Home Care vs. Assisted Living: What Are the Differences?

If you or a loved one has decided to explore care options for later in life, you’ll find that there are several options. From home care to assisted living to independent living facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, there are many choices for seniors.

It can be hard to know exactly what type of care you’ll need. Read on to learn more about the differences between home care and assisted living. 

Assisted Living

Assisted living facilities in Saint Petersburg, FL, provide housing and care to seniors who can’t or have chosen not to live independently. They receive support services and health care services, including bathing, dressing, and eating, if necessary. 

Seniors also receive assistance with medication, meals, and laundry, and can benefit from structured social activities and transportation. Assisted living facilities provide the care that seniors need, and also offer a sense of community that keeps them active.

Home Care 

Home care is a service provided by a caregiver that takes place in a senior’s home. A caregiver may visit once a day or spend many hours each day providing care, depending on the level of need. 

Home care offers transportation, companionship, and daily assistance with various tasks, including:

  • Meal preparation
  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Toileting
  • Dressing
  • Housekeeping 

Home care offers a convenient option for seniors who aren’t ready to leave their homes. It’s also a highly customized form of care that gives seniors everything they need.

Finding Assisted Living Facilities in Saint Petersburg, FL

Saint Petersburg is home to some of the best assisted living facilities as well as home care providers around. No matter what level of care you or your loved one requires, there is a skilled caregiver or expert community to provide it. With a little research, you can find the perfect fit and ensure your loved one is taken care of through retirement.

Congratulations To Our Volunteers and Team Members Of The Year

We’re beginning our celebration of Westminster Communities of Florida’s Volunteers of the Year and Team Members of the Year! Over the next two weeks, beginning on Wednesday, we’re holding recognition banquets in Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and Orlando to celebrate these individuals. Be on the lookout for our announcements of the winners prior to each banquet, and fun photos from the event itself.

Congratulations to all the amazing people who make Westminster Communities of Florida a great place to live and work!

Volunteers of the Year

Team Members of the Year

4 Signs It’s Time to Change Your Elderly Parent’s Caregiver

Caregivers are generally highly professional, compassionate people who work every day to improve the lives of the elderly. The services for in-home care and assisted living in St. Petersburg, FL, are some of the best around. However, just like any profession, not every caregiver is perfect.

Sometimes caregivers suffer from stress, and other times, caregivers may just not have a personality that is compatible with your elderly parent.

No matter what the reason, there are a few signs to look for that indicate it is time to change your elderly parent’s caregiver.

1. Your Parent Expresses Concern

While this sign may seem obvious, make sure you listen to your parent when they express concerns about their caregiver. Even things that sound trivial, such as forgetting to take out the trash or cooking a meal incorrectly, can be signs of a bigger underlying issue. 

2. Sudden Change in Attitude

Sometimes elderly people feel too ashamed to admit trouble with a caregiver and will instead act out. If you notice a sudden and inexplicable change in attitude with your elderly parent, it may be time to explore alternative care options.

3. Mismanagement

If you are using a service company to coordinate in-home care for your parent, the management of the staff and the agency itself is critical. If you notice that your parent’s caregiver has been changed a number of times, or if there is high turnover or other signs of mismanagement, it may be time to consider switching caregivers.

4. Disengaged Caregiver

Caregivers should always be attentive and thorough. If you notice that your parent’s caregiver is distracted or can’t answer basic questions about care for your parent, that’s a sign that another caregiver may be a better fit.

Find Care Through Assisted Living in St. Petersburg, FL

St. Petersburg is home to a number of care facilities that cater to the elderly in all stages of life. From in-home care to skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, you can find a solution that meets your parent’s needs.

Seasonal Allergies: How to Help Your Loved Ones Manage Their Symptoms

Seasonal allergies are no fun, and in Florida, the symptoms can be severe. A wide variety of unpleasant symptoms are associated with seasonal allergies, including: 

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Itchy and watery eyes
  • Fatigue

If you have a loved one who is enjoying their retirement in assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida, they may need some help managing their symptoms during allergy season.

