to try to serve the new residents the best way we can, and make them happy here.”

Canopy Oaks residences may be available on a limited basis. To learn more, call (850) 878-1136.

About Westminster Oaks: Westminster Oaks is an active senior living community, set amid the rolling hills of Tallahassee. Our beautiful wooded campus of 120 acres features neighborhoods of single-family homes and apartments. We have served senior adults in Tallahassee for more than 30 years, with an emphasis on exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Communities of Florida: Westminster Communities of Florida serves nearly 7,000 residents in 20 active living communities around Florida who are in search of an enlightened, fully integrated, person-centered approach to health and wellness. Since 1954, we've been Florida's best choice in active senior living.

Westminster Oaks Highlighted as a Family-Friendly Workplace (Tallahassee Democrat)

April 14, 2017

Westminster Oaks was recently highlighted by the Tallahassee Democrat as one of 10 Tallahassee-based companies that fosters a family-friendly workplace environment. Read more about Westminster Oaks’ emphasis on employee wellness on the Tallahassee Democrat’s Web site.


March 6, 2017

At Eckerd College, more than 300 senior residents from around Florida
enjoyed the organization’s St. Pete Games, with outdoor festivities, games and fitness opportunities

ST. PETERSBURG, March 6, 2017 – In the bright sun on a pleasant day last Friday afternoon, more than 300 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together at Eckerd College’s GO Pavilion for Westminster’s third annual St. Pete Games. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! The attendees competed as teams in a variety of games to celebrate active living and wellbeing for seniors.

The St. Pete Games showcase wellness for residents enjoying active living with the support of Eckerd College students and faculty. Residents enjoyed shotput, horseshoes, putting, lawn darts, croquet and more, plus live music and dancing. Eckerd students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

“What a beautiful day! I’m glad to be here and having so much fun,” said Terry Arnn, a resident at Westminster Winter Park, who traveled down to St. Petersburg for the day. “It’s been great seeing the smiles and the positive attitude. Plus, I was 5-for-5 in lawn darts!”

The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida. “Welcome back!” said Eckerd chaplain Douglas McMahon. “Our partnership with Westminster has grown so much through the years. We’re fortunate to have here two institutions with a passion for lifelong learning.”

Marcia Mensing, a resident at Westminster Palms in St. Petersburg, said that she had been at all three games. “I love seeing everyone outside and active,” Mensing said. “Wow, it’s nice seeing everyone in such a different context.”

Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active senior living, emphasizes whole-person wellbeing for its older adult residents. With communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee and Winter Park, the organization serves nearly 7,000 residents statewide with a lifestyle featuring active living, wellness and lifelong learning.

More than 300 residents took part in the Games, including shotput, horseshoes and more.

It's '90s again -- employees and residents dance the Macarena!

Several residents competed in croquet, another of the 10 games available for competition.

In the end, the winners were Westminster Suncoast, Westminster Shores and Westminster Manor. Congratulations to all the teams!

Westminster Communities of Florida Partners with Florida State for Heart Health

February 8, 2017

Westminster Communities of Florida is celebrating Heart Health Month this year by offering "Taking Care of Your Heart Health" seminars throughout the state, in partnership with the Florida State University College of Medicine.

In February, classes will be offered in Bradenton, Orlando, Pensacola and Tallahassee. In these classes, teams of medical students in their third and fourth years give presentations to seniors with useful knowledge on their wellbeing. More than 70 medical students have participated, giving presentations to hundreds of Westminster residents. The current topic is the third series of health-related presentations, starting with "Brain Health" in spring of 2016 and followed by "Fall Prevention" last summer.

Sandra Knoble, Director of Quality Initiatives for Westminster, facilitates the project, part of a research grant with FSU. "We are proud to partner with the FSU College of Medicine and we are glad for the opportunity to provide these classes to seniors who would not have such opportunities," says Knoble.

