Intergenerational Interaction Yields Positive Results

A sure sign of summer here at Westminster Canterbury Richmond is the sight of smiling teens, ages 13 – 18, adorned in their new white polo shirts and red string badges, walking the hallways, ready to serve as summer volunteers! Some are newbies, feeling timid at first. Others are veterans, willing to start more adventures with more residents. All are eager and ready to assist our residents and staff.  No feat is too much for them – not even washing cars in the morning, pulling weeds midday, or folding 10-plus loads of laundry in the afternoon!

One of the most endearing aspects of the summer teen volunteer program is its long-standing ties to the Westminster Canterbury community: some of our teen volunteers happen to be sons and daughters of our employees, and some of our staff used to be teen volunteers!  A unique circle of life, if you will, occurs from summer to summer as we see young teen volunteers return each season and become a deeper part of our community. What a treat it is to see them grow up right before our eyes. Just as lovely is when we see them grow in their sense of service, reflecting what we call The Westminster Canterbury Way (TWCW).

We will miss our teen volunteers as they finish their last volunteer day on August 16. We thank them for the great opportunity to get to know them and share in our joy of serving.  We look forward to seeing you next summer!

Stretch Your Brain!

It’s been said that if you want to feel young, go visit the ruins of Greece!  Perhaps an even better idea is to stretch your brain to consider the implications of Greek philosophy!  In fact, intellectual pursuits that may have been common during our school years are possible again in elderhood when we may have time and energy to explore topics of interest more deeply.

During the summers at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, our resident-run Senior Summer program offers a smorgasbord of interesting subjects to explore – from languages to history and many more in between. Most classes meet weekly over four to six sessions where these senior students dive deep into the subjects at hand.  A popular offering this year is Dr. William Blake’s course Dionysus versus Apollo: The Ages of Reason and Romanticism, taught in the way only this fascinating VCU professor emeritus can teach. 

Enjoy this sample of one of Dr. Blake’s lectures – and enjoy stretching your brain today!

GET READY, GET SET – GO!

And it’s 44 IN THE FAST LANE! In honor of our 44th Anniversary, Westminster Canterbury Richmond residents and staff revved up their engines and put it in high gear! There were pinewood derby car races, gorgeous classic autos in our car show, a food car contest – what is more fun than crafting a race car out of an eggplant – and movies galore. Thank you to all the staff and residents who ensured it was day for all of us to live life well! A special thanks to Boy Scout Troop 553 and Cub Scouts Pack 517 who hosted the derby car races and provided the track.

Outreach

Westminster Canterbury Richmond is committed to expanding our outreach.

Housing is one of the top challenges. Westminster Canterbury Foundation’s Fellowship Program provides life care – housing, meals, medical expenses and vital living – to 110 seniors-in-need annually. This program costs around $4 million annually. Since our community opened, more than 540 have been served by more than $70 million in support. Westminster Canterbury Foundation fully funds the program through charitable gifts.

A staff workgroup has been studying the best ways to grow our mission off-campus through Fellowship Outreach. In 2018, we began collaborations with project:HOMES and Senior Connections. Westminster Canterbury employees raised $15,000 to fund ramp-building projects with project:HOMES. Three teams of staff installed ramps for homebound seniors. Around 150 employees participated in a two-day ramp-building blitz and built components for 15 ramps. Our workforce is motivated by their passion for helping seniors and their specific, well-developed expertise in senior services.

Westminster Canterbury Richmond established a new line of business called Westminster Canterbury Richmond at Home that provides home and community-based services. We are now developing a partnership with Senior Connections Friendship Cafes to offer medical expertise through our home and community-based services business and bring fitness, nutrition, cultural arts and other experts to offer programming at these Cafés.

Check out this video to learn more about Westminster Canterbury’s ramp building partnership with project:HOMES.

Resources for Healthy Aging

Westminster Canterbury Richmond is reaching out into the greater community and part of this effort involves creating resources and making them available online and for free for anyone who may need them. Check back soon for links to these resources!

Emotional Wellness

What does being well mean to you? In addition to physical aspects like being active and maintaining a healthy diet, we hope your definition of wellness includes emotional wellness! Experts now agree that emotional wellness is a very important part of overall health, and it’s something we can pursue at any age.

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we define emotional wellness as, “continual growth that assists in maintaining respectful and satisfying relationships, expressing and managing feelings and coping with stress.” Emotional wellness involves having resilience to deal with life’s obstacles and adapt to difficult changes and challenges. This doesn’t mean that emotionally well people are unaffected by adversity. Rather, they are able to get back on track more easily when life presents challenges.

Emotional wellness can all too frequently fall to the bottom of our priority list. We’ve all heard that we need to practice good self-care, but how can we find time for ourselves when so many of us provide support to others in our personal and professional lives? Here are some practical guidelines for fostering emotional wellness:

  • Social connectedness is essential to having a healthy emotional state. Spending time with family, friends and others can lift the spirit and remind us that there are others “in our corner.”
  • Focus on the positives, perhaps through gratitude journaling or surrounding oneself with positive people as much as possible. In addition to just feeling good, there’s increasing evidence that focusing on the positive can actually maintain physical health.
  • Reduce stress. Break major tasks down into manageable ones. Practice mindfulness techniques such a yoga or meditation. Explore your sense of spirituality. There are so many ways to do this, and one does not need to be “religious” to do so.
  • Maintain physical health by eating a healthy diet, engaging in physical activity on a regular basis and getting adequate, restful sleep. All of these support our immune system in times of stress, which in turn helps us become more resilient both physically and emotionally.
  • When we do experience those bumps in the road and feel distressed or disconnected, reach out to others for support. Consider seeking the guidance of a professional counselor or a trusted friend or clergy person. This is a sign of strength, not of weakness!
  • Keep past successes in prominent view. It’s sometimes too easy to focus on the uphill climb ahead of us, forgetting about the mountains we have successfully surmounted in the past. Remembering these victories is so helpful in leading us on to the next one!

