Aquatic Fitness: The Benefits of Swimming in Saint Petersburg Assisted Living

At our vibrant assisted living community in Saint Petersburg, Florida, we highly encourage our residents to engage in regular exercise for both physical and mental health. But for seniors, high-impact activities like running or weight lifting carry higher risks of injury over time. That’s why our community offers a beautifully landscaped heated, outdoor pool perfect for low-impact aquatic workouts that can be tailored to all different fitness levels. Read on to learn why water aerobics and swimming are such great options for seniors seeking to improve strength, mobility, balance and overall well being.

Gentle on Joints  

For seniors, aquatic exercise is often preferred over traditional gym routines since water’s buoyancy effect reduces strain on joints, ligaments and muscles. With less pressure and impact, there is significantly lower risk of injury or aggravation of pre-existing conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis during water-based workouts. Those recovering from surgeries or managing chronic pain can benefit greatly from the cushioning nature of water. And for the average senior simply looking to stay active safely, the aquatic environment makes working out gentle on the body. Whether walking laps or doing aerobics in shallow or deep water, the smooth resistance water provides allows for great conditioning without wear and tear on sensitive joints.

Builds Cardiovascular Strength  

The dense properties of water require exertion to move through, providing excellent resistance training to build cardiovascular endurance. During aqua aerobics classes, our residents do conditioning sequences involving leg kicks, arm pushes/pulls, and core twists leading to elevated heart rate levels similar to land-based interval training. But unlike running on hard pavement, the hydraulic pressure stimulates circulation while loosening tense muscles. Sessions finish by walking laps around the pool to sustain elevated heart rates while allowing joints to cool down after more intense moves. Over time, water aerobics demonstrably boost stamina, which is essential for balancing, coordination and reducing risks of falls.

Improves Muscle Tone   

Anyone who has tried jogging or treading water in a pool knows firsthand how the water’s natural resistance tones muscles quickly. Aquatic workouts employ various equipment like barbells, resistance bands and pool noodles to immerse larger muscle groups while performing intentional movements. The consistent friction strengthens muscle fibers efficiently without taxing joints or the nervous system as traditional weights might. For seniors concerned about loss of muscle mass due to aging (sarcopenia), water activities can help maintain and even rebuild lean muscle tissue through healthy resistance. Residents at Westminster Shores can feel their bodies getting stronger with each pool visit!

Enhances Motor Skills  

The unique characteristics of an aquatic environment require engaging multiple muscle groups at once to propel through water laterally, vertically and rotationally. Simply walking forward engages core and leg strength not triggered on land. Adding intentional arm and leg actions works additional upper and lower body muscle chains while keeping the heart rate elevated. These multi-dimensional, multi-level movements simultaneously challenge motor coordination skills keeping both mind and body sharp. The instability of water also triggers reflexes and balance. All these elements combined enhance body awareness, reaction time, proprioception and overall functionality for improved mobility both in and out of the pool.

Alleviates Impact of Gravity

For many seniors, years of gravitational pressure on the skeletal structure often lead to compressed joints or spine issues manifesting as limited mobility. But when submerged in water, the body experiences an immediate decrease in gravitational pull equal to the percentage of body mass below water level. So if one is immersed up to the neck, over 75% of Earth’s gravity dissipates – suddenly stairs, reaching overhead or looking downwards feel more manageable. This relieving sensation allows for gentle reconditioning of muscles and connective tissues gradually. Soon joints compressed after decades of bearing weight smoothly regain flexibility and range of motion once impossible. Just floating stretches tight ligaments while gentle kicks and arm circles mobilize limbs often stiff from disuse or aging. The gradual reintroduction of movement out of water then feels less strained or fatiguing.  

Lowers Stress & Promotes Relaxation  

Let’s not forget the mental health benefits of aquatic activities as well! Simply immersing chest-deep in water elicits immediate physiological reactions: heart rate drops, blood pressure decreases and muscles relax instinctively. Add in rhythmic breathing while doing gentle water exercises and the parasympathetic nervous system activates even more to signal deep calmness. Peaceful aquatic environments lower stress hormone levels and clear cortisol buildup while endorphin and dopamine levels increase. The sensation of weightlessness many enjoy while floating releases muscle tension held from everyday anxieties. Relaxed joints gain greater range allowing tense areas like the back or neck to fully lengthen. All this translates to better sleep, improved mood, clearer thinking and more energy outside pool time. What’s not to love?  

