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Podcasts That Go Great With Our Meditation Garden and Koi Pond

June 16, 2022

Podcasts That Go Great with Our Meditation Garden and Koi Pond

The benefits of meditation are well known feelings of deep relaxation, emotional balance and physical well-being that continue even after your session ends. Tapping into that meditative tranquility can be even easier when you listen to meditation and mindfulness podcasts. Whether you want to engage with profound ideas or sit for a quick five-minute guided relaxation, here’s a list of some of the best meditation podcasts:

Insights at the Edge”: Presented by Sounds True founder Tami Simon, this podcast explores spiritual wisdom through interviews with teachers, writers and thought leaders, like Jungian analyst Jean Shinoda Bolen, theologian Sister Joan Chittister and energy healer Donna Eden.

Mindfulness Meditation Podcast”: Art lovers will enjoy this podcast from the Rubin Museum of Art. Prominent meditation teachers offer lessons about a specific piece of art accompanied by a guided meditation.

Mindfulness for Beginners”: Host Shaun Donaghy considers a variety of subjects relating to mindfulness and self-awareness. Topics include dealing with intrusive thoughts, setting boundaries and confronting fears.

On Being with Krista Tippet”: Explore some of life’s most profound questions with guests like poet Mary Oliver, author Sylvia Boorstein, Presbyterian minister and theologian Eugene Peterson and writer, poet and priest John O’Donohue.

The Science of Happiness”: Hosted by Professor Dachter Keltner at the University of California, Berkeley and Greater Good Science Center, these podcasts feature interviews that explore a range of topics from gratitude and mindful breathing to recovering creative purpose. 

“Ten Percent Happier”: Dan Harris hosts this podcast and wrote a book of the same name. Through interviews with guests, Harris delves into topics like the science of hope, unseating the inner tyrant and how to improve focus.

UCLA Mindful Awareness Meditations”: These 30-minute guided sessions from the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center help you cultivate self-awareness and support well-being.

Untangle”: Interviews with psychologists, neuroscientists and other specialists survey an array of topics from mindfulness and brain health to better sleep, creativity and self-care.

Wake Me Up”: Start your day on a positive note. A mix of affirmations, motivation and mantra meditations promote self-acceptance, introspection and presence.

The Westminster Canterbury Tales”: Residents of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay share delightful life stories and gentle meditations recorded from an on-site podcast studio at this resort-style senior living community. 

Mini Meditations

Short on time? Even a few minutes of meditation can be restorative. These programs are on the shorter side, so you can easily fit them into your schedule:

The Mindful Minute”: Meditation teacher Meryl Arnett leads brief 15-minute or shorter mini meditations. Often focused on a particular theme like loving kindness or personal renewal, these guided meditations help you quiet your mind and center in the present moment.

Daily Meditation Podcast”: Host Mary Meckley guides listeners through brief meditations that support conscious living, inner wisdom, mindful relationships and other qualities of mindfulness.

Meditation Oasis”: These guided meditations are short, yet deeply relaxing. Topics include belly breathing for anxiety, whole body relaxation and getting back to sleep if you wake in the night.

Meditation Minis Podcast”: Float in a bubble of calm, open to your creativity, radiate gratitude and more with these quick guided meditations by host Chel Hamilton.

Radio Headspace”: Various hosts briefly explore self-help topics like releasing resentment, cultivating a growth mindset and the wisdom of cynicism.

Find Tranquility Here

Looking for a serene setting where you can relax with your meditation and mindfulness podcasts? Our meditation garden and koi pond provide the perfect atmosphere for tuning out the world and tuning in to tranquility. At Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay, we support body, mind and spirit through our Wellness for Life program. Join a retirement community that focuses on every facet of wellness!

Blue Spaces: How Living By Water Makes You Happier and Less Stressed

June 2, 2022

Blue Spaces: How Living by Water Makes You Happier and Less Stressed

“Water is medicine, for everyone, for life,” says biologist Wallace J. Nichols. He and other researchers are discovering the health benefits of living near water. Studies show that being near water, also known as blue spaces, can reduce stress and boost happiness. The sea, the coastline, lakes, rivers, canals and even fountains are good for you!

Why Do Blue Spaces Help?

Researchers call the positive effects of blue spaces “health by stealth.” Being near water is inherently beneficial, so without concerted effort you can reap the benefits. That’s because blue spaces:

  • Boost environmental health. Areas around bodies of water tend to be less polluted and to have more sunlight, making for a healthier environment in which people (and plants and animals) can thrive.
  • Promote physical fitness. People who live near water tend to be more physically active, engaging in water sports, walking and cycling.
  • Soothe the mind. Blue spaces are psychologically restorative, inspiring a positive mood and reducing stress.

Letting Go into Blue Space

In his book “Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows How Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do,” Nichols distinguishes between “red mind” — the anxious, over-stimulated state of most modern adults — and “blue mind” — a meditative state associated with being near water. This blue mind state is characterized by a deep sense of calm, peacefulness and general happiness. When people walk along the beach, immersed in a state of blue mind, they find that their thoughts are drawn outward — everyday problems and concerns are put in perspective by the natural rhythms of the water. People are better able to unwind and let go.

What Else Can Blue Do for You?

There are other ways blue spaces support body, mind and spirit. Studies suggest that being near water can also:

  •         Improve sleep
  •         Promote sustained happiness
  •         Reduce stress and anxiety
  •         Lower heart rate and breathing rate
  •         Reduce blood pressure
  •         Boost overall well-being
  •         Support creativity
  •         Inspire awe

Plus, aquatic therapists are studying the ways water can help people manage and treat PTSD, addiction, anxiety disorders and autism.

Immerse Yourself

Although the ocean seems to be the most beneficial blue space, many waterways — including swimming pools and fountains — can immerse you in the positive effects of blue mind. The one caveat is that you must be physically near the water to truly benefit from it. Scrolling through ocean views on social media or flipping through a magazine won’t have the same effect.

Come Live on the Bay!

If you’re wondering where to live your dream lifestyle, consider Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Here, blue space is right outside your door. Our bayfront location means the peace and tranquility of blue mind are a few short steps away from your home. Or let the water entice you into more active experiences, like kayaking, swimming, fishing or exploring the nearby Virginia Beach boardwalk. No matter how you choose to spend your time here, you’re never far from the mood-boosting benefits of blue space. Contact us today to find out more.  

Why Kayaking Is One of the Best Low-Impact Exercises for Seniors

May 20, 2022

Lots of research shows how important regular exercise is for healthy aging. But following the same fitness routine can become boring. That’s why it’s important to have a variety of low-impact exercises for seniors — like kayaking — to choose from so you can switch it up. This blog post will look at the health benefits of kayaking, including helping with your cardiovascular health and fall prevention.

