Intergenerational Magic!

The magic happens every day at Westminster Canterbury Richmond where the children from our Child Development Center interact with our residents.  Precious moments occur when the children explore with their teachers.  Early on they learn that the tall octagon of Foundation Hall provides a great echo chamber, and few tykes resist a few whoops as they pass through.  Such fun!

Every week a class of four-year-olds visits The Gables, a living center for people with dementia.  Our teachers and recreational therapists plan programming that is mutually beneficial to the residents and the children.  The interaction brings so much joy – joy that spills over to everyone who participates.  Another regular set of visitors are the therapy dogs!  Now that is a winning combination – pups, kiddos and laughing seniors! 

Many research projects testing the benefits of intergenerational programming provide affirmation of what we see here each day.  According to McMaster University’s Optimal Aging Portal, such activities have the potential to nurture a sense of being useful to society (such as the feeling that older people are able to guide and positively influence future generations), to improve the well-being of older adults, and also to reduce the stigma associated with aging and discrimination against older adults. 

You can bring intergenerational magic to your loved ones by planning activities for children and seniors such as simple art projects, singing familiar songs, planting seeds, reading a story or looking at picture books.  Our Child Development Center teachers emphasize the need to be flexible and observant, ready to make adjustments if either the children or the seniors are stressed by the interaction. 

Intergenerational Magic has the power to bring deep and lasting joy!  We heartily recommend looking for moments to share with your loved ones!

Click here to learn more about our Child Development Center!

Will You Choose to Help Your Neighbors-in-Need?

“Without Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Fellowship Program, I don’t know what would have become of me. After my parents’ and my husband’s illnesses and the cost of their medical care, I had very few options. The Fellowship Program literally saved my life. Now, I no longer spend my nights awake, wondering if I should buy food or medicine this month. Because of the generosity of many caring people, I now have a safe, secure future. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!” –Fellowship Recipient

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we know that people who experience financial need later in life are sadly forgotten, far too often. Imagine Edna, quoted above, who served her community, her family and her faith her entire life. For so many years, she was a caregiver, working as a nurse’s aide serving older adults. When hardship hit after her lifetime of giving, she had nowhere to turn.

There are thousands of seniors like Edna living nearby. They gave their lives to helping others. Now, when they need help most, they’re alone.

You’d be surprised to discover that you probably know several of these seniors, silently suffering. They were your teachers, clergy, caregivers, the neighbor who always helped you with the kids when there was an emergency. Their spirits of generosity far exceed their financial resources.

How much do their lives mean to you?

While there are many organizations in the Richmond area dedicated to serving our community, very few focus on seniors-in-need. That is why the confidential Fellowship Program is Westminster Canterbury Foundation’s cornerstone ministry.  Our Fellowship Program is the heart and soul of our community and provides essential needs like housing, meals and life-saving medical care to approximately 110 low-income seniors each year. Seniors like Edna now have a secure future, thanks to the inspiring generosity of so many caring donors who give to the Fellowship Program.

As we enter this season of giving and thanksgiving, we invite you to be a hero who refuses to forget our silently suffering senior neighbors like Edna. Your help is crucial! Please join us in helping those who have given their entire lives and now need YOUR help.

With your gift, YOU:

…provide secure housing, meals and assistance with medical expenses to more than 100 seniors-in-need each year.

…guard against the devastating effects of social isolation

…give back to those who have given their entire lives to serving others

…preserve the dignity of those who are so often forgotten

Your inspiring generosity saves lives!

For more information or to give, please contact Jeanette Ucci at (804) 264-6204 or visit our website.

Cultural and Educational Series

Westminster Canterbury Richmond’s Cultural and Educational Series allows residents and guests to experience a wide variety of engaging and entertaining performances, lectures, excursions and more. This collection of events and activities showcases how each department is connected and works together to put on a show for all audiences. In this season’s playbill, residents are able to enjoy musical acts such as The Johnny Cash Musical, Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Nutcracker. The productions held in our Sara Belle November Theater spark interest with all ages because of the spectrum of diverse personalities that travel from all over to broadcast their talents.

Captivating discussions often arise after listening to the speakers during the WCR Forum Lecture Series. Guest speakers are chosen by a committee of residents, with the most recent topics including artificial intelligence and The Virginia Museum of History and Culture. An important value that is shared at Westminster Canterbury is respecting and learning about all types of faiths. The Pastoral Care department holds lectures and events for everyone to appreciate, ranging from talks about Living with Loss, to movies with a message, as well as fun activities and services in the Cochrane Commons and Montague Chapel.

There is never a dull moment, both on and off campus, because of the endless list of events and excursions available to residents. Many of these target needs, like the Farmer’s Market and Mobile DMV, while others celebrate holidays and the cultural arts. Mark your calendars for our Unique Boutique Fall Craft Fair on November 1 and 2. This annual fair invites outside vendors, residents and staff to sell and purchase a variety of holiday crafts, food and art.

Click here to flip through our Fall Cultural and Educational Series booklet and learn more about the latest events.

Live Life Well During Active Aging Month!