This program is part of the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project (GWEP), focusing on educating seniors on better health and better communication with their physicians. The student facilitators are mentored by local physicians and adjunct faculty in preparation for post-graduate work experience. The FSU College of Medicine prepares the content for these programs and provides presentation scripts to the medical students. The students are equipped with an action plan to lead their teaching, as well as handouts of resources that would be relevant for seniors. Afterward, the seniors are encouraged to ask questions and develop personal action plans to increase healthy behaviors.

Heart health classes began in January and will continue throughout the spring. Previously, the classes offered included "Brain Health" and "Fall Prevention."

"The classes are limited to 20 older adults," says Knoble. "This class size fosters better interpersonal reaction between the participants and the medical students giving the presentations."

The program has encouraged more than 200 seniors to learn more about their personal health and wellbeing.

To learn more about the program and upcoming presentation dates, contact Jennifer Gilmour at (941) 746-9425.

Westminster Oaks Resident Gen. Larry Snowden Named Tallahassee Democrat Person of the Year for 2016

January 25, 2017

Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida congratulate General Larry Snowden on being named the Tallahassee Democrat's 2016 Person of the Year. Snowden, a resident at Westminster Oaks, fought at Iwo Jima in World War II and was awarded with Navy and Marine Corps public service medals by the Marine Corps's highest-ranking officer, Commandant Robert Neller.

Gen. Snowden is responsible for organizing "Reunion of Honor" trips with American and Japanese veterans, allowing the soldiers to return to the historic Iwo Jima battlefields in peace. He served as chief of staff of U.S. forces in Japan and chief of staff at Marine Corps headquarters in Washington. In 1979, he retired as a three-star general after 37 years of active service, after holding assignments in WWII, Korea, and Vietnam.

At 95 years of age, Gen. Snowden stills holds a deep passion for service to his country.

Read more in the Tallahassee Democrat.

Westminster Recognizes the Legendary Service of Employees During Hurricane Matthew

January 17, 2017

We recognize our employees throughout the state for their legendary service when Hurricane Matthew hit the East Coast of Florida. After Westminster Woods on Julington Creek and Riverside Presbyterian House, both in Jacksonville, were ordered to evacuate, our dedicated team members throughout the state pitched in to continue to provide the highest level of service to our residents.

In appreciation, our executive leadership team presented proclamations of thanks to the communities of:

  • Westminster Woods on Julington Creek (Jacksonville)
  • Riverside Presbyterian Apartments (Jacksonville)
  • Riverside Presbyterian House (Jacksonville)
  • Westminster Manor (Bradenton)
  • Westminster Towers & Shores (Bradenton)
  • Westminster Asbury (Cocoa)
  • Westminster Canterbury (Daytona Beach)
  • College Arms Towers (DeLand)
  • Hugh Ash Manor (DeLand)
  • Westminster Towers (Orlando)
  • Westminster Winter Park (Orlando)
  • Westminster Oaks (Tallahassee) 

The staff of these communities worked long hours through the storm to provide shelter, food, care and entertainment for more than 100 residents and employees from the two communities evacuated. We extend a heartfelt thanks to the employees and residents of Westminster Communities of Florida for their dedication to our Mission and touching lives through service to the residents and staff of our organization.

Westminster Woods on Julington Creek

Riverside Presbyterian Apartments

Riverside Presbyterian House

Westminster Winter Park

Westminster Towers

Westminster Manor of Bradenton

Westminster Oaks Welcomes Hurricane Matthew Evacuees (WFSU-FM)

October 7, 2016

Kate Payne of WFSU-FM reports: Tallahassee retirement community Westminster Oaks is opening its doors to Jacksonville evacuees from Hurricane Matthew. Forty-seven assisted living residents from Westminster Woods on Julington Creek, a sister facility in Saint Johns County, arrived Thursday morning, along with twenty staff members and their families. Read more about their story at

WAAGing The Tail: How a Resident Support Group Can Improve the Lives of People with Dementia

September 21, 2016

As told by Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith, FAHA H&S Medical Director

The Westminster Alzheimer’s Awareness Group seeks to provide resources for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. (Left) Patrick Hogan, Sandy Halperin and Everett Yarbrough.