Improve Heart Health

One of the best ways to keep your heart healthy is to be more physically active. To get started, talk with your doctor about the type of activities that would be best for you, and then try to get at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Start by doing activities you enjoy — like brisk walking, dancing, bowling, bicycling or gardening. 

Decrease Fall Risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, falls among adults 65 and older caused over 34,000 deaths, making it the leading cause of injury death for that group. Emergency departments also recorded 3 million visits nationwide for older adult falls. 

Physical benefits of kayaking

Kayaking is one low-impact exercise for seniors that can help improve your aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. 

  • Healthy body weight: If weight loss is one of your goals, kayaking will help you burn up to 500 calories per hour if you paddle at an average of 5 mph. If you spend an entire afternoon on the water, you could burn almost 1,600 calories kayaking.
  • Increased upper body strength: Kayaking uses many  of your upper-body muscles on your back, shoulders and chest. Paddling for hours is an excellent way to exercise these muscles.
  • Toned legs: As you kayak, your legs apply the needed pressure to keep you balanced on the kayak and also help you turn or maneuver.
  • Strengthen your core: As you balance and paddle your kayak, you engage the muscles of your abdomen, obliques and lower back, strengthening your core with every stroke. And having strong core strength is vital for maintaining your balance and preventing falls.
  • Increased endurance: Following a moderately intense exercise program like kayaking, at least three times a week, can increase your energy levels by 20% and allow you to participate in your favorite activities longer.
  • Improved heart health: Kayaking is an aerobic sport, which helps strengthen your heart muscle,  improve your heart’s efficiency and increase the total amount of red blood cells in the body.
  • Vitamin D: Being in the sun helps your body produce vitamin D, which is essential for strong bones. Vitamin D also helps boost the immune system, aids in brain development, supports muscle function and keeps the heart healthy. 


General tips for kayaking beginners:

  • While it’s possible to learn a lot by reading, lessons will improve your technique, reduce your risk of injuries and help you become more aware of safety issues when on the water. Because Westminster-Canterbury is on the water, we have our own kayak launch and at least a few residents who could give you some pointers. 
  • Since you could occasionally tip into the water, make sure you’re  a competent swimmer.
  • Consider borrowing or renting equipment until you’re sure that you enjoy kayaking enough to pay for a full kit.


Basic kit for kayaking:

  • Kayak and paddle
  • Personal flotation device, such as a life vest or life jacket. 
  • Helmet
  • Wetsuit
  • Wetsuit booties
  • Appropriate clothing

Items you should take with you:

  • First aid and kayak repair kit
  • Drinkable water
  • Small pack of high-energy foods
  • Dry clothes and mobile phone protected by a waterproof bag

General health and safety suggestions:

  • Know how to use your first aid kit. Take a first aid course, if necessary.
  • Make sure your preparation and skills are adequate for the planned paddling activity.
  • Be visible to other watercraft. Put reflective tape or fluorescent paint on your helmet, life jacket and canoe or kayak.
  • Always wear your personal flotation device and helmet.
  • Make sure you know about potential hazards in the proposed waterway. Seek local knowledge if paddling in a location for the first time. Consider air and water temperature, currents, tides and wave action.
  • Check weather conditions before you paddle.
  • Don’t paddle alone. Always tell someone about your plans, including where you intend to paddle and when you expect to be back.
  • Dress for the conditions. Apply 30+ SPF sunscreen (or higher) to all exposed areas of skin.
  • Keep your equipment in good repair.

Experience the benefits of beachfront lifestyle

At Westminster-Canterbury, our senior living community is located right on Chesapeake Bay, which allows us to have a kayak launch right on our campus. To learn more or to see it for yourself, contact us here

Make a One-Bedroom Feel Luxurious - Westminster-Canterbury

May 12, 2022

If you’ve been living in the same home for years, or even decades, chances are good it doesn’t fit your current lifestyle. Especially if you’re now having to take the time to clean and maintain more space than you use. While there are many benefits to downsizing, one of the biggest drawbacks of moving to a space with less square footage is that it can feel small. This blog post will show you how moving to a senior apartment in a community like Westerminster-Canterbury can actually provide you more opportunities to enjoy life, and how to decorate a one-bedroom apartment so it feels bigger.

Get More with Less

By matching your living space to your current lifestyle, you could see several benefits, including:

  • Lower cost of living: The smaller your new space, the more quickly you’ll start saving money on expenses like heating and electricity.
  • Less maintenance: Cleaning and maintaining a big living space can be difficult. At Westminster-Canterbury, we’ll take care of everything, including repairs to appliances, heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical. Plus, we offer dining and housekeeping.  
  • More socializing: Once the maintenance is taken care of, you’ll be able to pursue your hobbies and interests. We offer a calendar full of fitness and wellness classes, clubs, committees, happy hours and social outings. Plus, the beach is right outside.

How to Decorate a One-Bedroom Apartment for Maximum Appeal

Decorating small spaces requires a bit of forethought. Here are some decorating tips for apartment decor and how to lay out a small apartment to feel bigger:


  • Organize: To keep your space clean and organized, have a designated place for everything you own.
  • Declutter: The fewer belongings you have, the larger your space will look. Before you dive into the layout and design of your apartment, start by purging unnecessary items.
  • Reflect: Mirrors can help create a greater sense of openness by tricking the eye into perceiving more space. Plus they reflect natural light, making a room brighter.
  • Open up: Letting in as much natural light as possible will help your space feel bigger, so where possible, eliminate  curtains. If you want privacy, hang curtains made of lightweight material to let in sunlight. Also, use a curtain rod that extends far beyond the window frame so you can push back the curtains to expose the entire window.
  • Lighten up: Using light-colored wall paint like beige, ivory, taupe or light gray will keep your space from looking cramped. You can then add an accent wall or statement pieces to draw the eye.


  • Simplify: Where possible, eliminate unneeded furniture. Extra pieces like nightstands, coffee tables and side tables can make a room feel crowded. 
  • Focus: A bold bedspread, funky couch, potted plants or an interesting light fixture can spice up your apartment and provide a focus point without overwhelming it.
  • Scale it down: If a piece of furniture takes up most of a wall or reaches from floor to ceiling, it’s too large. To create a sense of roominess, always leave a space between the edges of your furniture and the walls.
  • Go low: Furniture that’s lower to the ground creates a feeling of openness because it leaves more space above it.
  • Show leg: Furniture with exposed legs allows light to pass underneath, keeping the room from feeling tight or cluttered.
  • Add storage: To help with storage in your smaller space, consider multipurpose pieces like bed frames with built-in storage, or benches and ottomans that open up.


