Inspiring Innovation at Westminster Canterbury Richmond

One of Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s long held values is innovation. The senior living industry demands creative solutions to ever-evolving challenges, and we know we must keep up in order to ensure the best life possible for our residents.

Through our Foundation, we offer Innovation Grants to employees who come up with projects and ideas that improve the lives of those we serve. I wanted to share with you highlights of this year’s awards that demonstrate our commitment to being leaders in senior living.

Healthcare Excellence – The Foundation provides funding that creates a margin of excellence in healthcare services. Thanks to charitable gifts, a thorough orientation and mentorship curriculum called a preceptor program trains new employees. New nurses are paired with our best, most experienced nurses to learn The Westminster Canterbury Way of caring for our residents. This summer, we are piloting a new Nurse Aide intern program – read more about it here

Workforce Support – Generous donations make it possible for us to have a Professional School of Learning that trains every staff member annually, including leadership development, service excellence training, coaching and mentoring opportunities and more. A new offering this year is a formal innovation program that will teach staff how to better solve problems and design new products and services.

Wellness – Fitness is important at any age, and our Wellness team pilots a variety of classes such as taiko drumming, laughter yoga, ballroom dance and more to find the best ways to keep our residents active. These enhancements to our ongoing Wellness programming help us discover the right path forward for increased vitality.

These are just a few ways that philanthropy inspires innovation on our campus. We are grateful for our engaged employees who care deeply about those we serve, and for the inspiring generosity of so many who make it possible for us to provide excellence and compassion in equal measure.

Have You Read It? Have You Watched It?

Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Annual Report this year is a little different. Not only can you learn about what it takes to ensure our residents live life well and read feature stories about our great programs and activities, you can also watch video highlights of campus news and events.

Everything from performance highlights in our Sara Belle November Theater, lectures by local and national speakers, renovation progress on our Roof Terrace and a special look at the wellness and art programs are just a click away. At the end of our feature stories, you will find a link to our online video page at There are so many wonderful things that happen at Westminster Canterbury on a daily basis, and we are delighted to share some of those moments with you!

If you do not have a copy of the 2017 Annual Report click here If you click the links in the document, you will go directly to our video page. Printed copies of the 2017 Annual Report are available to residents, donors and trustees by contacting Rebecca Hatch at (804) 264-6075 or

Partnering with project:HOMES to Help Seniors-in-Need in Greater Richmond

Westminster Canterbury Richmond is committed to expanding our mission by reaching out into the community to help seniors-in-need. This year, we began a partnership with project:HOMES to build and install ramps on the homes of seniors who are unable to leave their homes without this special addition. Our employees have been working to raise the $15,000 needed to supply the first 10 ramps that will truly make a life-changing difference to those who receive them.

More than 150 employees stayed busy during three installs on homes out in the Richmond community and during a two-day Ramp Building Blitz held right on our campus. Enjoy this video that captures the hard work of our employees in partnership with project:HOMES staff and volunteers!

If you have questions about how you can support this project through Westminster Canterbury Foundation, email or call 804.264.6066.

Happy Mothers Day!

Mother’s Day weekend is always full of activity at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. Moms and caregivers of all ages are celebrated throughout the campus – from new moms in the Child Development Center to our more experienced resident moms and everyone in between. It is a time to offer thanks to that special person who loves us unconditionally.

Moms dropping kids off at the Child Development Center had the opportunity to relax before heading out for the day with a breakfast of muffins, fruit and coffee. The Center Galley was decorated with pictures of family and inspirational quotes. Infant room teacher Maryanna Stufflebeem observed that moms still came with their kids and made sure they had their breakfast before serving themselves. “Even on this day for them, they are still putting their kids first,” she said.

Friends and family members honored residents for Mother’s Day by sending beautiful flower bouquets that filled the lobbies upon delivery. Around 200 people gathered together for a special lunch in the Promenade dining room, the largest dining event of the year. Ida Hargrove, a dining employee, volunteered to work the event for the sheer enjoyment of being there. Ida commented, “I love the residents and serving them.” The menu included fried chicken, shrimp scampi, veal marsala, an omelet bar and scrumptious deserts. Guests participated in a raffle to win fun gifts.

Mother’s Day is a day of recognizing love and nurturing as well as celebrating the wisdom of mothers of all types and ages. Milania Marzouk, a mom and teacher in the Child Development Center, describes her experience as “needing enough energy for early morning wake ups, midday melt downs and nightly tuck-ins which include a million hugs, kisses and ‘just one more story.’” A resident who is about to celebrate her 107th birthday, was asked to offer some words of wisdom to those just starting out. “Patience,” she said. “Keep on and you will adjust.”

It is truly a day of showing love and appreciation to those who work so hard to give us so much. Thank you to all of our wonderful mothers!

Nurses Week

As part of our celebration of Nurses Week we hold our annual Nurses Award Celebration. Residents, family and fellow staff nominate nursing staff who they have seen go above and beyond in giving the best care possible. From those nominees a committee chooses the few who will receive our Tabb and Clinical Excellence Awards. As part of this year’s celebration we asked our staff to share their reflections on our nurses and certified nursing assistants and their care and compassion towards our residents.

