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Westminster Honors Employees and Volunteers of the Year

April 9, 2018

On Tuesday, April 3, Westminster Communities of Florida threw its 20th annual Awards Banquet to celebrate its exemplary Employees of the Year and Volunteers of the Year. The Creating Legends Program was developed to help managers "catch our employees in the act" of providing Legendary Service to our residents, their family members, and co-workers.

There were more than 900 employees caught in the act of providing Legendary Service in 2017. We also had the help of more than 3,000 volunteers, serving approximately 330,000 hours, which is equivalent to the work of nearly 160 full-time employees. Each recipient received a plaque of appreciation presented by CEO Roger Stevens.

Westminster Suncoast Executive Director Mark Beggs was honored with the CEO Award for his exceptional leadership. We also congratulate Melba Gilbert, AL Certified Nursing Assistant at Westminster Winter Park who has achieved the milestone of 36 years of service in our organization. 


We are thankful and privileged to have so many wonderful employees and volunteers who consistently "stretch" to serve our residents and benefit the greater community. And thank you to the Board of Directors and the Banquet Committee for making this event possible. 

Each of our Employees of the Year and Volunteers of the Year express the heart behind our Mission. We are delighted to shine the spotlight on these exceptional people.

View their stories in the Slideshare below.


Westminster Suncoast Executive Director Mark Beggs Honored with 2018 CEO Award

April 6, 2018

ORLANDO — Westminster Communities of Florida is pleased to announce the recipient of this year's CEO Award, given out by CEO Roger Stevens, at the organization's 20th Annual Awards Banquet in Orlando. This special recognition is only given when merited, and is selected by Stevens in acknowledgement of extraordinary service.

Mark Beggs, executive director of Westminster Suncoast in St. Petersburg, received the CEO award for his extraordinary leadership in guiding his team to high resident satisfaction and top occupancy.

"The residents' satisfaction on our quality of life surveys gave them top scores. And on Friday, they had achieved the highest occupancy in the organization," said Stevens.

During his presentation, Stevens said, "Mark, you have provided great leadership to Westminster Suncoast and we are so happy. People make a difference. If you get the right person in the right spot, things happen and you are a great example of that, Mark. It is my pleasure to give you the CEO Award for 2018."

Congratulations to Mark Beggs on this very special recognition for his leadership contributions to Westminster Communities of Florida's Mission.


Westminster Communities of Florida Celebrates Women in Leadership (Part 3)

March 29, 2018

At Westminster Communities of Florida, we’re blessed to have thousands of dedicated team members who are committed to our Mission of service. We’ve been highlighting the contributions of women in leadership roles throughout our organization. Today, we speak with several team members whose role is to ensure that our residents have the best possible experiences.

Ariana Algarin, College Arms Towers Administrator, emphasized that our Mission makes a Westminster community a great place for employees to work. “When employees are emotionally engaged in their work, it strengthens our Mission of caring for older adults,” she said. “Our purpose is to make the residents feel at home, safe, and happy, and the best way to accomplish that is by engaging with the residents and creating a special bond that they can trust.”

College Arms Towers is an affordable housing community for older adults in DeLand and a new addition to our family last year. Part of our Mission and ministry of service to seniors with low incomes, the community provides quality and affordable apartments to more than 200 residents under Algarin’s leadership.

Algarin found that our organization’s dedication to having women in leadership roles makes us stronger. “Women can strengthen an organization by challenging traditional views in the workplace and changing the dynamics. We also show our strength through our passion towards our work which helps drive forward our commitment to the Mission,” she said. Algarin also said she’s thankful for the opportunity to make a difference in the residents’ lives, and to grow as a leader, too: “Westminster gave me an opportunity to make a difference in other people’s lives. I have been given all the tools to succeed, and have been mentored by women I respect and admire.”

Meanwhile, Westminster Communities of Florida’s Director of Therapy, Bot Zantua, echoed the comments of Westminster Oaks Director of Nursing Jill Dean, in Part II of this series. “Being a woman in leadership is really about doing your job!” Zantua said. “People sometimes say, ‘Is it harder for you because you’re a woman,’ and I don’t know what they mean by hard. To me, this is what I do! I have to do the same job.”

Zantua, who has been Director of Therapy for four years, said that by coincidence most of her applicants for careers in therapy are split between men and women. “Women bring compassion to leadership,” she said, “but that’s not a weakness — it’s a strength.”