  • Think flow: It doesn’t take a lot of furniture to fill a small space. But if you bump into things while walking through, it can actually make the space feel smaller. Think of the path you’ll take when walking through the room and try to keep the path as open as possible.
  • Cluster: Another decorating idea to make your area feel larger is to keep as much floor space open as possible by arranging furniture to one side.

A Larger World Awaits You

Just imagine what you can do if you free yourself from responsibilities for home maintenance, cooking and cleaning. You’ll  be able to explore a whole world of social opportunities, classes and clubs, right outside your door. If you want to learn more about the active, beachfront lifestyle at Westminster-Canterbury or see our one-bedroom apartments and featured housing for yourself, contact us today.

Enjoy Your Dream Lifestyle Before Retiring: Why Our Residents Move Before They Retire

April 26, 2022

For many older adults, “retirement community living” is a bit of a misnomer. That’s because, while they may be enjoying the lifestyle at a senior living community, they’re not exactly retired.

More and more older adults are selling their homes and moving into community living, yet choosing to continue working in retirement. For a number of reasons, a senior living community like Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay is proving to be an ideal fit for people still working after age 70.

So maybe you’re of retirement age — say, age 65 or 70. Perhaps you’d like to keep working after 70, but you’d also like to move into senior living for the resort-style amenities. Can you still work and live in a retirement community

The answer is a resounding yes! You absolutely can have the best of both worlds. But before you make your move, it may help to understand why you still want to work, and discover the benefits of choosing a senior living community even if you’re still working.

Reasons why seniors still work

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 10.6 million people 65 and older were in the workforce in 2020. A vast majority of them have nonfinancial reasons motivating them to continue working

In fact, a 2008 study showed that while 18% still worked because they needed the income, an equal amount said they want to feel productive and useful. Also, 31% said they’d be bored if they didn’t work.

Here are seven not-entirely-financial reasons older adults cite for continuing to work in retirement:

  1. They still enjoy working. Whether it’s part-time or full-time, older adults say they still get a lot of enjoyment from their jobs.
  2. They find fulfillment in their company’s work. Older Americans want to stay in their jobs because they continually find new challenges that will reward them emotionally.
  3. They like having extra money. Working may not be a financial necessity, but older adults who still work find that they prefer to earn money instead of drawing retirement or tapping into their Social Security benefits.
  4. Working is one way to continue to support worthy causes. Retirement presents older adults with a unique opportunity: switching to a totally different field and putting their life experience to work serving causes they believe in.
  5. Work keeps them mentally sharp. It’s important to many older adults to stay curious and find things that engage them mentally. Many people aren’t the “sit on the beach and chill out” types of people. Working can keep the human brain stimulated. 
  6. Working keeps them social and wards off loneliness. Work is a great place for older adults to find an invaluable sense of camaraderie. It’s well established that staying socially connected is good for older adults’ overall health and wellness.
  7. They want to help support other family members. Many older adults say they have enough money for their own retirement, but they want to help their family with college, or the purchase of a first home. It’s not uncommon for older adults to continue working because they want to help their kids and grandkids financially.

One or more of these reasons seniors continuing working in retirement might resonate with you. Moving into a senior living community also sounds pretty enticing. But you may not know all the advantages senior living offers to those who want to work and live in a community

Five benefits of senior living, even if you still work

  1. No more home maintenance or lawn work. Hands down, this may be the best benefit of living at a senior living community like Westminster-Canterbury. Weekly housekeeping, lawn care, exterior and interior maintenance, and much more is covered by the community’s staff.
  2. You basically live in a resort. Imagine coming home to a community full of amenities — heated pools and a fitness center, dining, gardens, trips and classes, an ever-changing calendar full of social, educational and spiritual opportunities — and that’s just scratching the surface.
  3. You have a culinary team and multiple dining venues. Who hasn’t gotten home from work so tired that they pop a frozen pizza in the oven? Quick, yes. Nutritious, no. A senior living community is a better solution. Westminster-Canterbury residents don’t have to worry about grocery shopping or meal prep. They have three dining venues to choose from, and delicious, nutritious menus created by the community’s culinary staff.
  4. You can live in a location you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re an empty nester, you don’t have to stay in a big house any longer. Instead, you can sell your home and live anywhere — like near the Chesapeake Bay. Westminster-Canterbury residents love their lives on the bay because the  views and the proximity to the beach make the community one of the best places to retire in the Virginia Beach area. 
  5. It’s almost impossible to be bored. There may come a time when you really do want to retire and enjoy the fact that each day is truly all yours. If you live at Westminster-Canterbury, you’ll find a community of residents who share your same interests and hobbies. You’ll discover countless opportunities to meet new friends over drinks, dinner or a social activity. One thing is for sure: You won’t have to worry about your social circle getting smaller. 

If you’re convinced, let’s connect

Now you know you can still work and live in a retirement community — maybe you’ve learned Westminster-Canterbury may make it even easier to work after 70 because you live here. So make your next move a really good one: Contact us, request a brochure or schedule your personal visit.

The 5 Best Brain Foods to Keep Your Brain Healthy

March 8, 2022

To support the health of your brain, you need to give it the proper nutrients and stimulation. It’s been proven that lifestyle and daily habits have a tremendous impact on senior health. So don’t increase your risk of cognitive decline. Stay active, stop unhealthy behavior such as smoking, and adopt healthy eating habits to nourish your brain.   

Brain Food: What to Eat

Healthy diets make healthy brains. And the healthiest diet of them all may be the Mediterranean diet. Not pizza and pasta, but a lifestyle of eating that’s traditional to countries such as Spain, Italy and France. It’s reported to lower cholesterol levels, help control blood sugar and reduce inflammation — all of which are risk factors for cardiovascular and cognitive decline. With the Mediterranean diet, brain-healthy foods such as fresh vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds form the bulk of daily meals. Very little red meat is consumed, and dairy, fish, eggs, and poultry are eaten in moderation.

Another brain-boosting diet is the ketogenic diet. An example of this is the Atkins® diet, which became popular in the late 1990s. It’s low in carbohydrates, with very few sugars and starches but lots of healthy fat. Eating this way causes our body to burn fat by converting it to ketones, hence the name. A study by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found diets such as these that reduce the consumption of carbohydrates are beneficial for people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. However, these types of diets may not be suitable for seniors with cardiovascular disease. Be sure to check with a physician before starting any type of new diet plan. 

5 Best Brain Foods for Seniors

Here are 5 brain foods to include as part of a healthy lifestyle.   