Two short years ago, three residents of Westminster Oaks, a continuing care retirement community in Tallahassee, FL, decided that more work was needed to improve the lives of people living with dementia and their caregivers. Patrick Hogan, Everett Yarbrough, and Alexander “Sandy” Halperin formed the Westminster Alzheimer’s Action Group (WAAG) in early 2014. The name came when one of them asked, “What do you think when you see a puppy wagging his tail?” They all knew it meant he was happy. Making people happy, even though they were dealing with dementia, became the message for “sprucing up the support and quality” in dementia care. Each had been personally touched by dementia – Mr. Yarbrough’s wife had Alzheimer’s disease, Mr. Hogan’s had Lewy body dementia, and Dr. Halperin was living with early Alzheimer’s himself.

Their reach has affected all levels – from their own active living community, to the Tallahassee area, the state of Florida, and even nationally. From the beginning they decided on a multi-pronged strategy: education, support, and advocacy. And their efforts have received accolades at all these levels.

First, they held public forums. The first was geared to ensuring that the various agencies that serve people with dementia in the Tallahassee area worked together. This forum attracted over 400 participants. The second forum focused on caregivers, and the guest speaker was Rosemary Laird, MD, author of “Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for Someone with Memory Loss.”

Simultaneously, they started on advocacy. Meetings with the Secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs (DOEA), Sam Verghese, were held. In 2015 the Dementia Care and Cure Initiative was announced to engage communities across the state to be more dementia friendly, promote better care for Floridians affected by dementia, and support research efforts to find a cure. Then, in 2016 Sec. Verghese, along with Tallahassee City Commissioner Gil Ziffer, announced Leon County and the City of Tallahassee as the first Dementia Caring Community in Florida. Each time, members of WAAG were standing in the background, quiet but effective advocates for these new initiatives.

All along the way, WAAG has helped to run support groups for caregivers at Westminster Oaks, facilitated by the Alzheimer’s Project of Tallahassee. A large body of research shows the value, both in terms of health and quality of life, for support groups in dementia care.

The work of WAAG has been recognized at many levels. At the Leading Age Great Minds Gala Sandy Halperin and Dr. Sanjay Gupta received the 2016 Proxmire Award in Washington, D.C. The State of Florida announced the Champion of Service Award to WAAG in January 2016 during Florida Senior Day. And the group received the state-wide Westminster Communities Service Award in 2016. Recently, LeadingAge Florida's most prestigious award--the Distinguished Service Award--was presented to WAAG in July for "tireless advocacy and leadership on behalf of those living with Alzheimer's and other memory disorders while striving to improve care for those with dementia and support for the people who care for them." This award is only presented in years when the Awards Committee determines that extraordinary service has been rendered. 

These accomplishments have not slowed down WAAG. They are planning to work with the Dementia Action Alliance (DAA), based in Washington D.C., to run focus groups in Tallahassee on the topic of how to better communicate a person’s care wishes across sites of care. In September, staff of DAA will work with the Tallahassee Area Agency on Aging, WAAG, and members of the community to create strategies to ensure a person’s values and wishes are transmitted across care sites. WAAG members have been advocating to obtain approval for a specialty license tag that will raise money to support the state-wide Memory Disorders Clinics. And they continue to advocate for more high-quality memory care units with highly trained staff.

