Virtual Reality – Exploring a New Therapy for Dementia

A teenage girl, mother and grandmother with VR goggles at home.

When most people think of VR or virtual reality, they think of entertainment — but the truth is that this technology offers so much more. VR has useful applications helping people with dementia conditions. Our home health aide services team offers some supportive insight.

Using Memory to Engage and Connect with Dementia Patients 

One of the biggest challenges for caregivers, family and loved ones of dementia patients is finding ways to connect with their loved one and spend meaningful time together. Happily, VR technology helps make this easier and more rewarding.

Dementia conditions affect memory, causing short-term memory loss while mostly leaving long-term memories intact. Using virtual reality, patients are able to relive their past memories by “visiting” realistic periods of time, places, and locations that hold special meaning to them.

These kinds of memory exercises are key in therapeutically treating these conditions, helping to stimulate brain activity, reduce anxiety and confusion, stabilize mood and improve the quality of life for dementia patients. For families, it’s a wonderful way to engage with their loved ones and share positive, happy memories in a calm, safe environment. In this way, VR therapies form a method to help prolong essential human connections.

VR Technology as a Way to Understand Dementia Better 

Another interesting application of this technology is in helping caregivers, medical professionals, and families better understand the life of someone with dementia. Winners of The Caregiving for Dementia Innovation Challenge showcased their software offering, “Embodying a Person With Alzheimer’s in Virtual Reality,” as a way for caregivers to better understand the disease and the needs of their clients.

Through VR, caregivers can experience how neuro-cognitive conditions affect other parts of the body, not just their memory functions. It shows how the disease progresses in a way that helps all involved in care better understand and anticipate their client’s needs. In this way, VR builds empathy and understanding, as well as promotes caregivers’ thinking outside the box.

Full-Time, Part-Time and Respite Care from Home Health Aide Services in NJ 

As a caregiver, getting the assistance of a qualified and experienced home health aide can be the best way of getting the support and guidance you need to care for your loved one with dementia.

As part of United Methodist Communities, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer home care for the elderly with trained, experienced nursing and health aide staff to help your loved one. Our respite care and seniors home care services cover everything from companionship and help around the home to 24-hour live-in care, depending on exactly what you and your loved one requires. Our services are scalable and by-the-hour, allowing you to develop a custom care plan.

For more information on respite care and our home health aide services in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at

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Is Assisted Living Suited to Seniors on Dialysis?

Day in the Life of a Patient, hospital room visit

People often ask our assisted living team in Sussex County, if assisted living is the right place for seniors on dialysis. Since it’s American Diabetes Alert Month and National Kidney Month, we’d like to share some insight on this issue with our readers.

Dialysis is an Advanced Medical Treatment 

First of all, we’d like to talk a bit about what dialysis is and how this affects senior caregiving. Dialysis is a life-saving treatment for people with kidney disease or health issues like diabetes, which compromise kidney function. Without the kidneys filtering out dangerous waste products from the blood, these toxic substances quickly build up and make patients dangerously sick and — if left untreated — this is fatal.

Dialysis, a vital machine filtering process, drawing the blood out of a patient, circulating it through a filtering process, and restoring it to the body, is a medical treatment. This incredible medical technology saves lives and buys viable patients time before they can receive a kidney transplant.

Dialysis and Seniors 

In certain circumstances this process can be temporary, such as when the kidneys are expected to make a recovery, but in many cases, dialysis is permanent and will form part of regular care, including end-of life care. A qualified medical team and advanced equipment is required for this treatment, and for these reasons, few assisted living communities offer onsite facilities for seniors on dialysis.

Instead, dialysis can be accessed through scheduled hospital treatments on an out-patient basis (if the health condition is temporary and the patient is expected to recover enough not to require dialysis) while staying in an assisted living community (providing they meet the community’s additional requirements).

It can also be accessed through some hospice facilities as part of a palliative care program. This is only provided if the patient meets other hospice admission requirements and may involve visiting a hospital on an outpatient basis for dialysis if it is required as part of the patient care program. This decision is based on putting the needs of seniors on dialysis first and ensuring that they have access to a facility that offers the best possible care for their needs.

If you would like to find out more about what care options our CCRC and assisted living community can offer you and your loved one or would like more clarification on dialysis in an assisted living community, please don’t hesitate to speak to our friendly team.

Assisted Living and Independent Living for Seniors at Our CCRC in Sussex County New Jersey 

Bristol Glen is a CCRC with assisted living in Sussex County that aims to provide seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up your time to enjoy life. Different living styles under one roof allows residents to access care as needed and remain in their community.

Contact us to find out more about our CCRC and assisted living in Sussex County, New Jersey, please visit our website at and book your visit today.

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A Guide to Adaptive Clothing and it’s Benefits for the Elderly

senior woman arthritis hands fastens velcro shoe closure

As the senior population grows, more and more retailers and designers are focusing on the clothing needs of older adults. Adaptive clothing is one option that makes dressing easier and more comfortable for different needs.

Here’s more about this type of clothing from the team at our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ.

What is Adaptive Clothing? 