  1. Fish

We’ve all been told, “Eat fish, it’s good for your brain.” Fish is known as a good brain food, and cold-water fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are among the best choices. These fish contain high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, essential chemicals your brain needs to function. Eating these types of fish at least twice a week raises the level of omega-3 fatty acids in the blood, helping the brain operate more efficiently. 

  1. Tea

Tea was once a rare ingredient, used for medicine in ancient times. Of course, it’s now widely available around the world, and we can all benefit from its medicinal effects. A daily cup of tea — made from tea leaves — supports brain health, protecting it from damage and degeneration. Tea leaves contain compounds and antioxidants beneficial to controlling inflammation and toxicity in the body. According to a study from Singapore, drinking green or black tea lowered the risk of cognitive decline by about 50%, and for seniors with genetic markers for Alzheimer’s disease, it can reduce the risk by as much as 86%.   

  1. Nuts

According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, inflammation is the single greatest marker of aging and seen at the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Eating a handful of unsalted nuts every day can reduce our body’s inflammation because of the healthy fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals they contain. Serendipitously, the brain-shaped walnut is among the top brain foods for seniors. It contains high levels of essential fatty acids and Vitamin E, which removes toxic proteins and repairs tissue damage.

  1. Egg Yolk

It’s become fashionable to only eat egg whites, but throwing away the egg yolk wastes one of the most valuable brain foods in nature. A vitamin-like nutrient called choline, present in egg yolks, is used by our body to build and maintain our cells. It helps produce neurotransmitters (the chemicals that allow brain cells to communicate) that support brain and memory function. Apart from eggs, other sources of choline include dairy, fruits, and organ meats such as liver. 

  1. Blueberries

Antioxidant-packed blueberries are one of the most popular brain foods for seniors. Eating blueberries has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function, and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Several studies back this up, including MRI imaging showing a difference in learning and memory as people ate blueberries. A daily serving of blueberries can delay cognitive aging by up to 2.5 years. Foods of the same color are also good brain foods: red cabbage, pomegranates and grape juice.

The Very Best Ingredient

Sometimes the best ingredients for a happy, healthy brain have nothing to do with food: Sitting down to a beautifully prepared and presented meal amid elegant surroundings. Feeling the ocean breeze at the outdoor firepit. Socializing with friends and family and making new memories. With three different dining venues to choose from at Westminster-Canterbury, we nourish heart and soul, as well as body and brain. Be our guest and discover the delicious, nutritious cuisine we prepare for every taste, every day. Contact us today to learn more.

Successful Aging: What It Means for Older Adults

March 2, 2022

It’s a term you’ve probably heard, but what is successful aging? The most common definition for successful aging is: avoiding disease and disability, being physically and mentally active, and being socially engaged. Does successful aging come down to just luck or are there things you can do to maintain good physical health through every stage of life? This blog post will look at some of the lifestyle factors that go into healthy aging and what you can do to stay as healthy as you can as long as you can.

Successful Aging: The Research

Unlike the old-age stereotypes that growing old means being sick, forgetful and/or feeble, a study in the Journal of Gerontology found that for many, growing older is not accompanied by life-limiting declines in health. A study by Yale University Professor of Public Health and Psychology Becca Levy, Ph.D., concluded  that believing in positive perceptions about aging — wisdom, self-realization, satisfaction and vitality — resulted in a 7.5-year increase in average life span. 

According to research, an older adult who’s most likely to age well has good physical and mental health, as well as, a strong social support network. People with high levels of resilience, low rates of depression, and a limited amount of substance abuse are most likely to age successfully. They’re also more likely to report higher levels of life satisfaction.

A Guide to Successful Aging

If you want to be more active and engaged during your retirement years, here are some areas to consider: 

Physical health: While becoming sick with certain physical illnesses may be outside of our  control, we do have considerable control over our weight and how much we exercise. If you smoke, it’s a good idea to stop. Don’t use recreational drugs and do limit your intake of alcohol.

Social interactions: Those with greater social support and more social contacts, including family members and friends, are more likely to age well.

Sense of purpose: Feeling that you have a purpose in life is a positive indicator for healthy aging and has the potential to reduce your mortality risk. 

Successful Aging Lives Here

One of the most important things you can do for your future is choosing a lifestyle that supports your successful aging goals. If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution, you know it’s easy to fall back into old habits. Surrounding yourself with a community of like-minded people who are focused on living their best life – like you’ll find at Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay — can make a world of difference. At Westminster-Canterbury, we believe life is about feeling more fulfilled. To help, our Wellness for Life programs offers six pillars of wellness:

  1. Spiritual wellness: Connect with a meaningful appreciation of your life and your journey through bible study, worship, volunteerism, music, exercise and personal reflection.
  2. Vocational wellness: Engage in work that fills you with a sense of purpose. Here, you can volunteer your time on our campus through a new resident ambassadorship, club leadership and mentoring, or in the community at large through our Beyond Our Gates program. Residents and staff also volunteer for a variety of activities, including:
  • American Red Cross Annual Blood Drive
  • FoodBank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore Food Drive
  • Southeastern Virginia Chapter Walk to End Alzheimer’s
  • Judeo-Christian Outreach Center – Preparing meals for the hungry and homeless
  • Seniors Celebrating Seniors — Making the graduation of 12th grade seniors special by offering advice based on their college and life experience
  • Girl Scouts of the Colonial Coast cookie giveaway
  • PingPongforCharity Tournament — Event to help raise money for support services for people with mental health conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, depression and more
  • Summer Camp for Kids — Partnership Brilliant Beginnings Learning Center to assist with their summer camp program
  1. Intellectual wellness: Explore computer instruction, reading, research and writing, musical concerts, museum tours, discussions and more. Through the Lifelong Learning Institute — a partnership with Virginia Wesleyan University — you can audit select classes at VWU for free and attend cultural events. In addition, 64 mini-courses are offered each year at our community, coordinated by a VWU professor.
  2. Emotional wellness: Pathways to better emotional health include yoga and Tai Chi, support and reminiscence groups, and counseling.
  3. Physical wellness: Keep active and fit in our state-of-the-art gym, featuring cardio and weightlifting equipment, or the fitness pool. Residents also love our Wellness Studio located in the West Tower; it’s  home to regular exercise, dance and pickleball classes. You can also go for walks on the beach and enjoy the fresh sea air.
  4. Social wellness: Join in casual get-togethers with neighbors, happy hour gatherings and interest groups that are more formal. 

To learn more about the active, beachfront lifestyle at Westminster-Canterbury, contact us today.