The Westminster Alzheimer’s Action Group is a living representative of Margaret Meade’s famous statement: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Westminster Alzheimer's Action Group Receives Award

August 5, 2016

Leading Age Florida's Distinguished Award Recognizes Group’s Outstanding Contributions to Advocate for Those with Alzheimer’s at the State Level

BOCA RATON – The LeadingAge Florida 2016 Distinguished Service Award was presented to the Westminster Alzheimer’s Awareness Group (WAAG) at Westminster Oaks. This organization, formed in January 2014 by Dr. Sandy Halperin, Pat Hogan and Everett Yarbrough, seeks to act on behalf of residents with Alzheimer’s and other memory disorders. Their goal is to increase awareness of our nation’s most under-recognized public health crisis of the 21st century, to improve care for those living with dementia, and to support family caregivers.
The Distinguished Service Award is LeadingAge Florida’s most prestigious award, only presented to recipients who have made an outstanding contribution on behalf of elders at the state level.

WAAG has had a profound impact on its community and the state due to the excellence in advocacy demonstrated by each of its founding members. This program is a shining example of the positive effect that giving time, energy, passion and expertise can have on improving the quality of life for those living with memory disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
It has been recognized for its advocacy efforts by the Florida Secretary of Elder Affairs, Samuel P. Verghese, at the 2015 Florida Conference on Aging. WAAG has partnered with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs in the development of a new Dementia Care and Cure Initiative.

The group organized two well-received education forums, “Meeting of the Minds” and “Oxygen for Caregivers,” which drew over 350 attendees at each event, featuring presentations by locally and nationally known medical professionals.

It has worked with CNN to create, “Sandy’s Story,” a special production portraying Dr. Halperin’s struggle with Alzheimer’s over a two-year period, which highlights the program on a national level. Dr. Halperin was the co-recipient of LeadingAge’s William Proxmire Award at the Great Minds Gala in Washington, D.C. in March, 2016, along with Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN. The William Proxmire Award recognizes national figures who have demonstrated leadership and positively impacted public awareness around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

Members of this group have advocated for and been involved in a multitude of action-oriented outreach programs and activities on behalf of elders in the State of Florida. Just a few of these programs include: educational briefings with U.S. Senators and Representatives and key members of the Florida Legislature; informal weekly luncheons featuring special programs for and by caregivers and professional staff and promotion of enhanced music therapy for persons living with dementia.

Working with others, this group is committed to supporting global dementia care so people living with dementia can lead happier, more fulfilled lives, for as long as they can.

Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida applaud WAAG and the contributions of Dr. Halperin, Mr. Hogan and Mr. Yarbrough. “We couldn’t be prouder of WAAG’s accomplishments. Their work to improve care for those with Alzheimer’s reflects on Westminster residents’ tremendous involvement in promoting wellbeing. We’re very thankful for their advocacy and the positive impact it has had on the lives of those we serve,” said Chief Executive Officer Roger Stevens. “I congratulate them for this award on behalf of our organization!”

We are thankful for our Employees and Volunteers of the Year

March 18, 2016

ORLANDO — Westminster Communities of Florida threw its 18th Annual Awards Banquet to celebrate its wonderful Employees of the Year and Volunteers of the Year, on Thursday, March 17.

There are so many accomplishments to celebrate: more than 140 employees were “caught in the act” of providing Legendary Service in 2015. We also had the help of more than 2,300 volunteers.

At the banquet we acknowledged the best of 2015 at the Rosen Plaza Hotel. Our theme was “You’re in the Movies!” complete with a red carpet and the flashbulbs of the Westminster paparazzi.

Read their stories about their wonderful contributions!

We want to thank all of Westminster Communities of Florida’s wonderful employees and volunteers for making this such a great organization; and to the Board of Directors and the Banquet Committee for making this event possible.

Better baking with Pillsbury's Gold Medal

March 16, 2016

Westminster Oaks Chef Oral Webb and Westminster Towers baker Rhonda Steele learn to make Black Forest cookies (below).

By Mario DeLuca, Westminster Communities of Florida Director of Dining Services

Cookies, muffins and cakes never tasted so good — introducing the new Gold Medal box-scratch program by Pillsbury, Westminster Communities of Florida's new baking partner!