Above all, Zantua said that the most important thing women — or any team member — can learn this month is to do their best. “Do your best job and you’ll be noticed!” she said. “Your reputation is what you’re going to be known for, not your gender.”


Westminster Communities of Florida Celebrates Women in Leadership (Part 2)

March 22, 2018

Westminster Communities of Florida is fortunate to have countless team members who exemplify our Mission of service. During Women's History Month, we're highlighting the contributions of women in leadership roles throughout our organization. Today, we interview team members who are touching lives through the core of our Mission: Nursing care.

"Women tend to naturally exhibit nurturing qualities, which may be an added value considering our organization's commitment to caring and promoting the wellbeing of our older adults," said Marie Desgraves, Director of Westminster Home Care in St. Petersburg. "Women can open new windows by serving as change agents, and by being focused on selective goals for the organization."

Desgraves worked as a nurse for more than 20 years before she came to our organization. She then served as Assisted Living Coordinator at Westminster Shores, and then as Director of Nursing at Westminster Home Care. Through her hard work and excellent service, she was recently promoted.

She said that she believes that the real value in having women in leadership is to offer diversity. "Diversity in the workplace has a profound influence," said Desgraves. "Women bring different dimensions to the environment via creativity, empathy and collaboration. In leadership, having various perspectives can lead to better decision-making."

We asked Jill Dean, Director of Nursing at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee, why she loves working for our organization — and what impact comes from having women in leadership roles. She agreed with what Director of Quality Initiatives Sandra Knoble said in Part I of this series: "What matters is our organization's ability to be progressive and emphasize being gender-neutral and move beyond traditional barriers. The bottom line is, if you want to give appropriate healthcare to everyone, you have to give it equally to everyone without prejudice," Dean said.

As a nurse, Dean is at the front lines of providing care to our residents. She sees how our Mission influences everything we do, each day: "The Mission of the organization and of our community is to provide the best care possible, which involves the best ethics of how to deliver and what to deliver as far as care for those we serve. That's what was most important to me," Dean said.

Dean said that she believes there's a lot of opportunity for team members to make an impact, especially in nursing. "My best advice is: Develop your people skills and your team-building skills, and strive to be ego-free. You have to want for the greater good, you have to be honest at all times, and you have to be passionate. Serve with heart and a smile! That's the key to success."

There are many opportunities at Westminster Communities of Florida for our team members to grow and to succeed. Find the opportunity that suits you today — visit our jobs page on LinkedIn to learn more!


Westminster Suncoast's Resident Garden Is in Full Bloom

March 20, 2018

It’s the first day of spring and to mark the occasion, we’re celebrating the special new vegetable garden at Westminster Suncoast in St. Petersburg!

Westminster Suncoast is known as a lively garden community, so it comes as no surprise that its residents wanted a flourishing legacy. Recently, they unveiled their new community vegetable garden, the product of several resident gardening enthusiasts. The garden boasts fresh broccoli, cabbage, Swiss chard, spinach, basil, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant and various peppers, using an innovative product, the EarthBox. Now after hard work, the bounty of their efforts is being served as delectable entrees in the main dining room at lunch and dinner.

This resident-led garden is a special story of teamwork among neighbors, volunteers, employee teams, and community experts. Resident woodworkers built platforms for the plants. Members of the maintenance team built a brick terrace embedded in the concrete base of the garden. A fresh water supply was run to the garden area and several resident gardeners formed a committee to oversee the project and commit themselves to scrupulous organization and planning before planting the first seed. Experts from the Pinellas County Extension Service recommended the selection of the EarthBox and helped with size selection and plant choices.

Today, the resident garden is a cornucopia of fresh vegetables, herbs, and excitement. It’s an attraction that draws residents and visitors to view the selection of produce. Dining Services Director Jason Brunner and Chef Kenny Hunsperger from Dining Services team have begun incorporating the community-grown broccoli and cabbage into the dining menu, featured in salads and coleslaws.

The garden utilizes an innovative container garden system called the EarthBox, which was actually invented by a former resident at Westminster Point Pleasant. Due to its ease of use, portability and resistance to critters, the EarthBox can grow vegetables, herbs and fruit simpler than with traditional, in-ground methods. The Westminster Retirement Communities Foundation, who is committed to enhancing the lives of Westminster residents, awarded the Garden Committee $10,000 to complete the purchase of 24 EarthBox kits and various herbs and vegetable seedlings. These kits were installed, using organic soil, fertilizer, dolomite and covers and with custom-built stands, surrounded by a white fence, composter, potting bench, and sundry tools.