Why Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay Is One of the Best Places To Live

March 1, 2022

As you’ve no doubt discovered throughout your life, the best places to live are the ones that support your lifestyle and plans for the future. Once the kids have started their own lives and your career no longer dictates where you have to live, what should you look for? Many start with an online list of the best places to live in the U.S. But if you’re truly looking for a place that supports where you are now that also provides a smart and practical plan for the future, one of the best places to retire is Westminster-Canterbury in Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Virginia Beach Is for Lovers of Fun

Virginia Beach offers plenty of museums, galleries, antique shops, restaurants, coffee shops, farmers markets, year-round cultural events, and activities for outdoor lovers. Some reasons seniors, consider it one of the best places to retire in the U.S. include:

Climate: Virginia Beach features hot and humid summers with cool winters and light snowfall. 

Arts and entertainment:

  • Chrysler Hall: The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Norfolk Forum, the Virginia Arts Festival, Broadway in Norfolk, and Generic Theater call Chrysler Hall home.
  • Harrison Opera House: Experience opera surrounded by grand elegance.
  • Sandler Center for the Performing Arts: One of the region's most stunning structures and among the nation's most acoustically sound venues.
  • Scope Arena: Currently home to the Norfolk Admirals hockey team, the MEAC Basketball Tournament, conventions, concerts, family shows, and more.
  • Chartway Arena: On the campus of Old Dominion, this arena is part of a 75-acre development that’s also home to restaurants, shopping, offices, research labs and residences.
  • Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center: Features various sharks, stingrays, sea turtles, jellyfish and octopuses.
  • Virginia Beach Boardwalk: This 3-mile boardwalk offers shopping, restaurants, concerts and festivals from spring to fall.
  • Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater: Features open-air seating for 20,000.

Beach life: Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as having the longest pleasure beach in the world. At Westminster-Canterbury, Chesapeake Beach is right outside your door.

Colleges and universities:


  • Chrysler Museum of Art: Home to 50 galleries with over 30,000 objects, this museum offers an interactive space for kids and families, and an incredible glass studio. Admission is free.
  • Military Aviation Museum: One of the world's largest private collections of World War I and World War II aircraft.
  • Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art: Exhibitions feature painting, sculpture, photography, glass, video, and other visual media from local, regional and internationally acclaimed artists.

Parks and rec: With 210 city parks — including neighborhood parks, community parks, district parks, and other open spaces — and over 100 miles of walking and bike trails, Virginia Beach is recognized as having some of the best outdoor spaces in the United States. In fact, The Trust for Public Land reported Virginia Beach had the seventh best park system among the 40 most populous U.S. cities.

  • Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge: An 8,000-acre fresh water refuge that borders the Atlantic Ocean.
  • False Cape State Park: One of the last remaining undeveloped areas along the Atlantic coast. 
  • First Landing State Park: Offers many unusual habitats, including bald cypress swamps, lagoons and maritime forest, as well as rare plants and wildlife.
  • Norfolk Botanical Garden: 175 beautiful acres featuring collections of roses, camellias, crepe myrtles, a Butterfly House, and 3-acre Children’s Garden.
  • Red Wing Park: 97-acre park known for its beautiful gardens and annual Cherry Blossom Festival.

Great location: Three regional airports are nearby, including the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport, which is less than an hour from downtown. Or if you feel like driving, you’re less than a day’s drive from all these cities:

  • Richmond, VA: Less than 2 hours away
  • Raleigh, NC: Little over 3 hours away
  • Washington D.C. Less than 4 hours away
  • Philadelphia, PA: Little over 5 hours away
  • Charlotte, NC: Less than 5 ½ hours away

Tax friendly: According to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Virginia ranks as a tax-friendly state for retirees.

  • Residents 65 and older can deduct up to $12,000 per person of retirement income, subject to income-eligibility limits. 
  • The cost of living is comparable to the national average.
  • Property taxes in Virginia are modest, and sales taxes are low. 
  • No estate or inheritance tax. 
  • Social Security benefits are not taxed by the state. 

Westminster-Canterbury — One of the Best Places to Retire in Virginia

To learn more about our active, beach-front lifestyle, contact us here.

Wellness for Life-Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle

June 17, 2021

At Westminster-Canterbury, we recognize the importance of a healthy lifestyle. We encourage our residents to have a “Wellness for Life” mindset. Life is so much more than living day-to-day, so we developed six wellness pillars that we focus on to ensure our residents are fulfilled in all aspects of their lives. The pillars are social, spiritual, intellectual, vocational, emotional, and physical. This last pillar - physical  wellness - helps our residents keep their whole bodies active and engaged, and is the one we will focus on in this blog post. 

Westminster-Canterbury has a state-of-the-art fitness center on our Virginia Beach campus, along with a very robust fitness program. The program consists of a wide array of group classes, physical therapy, personal training, aquatic classes in our two pools, and weight training in our fitness center. We also have HUR equipment, which is specifically designed for strength training and wellness for seniors. The equipment uses pneumatic (air resistance) instead of weights for a more precise and effective workout.

We spent some time talking to our newest Exercise and Aquatic Specialist, Myron Stewart, about why he loves what he does, and what a healthy lifestyle means to him. Myron began his fitness journey in 2017; he was over 400 lbs and knew he needed to make a change. He lost 100 lbs in the first 6 months and has consistently kept it off weighing 235 pounds as of June 2021. He graduated with his Associate degree in Fitness and Wellness from Tidewater Community College. He plays Tight End for the Semi-Professional football team, “The Hampton Roads Panthers” and won 3rd place in “The Heart of Ghent 10K” in 2019. 

When we asked Myron why he thinks a healthy lifestyle is so important he said, “I truly believe that it’s very important to maintain a healthy lifestyle because it drastically improves your quality of life. Many sedentary individuals are unaware of the benefits of living a healthy life. It can help prevent chronic diseases and long-term illnesses, and improve memory and brain health as well as heart and bone health. Living a healthy lifestyle is also important for your self-esteem and self-image. It allows you to feel good about yourself and good that you are taking care of your health.”

Welcome Myron to the Westminster-Canterbury team. We think an outing to a Hampton Roads Panthers game is in our future!

An important part of maintaining your physical health is focusing on your diet. We serve many fresh and healthy meals in our three dining venues. One of our favorite  entrées is Chef Bobby’s Mediterranean Chicken Pasta, which our residents can order anytime in The Pub. Use the recipe below to create it at home! 