You may remember the Pillsbury Doughboy, aka “Poppin’ Fresh,” that we all grew up on and enjoyed baking their products. As part of our dining program, we will now be offering fresh-baked goods made with this iconic brand to our residents.

To help us grow, Gold Medal sent their corporate baking partners, including Orlando baker Trina Gregory, to train the entire Westminster dining team in hands-on baking training in March! We made sweet potato coffee cake, Black Forest cookies, mint chocolate chip cupcakes and more, all using Gold Medal mixes and added baking ingredients.

Congratulations to Dr. Sandy Halperin on Receiving the Senator William Proxmire Award

March 15, 2016

Great Minds Gala and LeadingAge honor Westminster Oaks resident for his advocacy for those with Alzheimer’s disease

WASHINGTON - Last night the third annual Great Minds Gala honored Dr. Sandy Halperin, a resident at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee, Fla., and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent, with the Senator William Proxmire Award. This prestigious award recognizes national figures who have demonstrated leadership and positively impacted public awareness around Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

“This insidious disease has declared war on our minds,” said Halperin in his acceptance.

The gala, held at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., was created to help improve the care offered to people with Alzheimer’s disease and the support options available for their caregivers.

This year, Halperin and Gupta shared the award because of their unique relationship. Halperin, who was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at the age of 60, agreed to let Gupta and a CNN film crew into his home at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee, Fla., to document his journey. Over the past 5 years, they have both taught each other about the devastating consequences of the disease. Although Gupta was unable to attend the event, he sent a congratulatory video to the gala and thanking Halperin for their experiences working on their documentary, titled “Sandy’s Story.”

Halperin, a retired dentist and assistant professor of dentistry at Harvard, has chosen an unusual path as the disease progresses. In addition to sharing his story publicly, he volunteers as an advocate for Alzheimer’s, which has given him renewed energy and purpose. “As I hold up this baton, I am physically and emotionally passing it to you. It is for each of you to vigorously carry things forward to see our highest expectations achieved. Do this together, without delay. I leave with one strong message: the baton is now in your hands.”

The award was originally created by the late Ellen Proxmire to honor her husband, Senator William Proxmire who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1994. Senator Proxmire spent the last 5 years of his life at Integrace Copper Ridge in Sykesville, Md. After his death, Mrs. Proxmire worked to ensure all Americans have access to quality care and created this event with Integrace and LeadingAge.

About LeadingAge: The mission of LeadingAge is to expand the world of possibilities for aging. Our membership touches 4 million lives every day and includes 6,000 not-for-profit organizations representing the entire field of aging services, 39 state partners, hundreds of businesses, consumer groups, foundations and research partners. LeadingAge is also a part of the International Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, whose membership spans 30 countries. LeadingAge is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt charitable organization focused on education, advocacy and applied research.

About Westminster Oaks: Westminster Oaks is an active senior living community nestled in the hills of Florida’s capital city. The 120-acre campus features natural beauty with walking paths meandering among the trees, stunning amenities, and friendly neighborhoods of Georgian and Colonial buildings along suburban streets. Part of the faith-based, not-for-profit Westminster Communities of Florida, Westminster Oaks has served senior adults in Tallahassee for more than 30 years, with an emphasis on exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, all part of a financially strong and Mission-inspired community.

Westminster Oaks to Celebrate Naming of Health Center in Honor of Alma and Roger Bertrand

January 5, 2016

TALLAHASSEE, January 5, 2016 - Westminster Oaks will celebrate the naming of its Health Center in honor of a bequest by residents on Friday, January 8, at 10:30 a.m.
The new Bertrand Health Center will be named after Alma and Roger Bertrand. Mr. and Mrs. Bertrand moved to Westminster Oaks in March 2011. Shortly after, Alma moved into the Health Center. Because of the excellent care she received, the couple decided to include the Westminster Retirement Communities Foundation in their estate.