“Nursing staff are here for the residents,” observes Laurie Youndt, RN and Director Clinical Services.

“Our residents and their families perceive our nurses and CNAs as family,” comments Sloan Lindsay, Assisted Living Administrator.

“The unique thing about Westminster Canterbury Richmond is that staff take every day interactions and make them extraordinary, even on the second floor of the Mary Morton Parsons Health Center where we have our dementia population and the environment requires patience and gentleness. . . I see that every day.” says Linda Stephenson, RN, Assistant Director of Nursing.

“Staff develop relationships with residents and get to fill in as a secondary family for lots of our residents. . . The love is mutual.  It goes both ways,” comments Chris Burton, LPN, Nursing Supervisor.

Our nurses are an inspiration, and we thank them for improving the lives of those we serve every day. We invite you to watch the full video of why our nurses are so exceptional.

National Volunteer Week

Westminster Canterbury Richmond celebrated National Volunteer Week from April 15-21, 2018.  This week was designated to thank volunteers across the nation who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about in the community.  

On Tuesday, April 17, we celebrated our resident volunteers with a fun and delicious dessert party. These residents gave more than 25,000 hours in 2017 in areas including Pastoral Care, Dining Services, Floor Representatives, Flower Room, Forum, Historical Records, Libraries, Performing Arts, Recreation, Recycling, Technology, The Shops on Main, Arts and Crafts and Wellness.  Others volunteered as Art Angels, Breakfast Buddies in the Child Development Center, Gift Shop Associates, Sewing Group, Small Crafts and The Salvation Army Project.

Our non-resident volunteers gave more than 9,215 hours in 2017 in addition to our resident hours.  The Summer Teen Program had more than 30 teens who volunteered across campus – playing games, washing cars and helping residents and staff with various projects. We will celebrate our non-resident volunteers on Tuesday, May 22, with a reception and an invitation to attend the performance of An Evening with Patsy Cline in Westminster Canterbury’s Sara Belle November Theater.  If you are a volunteer, please come to enjoy this special time in which we honor you for your dedicated commitment to our special community.

We are so grateful for our many volunteers who help everyone to live life well at Westminster Canterbury Richmond.  If you are looking for a fulfilling and meaningful volunteer opportunity, please visit www.wcrichmond.orgor contact Kathy Morton at (804) 261-5201.

 Copyright: wavebreakmediamicro / 123RF Stock Photo

You make the biggest difference

We are so thankful for our amazing donors to Westminster Canterbury Foundation. Their generosity is truly inspiring and they make so much happen here at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. Giving in each of these areas makes a huge impact on our residents and creates a margin of excellence that establishes us as the premier continuing care retirement community in the Richmond region.

WORDING fellowship pic

Thanks to generous donors, the Fellowship Program provides confidential life care support for seniors-in-need – housing, meals, medical expenses and access to all the vital living opportunities found here at Westminster Canterbury. In 2017 $1.6 million was donated for the Fellowship Program and 113 residents received Fellowship support. We welcomed several seniors who could not afford a place to live or cover medical expenses.  Generous donors allow us to extend security and peace of mind, assuring that no resident is asked to leave due to an inability to pay through no fault of their own.

WORDING greatest need pic

Gifts to the Area of Greatest Need allow us to continue to be leaders and innovators in our field. Innovation Grants focus on developing new ways of providing the best possible care. Generous donors to the Area of Greatest Need provided the ability to test new technology on our campus, implement a new curriculum in the Child Development Center, introduce new wellness and fitness programs, provide ongoing education and leadership development for our staff and much more.

WORDING share your passion

Donors come to the Foundation with a deep conviction about what living the best life possible means. We are constantly in awe of these donors who see an opportunity and give selflessly to make new and exciting things happen at Westminster Canterbury. One of the many areas that benefit from generosity is our Memory Support programming. A daughter of a resident said, “The memory support therapy opportunities have transformed my visits with my father. As he progressed in his dementia, it became increasingly difficult for me to connect with him. Now I come during the music therapy sessions, and we clap and sing along with songs we both love! I’m so grateful we can share these special moments.”

To our donors, we say THANK YOU! You make the biggest difference at Westminster Canterbury Richmond. If you are interested in learning more about giving to one of these areas, please contact Brandon Lowe, Stewardship Coordinator, at 804-264-6066 or

John Burns on Reaching Out

Hi – I’m John Burns, President and CEO of Westminster Canterbury Richmond, and I’m pleased to be able to share with you an update about an exciting project being led by our workforce.

Last year, Westminster Canterbury Foundation completed a Community Needs Assessment that explored barriers to healthy aging in greater Richmond. We know the needs of our community are many, and as leaders in senior living, we felt compelled to determine how we can help seniors outside our walls.

The four barriers the assessments identified were housing, transportation and walkability, aging in place and access to service, and chronic disease management. We began reaching out to other local organizations who serve seniors to find a way to help.