The best part of this garden is the spirit of camaraderie and accomplishment among a group of garden enthusiasts who knew this project would enhance their way of life. Westminster Suncoast resident Julia, an experienced organizer and garden enthusiast, heads the Garden Committee and led the methodical and detailed approach to building the garden. As a result of the efforts of her team, the help of community organizations like the Pinellas County Extension Service, the support of the Westminster Retirement Communities Foundation, and the Florida sunshine, these residents and employees have planted an ecosystem of cooperation.



Westminster Communities of Florida Celebrates Women in Leadership (Part 1)

March 8, 2018

Today is International Women’s Day, a day that commemorates the rights of women in the workplace and highlights their contributions to organizations all around the world.

At Westminster Communities of Florida, we’re so fortunate to have a Mission to live out every day: We serve older adults. But we’re more than a family of not-for-profit, faith-based senior living communities serving residents who enjoy an active lifestyle. We are also employees who touch lives through service every day.

Our organization is fortunate to have countless women serving our organization — nearly 1,500 women on our teams serving as nurses, CNAs, chefs, servers, maintenance techs and housekeepers. We’re especially fortunate to stand out on women’s contributions in leadership roles, including our directors of nursing, executive directors, health services administrators, vice presidents and more.

This March, we’re celebrating the contributions of women in leadership to our organization. Their experiences tell a story, one of dedication to the Mission of serving our residents first and foremost and to the belief that women and men make an equal contribution to the workplace.

“Women often move toward the caring professions and go the extra mile to serve,” said Sandra Knoble, Director of Quality Initiatives. “Having women in leadership roles means we can identify and extend opportunities to other Westminster women to grow both in their chosen work and personally – in a manner consistent with the Mission – to honor each person and to use our resources well.”

Knoble, who has also served our organization since 2012 as Health Services Administrator and Executive Director at Westminster Manor, said that there was a time when it was uncommon to find women in leadership roles — even in senior living. But even then, what mattered most was one’s ability to do the work at an exceptional level.

In 2015, Knoble and the “Manor Proud” team of residents and employees at Westminster Manor was awarded the CEO Leadership Award by Roger Stevens, Westminster Communities of Florida CEO, in recognition of their hard work in transforming their community and making positive changes. Today, she oversees the organization’s quality improvement processes and our research partnership with the Florida State University College of Medicine. Learn more about the Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Project in this article from 2017.

Des Marie Johnson agreed with Knoble’s assessment. “Diversity can only strengthen an organization,” said Johnson, one of our newest leaders and Health Services Administrator at Westminster Baldwin Park. Johnson is new to the organization but a veteran in the field of senior living, having served in capacities ranging from activities assistant to sales director. Westminster Baldwin Park is our newest community in Orlando’s Baldwin Park neighborhood, offering Rapid Recovery short-term nursing care and long-term nursing care. Under Johnson’s leadership, Westminster Baldwin Park recently obtained its Medicare certification. Learn more about Westminster Baldwin Park.

“As a woman in a leadership role, I have always tried to treat people fairly and with respect, regardless,” Johnson said.

Why should a leader strive for success? Knoble and Johnson agreed that the key is to push onward and achieve your goals. “Never give up on your dreams,” Johnson added. “It doesn’t matter what you may have to face. Don’t give up!”

Stay tuned to be inspired, as we honor the role of women in leading our organization and touching lives through service.


We Enjoy Active Living, Fun and Games in the Sun At The Fourth Annual St. Pete Games

February 16, 2018

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

ST. PETERSBURG, February 16, 2018 – In the sunlight on a pleasant Friday afternoon at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, nearly 400 Westminster Communities of Florida residents from nine active senior living communities around Tampa Bay and throughout the state came together for Westminster’s fourth annual St. Pete Games. This year’s event featured outdoor lawn games and a tai chi demonstration by the residents. The objective: Have fun in the great outdoors! Attendees competed as teams by community 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 tai chi, corn hole, ring toss, a foam javelin throw and more — plus live music and dancing. Eckerd College students helped to put on the games and tabulate the scores, for inter-generational opportunities to learn more about seniors and their interests.

