How is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?


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Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the USA, with 5.7 million Americans living with the condition according to the latest Alzheimer’s Association research. Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is critical to managing the health of a patient and could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical care and costs.

So, how is this disease diagnosed? Here are some insights from the assisted living team in Camden County, NJ.

6 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease 

The first step in reaching an accurate diagnosis is for seniors and their families to be aware of the early symptoms of the condition, and to approach their medical practitioner with their concerns if the following is noticed:

  1. Difficulty remembering events.
  2. Social withdrawal, changes in mood and depression.
  3. Visual or spatial difficulties, misplacing items, and difficulty driving.
  4. Confusion regarding where they are, why they are in a specific location, or the passage of time.
  5. Difficulty finding the correct word or phrase to express themselves.
  6. Inability or difficulty in finishing daily tasks, solving problems, or making plans.

How Doctors Reach a Diagnosis for Alzheimer’s Disease 

This is a fairly complex process, as the doctor has to work through various tests and data to ensure an accurate diagnosis. This is because these symptoms may be the result of other medical conditions.

A doctor, neurologist or geriatrician will evaluate the patient’s:

  • Medical history, medication history and the symptoms being experienced. This is especially important if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia conditions.
  • Mood and personality changes, if any.
  • Memory and thinking abilities.
  • Difficulties in daily life and routines, if any.
  • Causes of the symptoms to see if they are linked to other conditions, medication interactions and other issues.

The doctor may then order tests to rule out other conditions or health issues, brain-imaging tests or even memory testing. A physical health examination will also be performed.

It’s understandable that people are reluctant to see their doctor if they experience worrying symptoms, but in reality, an early diagnosis gives you the best chance to manage your condition. It is also important to rule out other health conditions with similar symptoms, many of which are very treatable (including vitamin B-12 deficiencies and thyroid disorders) to ensure you get the right treatment.

Scalable Assisted Living in a Caring, Independent Assisted Living Community 

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 on delivering essential resources to 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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A Day in the Life of a Home Health Aide

Senior man and female carer enjoying coffee at home

The in-home senior care industry is booming and many people looking for rewarding careers in caregiving are considering becoming home health aides. But what is this role really all about? What could you expect on a typical day? Is it the right fit for you? Our senior independent home care specialists offer some insight that may help you determine the answers.

Typical Duties as a In Home Senior Care Provider 

As a home health aide for seniors, you’ll be assisting older adults with a wide range of daily activities. This type of care is tailored to the specific needs of the individual you’re caring for, so they may cover a wide range of activities, including:

  • Light housekeeping such as washing dishes, doing laundry, etc. Please note, however, that this role does not include performing heavy housework.
  • Organizing a client’s schedule (arranging doctors’ appointments, etc.).
  • Grocery shopping and meal preparation.
  • Arranging transportation for errands and appointments.
  • Personal hygiene (bathing, dressing and toileting, etc.).
  • Assistance with ambulation and feeding.
  • Communicating with family members about care and care requirements.
  • Providing companionship.

The extent to which a client requires these services depends on their health condition and specific needs.

Work Hours and Environment 

Work will primarily take place in the client’s home and the hours are determined by the tailored care they receive, including:

  • Respite care – Assisting family caregivers on a temporary basis, providing post-hospitalization care, etc.
  • Part-time care – Caregiving on a regular basis for a set number of hours per day or days per week.
  • Live-in care – Providing non-medical care on a full-time basis to seniors as an alternative to moving into assisted living communities.

United Methodist Communities Senior Independent Home Care – Where Compassion is Part of the Job 

Whether you need part-time residential in home senior care in NJ or need someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one on a more permanent basis, our HomeWorks program is here to help. Our team is dedicated to playing a positive and compassionate role in the lives of seniors and are trained and selected for their ability to enhance the security, wellbeing and state-of-mind. Our staff are fully certified in New Jersey and have extensive senior care training and experience, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

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

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Celebrating the Festive Season with Your Loved One in Hospice

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The holiday season can be especially difficult for families with a loved one in hospice, making a traditional time of celebration touched with sadness. However, there are still many ways — and reasons — to feel joy through the festive season.