“We are proud of the new Bertrand Health Center name, because Alma and Roger Bertrand truly acknowledged the commitment of our dedicated team members to high-quality care, here at Westminster Oaks,” said Executive Director Don Wilson.
At the formal naming ceremony, Roger Stevens, Chief Executive Officer of Westminster Communities of Florida, will discuss the significance of the Bertrand gift and its impact on Westminster Oaks. A reception and tours of the community will follow.
Members of the media are invited to attend. A media availability with Mr. Stevens and Mr. Wilson after the event will be arranged upon request.

Built in 1997, the Westminster Oaks Health Center, part of the broader active-living community, is a five star-rated skilled nursing facility providing short- and long-term nursing care. Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services are also offered, available seven days a week. Westminster Communities of Florida’s exclusive My W Life philosophy emphasizes wellbeing, independence and person-centered care for residents in independent living, assisted living and in the Health Center.

About Westminster Oaks: Westminster Oaks is an active senior living community nestled in the hills of Florida’s capital city. The 120-acre campus features natural beauty with walking paths meandering among the trees, stunning amenities, and friendly neighborhoods of Georgian and Colonial buildings along suburban streets. We have served senior adults in Tallahassee for more than 30 years, with an emphasis on exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Communities of Florida: Westminster Communities of Florida serves nearly 7,000 residents in 20 active-living communities around Florida who are in search of an enlightened, fully integrated, person-centered approach to health and wellness. Since 1954, we’ve been Florida’s best choice in active senior living

Westminster Communities of Florida Wins 2 Awards in 2015 National Mature Media Awards Program

August 27, 2015

ORLANDO, August 27, 2015 — Westminster Communities of Florida was a winner in the 24th annual National Mature Media Awards Program. The program, presented by the Mature Market Resource Center, a national clearing-house for the senior market, recognizes the nation’s finest marketing, communications, educational materials, and programs designed and produced for older adults.

The Westminster Shores “Announcing Bay Breeze” marketing campaign received a Silver Award in the category of Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. The series of direct mail pieces and advertisements in St. Petersburg helped the successful launch of Westminster Shores’s new Bay Breeze waterfront independent-living building. We congratulate Westminster Shores Executive Director Michael Shaw and the Westminster Shores marketing and sales team for their work in the campaign.
“Why Hang a Picture,” at Westminster Towers, received a Bronze Award in the category of Marketing and Advertising Campaigns. This direct mail and advertising campaign provided a look outside the spectacular picture-view windows of this community in downtown Orlando. We congratulate Westminster Towers Executive Director Lin Ferrol and the Westminster Towers marketing and sales team for their work in the campaign.

Those involved with the art direction and design of the campaigns were Vice President of Sales and Marketing Nicole Muller, Director of Communications Wes Meltzer, and Graphic Designer Chris Ware.
“We were honored to be selected as a winner, among so many great entries,” Muller said. “Westminster Communities of Florida was delighted to take part in the Mature Media Awards Program this year.”

The entries were judged by a distinguished panel of mature market experts from across the United States for overall excellence of design, content, creativity and relevance to the senior market.

About Westminster Shores: Westminster Shores is an active senior living community overlooking the Tampa Bay’s Little Bayou. Our beautiful campus nestled along the waterfront combines neighborhoods of single-family homes and detached villas with newly constructed waterfront apartment homes. We have served senior adults in St. Petersburg for more than 60 years, with an emphasis on exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Towers: Enjoy “Downtown Living At Its Best” at Westminster Towers, ideally located in downtown Orlando on the shore of beautiful Lake Lucerne. Our gardened, pocket campus offers beautiful residential choices in a high-rise building with spectacular skyline views. We have served senior adults in Orlando for more than 40 years, emphasizing exceptional living options, whole-person wellbeing and Lifelong Learning, and backed by a financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based community.