Dealing with Allergies at Assisted Living Facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida

In Florida, the primary causes of allergies are ragweed and mold, both of which reach peak growing conditions in the summer and fall seasons. Mold thrives especially well in moist and humid conditions, and the summer humidity in Florida creates the perfect environment for mold growth in a variety of settings. 

Whether mold, ragweed, or seasonal pollen are causing your loved one’s allergic reactions, there are several ways you can help them mitigate their symptoms within independent living facilities in St. Petersburg, FL.

Limit Time Outside During Daylight Hours

Though it may seem strange to suggest staying indoors during the sunny summer months in Florida, this is one of the best ways to avoid bad allergy symptoms in the state’s most humid time of year. 

Pollen counts are highest during the day, so your loved one will have an easier time avoiding bad allergies if they limit their outdoor activities to the evening.

Keep the HVAC System Clean

Your family member’s HVAC system keeps them nice and cool during the hot summer months in St. Petersburg. However, did you know that an improperly cleaned AC unit can cause allergy symptoms?

This is largely because the unit collects dust and pollen from the outside, which gets ventilated throughout the home and can cause allergic reactions.

Use Protective Gear While Gardening

Gardening is a popular pastime among residents in independent living communities, but interacting directly with plants can be a significant cause of allergy symptoms. That’s why it’s so important to urge your loved one to always wear gloves and a mask while gardening to reduce contact with allergens.

Avoid Planting Allergy-Inducing Flowers

If your family member has a passion for gardening, encourage them to avoid plant and flower options that tend to cause allergic reactions. Some plants that commonly cause allergic reactions include flowers like daisies, chrysanthemums, and sunflowers, as well as other plants like juniper, wisteria, and cypress.

5 Medication Management Tips for Older Adults

Many seniors take multiple medications and supplements throughout the day. It can be easy to mix up medications or lose track of what was taken. For this reason, managing medication is critical to avoid missed doses or double doses. 

Whether older adults are living alone or enjoying assisted living in Saint Petersburg, Florida, there are a few simple actions older adults can take to more effectively manage their medications. 

Here are five medication management tips for older adults.

1. Keep All Medications in One Location

If an older adult takes multiple medications, they should all be stored in one location for easy access. Medications stored throughout the home can become confusing and take unnecessary time to track down. 

Keeping medications in one location makes it simple to keep track of what was taken and pay attention to when certain medications are running low.

2. Store Medication Properly

Unfortunately, some medications can become less effective if not stored properly. For example, medications can start to break down if they are stored in a location that is too moist, too cold, or too warm. 

Make sure to read all the prescription labels, which should clearly spell out how the medication needs to be stored.

3. Presort Medications

Make a habit of pre-sorting medications at the beginning of the week or even the beginning of the month. This can make taking medications accurately and on time much simpler. There are even sorting tools that can help make sorting and storing easier. 

Pre-sorting also prevents confusion about which medications to take on which days and minimizes the chances of missed doses.

4. Double-Check Medication Instructions

Some medications have specific administration instructions, such as eating with food or avoiding taking at night. In addition, when seniors are on multiple medications, extra due diligence is required to ensure that the medications don’t negatively react with one another.

Make sure to double-check with the doctor about how different medications interact with each other and with supplements. In assisted living facilities, the resident pharmacist will also be able to help. 

5. Set Up a Tracking System

Just like many other things in life, it is sometimes easier to keep track of things when you write them down. Medication management is no different. Creating a tracking system that notes when medication should be taken and when it was taken can make a big difference in keeping a consistent schedule.

A tracking system can also be helpful to medical professionals if they need to investigate an underlying issue. The tracking system allows them to see if any doses were missed or taken at the wrong intervals.

Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg, Florida

Seniors from all walks of life can find incredible assisted living facilities in the Saint Petersburg area. Whether it’s independent living, skilled nursing assistance, or memory care in St. Petersburg, FL, the community caters to varying needs.

Seniors can enjoy retirement to its fullest and get the care they need for the long term.