Social & Recreational Outlet

Consistent aquatic exercise serves functional fitness goals but also provides a meaningful social outlet important for emotional health. Group water aerobics classes allow residents to interact with peers during an enjoyable activity promoting camaraderie. Classes conclude by mingling around the pool deck where many members enjoy chatting about their workout accomplishments. Since exercise adherence relies partly on enjoyment, the recreational environment lends itself to consistency compared to solitary gym routines. And as members progress together over months and years, the aquatic center often becomes a second community where meaningful relationships enrich overall wellbeing. Beyond formal programming, residents enjoy casual pool time sunbathing on deck, walking laps at their own pace or simply relaxing poolside. Solo or shared, activities centered around the iconic Florida staple of palm-tree lined swimming pools breezing with coastal air foster a sense of health, happiness and endless summer.

Aquatic Exercise is for Every Body  

The buoyancy and cushioning nature of water makes aquatic activities accessible at any age or fitness level. Those who previously avoided exercise due to specific limitations like obesity, arthritis, fibromyalgia or other mobility issues often excel with aquatic routines better suited for their needs. Our shallow-depth classes allow vertical movements benefiting balance and circulation. Deep water workouts let residents float freely while building core control. Those recovering from illness or surgery utilize gentle water resistance to rebuild strength before attempting land exercises. Regardless of current abilities, consistent aquatic exercise safely restores function often lost through aging, disuse or chronic conditions. Success stories teach us water workouts truly are for every body – it just takes a little creativity and commitment.  

Aquatic exercise clearly delivers multifaceted wellness benefits tailored beautifully for aging adults. From building strength and balance to enhancing mood, the advantages go beyond head to toe conditioning – they promote whole being revitalization. If you are interested to learn more about our assisted living programming here at Westminster Shores, call us anytime. Let’s chat about how water workouts can improve quality of life as we age gracefully together by the bay!

How to Find the Right Senior Living Community

Making the decision to move into a senior living community is a major life change. With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the one that is the best fit for your needs, preferences and budget. At Westminster Shores, we have over 30 years of experience helping seniors and their families find the ideal community to call home. This blog provides guidance on how to find the right senior living community for you.

Define Your Needs

The first step is to clearly define what you need and want in a community. Make a list of must-have amenities or services. For instance, do you require:

– Various levels of care from independent living to skilled nursing?

– Particular wellness programs or fitness classes?  

– On-site healthcare services?

– Scheduled transportation?

– Dietary accommodations?

– Engaging activities and events?

Also consider your lifestyle preferences. What kind of setting appeals to you? An urban high-rise or a sprawling suburban campus? What amenities help you enjoy life? Salon and barber shop? Movie theater? Walking trails? Define your priorities upfront so communities can be matched to your wish list.

Involve Family in Your Decision

Your loved ones can provide perspective and support as you evaluate options. Share your list of needs and preferences with them. Schedule tours together so they can give input. A trusted family member may spot things you don’t notice. You want alignment on this major decision. Be sure to clarify expectations around proximity to family and frequency of visits. 

Research Senior Living Types

There are diverse types of senior living communities with varying levels of care and services. Some key types are:

Independent Living: For active seniors who can live independently. Services like meals, housekeeping, and transportation are available if desired. Staff can coordinate care services.  

Assisted Living: Provides help with activities of daily living like bathing, medications, and mobility. Offers increased care & supervision. Some provide memory care.

Nursing Homes/Skilled Nursing Facilities: Round-the-clock skilled nursing and rehabilitation therapy for recovery after a hospital stay or for long-term care needs.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs): Offer a continuum of care from independent living to skilled nursing on one campus. Provides peace of mind knowing future care is available if needed.

Identify the level most appropriate for your health and abilities today with room to grow. Touring communities in person is the best way to get a feel for daily life. 

Location, Location, Location

Choose a location convenient to what’s important – nearby family, access to healthcare, attractions, shopping, and transportation. Look at proximity to:

– Major highways and airports

– Hospitals and medical services 

– Public transportation  

– Retail, restaurants, parks, places of worship

– Colleges for lifelong learning programs

– Cultural attractions like theaters, museums, and sports venues

Map out distances to key points to ensure the location provides accessibility.