Celebrate the positivity of aging! Active Aging Month is observed nationally, with communities offering activities that promote the benefits of a healthy lifestyle. With back to school and the changing of the seasons, it’s a great time to reset and create new routines that help us live the best, healthiest lives at all ages.

Westminster Canterbury Richmond is always focused on ways to live life well through the various dimensions of wellness, and we celebrated Active Aging Month with special workshops and classes.

In honor of National Yoga Month, we highlighted our ongoing mind-body classes: Stretch, Tone and Relax; Zenga; Chair Yoga and Seated Yoga. Our pool lovers enjoyed a special Aqua Power and Flex Class. Active residents were soothed during a Healing through Sound Workshop that used different instruments and sounds. A special Tai Chi workshop helped residents with arthritis and fall prevention.

Educational sessions like a Health and Wellness Fair and Wellness Lectures help our residents discover new activities to incorporate into their daily lives. Our ever-popular Farmer’s Market brings produce directly to us, making healthy, fresh cooking easy for our residents and employees.

While Westminster Canterbury makes it easy for our residents and staff to stay active throughout life, there are plenty of ways to celebrate Active Aging Month at home and around town! We are all aging, so whether we are younger or older, this is a great time to build healthy habits. Richmond will celebrate Active Aging Week during October 1–October 7. Check out the list of activities here.

Roof Terrace Chamber Series

With the Tower Renovation project complete, Westminster Canterbury Richmond gained a beautiful new Roof Terrace. This space has been used for events, meetings, parties, and now, chamber concerts. With the view of downtown Richmond as the backdrop, we have been holding smaller, more intimate chamber performances that give our residents the opportunity to see world-class musicians perform up close. These concerts are often more interactive and accompanied by a question and answer portion as well as an extended meet and greet after the performance. In addition to putting on the Roof Terrace Chamber Series live, we have also committed to filming each performance and making them available online for free to share these world-class musicians with the greater community and beyond. Below is just one example of the many amazing performances Westminster Canterbury residents experienced so far.

Fruits of the Spirit

Spiritual wellness is core to a healthy and purposeful life – for people of all ages, but particularly as we age. Elderhood offers a stage of life when we can deepen our pursuit of the things that matter most. For many people, deepening their spiritual lives increases a sense of peace and forgiveness. Experiencing worship and the joy of music uplifts the soul. The study of faith traditions, theology and sacred writings has stimulated minds and hearts for thousands of years. Sharing within a small group builds meaningful relationships and friendships.

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, we offer a full range of faith-based experiences – worship, small groups, lectures, meditation, interfaith dialogue and more.  We gather to mourn and to celebrate the lives of those whose time on earth has ended. As we share these experiences, our lives are enriched and blessed.

Our vibrant spiritual programming has outgrown our beautiful historic Chapel. Construction has begun on a new Spiritual Center located near our main entrance. Earlier this week, a large group of residents and staff gathered to consider the ways our shared lives of faith characterize our community. Words were shared such as caring, welcoming, accepting, generous, forward thinking, traditional, outreach focused, giving, joyful and friendships. The list echoes that of St. Paul’s Fruits of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. These are the qualities that grow in us as we deepen our spiritual lives.  May it be so for you.

Here’s the latest construction progress update for the Spiritual Center at Westminster Canterbury Richmond.

Enjoying Summer’s Bounty!

At Westminster Canterbury Richmond, our residents and staff sure know how to get their veggies! Recently, our Wellness, Horticulture and Dining Services Departments partnered to bring us the second Westminster Canterbury Farmer’s Market this year. More than 100 residents, staff and guests attended! All enjoyed shopping right here on campus for fresh, local produce at great prices, made possible through our partnership with Produce Source.

Many of our residents and staff have another wonderful source for just-picked veggies and flowers…they are pros at growing their own! We are fortunate to have wonderfully experienced gardeners living and working amongst us. Our residents enjoy opportunities to garden vegetables and flowers no matter what area of campus they live in, from independent to memory support and nursing care. In fact, there are approximately 130 individual resident garden boxes in use on our campus. Residents can literally walk to their garden and enjoy their own fresh produce. That’s as local as it gets!

Earlier this summer, those who don’t have the greenest of thumbs had the opportunity to admire the work of those who do. At our Garden Grown Display, resident and staff gardeners displayed their vegetables, herbs and flowers –  the beautiful fruits of many hours of labor. There were zinnias and black-eyed susans; basil, oregano and thyme; plus tomatoes, green beans, okra and even a cantaloupe! Some residents had even gone the extra mile and turned their cucumbers into jars of tasty pickles. Most would agree that enjoying that perfect tomato, arranging that beautiful bouquet or closing the lid on a jar of homemade pickles is truly a labor of love.

What’s your favorite thing to grow? Do you prefer the eating over the growing? Where’s your favorite farmer’s market?

Gardening and enjoying its tasty results are important aspects of wellness at Westminster Canterbury.  For more information on wellness opportunities, click here.

Let’s all get out and enjoy this wonderful, bountiful season, whether by digging in the dirt ourselves or enjoying the fruits of those who do!

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!


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.