4 Benefits of Waterfront Living in Your Senior Years

Through the years, you worked hard every day but never lost sight of the day when you would retire and begin living life your way. It was a goal that kept you motivated and uplifted during the demands of daily responsibilities.

Like many people, you may have imagined retiring near the beach where the weather is warm and the days are long. Fortunately, your dream of walking along the waterfront during sunset or lying on a beach any time you please can become a reality.

If you’re looking to fulfill that dream, assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, might be the answer. 

Why Choose Assisted Living Facilities in St. Petersburg, FL?

Waterfront living has more to offer than magnificent views. Imagine stepping outdoors in the morning to the scent of salty air and the caress of a warm breeze on your skin. You can hear the splashing waves on the beach and the caw of busy seagulls in the air and feel the healing sense of serenity that only a waterfront environment can evoke.

According to experts in the medical community, the unique atmosphere of waterfront living is beneficial to your mental and physical health in many ways. Four of the main benefits of waterfront living in your senior years are:

  • Stress relief
  • Interaction with others
  • Improved health
  • Safety and security

Let’s look at these benefits in a little more detail. 

1. A Natural Antidote to Stress

Senior adults experience stress for many reasons. They may be dealing with the loss of a spouse, adjusting to new living arrangements, or dealing with chronic health issues. Waterfront living reduces stress levels as the atmosphere creates a sense of calmness. It’s like being on a vacation that isn’t destined to end in a few days.

2. Easy Interaction with Others

Independent living facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, provide many opportunities for spending time doing fun activities. The facilities are located near waterfront towns that are filled with venues where seniors can enjoy the day. Shopping, museums, guided tours, dining, and movies are just a few examples. 

Of course, there are also endless choices for outdoor activities such as kayaking, waterfront strolls, sunbathing, biking, watersports, and more. Group outings can be a great way to fill the hours and socialize with new friends.

3. Vastly Improved Health

People who reside in waterfront communities tend to spend more time outdoors. All that extra fresh air improves oxygen intake. The increased sun exposure created more vitamin D to help balance serotonin levels and combat free radicals. All these factors combine to increase relaxation and improve mental well-being. 

These benefits, along with the outdoor activities, help seniors enjoy an overall healthier lifestyle — not to mention the health benefits of eating local, fresh seafood.

4. Safety and Security

Waterfront retirement communities have safeguards and restrictions in place to provide a secure environment for senior adults. Many facilities provide 24/7 security services to ensure the safety of their residents day or night.

Is Waterfront Living Right for You?

If you dream of beautiful views, a laidback lifestyle, delicious seafood, and salty air, waterfront living in your senior years is the right choice for you.

Many people feel drawn to the sea. Your inner compass probably points in that direction, so why not follow it?

Assisted Living: 5 Common Financial Questions

Moving into an assisted living facility is a major step in elderly life. On top of the emotions are concerns about how this move may affect your and your loved ones’ finances.

Here are five of the most pertinent questions to ask of every assisted care community you look into. 

1. How Much Will It Cost?

What you or your loved ones will pay for assisted living varies, depending on the facility you choose and the services it provides. The average cost of assisted living facilities in Saint Petersburg, FL, runs around $3,825 a month. In surrounding areas, you may be able to find a facility that costs less than $3,000.

Make sure to ask what services and amenities are included in the price. Some communities offer resident care, meals, housekeeping, and medication supervision in their fees. There may be added costs for separate apartments, pet deposits, supplementary meal plans, internet service, or specialized care. 

2. Does the Facility Charge One-Time Fees?

Generally, skilled nursing facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, charge single fees before residents move in. These fees might apply toward administrative costs or physical health evaluations.

Most facilities also require an upfront, non-refundable deposit for securing a space, typically around $1,500 to $2,000, possibly more. Ask your representative which one-time entrance fees might apply to your stay.

3. Can Medicare or Medicaid Help Pay for Assisted Living Facilities in Saint Petersburg, FL?

Medicare does not help pay for assisted living arrangements – only professional medical care. Medicaid, on the other hand, may be able to help defray the cost of assisted living in Florida.