Evaluate Safety and Accessibility 

Your health, safety and comfort should be top priorities. Evaluate: 

– Secure entryways with 24/7 staffing and emergency call systems

– Accessibility features like ramps, wide halls and doors     

– Apartment safety enhancements like grab bars, elevated toilets and wheelchair access

– Well-lit parking lots and walkways

– Licensed nurses on staff to oversee health needs

A community with a comprehensive emergency response system provides protection and peace of mind.

Tour Multiple Communities

Touring communities in-person is a must. Schedule tours and come prepared with questions. Observe the staff, residents, cleanliness, amenities and safety. Is the community active, friendly, and well-maintained? Do you see smiling faces and get a welcoming vibe? Try a meal to sample the cuisine. Reflect on how you feel and whether it seems like an enjoyable place to live.

Some key things to look for include:

– Modern furnishings and amenities  

– Program calendar showcasing activities

– Access to outdoor space and walking paths  

– Wellness center and fitness classes 

– Library, computer lab, and communal spaces

Narrow down your top choices after touring and return for a second visit if needed. 

Review Budget and Costs

Monthly fees vary widely based on amenities, location and services provided. Assisted living and nursing care has higher monthly costs than independent living. Look at what’s included in the base rent like utilities, meals, transportation, and activities. Factor in additional fees like carports, cable TV and pet fees. Know what health services are covered and their associated fees if they apply to you. 

Many communities require a buy-in that helps ensure your future care needs can be met. The buy-in is refunded to your estate after your time there. Look closely at contracts to ensure the financial agreements are clear and fair. Get promises in writing.

Talk to Residents

Current residents provide authentic insider perspectives you can’t find anywhere else. Ask about their experience living there and what they like best. Are the staff helpful? Do they feel engaged socially and intellectually? Are the amenities top-notch? Their candid input can help seal your decision.

Take Your Time

Don’t feel rushed into choosing a community. Allow yourself several weeks or months to thoroughly evaluate options. Moving to a senior living community is a major life transition that impacts your daily happiness. Take time to make sure you find the environment that best fits your needs. 

Trust Your Instincts

At the end of your search process, reflect back on communities that stood out. Trust your gut instincts based on tours, interactions with staff and residents, amenities, and your overall comfort level. Moving to a senior living community is an exciting new chapter. The right one will feel like home and provide the lifestyle you deserve.

With proper research and guidance, finding the ideal senior living community can be smooth and enjoyable. At Westminster Shores, we serve the St. Petersburg area, and are here to assist you however we can. Contact us to learn more or schedule a tour. Your new home is waiting!

Experience the Carefree Florida Lifestyle at Westminster Shores

Tucked away on the shores of Little Bayou in St. Petersburg, Florida, you’ll find Westminster Shores – a vibrant senior living community that offers an active, engaging lifestyle focused on your health and wellbeing. At Westminster Shores, we believe in celebrating this exciting chapter of life by providing our residents with amenity-rich living, endless opportunities to socialize and connect, and a supportive community.

Located just minutes from the sandy beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, Westminster Shores allows you to experience the best of the Florida lifestyle every day. Towering palm trees sway in the breeze, while vibrant tropical flowers bloom year-round. It’s an idyllic setting to enjoy your retirement years. 

Our apartment homes and cottages provide spacious, maintenance-free living with modern amenities and design features tailored for seniors. Choose from a variety of floor plans featuring fully-equipped kitchens, in-unit laundry, large closets, and private outdoor space. Safety enhancements like grab bars, walk-in showers, and emergency response systems give you peace of mind. With a range of options from cozy studios to two-bedrooms, there is a living space perfect for you.

At Westminster Shores, you’ll have access to our exclusive My W Life well-being program. Developed by our team of experts, My W Life takes a holistic approach to your health and focuses on the wellness of your body, mind and soul. From fitness classes like yoga, tai chi, and water aerobics to art workshops, lectures, and volunteer opportunities, My W Life engages you in activities that stimulate you mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Our professional Wellness team will work with you to create a personalized plan based on your interests and needs. Participate as much or as little as you like – the choice is always yours.