About Westminster Communities of Florida: Westminster Communities of Florida serves more than 6,000 residents in 19 active living communities around Florida who are in search of an enlightened, fully integrated, person-centered approach to health and wellness. Since 1954, we’ve been Florida’s best choice in active senior living.

Touching Lives Through Service: 2013 Report

September 26, 2014

Westminster Communities of Florida’s Mission is a mission of service to seniors throughout Florida, and that thread runs through everything we do.

As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, serving the broader communities we serve is just one of the ways we can make an impact on the lives of those we serve. We provide benefits to the community in the form of housing, volunteer service, local partnerships, meeting space, hands-on training, clinical services, home care services, employment and service to low-income seniors.

Between our nine Continuing Care Retirement Communities in Bradenton, Jacksonville, St. Petersburg, Tallahassee, Orlando and Winter Park, we serve nearly 6,000 residents and more than 2,000 employees. Our residents and staff volunteers provided more than 200,000 hours of community service in 2013.

Our communities periodically prepare a Community Benefit Report, to celebrate these benefits. You can find these reports below for 2013, in PDF format.

Bradenton: Westminster Manor and Westminster Towers & Shores
Central Florida: Westminster Towers and Winter Park Towers
Jacksonville: Westminster Woods on Julington Creek
St. Petersburg: Westminster Palms, Westminster Shores and Westminster Suncoast
Tallahassee: Westminster Oaks

Panelists discuss Alzheimer's resources, research

May 7, 2014

TALLAHASSEE — For those who have loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s, or who provide care for someone who does, a panel of local experts from a wide range of organizations had a clear message on Tuesday: There are resources available to help and you are not alone.

Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith of the Florida State University College of Medicine takes a question from the audience during the "Meeting of the Minds" Alzheimer's-awareness forum hosted by Westminster Oaks. WES MELTZER/WESTMINSTER COMMUNITIES OF FLORIDA

The Westminster Alzheimer’s Awareness Group at Westminster Oaks organized the forum, titled “Meeting of the Minds.” Approximately 300 members of the community and residents at Westminster Oaks gathered to learn about resources, current research, prevention and support.

Westminster Oaks, which hosted the forum, is a Continuing Care Retirement Community in Tallahassee with a strong emphasis on independent living, active lifestyles, whole-person wellness and lifelong learning. It is a part of Westminster Communities of Florida, the state’s largest not-for-profit provider of active living and health care communities.

During the keynote address, Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith of the Florida State University College of Medicine covered the latest advances in creating dementia-friendly environments, warning signs, diagnosis and treatment of dementia, as well as education for patients and family members. “I think we are on the cusp of some really amazing developments that will transform the way we give care,” said Dr. Brummel-Smith, the Charlotte Edwards Maguire, M.D., Chair and Professor of Geriatrics at FSU.
Other local experts on Alzheimer’s and dementia care who spoke during the event included Louise Sobke, Vice President of Clinical and Ancillary Services for Westminster Communities of Florida; Bill Wertman, Alzheimer’s Project Chief Executive Officer; Margaret Farris, Alzheimer’s Association Tallahassee Office Associate Director of Development and Programs; Dr. Theresa Hunter, Physical Therapist at Tallahassee Memorial Neuroscience Center and Memory Disorder Clinic; and Cathy Adkison, President and CEO of Big Bend Hospice.

Sobke noted that Westminster Oaks and Westminster Communities of Florida focus on individualized and person-centered care. “For 60 years we have been providing active living options including services and support for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia as part of our continuum of care and our Mission,” she said. “Our philosophy is to provide services that are individualized, and we believe in fostering independence and keeping people as independent as possible.”
Farris, of the Alzheimer’s Association, said, “Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States today. We’re trying to move that forward. There is currently $120 million in federal funding for Alzheimer’s research, but that is just a drop in the bucket of what is needed.”