Certain Medicaid programs under the broader Statewide Medicaid Managed Care (SMMC) Long-Term Care Program provide a modest subsidy to cover monthly expenses. These benefits are given through the federal government through the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) waiver.

However, help from the HCBS program can be difficult to get due to limits on how many can enroll. Currently, there’s a waitlist to get in, with the most unwell individuals getting the highest priority. Some seniors may exceed the income limits for Medicaid assistance and may not qualify. 

4. Can VA Benefits Help Pay for Assisted Living?

If you are a veteran, you may be able to pay part of your assisted living expenses with the Aid and Attendance benefit that the Department of Veteran Affairs offers. 

This often-overlooked program subsidizes needs-based help for many aspects of assisted living, including physical care and daily routine help. The resident’s condition does not have to be the result of military service to receive VA help. 

5. What Programs Can Help Pay for Assisted Living?

Besides the Medicaid and VA provisions above, you may be able to find financial help from state programs, Social Security, life insurance benefits, long-term care insurance, and some loan programs specifically for assisted living.

New facility residents who can’t sell their home before moving in may be able to secure a short-term bridge loan to finance their assisted living arrangements, taking off the pressure to sell before it’s most profitable to do so.

5 Ways for Seniors to Enjoy Beach Days Safely

One of the best parts about Florida is the beautiful beaches. The ever-reaching blue and pretty sand are reasons why retirees are moving to Florida. Enjoying time at the beach can be a great way to spend time with friends, meditate, exercise, and soak up some sun. 

If you are looking into assisted living in Saint Petersburg, you likely want one that’s near the beach. But will you be able to get there? What if you don’t drive? You’ll be happy to know that many assisted and independent living facilities in St. Petersburg, FL, offer “beach day” trips. 

While these are meant to be fun and recreational, it is always important to stay safe. Here are five ways for seniors to enjoy beach days without risk or danger.

  1. Wear Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen is a good practice as an everyday activity, but it is crucial at the beach. The rays from the sun can damage skin and be a contributing factor to diseases, including skin cancer.

Seniors are at a higher risk of experiencing skin damage due to the sun than younger people. They need to wear sunscreen with SPF protection and re-apply as the day goes on.

  1. Stay Hydrated

Florida beaches can get very hot and humid in the summer months. Often seniors will become dehydrated without even knowing it, so it is important to stay ahead of the problem and encourage drinking water all day.

  1. Don’t Swim Alone

Even seniors who are or were once skilled swimmers should never swim alone. You never know when someone could experience a medical emergency or when a rip current can suddenly sweep someone away. 

You should always keep an eye on one another when swimming, especially the elderly. If your elderly loved one wants to go out in the water, make sure someone accompanies them. 

  1. Make Sure Lifeguards Are Present

Even if your group makes a point not to swim alone, swimming can still be dangerous. We often underestimate how much effort it takes to help rescue someone in distress, and a medical emergency in the water can quickly turn into a tragedy. Make sure there are lifeguards around any time an older person is in the water. A trained lifeguard is much more equipped to rescue someone from the water if anything goes wrong. They are also trained in CPR and can help manage the situation before emergency responders arrive.

  1. Wear the Right Clothing

Wearing a swimsuit and flip-flops is not enough to stay safe at the beach, particularly for seniors. There are a variety of clothing items to make sure seniors stay safe when spending time at the beach, including:

  • Supportive shoes
  • Hats
  • Long-sleeved shirts
  • Warm clothes for when it cools down

Packing the right clothes in addition to accessories like sunglasses and towels will ensure everyone enjoys the day at the beach safely.

Assisted Living in Saint Petersburg

If you or a loved one is considering assisted living, St. Petersburg is a great place to start your search. St. Petersburg is home to many excellent facilities that offer services and amenities to ensure retirees have everything they need.