At Westminster Canterbury, residents may participate in numerous opportunities that encourage whole person wellness, including emotional wellness. Whether it’s through a yoga class, volunteering, participating in a peer support group, attending one of our numerous lectures and worship opportunities, or spending time enjoying the outdoor gardens on our campus, we encourage all residents to embrace wellness at every age and level of life. We wish you much success along your personal wellness journey!

Counting and Sharing Our Blessings!

What a blessing it is to share a blessing with another person.  This is a sure road to joy.  Last week, Virginia Repertory Theatre performed The Wiz in Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Sara Belle November Theater.  What a show!  What incredible talent!  Happily, the joy of this performance was shared with many.  Our own residents came from every part of campus, proving once again that live performances are powerful, beneficial experiences no matter your health situation at the time.  Quite a few employees joined residents, and there were plenty of children and grandchildren enjoying the show.  We also invited a number of our friends from Senior Connections to the performance! 

Many of our employees volunteer with Senior Connections as part of Westminster Canterbury Foundation’s W•E•A•V•E (Workforce-Education-Assistance-Volunteerism-Engagement) program that encourages volunteerism. This part of W•E•A•V•E not only extends our Fellowship program for seniors-in-need so that we can help seniors beyond our walls live the best life possible – it has proven to be an inspiration to our employees, too. Our staff love helping others. Giving them an opportunity to do that through monthly Senior Connections Friendship Cafés and ramp building for seniors-in-need through a partnership with project:HOMES is just one of the innovative initiatives that make this an amazing place to work. It is for innovative thinking like this that Westminster Canterbury was recently honored with LeadingAge Virginia’s Workplace Excellence Award.

Our friends from Senior Connections loved every minute of The Wiz – rising to start the standing ovation at the end!  Together we enjoyed great talent, remembered that there is value in many types of people (and animals) and agreed that there’s no place like home!  So many people play an important part in making this place a very special place to live and work.  Thank you for sharing our blessings!

“Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”  Charles Dickens

Learn more about Senior Connections Friendship Cafés by clicking here.

Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Memory Support Nourishes the Brain and the Spirit!

Our memory support therapies at Westminster Canterbury Richmond include music, art, horticulture and exercise.  They involve more than residents.  Family members, staff, and even our teen volunteers during summertime can participate and engage.  One program in particular,

Opening Minds through Art, or OMA, is proudly supported by Westminster Canterbury Foundation and incorporates intergenerational art projects for people with dementia.  This five-week series, aimed at promoting social engagement, autonomy and dignity through art making, is adapted to meet residents’ current needs. Each week, resident artists of the Mary Morton Parsons Health Center, The Gables and Monticello team up with Westminster Canterbury volunteers to create beautiful artwork. As one volunteer attests, “The OMA program makes such an incredible difference in the lives of the residents and the volunteers!  I’ve always loved art, but now, after volunteering in OMA, I have an even greater respect for how art nourishes the heart, spirit and mind in ways I never thought about before.”  Indeed it does!  Watch how residents and staff volunteers interacted and learned together during this spring’s OMA!

Learn more about this award-winning program by clicking here.

 

Independence Day Traditions with Westminster Canterbury Richmond!

And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.
-Lee Greenwood

On Independence Day, the United States of America commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, a celebration of freedom. Traditionally, Americans enjoy fireworks, parades, cookouts, music and other patriotic displays. At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we celebrate in style!

One of the highlights of the year is our Independence Day parade, where residents, employees, and children from our Child Development Center come together to showcase their patriotic finest. Residents craft their own red, white and blue wands to wave during the parade. The parade concludes with a stop in our Sara Belle November Theater, where America’s Sweethearts gave a patriotic performance.

A special July 4 Picnic Buffet overflows with hot dogs, hamburgers, barbecue, corn on the cob, watermelon, beer and all the other favorites! Residents are even able to enjoy some of Richmond’s fireworks displays with the view from our new Roof Terrace.

Enjoy this look at the parade and all the Independence Day spirit

Live Life Well – An Inspirational Story of Generosity

When it comes to thinking about people as they age, is it possible you have some misperceptions?  Do you think of aging in terms of frailty and decreased activity?  Or do you picture active, vibrant people deepening their lives in ways that matter most to them?

Our most recent annual report, which chronicles 2018, explores 10 ways you inspire our residents to shine!  You inspire adventure, friendship, purpose, sharing, wellness, creativity, community, learning, family and joy!  Lives are enriched in transformative ways.

And you inspire generosity in such amazing ways!  This beautiful volume celebrates more than 1,000 donors – people who willingly share with us to ensure the best life possible for our residents and to cultivate leadership in senior services.  Without our donors, many of whom are our employees and residents, life at Westminster Canterbury would not be what it is today.

Our deep thanks go out to every single donor – for each gift is appreciated and valued.  Please CLICK HERE to view the report, read about the adventures and joy, and celebrate the marvelous time of life called elderhood. 

If you have questions about living at Westminster Canterbury Richmond, please contact Kim Novelli at knovelli@wcrichmond.org.  If you’re interested in learning more about supporting this special place, please contact Gayle Hunter Haglund at ghaglund@wcrichmond.org or visit www.wcrichmond.org/giving.   We hope this report inspires you to live life well and enjoy each day as a gift to treasure!