Garry Hennis, Westminster Communities of Florida chief operating officer, celebrated the day’s intent. “Today is all about fun — and we know that Westminster knows how to have fun!” Hennis said. “Let’s go and enjoy the great outdoors!”

“We’re so glad to be celebrating with great weather, wonderful music and a great time together,” said Eckerd College chaplain Doug McMahon. “On behalf of our president and everyone here at Eckerd College, welcome!” The St. Pete Games are hosted by Eckerd College as part of the university’s partnership of lifelong learning with Westminster Communities of Florida.

More than 400 residents were at this year's St. Pete Games from all around the state. "We came down from Tallahassee, and we're having a really good time here," said Sue Gambill, a resident at Westminster Oaks in Tallahassee. "My best event was cornhole. I did really bad in some events. But I still had fun!"

"I'm out here to have fun! I stay active and have a good time in this beautiful weather," said Buz Smith of Bradenton. "My community, Westminster Point Pleasant, is going to win!"

Congratulations to this year's winners: First place went to to Westminster Towers of Orlando! Second place was Westminster Point Pleasant of Bradenton, and third place to Westminster Shores of St. Petersburg.

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.


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 Baldwin Park Now Open: ‘We Celebrate A New Beginning Today'

September 6, 2017

Following a ceremonial ribbon-cutting, more than 150 new residents of the active senior living community, an expansion of Westminster Winter Park, will move into the new $45 million community

The first Westminster Baldwin Park resident, Patricia Lancaster, Ph.D., at center, holds the scissors for the ceremonial ribbon-cutting to open Westminster Baldwin Park. (From left) Westminster Winter Park Assistant Executive Director Heather Kessler, Westminster Communities of Florida CEO Roger Stevens, Dr. Lancaster, and Westminster Winter Park Executive Director Mike Haye.

ORLANDO, Wednesday, September 6, 2017 – Today, Westminster Baldwin Park officially opened with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting. This new community, a satellite campus of Westminster Winter Park, an active senior living community, features 80 apartment residences and 40 beds for short-term rehab.

The community and its leadership are delighted to welcome their newest residents. “Just as today marks the beginning of the life of Westminster Baldwin Park, it also demonstrates Westminster's commitment to our Mission of service today and into the future,” said Assistant Executive Director Heather Kessler. “While we celebrate a new beginning today, we also celebrate the promise of the future and the joys that await you at your new home.”

Westminster Baldwin Park features three new residential buildings with 80 apartment homes in Orlando’s walkable, multi-generational Baldwin Park neighborhood. Each residence has a balcony with beautiful water and campus views, with beautifully appointed amenities and finishes.

Westminster Communities of Florida Chief Executive Officer Roger Stevens said, “Our mission and ministry begins a new chapter today. Who we serve and why we serve has not changed in 60 years [since the organization was founded], but how we serve has changed — and will continue to change.”

This addition to Westminster Winter Park represents an expansion of the community’s mission of service to seniors throughout Central Florida. With an investment in the community of $45 million for the first phase, Westminster Baldwin Park was designed by Fugleberg Koch of Winter Park and Bessolo Design Group. Walker Co. and Williams Co. are the construction managers.

“I’m so inspired by Westminster Baldwin Park,” said Marc Middleton, CEO of Growing Bolder, a passionate advocate for active lifestyles for older adults in Central Florida. “But Westminster is so much more than bricks and mortar. I admire its heart and soul in seeking to enhance residents’ lives.” He added, “I just can’t wait to see what’s next for you!”

The ceremonial ribbon-cutting was performed by new resident Dr. Patricia Lancaster, Ph.D., former provost of Rollins College, alongside Mr. Stevens, Ms. Kessler and Westminster Winter Park Executive Director Mike Haye. The ceremony also featured a blessing from Dr. Helen DeBevoise, co-pastor of Park Lake Presbyterian Church. Cliff McKay, president of the Westminster Winter Park Resident Council, also spoke in welcoming new residents to the community.

The first new residents of Westminster Baldwin Park will move in on Thursday, September 7.


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 Point Pleasant 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.