Don Wilson, Westminster Oaks executive director, said that the community was delighted to host the forum as a service to the community and to bring local resources together. “It was great to bring this coalition of community health and service organizations together to inform the audience that they ‘never need to walk alone,’ ” Wilson said.

Moderator Rebeccah Lutz of the Tallahassee Democrat poses a question to the "Meeting of the Minds" panelists. From left, Mark Baldino of Senior Care Services, Cathy Adkison of Big Bend Hospice, and Louise Sobke of Westminster Communities of Florida. WES MELTZER/WESTMINSTER COMMUNITIES OF FLORIDA

The panelists encouraged the audience to press for better care options in their communities and for more research and more federal and state funding of research — and most of all, to know that resources and support networks are there to help them.
“We want to encourage families to seek these resources of comfort, strength and support,” said Pat Hogan, another of the organizers of the event and a member of the Westminster Alzheimer’s Awareness Group. “You’re not alone. You are not alone.”

About Westminster Oaks:
Westminster Oaks is ideally located on 140 wooded acres of oaks in Florida’s capital city, combining established neighborhoods of detached villas with the comfort and luxury of mid-rise and garden apartment homes and new neighborhoods of single-family homes. Westminster Oaks offers exceptional choices and living options and a wealth of wellness initiatives with Westminster’s exclusive Eight Dimensions of Wellness. There are more than 650 residents living at Westminster Oaks. A leader in intellectual and cultural advancement, the cornerstone of Westminster Oaks is the magnificent Maguire Center for Lifelong Learning.

About Westminster Communities of Florida:
Established in 1954, Westminster Communities of Florida serves 6,000 residents in 19 communities around Florida who are in search of an enlightened, fully integrated, person-centered approach to health and wellness.

At Westminster Oaks it's 'Forever Young'

June 28, 2013

TALLAHASSEE — You might say Homecoming Week at Westminster Oaks focused on being “Young at Heart”, in body and soul! Two major events headlined our week, and both brought out the crowds! We were celebrating Leading Age’s Homecoming Week, when we throw open the doors and invite the Tallahassee community in to meet our residents and staff and to thank the community for their support.

On Tuesday, May 28, we celebrated the 31st anniversary of the first night residents spent on our campus in May, 1982, with our residents, their family members, staff, and several dozen Tallahasseeans who responded to our invitation and the ad in the

Tallahassee Democrat inviting them to attend. The ad said, “Of COURSE it’s free… We’re simply having a few friends over… Be one!”

Westminster Oaks was honored that LeadingAge’s CEO, Janegale Boyd, decided to drop by the bash and “Dance to the Music!” with us.

We projected a 15-minute slide show on the big screen in the Maguire Center for Lifelong Learning auditorium, to bring back the “The Way We Were.” We saw old friends’ faces, remembered fun times, and all the changes to the 130-plus acre campus of Westminster Oaks.

Next on the stage, we brought a live performance of Tom and the Cats, the hottest classic rock n’ roll party band in town. Residents of all ages danced to “Mustang Sally,” “Proud Mary,” “Midnight Hour,” and much more. They were joined on the dance floor by the other invited guests, and dance we did! We all enjoyed a fabulous dessert spread, with chilled champagne and wine.

The following day, Westminster Oaks closed Homecoming Week with a Health and Wellness Fair with booths from over 45 local organizations and associations, health services agencies, non-profit groups, and our two local hospitals. We were able to provide samples, fliers, and listings of local programs and opportunities to residents, family members, staff and campus visitors.

Westminster Oaks places a strong emphasis on networking and collaboration with other local health and community service organizations. The all-day event was a jam-packed success with a wide variety of information and resources available.
At the Oaks, all we need is an excuse to ‘Let the Good Times Roll!” Thanks, LeadingAge, for sending out the challenge of Homecoming Week — and may we all be ‘Forever Young’!

Contact: Wes Meltzer, Director of Communications
Westminster Communities of Florida or 407-839-5050 x283

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