These are clothing options that are adapted to senior use, making dressing and ambulation easier for older adults and their caregivers. This includes pants with Velcro rather than snap fasteners, shoes that slide on securely rather than laces or buckles, shirts that use Velcro or magnetic fasteners rather than buttons, and clothes that pull on with elasticated fasteners rather than zippers. To provide additional comfort, adaptive clothing is made of soft and gentle fabrics.

What are the Benefits of Using Adaptive Clothing? 

For older adults and people with physical limitations, the benefits of adaptive clothing are significant. Painful joints and health conditions like Parkinson’s Disease can make the simple daily task of getting dressed and undressed an emotionally frustrating experience.

Adaptive clothing solves this by removing common obstacles like buttons and laces, making this process much easier. For many seniors, this can mean that they no longer need a caregiver’s assistance for this task, which is incredibly empowering and goes a long way to supporting senior independence.

For seniors who still require assistance, adaptive clothing is easier for caregivers as well, making it less time-consuming and a far more simplified process.

Where Can I Find Adaptive Clothing? 

Many retailers are now stocking adaptive clothing, including Silvert’s, Buck and Buck, Amazon, Walmart, and Resident Essentials. If you are handy at sewing, there are also plenty of patterns and guides online to make this clothing yourself. As with all clothing for seniors, it’s important to find the right fit in terms of comfort, safety and fall prevention. Make sure that the shoes and slippers have good gripping soles, that pants are hemmed to the right length to prevent tripping, and that clothing can be easily layered for warmth as well as sun protection.

Assisted living Camden County NJ – A Community That Cares About Senior Independence 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus our community to provide essential resources that promote independence and quality of life.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at or contact us and book your visit today. 

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4 Ways to Show Some Love to Your Heart this Valentine’s Day!

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

February is American Heart Month and our in home respite care team is raising awareness of what this month is all about, what you can do to participate, and why it’s so important!

Why American Heart Month Matters 

Heart disease is the leading cause of all deaths in the USA, accounting for one in every four fatalities. It can strike at any age, whether you are a young adult or a senior citizen. Although this sounds scary, there is good news — heart disease is preventable! By making healthier choices and managing health conditions properly, you can significantly reduce risk, saving and extending your lifespan.

What Causes Heart Disease? 

Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, lack of physical activity and high alcohol intake are all lifestyle factors that increase your risk of heart disease. It is also important to take action if you are diabetic, have a family history of heart disease, or are older, as these also put you at risk.

What Can I Do to Support American Heart Month and My Heart Health?

Have an annual health check-up that includes blood pressure and cholesterol level screenings.

  1. If you have any of the above risk factors, speak to your doctor about developing a health strategy, including quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, starting a healthy diet and including exercise in your daily routine.
  2. Take up an exercise you love. While you do not have to run a marathon, there are plenty of great ways to get your heart pumping. Dancing, walking, water aerobics, and yoga are exercises you can enjoy at any age.
  3. Relax more. Stress and anxiety have a negative impact on your heart health, so find something that promotes calm and relaxation, like meditation, birdwatching, nature walks, or crafts.

Wellbeing Comes First with Expert In Home Respite Care 

Whether you need residential in-home respite care in NJ or need someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one on a more permanent basis, we are here to help through our HomeWorks program. Our staff is fully certified in New Jersey, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

For more information on our seniors home care services in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at

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Hospice Insights: What is Coordinated Care?

Angels are often disguised as daughters

If you’ve been researching hospice care, you’ve probably come across the term “coordinated care.” This isn’t a buzzword or marketing term — it’s a critical component of delivering effective care to hospice patients.

Here’s some insight into what coordinated care means and why it’s so important, from our hospice in South Jersey.

What is Coordinated Care and Why is it so Important to Hospice Patient Care? 

Hospice cases are not simple ones. When people come to us, they have gone or are presently going through a transition from curative to palliative care. They may be moving to our community from homecare, assisted living, or intensive care. Their needs are complex and our role is to deliver holistic care focusing not only on medication and nursing care, but also on wellness, quality of life, comfort, and spiritual care.

This requires bringing together a wide range of specialists from doctors and nurses to therapists and companions. Each person on that team needs to understand the patient’s needs in detail, build a comprehensive treatment plan that is unique to their healthcare and wellness needs, and work with the patient and their loved ones openly to provide support and clear communication. This is known as coordinated care.

What Happens in the Coordinated Care Process?

First, the team as a whole will spend time getting to know the patient, their family and caregivers, getting to know care preferences, and any religious or cultural wishes and preferences. The team will note the patient’s care needs, routines, and capabilities to help ease the transition and develop a care plan.

The team will make a diagnosis to ensure documentation of all health conditions and symptoms and develop a comprehensive care program that provides effective symptom management and comfort for the patient.

Additional therapists may assist with hospice care: holistic specialists, social workers, counsellors, spiritual care, and community support specialists as well as medical therapists. A bereavement specialist will also be part of the team.

By sharing patient information among every member of the team in real time and with specialist insight, patient care is kept at the highest quality and no issue is overlooked. It is the most effective way to ensure comprehensive, compassionate palliative care and support to patients and their loved ones.