When thinking about “Wellness for Life” we think our resident, Dick Binford said it best, “The key to a healthy retirement is to remain active. The key to remaining active is to live at Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay!”

older man sitting on a surf board

Working Towards a Sustainable Future

May 14, 2021

Sustainability is simply meeting the needs of the present without compromising the needs of the future. At Westminster-Canterbury, we strive to do our part to not only be good neighbors, but to make sure future generations have the best possible version of our planet earth.  opportunity to talk on Coast Live about our community, sustainability, and all the ways we are giving back to the community and our environment.

One of the major ways we do this is by partnering with multiple local businesses including the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center  and Lynnhaven River Now. As a community right on the Chesapeake Bay, our residents and staff alike love seafood and we have a seafood option at every meal. The Aquarium gives us multiple sources on how to get sustainable seafood and make sure we are shopping locally.

We are very proud to not only be a Pearl Neighborhood, but also one of the first Pearl Businesses, which is an honor awarded by Lynnhaven River Now. This nonprofit organization is dedicated to making Virginia Beach’s waterways clean and healthy. Being a Pearl Business means, we have committed to being more environmentally-conscious and incorporating eco-friendly practices in and around our community. We strive to be good stewards of our waterways and reduce our carbon footprint. For example, we have increased our use of plant-based compostable containers including coffee cups. We also now use paper straws instead of plastic ones.  These biodegradable straws replace 31,000 non- biodegradable ones annually.

Something not many people know is that we have more than 80 raised garden beds on site that our residents are able to use and grow their own flowers and vegetables. Not only that, we have our own herb garden on site that our chefs incorporate its crop into recipes and serve in one of our three dining venues on campus. In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we are installing a hydroponic garden in the coming months to be able to grow even more locally sourced food. Plans are also in the works to start a compost pile in the near future.

Wondering how you can be more sustainable, we have included a simple chart below on a few ways to reduce waste and a recipe in which you could use veggies and herbs from your home garden. We, like you, are always striving to be more sustainable and hope you will join us on this journey.

reduce waste tips

delicious Italian pasta recipes from Chef Bobby Mariner

To see the full segment on Coast Live, click here: https://www.wcbay.com/news

Meet Que

November 14, 2019

I was fortunate enough to spend some time with residents John and Mary Wolfe and their black lab puppy, Que to learn about Canine Companions for Independence and why John & Mary decided to help others by working with this organization. Canine Companions for Independence, founded in 1975 is a non- profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs with a lifetime of support to ensure quality partnerships. The dogs are labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, or mixes of the two breeds that are bred in California. Volunteer applicants are put through a grueling process, one that Mary compared to adopting a child. Once selected, the 8 week old puppies are flown to their pre-approved raisers. The volunteers train the puppy for a year and a half, provide socialization and training, pay for all food, classes, vet visits and submit a monthly report on how their puppy is progressing. When the dog is returned to the Canine Companion headquarters, they undergo nine additional months of strenuous advanced training. At this point, with all of Que's training he will be worth about $50,000 and given free of charge to the person he is matched with to become an assistance dog. Que will be matched with whomever requires the skillset for which he is best suited. He might pull a wheelchair, alert a deaf person about sounds, predict an insulin attack for an owner, keep a depressed person with PTSD alive with special companionship, reassure and guide an autistic child, perform search and rescue or even bomb sniffing.

Mary and John have raised and trained 7 rescues in their marriage sometimes 2-3 at a time and many of them were labra-mutts. When asked why they decided to volunteer in such a significant way, the Wolfes said, “We love dogs and think they are important to people. We are 78 years old and if we got a young dog of our own it might out-live us! This is a way we can help others.”

Thank you Mary and John for your wonderful contribution! We look forward to watching Que on his journey. 

Proud of the Five-Star Care rating at our Hoy Center

March 1, 2019

The Hoy Center at Westminster-Canterbury is ranked Five-Star in overall quality and Five-Star in every subcategory regarding quality care. Only 8 nursing centers out of 286 in Virginia have achieved this quality standard, and the Hoy Center at Westminster-Canterbury is the only center in Southside Hampton Roads to receive this distinction. We’re proud to say our Hoy Center has received a Five-Star Rating ever since the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services created the rating system.

The Hoy Center is a small but very important part of our Life Plan Community. While 80 percent of our residents are independent and do not require care, they know the Hoy Center is available to them at any time, should they need it. The assurance of care if needed is one of the many benefits of calling Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay home. What a great piece of mind for our residents and their families to know that just by living in our beautiful seaside resort community, they are guaranteed access to five-star healthcare in the future.

While Westminster-Canterbury residents are always able to access our Hoy Center for long stays,  the greater Hampton Roads community can also use our newly renovated Stone Rehab which is located inside our Hoy Center. Stone Rehab is available for short-term rehab therapy following a qualifying hospital stay. At Stone Rehab we specialize in treating cardiac, pulmonary, orthopedic and medically complex cases. Stone Rehab is here to “ Perfect the Art of Recovery.”

To read more about our Five-Star Care rating just click this link https://bit.ly/2IJQdOg

WC People: Meet Charlie Pugh

April 25, 2018

When you think of people winning medals for their skiing skills you probably think of someone in their 20’s.  Well here at Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay we’ve got an 80 year old resident who just picked up his silver medal for skiing.


Charlie Pugh decided to take his first skiing lesson while he was out visiting a friend in Michigan about 50 years ago.  Between time spent at the beach and keeping up with both Hokie football and his grandkids, Charlie doesn't hit the slopes as often as he would like during the season. But he says “it’s kinda like riding a bike. You can run the course fairly well if you concentrate.”

He ran the course in Squaw Valley, California very well this year at the NASTAR Nationals. That’s where he received his silver medal for the bronze division. The divisions are determined by the amount of skiing each participant has done in the past few years and what type of resorts they've skied. Mr. Pugh qualified for the event while skiing at Wintergreen this season. This is his fourth time competing at Nationals. He says it’s a wonderful experience not just because of the exciting atmosphere but also because the pace setters for the event are all Olympic Champions.


For 45 years Pugh has been a member of a local ski club called Moguls. He says while the basics of skiing remain the same, the equipment sure has changed tremendously over the years.

Pugh has skied all around the world but says when he was in Austria and saw people of all ages skiing he realized “If you’re physically fit you can ski at any age.” That’s why he hits the gym six times a week doing cardio and strength training. He’s worked out most of his life beginning when he played high school football and baseball. While he’s proud of his latest medal he says one of he greatest accomplishments and joy of his life is having had the opportunity to teach his granddaughters to ski. Now he says “keeping up with them is the hardest part.”

A Guided Tour of the Holy Land

November 30, 2017

If you’ve ever thought of touring the Holy Land now might be the perfect time to do it! Plus what better way to go than with a wonderful tour guide and a couple dozen like-minded friends.  Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay Chaplain Doug Gray is organizing a trip with a  tour guide who promises to make the land of Israel come alive for you.

