A couple of years ago, perhaps ahead of its time, Westminster Village wholeheartedly embraced new technology with a focus on helping residents stay in touch with the world. So, when the pandemic hit earlier this year, the Life Plan Community serving Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley was ready, committed, and able to make sure seniors could stay connected—virtually.
“We believe retirement is about living the best life possible. Everyone craves connection, even when we’re forced to be apart,” says Kate Webster, Westminster Village Director of Marketing. “So, we’re leveraging technology. You could say we connect through tech to help retirees meet face-to-face with friends, family and neighbors—at least on screen.”
Westminster Village anticipated what experts now confirm. According to one recent Merrill Lynch study, nearly two-thirds (64%) of retirees are interested in home technologies such as video chat and interactive devices to help them connect with family and friends. Reports indicate they’re especially likely to embrace new technology when it simplifies their lives or adds connectedness.
“For us, realization sunk in when we began offering new residents SMART apartment packages two years ago. We found active retirees were carrying smartphones and tablets and wanted, in their own words, to ‘keep up with the times.’ Today’s savvy seniors are comfortable with evolving technology,” Webster explains. “So now, even when residents prefer to spend more time safely in their homes, we’re offering ways to help them tap into the Westminster Village community from the comfort and convenience of their couch.”
Westminster Village offers everything from instructor-led online exercise classes and menu planning discussions with Chef Matt via video to free webinars covering important topics ranging from healthy living to warning signs of Alzheimer’s. But arguably the most popular online feature has become Coffee Talk Tuesdays—open to both residents and the greater community of seniors in Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley.
Every Tuesday each month, Westminster Village offers an opportunity to meet virtually with others over a cup of coffee and an interesting, often enlightening, discussion. It’s not unusual to have dozens of people logged on to chat, so an agenda has been established.
▪ 1st Tuesday Each Month: Inside Westminster Village. Employees and residents chat about ways to stay engaged, offering an inside look at community life.
▪ 2nd Tuesday Each Month: Therapy Minutes. Physical therapists present tips and exercises for common aches and pains, plus tips for avoiding common accidents.
▪ 3rd Tuesday Each Month: Back by Popular Demand. Particularly popular previous guests return to offer updates, news and plans for the weeks and months ahead.
▪ 4th Tuesday Each Month: Around the Haute. Special guests from the city stop by virtually to discuss projects and events on the horizon for Terre Haute.
Westminster Village residents and the public are invited to review the schedule of upcoming events and to participate by registering on the website at WestminsterVillageIN.com under the News & Events tab.
“We want to be a resource for all seniors in the area. For us, it’s about keeping residents and older adults fulfilled. We know seniors are coping with a lot right now, and we’re here to help—whether they live at Westminster Village or in the greater community,” Webster explains.
For seniors who may be interested in making a move, Westminster Village wants those individuals to know they’re not alone. Others consider a transition to senior living even now a safe and smart choice. Research proves it.
Case in point: Westminster Village’s management partner, Life Care Services®, sent a survey to more than 21,000 individuals nationwide who were actively considering a move to a senior living community. Nearly two thirds (62%) of individuals surveyed responded the pandemic has had no impact on their desire to move into a senior living community or that the pandemic has actually increased their desire to move. Those who indicate an increased desire suggest they don’t want to be alone in their own homes and/or they want access to the available care and services a community offers.
To show how much Westminster Village cares about helping seniors, the Life Plan Community developed a WVCares savings program. From fee discounts to complimentary downsizing and moving packages, it’s all designed to reduce stress and increase peace of mind.
“Since concerns about COVID-19 arose, we’ve been offering virtual visits to Westminster Village for seniors and families who may be interested in independent living and assisted living as well as rehab services and skilled nursing,” says Webster. “All they have to do is call (812) 242-4600 to schedule an appointment. We can even discuss SMART apartments!”