Want to Find Out More About End-of-Life Care Services? Contact Our Hospice in South Jersey 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in the Jersey Shore called Bridges. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice in Cape May County, please visit our website at or contact us today and organize your visit.

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Start the New Year by Choosing the Right Assisted Living Community

Smiling senior friends standing with arms around

The senior living industry is growing in the USA, with over 40,000 assisted living communities in the country catering to their residents. That’s a lot of choice and it’s easy to see why selecting the right assisted living community can seem like an overwhelming task. Here are some tips from the team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ.

Our Best Tip? Always Take a Tour of the Assisted Living Community 

A tour is the best way to get to know a community, meet the staff and find out if it’s a good fit for you or your loved one. Here’s a checklist for your visit:

  • Cleanliness, hygiene and maintenance. The facility should feel clean and fresh and be in good repair. Ask about how often the apartments are cleaned and what kind of maintenance is provided — and don’t forget to ask about laundry services, too.
  • Staff friendliness. The quality of the staff can make or break the assisted living experience. Watch how staff members interact with residents, find out how many staff members are routinely available to assist and how the team works. Chat with the management team about their vision for the community and how they are achieving their strategic goals.
  • Meals and dining. The dining experience is another key element to assess quality of resident life. Be sure to discuss meal choices, the availability of meals and snacks throughout the day. Find out if they are nutritionally balanced and the policies on family and friends dining with their loved ones. Also, ask what the procedure is if a resident wants to eat in their apartment or is unable to join in the communal space.
  • Personal care and assisted living services. The extent and organization of the services offered is unique to each, so it’s vital that you talk about exactly what they can and cannot provide. Scalable services, both medical and activities of daily living, are good options, as it means your loved one can stay long-term, even if their needs escalate as they age.
  • Move out criteria. Some assisted living communities are not equipped to manage certain health conditions or other issues, which may mean that you or your loved one would have to move out under certain circumstances. This can be very challenging and confusing for any resident, so be sure that you know their specific move out criteria before you sign up.
  • Follow your instincts. Take the time to envision yourself or your loved one living day-to-day in the community. Consider some important questions. Would you feel comfortable and at home there? Would you feel happy to visit loved ones there? Or as a resident;  welcome visitors? Would it give you peace of mind? You know yourself and your loved one better than anyone, after all!

A Warm and Welcoming Community – Assisted Living Gloucester County 

Pitman is an assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ, offering high quality, scalable assisted living services in a comfortable, well-supported and beautiful environment. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, we also offer rehabilitation, access to therapists, hospice care, respite care and memory care and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about our assisted living community, please visit our website at contact us today or book a personal tour.

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A Guide to Thyroid Diseases and Health Issues

Checking the Lymph Nodes

It’s Thyroid Awareness Month, and our in home senior care team is bringing you these insights to help raise awareness of thyroid health conditions and how they affect seniors. By helping people recognize symptoms and receive treatment for these conditions, we hope more seniors can truly enjoy their Golden Years!

What is the Thyroid? 

This is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. Although it’s small, it has a huge role to play in the human body, releasing hormones that control your metabolism – essentially controlling the way each cell and organ uses energy.

It helps regulate hundreds of critical functions, including:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength and control
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Digestive functions
  • Mood
  • Bone maintenance
  • And much more

Because it affects so many different systems, it can be very difficult to link different (seemingly unrelated) symptoms to a thyroid health condition. Other indicators that you may be at risk include a family history of thyroid conditions, certain medical conditions like Graves or Plummer’s disease, and iodine deficiency.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms 

Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid produces too much hormone, causing many of your body’s systems to speed up. You may only experience some of the following symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including sudden weight loss, anxiety or jitteriness, tremors in hands or fingers, irregular or pounding heartbeat, sweating, increased appetite, increased body heat, and muscle weakness. It can also cause your thyroid gland to become enlarged.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms 

This is when the hormone output of the thyroid drops below ideal levels, often causing the body’s systems to slow. Symptoms can include fatigue, lack of energy, feeling cold, dry skin, high cholesterol, brittle hair and nails, unexplained weight gain, muscle weakness and aches, and depression.

Treatment for Thyroid Conditions 

Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication or radioactive iodine to slow hormone production, while hypothyroidism is treated by taking a synthetic version of the hormone produced by your thyroid to bring you up to healthy levels. It’s a fairly simple treatment that can make an incredible difference in your health and quality of life – all it takes is a blood test to diagnose.

Companionship, Skilled Nursing and Respite Care from In Home Senior Care Specialists 

At United Methodist Communities in New Jersey, we understand the challenges of providing expert medical care and companionship to seniors while encouraging a full and independent life, which is why we’ve developed our HomeWorks program.

Through this senior home care program, trained staff can assist seniors and their families through comprehensive in home care. Each care plan is designed around the client’s needs, filling in with necessary assistance while allowing your loved one to remain in the comfort of their home.

For more information on our seniors home care services, please contact us today or visit our website at

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