David Hyman has been a National Parks Ranger in Israel, an Israel Defense Force Paratrooper Officer and a Counsellor for the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel. Having been born in England and raised in Jerusalem David has a unique love for the land of Israel. He will show you Israel from an archeological and historical perspective. He says you will also get a chance to feel the land, meet the people and experience the culture of the land he loves.

Chaplain Gray will provide Bible teachings along the way.  The trip itself is scheduled for April 2018. It will be an eight-day tour with one day on either end for travel.  All the travel arrangements are being made by Kedma Travel in Israel.

Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay President and CEO Ben Unkle has been on the trip twice. He says initially “I wasn’t prepared for the emotional impact of the trip.”  The first time he went alone but he knew the next time he had to bring his wife Barbara with him. He says “it was such a great experience and so good for both of us.”

We hope to have 20 to 35 Westminster-Canterbury residents and friends join us on this amazing trip. If you want to find out more about the trip contact Chaplain Doug Gray.

WC People: Meet Betty and Dick Binford

June 27, 2016
WC People is an ongoing series of profiles of residents, staff, volunteers and others associated with Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Our community brings together men and women from all walks of life with amazing stories to tell. We are proud to share them with you.
When asked what they do in their spare time, Betty and Dick Binford glance at each other and smiles spread across their faces.
They never stop moving.
Their energy and ambition were apparent from an early age. Betty graduated high school at age 15 and went directly to nursing school, graduating at 19. She joined the Air Force, where she met Dick in Peru, Indiana on her way to her first active duty tour at Offutt AFB, Omaha, NE.
While both Betty and Dick remain humble, their accomplishments are outstanding.
“While stationed at Offutt Air Force Base in Omaha, the Cuban missile crisis occurred,” Dick says. “Betty was the only flight-qualified nurse anesthetist in the entire Air Force. While she was never deployed, she was given a surgical team and remained on call for months.”
After four and a half years, Betty left the service and worked at different hospitals around the country. Dick’s military career lasted for 30 years, taking them and their three children all over the world, until he retired as a colonel in 1988. His time in the Air Force included 10 years in the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (AFOSI) and 20 in manpower management.
However, “retirement” did not have the same meaning to Dick as it does to most people because he immediately took a job with a human resource management and consulting firm, The Hay Group, where he stayed for twelve years.
He hasn’t stopped yet.
Dick now volunteers 30 hours per week for the AARP Tax Aide program, which provides free tax preparation services at the Virginia Beach Central Library.
“There are more than 8,500 sites in the nation that provide this free service,” Dick says. “I’m proud that we’re number two in production. We’re able to complete 75 to 100 returns per day.”
At WC, Dick is chairman of the Golf Croquet Club, which has over 100 members, plays ping pong, sings in three choirs and often plays golf that many days per week.
In addition to being a docent at the Virginia Aquarium for 12 years, Betty has joined the WC Wellness Committee, enjoys sorting and pricing clothing for WC’s Flotsam & Jetsam (F&J), and goes to Zumba, yoga and the fitness center four days a week.
Together, they love to play golf croquet and the Dutch game of Sjoelbak and to travel (their latest trip was a riverboat cruise in France).
“We’ve never been more active than we are now,” says Betty. “We’re a short elevator ride from the fitness center, events, games, educational programs and more. Imagine being only five floors away from everything you want to do. It’s really more than one human is able to take advantage of.”
To the Binfords though, the best part about WC is the people.
“Everyone, especially the residents, has a great attitude.” Betty says, “Each person truly treats you like you’re a guest in their home. It’s wonderful to be a part of it all.”

WC People: Meet Marigrace Thomas

April 20, 2016

WC People is an ongoing series of profiles of residents, staff, volunteers and others associated with Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Our community brings together men and women from all walks of life with amazing stories to tell. We are proud to share them with you.

Swimming with sharks.

Coming face-to-face with a sea lion.

Trekking through Antarctica.

Few people have had experiences like these but this is just a few of the adventures Marigrace Thomas has embarked upon.

Marigrace has been to all seven continents and throughout her travels, she has collected art and photos from around the world. One of her most memorable trips was for her 70th birthday, where she acquired a sculpture called “The Loving Family.”

“For my 70th birthday, I went on a safari with my three children to Zimbabwe,” she says. “It was a magical trip. That’s why the piece holds such special memories for me.”

Glancing around her apartment at Westminster-Canterbury, it’s easy to feel transported to different places around the globe.

“I don’t just buy art to buy it,” Marigrace said. “Every piece has a story.”

A seed necklace purchased from an Aboriginal woman in the Outback hangs in the living room, while framed photos from Croatia and New Zealand fill the shelves in her office.

But her apartment is not only filled with photos and art. She shares her home with Hannah, her standard poodle, whom she rescued from a puppy mill.

In fact, a perfect place for Hannah was one of the many points Marigrace considered when she was searching for her new home. As a former elementary school teacher for 28 years and owner of a travel accommodations rental company for 36, Marigrace is a thorough decision-maker.

She investigated more than 50 communities from Tidewater, Virginia and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. She visited twenty in person and stayed overnight at two.

At the conclusion of  her research, she made a life-changing choice for her next home: Westminster-Canterbury.  A little more than a year later, she could not be more pleased with her decision.

“The overwhelming decision maker was the attitude here – of the staff and the residents,” Marigrace says. “It’s so much better than everywhere else that I visited. It’s hardly comparable. Everybody smiles, the staff is polite, friendly and competent.”

WC is definitely where she wants to be.

“From housekeeping, to security, to the administration - the team is very respectful and very responsive to what we want,” she insists. “I have total freedom here. There’s nothing I’ve wanted to do that I haven’t been able to do. I’m completely independent and I don’t have any of the worries I had with a house - when I leave, everything is taken care of.”

WC People: Meet Henry & Eleanor Watts

February 10, 2016

WC People is an ongoing series of profiles of residents, staff, volunteers and others associated with Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Our community brings together men and women from all walks of life with amazing stories to tell. We are proud to share them with you.

Henry and Eleanor Watts like to say they are living life backwards.

While many people attend college, play sports and travel before marrying and having children, Henry and Eleanor did the opposite.

Shortly after meeting, they knew they wanted to marry, and they quickly did so at age 18.

“Of course, I knew before she knew,” says Henry. “She was just so right for me.”

They had three beautiful daughters, which then led to six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

When their three girls entered school, Henry and Eleanor both decided to further their education. He earned his MBA and Doctorate in Business, Marketing and Behavioral Science from George Washington University, and she attended George Mason University, majoring in sociology.