To stay active, our state-of-the-art fitness center offers strength training equipment, cardio machines with personal TVs, and a selection of classes like Zumba and Silver Sneakers. Or enjoy our heated outdoor pool overlooking the bayou with plenty of space for swimming laps and an attached spa for a refreshing dip. We also have pickleball and bocce courts, as well as a dog park for you and your furry companion. Our walking trails wind through our manicured gardens – a great place for a leisurely stroll or to meet up with friends.

Mealtimes at Westminster Shores are social occasions with friends, not chores. Our waterfront dining room serves chef-prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner with full-service restaurant ambiance. Large windows provide stunning views of the bayou as you dine. For casual fare, visit the Crossroads Café for soups, salads, sandwiches, and snacks. With flexible dining plans and delivery options, you can dine when and where you choose.

Beyond our amenities, it’s our vibrant, supportive community that makes Westminster Shores truly special. There are always new friends to meet at social events, classes, or around campus. Our variety of clubs like book club, current events, gardening, and veterans group give you a chance to connect with those who share your interests and passions. Live music performances, art exhibits, lectures, movies and more mean there’s always something exciting happening. We have intergenerational programs that allow kids and families in our community to enrich the lives of residents. 

As a not-for-profit community, Westminster Shores is designed around your needs, not shareholder returns. We invest in the latest amenities and technologies to enhance your lifestyle, as well as develop innovative programs and services that cater to your wellbeing. As your needs change over time, we’re here to provide the living options, care, and support you deserve.

Life at Westminster Shores is active, engaging, and tailored specifically for you. With maintenance-free living, membership-based amenities, engaging programs, and a vibrant setting, you’re free to focus on staying active, connected, and thriving. To learn more and schedule a tour of our beautiful campus, contact us today!

How you can stay in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community

Are you considering a move to a senior living community but worried about how you’ll keep in touch with family and friends? You’re not alone. Many future residents have the same concerns.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep in touch with the people you care about. From FaceTime to card nights to private dining parties, residents have plenty of options to stay connected with their loved ones.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to keep in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community.

Enjoy a video call to have a virtual visit with family or friends whenever you like

A virtual visit can help maintain ties even when residents and their friends are separated by thousands of miles. Modern technology for video calling like FaceTime makes visiting easier than ever. Video calls allow residents to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with family or friends anywhere in the world, from the comfort of their living room. No expensive travel required!

Residents can use FaceTime or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom to stay in touch with those who matter most. Grandparents can share stories with grandchildren who live far away or have regular catch-ups with distant relatives. Video calling also makes it possible for to host a virtual event, like a game night or movie watch party.

Enjoy a card or board game night and mix the “old” and “new” friends

With many social connections in their current neighborhoods, the prospect of moving to a senior living community can be daunting for many older adults. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-person social opportunities at senior living communities — some of them more informal than others.
Many senior living communities have groups of residents who enjoy a night of card games or board games. Play poker, Clue, Settlers of Catan or whatever you prefer, and enjoy having social opportunities and good friends at your fingertips.

These social events offer a reason for residents to invite their friends and family members over for a night of fun and laughter. It also provides an informal setting for guests to meet other residents and engage in meaningful conversations.

For older adults who want to make sure they stay connected to their friends, one surefire way to make things more fun is to invite their “old” friends to meet the “new” at a game night. It can make for a memorable evening filled with laughter and good company — all while bonding deeper relationships with fellow residents at the same time.

Host a dinner party and let someone else do all the work

Dining is an important part of life at a senior living community. But a special event may call for having a few friends over for dinner, and who wants to do all the cooking and dishes?

That’s why many senior living communities offer residents a variety of catered dining options, to invite guests over for a special dinner party. A special menu developed with the Dining department makes it simple and convenient to plan an event. Enjoy a luxurious meal without lifting a finger!

Inviting friends and family over to experience their community is also great to help those who may be considering making the move themselves. Guests get an up-close look at the lifestyle offered at their friend’s new home. Private dining options allow potential new residents to get an idea of what life would be like for them.

From poker nights to private dinners, there are plenty of ways for residents of senior living communities to keep in touch with family and friends. To learn all about how additional socialization opportunities abound at a Westminster community, find the community that suits you today on our Web site!

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