Our first step has been ramp installation with project:HOMES. Our incredible workforce enjoys volunteering in the community, so we are combining our efforts to make the biggest difference we can. Three groups have installed ramps on homes in Richmond community, changing the outlook for seniors and their loved ones who struggled to leave the house. One of the people helped had a stroke six months ago and wasn’t able to leave home until our staff installed a ramp for them. In May, we are hosting a Ramp Building Blitz  our campus onto build ramp components that will be installed later. Our employees are raising $15,000 to support the Blitz.

Westminster Canterbury is grateful to be able to fulfill our vision of improving the lives we serve every day and to channel our energy into the community to serve those beyond our gates. If you’d like to learn more about our Community Needs Assessment and these efforts, visit Enjoy this video that shows our volunteers hard at work on a chilly March morning!

Spring has sprung at Westminster Canterbury!

One of the wonderful annual events here at Westminster Canterbury Richmond is the Daffodil Show, complete with an educational workshop, judging and even a chance for the children in the Child Development Center to get involved. Residents and staff bring in their best blooms and show off their green thumbs as entries are judged in various categories. With dozens of different species and hybrids, there are always interesting and unique entries. Whether you know them as daffodils, narcissus or jonquils, enjoy this inside look at this lovely spring tradition!



A few months ago, our admissions office received an emotional call from a grieving son named Rob.  Rob’s dad has a movement disorder.  His mom has been the primary caregiver.  Though Rob and his sister stay in close touch with their parents and help as often as they possibly can, both siblings are busy with careers and growing families.  Then the unthinkable happened.

Rob was frantic, “My mother died last week!  The stress of caregiving caused a heart attack.  I can scarcely grieve for her because I am so worried about Dad.  He can’t be alone.  For his sake, I have to ask, is there any way Westminster Canterbury can help us?”

Rob and his sister know that this is the best possible place for the father they love so much.  But they also know that his father’s modest salary as a missionary never allowed him to save adequately for retirement.

Support from generous donors to the Fellowship Program allows us to say, “Yes” when a crisis like Rob’s arises.  Your inspiring generosity provides housing, meals, medical care and all the aspects of vital living found at Westminster Canterbury.  We can’t do it without help from generous donors.

To learn more about how to support Westminster Canterbury’s Fellowship Program, contact Elizabeth Vaughan, 804-264-6204.

*The details in this story have been changed to protect the anonymity of our Fellowship recipients.




Copyright: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo


Ageism – discrimination against persons of a certain age group.  In other words, ageism is discriminating against us just because we grow older.  We reject this.  We need to disrupt ageism.

Those of us who are fortunate to continue to enjoy each new day and each new year are blessed.  Not only are we moving into our own elderhood – a time of deepened purpose, peacemaking and joy – we are part of an unprecedented age wave with 10,000 people turning 65 each day and many enjoying increased longevity. Our time is now!

Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Gerontology has long been on a mission to disrupt ageism.  Not only does our culture overvalue youth over maturity, pervasively negative messages toward aging actually cost us years of our lives – if we internalize the negativity.  Those of us who are aging – and that is every person from birth onward – need to question our culture’s values and give ourselves permission to celebrate the blessing of longevity.  It is a blessing of great worth.

The Longevity Economy by James Coughlin is an enlightening 2017 release worth reading.  The author, the founder and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Age Lab, explores the role of technology and design in the lives of the 50+ population.  Coughlin recognizes that innovation lags in response to this age group but trusts that demand will drive response.  We look forward to that!

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we are committed to leadership in senior living – recognizing that there is a great deal of learning to do!  We are on a mission to improve the lives of those we are privileged to serve each day and to make a positive difference for seniors in the greater Richmond region.  Our Foundation’s annual Innovation Grants seek to inspire creative thinking among our staff.  And workforce teams are volunteering with project:HOMES to build ramps for seniors-in-need in our region who will benefit from improved mobility access.

These are strong starts.  There are many opportunities to grow, to learn and to help one another.  What a tremendous, purpose-filled time of life!

For more information or to share your ideas, contact Gayle Hunter Haglund at Westminster Canterbury Foundation (804-264-6702).


Technology helps us stay connected

Technology and connectivity is an ever-increasing part of all our lives. We get our news online, do our banking online, and communicate with our friends and family via text and social media.

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, it’s important to us that we can communicate with our residents in ways that are easy and accessible. In addition to traditional methods like monthly town hall-style meetings, our in-house television station and our weekly printed newsletter, The Westminster Canterbury Tales, we have a Resident Apps website that helps interested residents get instant updates on happening around campus.

Everything from daily dining menus, a staff directory and event listings in fitness, our theater, studio arts, pastoral care and more are available at the touch of a button. Residents access this information on their computer, tablets or smartphones, making it easier than ever for them to know what is happening on our campus and get involved!

No matter our age, everyone wants to feel connected and know what’s happening around them. Social isolation can be a risk for us as we get older, so finding ways to get involved and stay informed go a long way in keeping us healthy. With so many opportunities for vibrant living and engagement at Westminster Canterbury, we provide many ways for our residents to stay in the loop.

If you’re interested in learning more about how you can live vibrantly at Westminster Canterbury, visit