Both say that while they waited until after they had children to return to school, they are lifelong learners. At Westminster-Canterbury, they are happy to be surrounded by others just like them.

“The greatest joy we’ve found at Westminster is the tremendous number of interesting people,” Eleanor says. “Everyone seems to have had such an unusual life and experiences. We can learn from everyone around us.”

Henry and Eleanor are among those interesting people at WC. Henry began working for Southern Railway in Alabama and later transferred to its headquarters in Washington, D.C. When Norfolk Southern formed in 1982, Henry and Eleanor relocated to Hampton Roads where Henry rose through the company, retiring as vice chairman in 1997.

While raising their children, Eleanor volunteered for 17 years as a docent at the Chrysler Museum of Art.

Their desire to continue learning has never wavered.

When Henry retired, the Watts started traveling all over the world, seizing every chance to learn about history, geopolitics and culture. They’ve visited the British Isles, Italy, London, Nepal and more.

They’ve also toured the United States, including taking their six grandchildren to Alaska, and are now visiting presidential homes and libraries.

Not only do Henry and Eleanor enjoy exercising their minds, they continue to exercise their bodies by trying new physical activities. Both learned to ski at age 65.

At Westminster-Canterbury, they are both part of the Great Decisions program, run by the Foreign Policy Administration.  It provides background information and policy options for the eight most critical issues facing America each year and serves as the focal text for discussion groups across the country.

“Westminster-Canterbury really is a reflection of the Virginia Beach community,” Henry says. “It’s easy to become a participant and community member because the residents come from all walks of life. Whether it’s lawn croquet, ping-pong, Book Magic book reviews or the Great Decisions program, everyone can be involved. And you can’t beat the view of the Bay!”

“It’s a great learning experience and service to our community,” says Henry. “The people who live here have such outstanding backgrounds that it’s not difficult to find leaders for the sessions. It takes quite a bit of research but the person who presents truly becomes an expert in the subject.”

WC People: Meet Emily Filer

January 4, 2016

WC People is an ongoing series of profiles featuring people connected to Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay. Our community brings together people from all walks of life with amazing stories to tell. We are proud to share them with you.

1978 was a pivotal, and tragic, year for Emily Filer.

Her daughter, Lee, died at age 16 from Hodgkin’s disease, a cancer of the lymphatic system.

That moment ignited a passion in Emily that would lead her to a life of service to her community.

Before Lee died in the summer of that year, she and nine of her friends began Lee’s Friends, an organization dedicated to offering emotional and practical support to cancer patients and their families facing the fear and uncertainty of diagnosis and treatment.

Thanks to Emily’s drive and determination, Lee’s Friends grew and became recognized throughout Virginia and the nation as an outstanding non-profit. In 1982, Emily traveled to the White House, as Lee’s Friends was one of 16 agencies chosen from 2,300 nominations to receive the President’s Volunteer Action Award.

“Lee inspired the program, and it’s our job to carry it out,” Emily says. “It’s a living memorial to her. We work with all ages and stages of cancer and have been able to help thousands of people. We started with no volunteers and no money, but thanks to the cause and the dedication of our friends, we have won national recognition.”

After 23 years of service, Emily retired from Lee’s Friends in 2001; but her dedication to the region has never stopped.

She was a member of the board of trustees at Virginia Wesleyan College for 20 years; member, past president and now honorary member of the Junior League of Norfolk-Virginia Beach; vice chair of the Mayor’s Commission on Aging in Virginia Beach, just to name a few of her accomplishments.

In 2010, she received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) from Providence Bible College and Theological Seminary for her volunteerism.

Her dedication to others has continued at Westminster-Canterbury. During her eight years on the WC Board of Trustees, she learned a great deal about the community and knew she wanted to make it her home.

“When I retired from Lee’s Friends, I went back to school and became an associate chaplain for Sentara, working in five different hospitals,” Emily says. “I loved it, and I continue my work here as a pastoral caregiver and chaplain in the Hoy Center.”

Emily has a shadow at Westminster-Canterbury - her toy poodle Mango! When you see Emily, Mango is usually not far behind.  “She’s eight pounds and a complete character,” Emily boasts. “Everyone, from staff to residents, has fallen in love with her.”

Emily can’t imagine calling anywhere other than Westminster-Canterbury home.

“When I was part of the Virginia Beach Commission on Aging, I saw every potential community in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, and I actually lived in both cities for long periods,” Emily says. “But, once I visited Westminster, there was no question. I’m able to do everything I love and explore new interests too. I love playing Sjoelbak – I’d never heard of it and now it’s one of my favorite pastimes!”


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  • You can't cut off your life because of COVID. You have to be careful, but you need to keep living. Westminster-Canterbury makes it easier to do that. Dr. George Franklin, Resident
  • The key to a healthy retirement is to remain active.  The key to remaining active is to live at Westmnster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay! Dick Binford, Resident
  • The best decision I ever made was to move to Westminster! Joan Lottman, Resident
  • I have lived here for almost two years and I absolutely love it! Moving here is the best decision I ever made in my life! My children might not realize it now, but coming here is the best present I have ever given them. Beverly Griffin, Resident
  • A huge thank you to all the Westminster-Canterbury staff for all that they are doing for us during these challenging times! Special thank you to Catering for their off-campus pickups for us! Vera Jean Russell, Resident
  • Thank you for everything you do everyday to keep us happy, healthy and safe!! No place I’d rather be!!️ Shirley Wharton, Resident
  • This is the best possible place for us to be. Brenda Leonhirth Ladell, Resident
  • Thanks for helping take great care of our parents. We miss seeing them, but glad you’re taking every precaution to ensure we’ll get that chance when this blows over! Karen Costenbader Bradley, Family Member of Resident
  • Stone Rehab went over 100% above and beyond expectations! Joan Lottman, Resident, Stone Rehab experience
  • Thanks to Ben Unkle, CEO of Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay for making this [www.birdsongtablet.com] technology available around the world! LeadingAge Virginia
  • The best decision I ever made was coming to WC 6 years ago. Everyone is very professional, they know their job & they do it well. I was healthy and independent 6 years ago when I moved here & now I'm experiencing episodes of back pain that Stone Rehab is helping me with. It's a marvelous place! Joan Lottman, Resident, Stone Rehab experience
  • It’s hard for me to believe that I have not been off campus for almost five months with the exception of three doctor’s visits. Yet, I am perfectly content. I have had the opportunity to leave since March, but continue to choose to stay here where I feel safer and my days can be filled with many of the activities you have provided. Connie Rutledge, Resident

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