“It’s a Wonderful Place”

Retirement community provides all levels of personalized care.

To get an idea of all the places Betty Pantuso has visited, imagine a refrigerator door covered with souvenir magnets representing each stop across the globe. Now imagine that refrigerator isn’t large enough for all those magnets.

Betty Pantuso

“I’ve traveled to so many places and collected so many magnets that I ran out of room for them on the refrigerator and had to start putting them on a magnet board,” Betty confirms. “Now the magnet board is almost full.

“Other people collect tchotchkes from the places they visit, but I like collecting the magnets. You don’t have to dust them and when I look at them, I can remember almost everything that happened on that particular trip.

“It’s great to reminisce like that, and I’ve been all over. I’ve been to Russia, Denmark and Sweden. I’ve been to Paris, Amsterdam and Switzerland. The place I loved the most, though, is Bali. And as far as I’m concerned, cruising is the best way to travel.”

A Tennessee native, Betty has traveled extensively across the U.S. as well. After marrying her husband, who passed away many years ago, they moved to Connecticut. She later followed her daughter to Arizona and then to Florida.

Betty lived alone in a condominium after first moving to the Sunshine State. For health reasons, she later moved to an assisted living facility. In time, she required more assistance than could be provided.
“I reached a point where I was falling a lot,” Betty reveals. “I’m doing a lot better now, but I can only walk for short distances, so I need help getting to the bathroom and taking a shower, and sometimes I need help getting dressed.”

Betty’s condition requires what is known as extended congregate care, or ECC. Because her assisted living facility was not licensed to offer such care, she had to find one that was. She discovered what she was looking for at Weinberg Village in Tampa.

All Are Welcome

Amid a warm environment where the independence of private living is combined with the security of knowing that assistance is always available, Weinberg Village offers residents a blend of assisted living, memory support and respite care.

The community is situated on a beautiful 21-acre campus, with a pond and 75 spacious private apartments, where residents can celebrate the best in Jewish heritage, culture, traditions and values. But Weinberg Village is not exclusively a Jewish community.

“We welcome diversity,” says Dan Sultan, executive director at Weinberg Village. “About 35 to 40 percent of our residents, including Betty, are not Jewish. They chose us for the quality of care we provide.
“That quality of care includes a rehabilitation facility that we have right on site,” Dan adds. “But it’s the ECC license that allows us to provide care at virtually every stage of a resident’s life using different health disciplines, including hospice care.

“We also have the ability to help residents transition into memory care. That is a transition that is made over time. It’s not as though one day you’re in assisted living and the next day you’re in memory care. That’s a plus for the resident and family.”

Helping to make those transitions is a nurturing staff of more than 50 employees with a total of more than 325 years providing senior care. Many have been with Weinberg Village since it opened in 1995, Dan notes.
No matter the level of experience, each staff member’s objective is to help residents enjoy the fullest, most active and meaningful lifestyle possible. They achieve that by creating a friendly, engaging atmosphere and by providing care in a dignified manner.

Those efforts are enhanced by an array of amenities that includes multiple activity/lounge areas, two dining rooms, reading alcoves, a well-stocked library, hobby and craft rooms, a beauty/barber shop, therapy/exam rooms and a sanctuary.

“One of the qualities that makes Weinberg Village truly unique and sets us apart from other senior living communities is our campus is multi-generational,” Dan notes. “By that I mean we have a preschool here as well as Jewish Community Center.

“Before COVID-19, the preschoolers would come over and do activities with the residents, and the residents took advantage of the programs going on at the JCC. That way, it’s not all about seniors all day every day.
“We’re eager to get back to our normal activities schedule because it’s very robust. We regularly have entertainers of different kinds, including piano players, guitar players and opera singers who come and perform for our residents.

“Every month we have painters come in or people who do portrait drawings. And of course, we have a community bus that takes our residents to places and events outside of our community, such as the mall or the Straz Center.”

Happy to Help

The coronavirus has not forced Weinberg Village to abandon all of its activities. Many events are now offered through the community’s television channel, which allows residents to stay in their rooms and still participate. Since her arrival at Weinberg Village this year, Betty has come to enjoy that and many other aspects of community life.

“The apartments are very spacious and comfortable, and I really like that they have the TV mounted on the wall for you,” Betty says. “There are some very beautiful outdoor areas where I love to go to for a walk.

“The best thing about Weinberg Village, though, is the people. I have met some very nice ladies that I’ve become good friends with. And the care is exceptional. That part is absolutely wonderful, and they all take such good care of me. They treat me so well, and what’s really nice is that no matter what they have to do for me, it never seems like it’s a burden. I can tell that they really want to help people like me as much as they can.

“It’s because of all that help that I feel I’m improving. I feel I’m actually getting better because of how well they treat me and how they do it with a smile. Weinberg Village has been very good to me, and I recommend it highly to anyone. It’s a wonderful place.”

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