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 Winter Park Named Business of the Year by Local Chamber of Commerce

February 6, 2017

Monday, February 6, 2017 – On Friday, Westminster Winter Park was named 2017 Business of the Year by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. The senior living community, a member of the Chamber of Commerce, was honored for its efforts to improve life in Winter Park from the perspective of both businesses and residents’ quality of life. Executive Director Mike Haye and a group of staff and residents accepted the award on behalf of the entire community. 

“We’re so delighted for this honor,” said Haye. “As the city of Winter Park succeeds, we recognize that Westminster Winter Park benefits and succeeds as part of the greater community.”

Westminster Winter Park supports a variety of community endeavors, from Winter on the Avenue to the Winter Park Executive Women forum and Leadership Winter Park. Residents and staff of the community are committed to being part of making Winter Park a better place to live.

The award was given at the Chamber’s annual Membership Awards Celebration, a tribute to its members and volunteers who make Winter Park an exceptional community. Other nominees in the category of Business of the Year included Massey Services and Sysco Central Florida. The event also honored honorees in a variety of categories for businesses and volunteers.

To read more about the Annual Awards Celebration and the other award winners, visit the Chamber’s Web site.

Westminster Winter Park is deeply honored by this award and the recognition it brings for those we serve. Our community, a not-for-profit, faith-based senior living organization, offers An Exceptional Way of Life to more than 500 residents on the shore of Lake Berry, with a new campus under construction in Orlando’s Baldwin Park neighborhood. Since 1965, we’ve been Winter Park’s best choice for active senior living.


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 Point Pleasant (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


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.


Long-Term Care Town Hall: The Issues and Options Available to You and Your Loved Ones

February 29, 2016

Hear from a Panel of Long-Term Care Experts, Featured Speaker Marc Middleton of Growing Bolder Media and Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary

ORLANDO - Westminster Winter Park and the Foundation for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine invite the public to the Foundation Town Hall: Navigating Long-Term Care for You & Your Loved Ones on Saturday, March 19, from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m.

Learn about healthy aging, long-term care or caring for older adults in general through informative presentations and an interactive Q&A with an expert panel of long-term care physicians, patients, local dignitaries and other experts:

  • Rosemary Laird, MD, Executive Medical Director, Florida Hospital For Seniors: When a Care Transition is Necessary - and How to Make It Successful
  • Gary Lehman, MD, CMD, Medical Director, Winter Park: The Medical Director's Role in Long-Term Care
  • Michael Creamer, DO; Robin Creamer, DO; and their father, John Creamer, MD, retired ophthalmologist and Westminster Winter Park resident: Being a Proactive Family Member in Long-Term Care
  • The Honorable Steve Leary, Mayor of Winter Park

The featured speaker will be Marc Middleton of Growing Bolder. Marc is a strong advocate for healthy aging, and the Emmy Award-winning host of the Orlando-based "Growing Bolder" radio and television shows.

"The key to providing quality long-term care is not solely educated and experienced medical professionals," says Foundation President Paul Katz, MD, CMD. "It's open communication and engagement between those professionals and proactive patients and families. We invite residents of Winter Park and the surrounding area to the town hall not only to learn, but to begin the conversations vital to providing our loved ones with the highest quality of care."

"The changing expectations for services for older adults require ongoing dialogue between families, seniors and their physicians. This forum provides a great way for that dialogue to begin," said Mike Haye, Westminster Communities of Florida Regional Vice President of Operations. "Westminster Winter Park is pleased to host the Foundation's event."

This event is free to attend and open to the general public. To learn more or to RSVP, go to <http://bit.ly/LTCTownHall>. RSVP is not required.

About The Foundation for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine: The Foundation for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine is an independent, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance the quality of life for persons in post-acute and long-term care through inspiring, educating, and recognizing future and current health care professionals.

About Westminster Winter Park: Westminster Winter Park is Winter Park's premier active-living community for senior adults, a Continuing Care Retirement Community offering An Exceptional Way of Life with two lakefront campuses: In the heart of Winter Park on the shore of Lake Berry, and on Lake Baldwin in Orlando's Baldwin Park neighborhood. We have served senior adults in Central Florida for more than 50 years, with an emphasis on wellbeing and Lifelong Learning and backed by the financially strong and Mission-inspired, faith-based Westminster Communities of Florida


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.