The Perfect Snacks for Saint Petersburg Florida Assisted Living Communities

Ready to stock up on groceries for the week? Assisted living Saint Petersburg lifestyles are best enjoyed with a variety of your favorite snacks – so before you head out for your next shopping trip, here’s a few ideas of some tasty (and healthy!) options that you should consider adding to your list.

Choose Snacks You Can Store

When you move to assisted living Saint Petersburg homes, you typically have a few options for storage. For example, you may have an in-room refrigerator and storage shelves where you can place your food and any other items that you bring along.

Get an idea of your overall storage capacities before you head out shopping. Talk to your center about other storage options, including community fridges and shelves, too!

Know Which Snacks are Healthy for You 

Try to pick healthy snacks that will easily fit into your diet at your new home, such as:

  • Grapes and other tasty, snackable fruits 
  • Greek yogurt 
  • Hummus and pita chips
  • Avocado toast 
  • “Ants on a Log” – a favorite snack made from celery, creamy peanut butter, and raisins
  • Cottage cheese with flax seeds
  • Granola bars – available in a variety of tasty flavors

Consider Snacks Provided at Your Assisted Living Saint Petersburg Home 

Did you know that many assisted living homes will provide snacks for their residents? These may come at specific times throughout the day or be available in vending machines. Talk to your center to learn more about what options are available to you and what kind of snack schedules you can anticipate. 

In this way, you can avoid spending money on snacks that will already be available for you. Just as importantly, you can focus on the best way to find healthy options for snacks. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the occasional snack pack of potato chips or cookies in moderation!

Keep Yourself Healthy and Happy

When you move into an assisted living Saint Petersburg, Florida, center, it is important to do what you can to eat deliciously and nutritiously. The best assisted living Saint Petersburg has to offer can provide you with many of these snacks and keep you feeling healthy and great! Now is the time to research the dining options available to you when you make your home at your new assisted living facility.

Helpful Tips on Moving a Parent to a St. Petersburg Assisted Living Community

Moving a parent to an assisted living community is a very emotional time for everyone involved. Where you might be worried about how well they will settle in or their mental well-being once they move, they might be nervous about giving up their independence and comfort zone.

You may also be feeling guilty about this move, wondering if you’ve made the right decision and if they are truly happy with it. Until you see them settle into their new home, you will probably keep second-guessing every decision you’ve made about this move. However, with the quality of assisted living options available today, you can be rest assured that eventually they will find their way, make new friends and gain a sense of belonging within their new community.

Here are a few helpful tips on moving a parent to a St. Petersburg assisted living community:

  • Don’t rush packing up

Once you have chosen an assisted living community that satisfies the requirements for your parent’s physical and emotional wellbeing, you can help your parents with packing up their current home. Chances are they will want to take their time going through their belongings and may have a hard time giving some of these up. Don’t rush them and don’t expect this process to take a day. Give them the time they need to part with their cherished items and support them by reminiscing about old memories together.

  • Furnish and decorate their new home together

Allow your parents to have a say in how they want to decorate their new living space. To purchase furniture or other essential items they will need, ask the assisted living community to provide you a floor plan in advance so you can study the layout together and see how to fit their belongings and what new items they will require.

  • Get acquainted with the new assisted living community

While the downsizing process continues at your parent’s current home, encourage them to take time out to visit their new community and take part in events and meet some of the current residents. Getting to know the staff and becoming familiar with the area will be helpful for your parents and make them feel a little more confident once they move in.

  • Decide when and how much to visit

You know your parents best, so once they have moved into their new home, you must decide when to start visiting them and how frequently. If you feel your constant presence will hinder them from making new friends and getting familiar with the new territory, then take a step back and give them the space they need to settle in. However, you may also feel that your visits are helping them feel happier and stronger during this transition, and in that case, you should continue taking the time out for them as frequently as you can.

To learn more about assisted living facilities in St. Petersburg, Florida, contact us at Westminster Shores and see the various residences and services we offer for seniors looking to move. Book a tour with us and we are certain you won’t be disappointed with the care and comfort our community can provide for your loved one.

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