Breaking Ground on Westminster Baldwin Park

August 4, 2015

After a ceremonial turning of the shovels, construction set to begin on new camp us featuring 80 lakefront apartment homes

Westminster Baldwin Park Groundbreaking Video

ORLANDO, August 4, 2015 -- Today executive leadership from Westminster Winter Park and Westminster Communities of Florida participated in the groundbreaking for its new neighborhood, Westminster Baldwin Park. This newest addition features 80 spacious lakefront apartment homes with beautifully appointed amenities and finishes, as well as a Rapid Recovery rehabilitation and therapy center with 40 skilled-nursing accommodations. A future second phase is planned.

Westminster Baldwin Park, a neighborhood of Westminster Winter Park, an active senior-living community, is the latest expansion of the Continuing Care Retirement Community. It signals the ongoing commitment of Westminster Winter Park to serve senior adults in the greater Orlando area and to provide excellent choices in living options for today's seniors. Westminster Baldwin Park, an investment in the community of $45 million, was designed by Fugleberg Koch of Winter Park and Bessolo Design Group. Walker Co. and Williams Co. are the construction managers. Construction is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

"We are so delighted to be breaking ground on Westminster Baldwin Park," said Westminster Winter Park Executive Director Mike Haye. "I want to especially welcome our future residents. Your creative thinking and expectations will help us create an even more vibrant and active community here."

Westminster Communities of Florida Chief Executive Officer Roger Stevens highlighted the contribution Westminster Winter Park makes to the greater Orlando area. "This project will have a major impact. We're giong to be able to serve more people and in better ways - with more and better residences and a state-of-the-art rehab center. Plus, this allows us to go in and make improvements to Westminster Winter Park, too, including a future lifelong learning center to be built on the campus," Stevens said.

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, who helped turn the dirt to officially begin the project, welcomed current and new residents to Orlando. "Being a city for everyone means providing for our seniors as well... I'm proud to be celebrating this groundbreaking. To the new residents, I'm pleased to welcome you to the City Beautiful."

Residences at Westminster Baldwin Park are still available on a limited basis. For more information call (407) 647-0210.


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 Point Pleasant
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


The art of living well at Winter Park Towers

July 9, 2013

WINTER PARK — At Winter Park Towers, our residents and staff embraced the opportunity that LeadingAge’s Homecoming Week offered us to showcase life in our community. For a weeklong celebration of Winter Park Towers and those in the broader community who support us, we hosted the Westminster Retirement Community Foundation’s Art Show and a series of fun, creative, and educational events centered around the “Art of Living Well.”

We set out to share the Foundation’s annual art show with those outside the Westminster Communities family. The art show reception was an after-hours affair with invited guests from the Winter Park and Orlando medical, business, and non-profit communities. We were fortunate to have guests like city commissioners of the City of Winter Park and members of the Winter Park Health Foundation.

At Winter Park Towers, we place a special emphasis on Lifelong Learning opportunities. For homecoming week, Rollins College anthropology professor Ashley Kistler gave a fascinating lecture on Mayan art history, and we threw the doors open to the public. Focusing on how Maya art both shaped the Mayan culture and our understanding of it, Dr. Kistler offered attendees a closer look into a complicated culture that is as mysterious today as the time of the ancient Olmec.

The Art of Living Well doesn’t just mean education — sometimes it’s just having fun, and we know how to throw a good party at Winter Park Towers. Our skilled nursing Activities staff held a Spring Fling for their residents, inviting family members and our independent-living and assisted-living residents to join in the fun.

To cap a week of living well, Winter Park Towers held a Homecoming Dance & Party and invited anyone who wanted to join us. We spent an evening dancing to the Good Times Swing Band with our guests and friends, to close a Homecoming Week of building bridges between our community and those who support us in Winter Park.

Contact: Wes Meltzer, Director of Communications
Westminster Communities of Florida
wmeltzer@wservices.org or 407-839-5050 x283

About Winter Park Towers and Westminster Communities of Florida: Winter Park Towers and Westminster Communities of Florida are proud of our heritage of providing excellent active living and health care communities since 1961. Westminster Communities of Florida is a faith-based not-for-profit organization with a Mission of serving older adults and persons with special needs, and the nation’s eighth-largest not-for-profit provider of senior housing. Winter Park Towers is a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) on the shores of Lake Berry in Central Florida’s most desirable community, with an emphasis on active lifestyles and a choice of high-rise and mid-rise apartments, patio homes and detached houses in a beautiful natural setting.


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