Your Hospice Team is there to Help You Celebrate 

The central focus for hospice communities and their services is the comfort and wellbeing of their patients, and this makes the holiday season especially important to us. Our team is here to provide support to families as well as loved ones, and if you need some help bringing the spirit of the season to life, we’re here for that too! Here are some insights from the team at our hospice in South Jersey:

  • Bring the festive season to your loved one. Travel can be difficult, if not impossible for hospice residents, but that’s no reason not to miss out on a family occasion. Decorate your loved one’s room, bring in their favorite foods and home comforts and spend time together over your favorite holiday treats.
  • Focus on calm celebration to avoid overstimulation. A regular celebration is a lot for anyone to handle, and could very well be too much for your loved one to take in. This is especially true for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Rather than overturning their daily routine, try to incorporate special moments into their regular day. This will help make the time more enjoyable and rewarding for your loved one.
  • Don’t focus on a single day. Hospice patients experience both good and bad days, so don’t plan all your festivities for a single day or event. Instead, phone ahead and find out how your loved one is doing, then plan your day around the feedback you get.
    On a good day, it’s great to get the kids to come with and put up decorations, to plan a lunch or small outing — it takes a bit more preparation, but it’s worth it. Communicate with staff about visitors and plans that you have so that they can help out.
  • Create a special moment. The holidays are bittersweet for families whose loved ones are terminal, but it does make this time even more special in many ways. As sad as it may be that this could be their last holiday with you, it’s a good opportunity to make it truly special. Take lots of photos, build a scrapbook and take the time to slow down and spend quality time together. These are wonderful moments for meaningful traditions, so make the most of them.

Our Hospice in South Jersey is Here to Make the Holidays Special 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges. It focuses 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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6 Christmas Activities Your Whole Family Will Love

Grandparents with children looking Christmas photos on cell phone

Want your festive season to be filled with fun for every member of your family? The team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County has put together a list of events happening in December 2018 everyone will love, young and old:

  1. Santa Parade and Christmas in the Park. Christmas in Pitman! Beginning Nov. 24, Santa comes to Pitman in the Santa Parade. Then each Thursday-Saturday, visit Santa in his house and take an old fashioned trolley ride throughout town and enjoy all the sights and sounds of Christmas each weekend, leading up to Christmas.
  2. Downtown Haddonfield Candlelight Shopping. From November 23, 2018 through December 21, 2018 enjoy candlelight shopping in Haddonfield, featuring in-store events, unique gift ideas, horse-drawn carriage rides and live holiday entertainment every Friday in the Downtown.
  3. Christmas shows at the Strand Theatre. Located in Lakewood, this theatre puts on a range of productions over the Christmas season, from the traditional Nutcracker performed by the Atlantic City Ballet and Garden State Philharmonic, to holiday shows, carols and concerts.
  4. The Nutcracker at The Kendall Main Stage Theater. The Roxey Ballet, the award-winning professional dance company, is proud to present its annual holiday classic: Audiences can also expect a visit from Santa and his jolly friends during the performance! The Kendall Main Stage Theater is in Ewing, NJ. Follow this link for dates, times, and ticket details:
  5. Christmas Village in Philadelphia. Located in Love Park from Thanksgiving through Christmas Eve, Christmas Village will feature over 80 vendors selling authentic European food, ornaments, and arts & crafts from all over the world!
  6. The Christmas Spectacular. Starring the Radio City Rockettes, this Broadway show is a festive season tradition that’s being happening for over 75 years! With something for every age, this singing, dancing show is sure to wow any audience. Get ready for dazzling costumes, precision choreography and special effects!

Looking for Assisted Living Gloucester County That Prioritizes Quality of Life? Speak to Our Team Today 

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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Making Home a Safer Place for Elderly Parents

Female Neighbor Helping Senior Woman Change Lightbulb In Lamp

One of the leading concerns for family members of elderly parents is that their loved ones will suffer a fall while at home. Although reduced reflexes and becoming less steady while standing are a normal part of aging, it does increase the risk of falls. This poses a very serious issue for seniors, as falls are the number one reason seniors visit the emergency room and the leading cause of hip fractures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UMC’s trained home health aides can assess the fall risks inside the home and correct as many as they can. They may also develop a list of recommended modifications for the home, if necessary. Here are just a few of the most common precautions on our checklist:

  • Get rid of all tripping hazards. Things that may never present a tripping hazard to a young person can easily cause a fall in older adults. Remove all rugs and throw carpets from rooms and passageways, or secure them firmly to the floor with double-sided tape. Remove all clutter from floors and stairways, including stacks of books and magazines, blankets and even decorative items. Make sure all wires and cords are removed from walkways, repositioned and secured against walls.
  • Rethink the furniture floor plan. Evaluate the furniture in each room and decide whether it should be repositioned, removed or replaced. Make sure it is positioned to keep primary traffic areas clear and easy to navigate (especially important for wheelchairs, walkers and walking sticks). Cupboards and storage should be easy to access, with everyday items within easy reach and with easy to operate handles. Furniture should sit solidly on the floor and not present a hazard if someone grabs onto it.
  • Update the bathroom. Low-profile non-slip mats are ideal for placing over tiles that can become slippery, and should be positioned by the bath, shower, basin, and toilet. Non-slip strips can also be affixed to the inside of the tub itself. Grab-bars can be installed to make getting into and out of the tub easier. Grab-bars, also highly recommended in the shower and by the toilet, can be easily installed by a plumber or handyman. For seniors with more severe mobility issues, a transfer bench and a hand-held shower are important, yet small investments that make bathing a whole lot safer.
  • Check the lighting. Aging affects our ability to see at night, so bright lighting throughout the house is essential, especially by stairs, hallways, main bathroom and in the master bedroom. Touch lights are also a great idea if light switches are located outside of easy reach when entering a room, and you can also install automatic nightlights in the hallway to assist your parents if they wake up late at night.
  • Ask for help. Even with all these thoughtful changes, there may come a time when your parents simply cannot keep up with their home or self-care on their own. Keep in touch with them about how they are coping and remember that help is always close by. If you want to try a home health aide even for a few hours per week, UMC HomeWorks offers care and services for older adults living at-home, assisting with everything from daily tasks, bathing and cooking, to transport, companionship and health care assistance, all in the comfort of their home.

Setting the Standard for Senior Home Care Services – One of the Leading Home Care Agencies in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities, one of New Jersey’s leading home care agencies, we strive for quality senior home care services, including in at-home care for the elderly and respite care through HomeWorks. This program assists the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, safety and independence. In addition to healthcare and daily homecare, we also offer pastoral care for spiritual and emotional support in the home.

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

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How Virtual Reality Therapy is Helping Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

Older patient using virtual reality glasses

Virtual Reality (VR) and the tech industry are often regarded as a young person’s domain, but the reality says otherwise. VR technology is proving a wonderful and therapeutic resource for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia conditions!

Here are some insights about this breakthrough therapy, from the team at our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey.

As caregivers and family members are all too aware, dementia conditions cause people to lose connection with their lives. From confusion and memory loss to aggression and disorientation, they struggle to relate to the reality around them, especially as the condition progresses.

However, this technology creates a virtual world — one tailored to the specific needs of Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. Developed in a partnership between gaming studio, Opaque Media and Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria (a non-profit), this technology offers a richly detailed, beautiful, soothing and fully interactive world.

Virtual Reality as Sensory Therapy 

While many fantastic therapies are available for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, VR offers something new. Using motion-sensing cameras and powerful gaming engines, it becomes a truly immersive sensory therapy.

Focused on positive, soothing imagery, patients can observe and interact with butterflies and other aspects of a peaceful, nature-rich world. While the application of this technology is still new, therapists from Alzheimer’s Australia Victoria report people became more engaged, more interactive and more communicative — even in cases in which they were previously non-verbal.

With the right support, this technology can advance further, with ideas focusing on tailored media design to help trigger memories, relive personal events and engage with loved ones. By all reports, this kind of therapy is poised to be a functional and practical way of providing critical emotional support to patients as well as their loved ones, fighting isolation and enabling the connections so critical to quality of life.

Become Part of the Community at Our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey 

Bristol Glen, a CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community) and assisted living community based in Sussex County, aims to provide seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up time to enjoy life.

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

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Is Assisted Living Tax Deductible?

The next numbers are as follows

As an assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, our team often gets asked about the cost of assisted living. With the cost of senior care services on the rise, it’s more important than ever that families know what financial options are available to ensure their loved one gets the best possible care, affordably. One way to help achieve this is through tax deductions for assisted living.

In fact, you may be able to deduct a portion of what you pay for assisted living costs. Medical expenses (including some long-term care expenses) are deductible if they exceed 10% of your gross income in 2019.

What Are the Qualifying Criteria for Assisted Living Tax Deductions? 

In order for assisted living expenses to be tax deductible, the resident has to be considered “chronically ill.” This means that they cannot perform two or more activities of daily living (eating, toileting, transportation, bathing and dressing, etc.) or they require supervision due to a cognitive impairment (such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or outcome of traumatic brain injury, etc.).

Assisted living services also have to be provided according to a plan of care prescribed by a licensed healthcare provider. This requires a doctor, nurse or social worker to prepare a plan outlining the specific services your loved one needs. Often, this can be done through the assisted living community itself.

While tax deductions usually apply to the assisted living services themselves and not room and board, these can also be included if it is part of the care plan. This often applies to chronically ill residents and residents who are there for medical care.

In the event that your loved one is not a chronically ill resident, they may still deduct a portion of their expenses not related to medical care, such as initiation fees or entrance fees.

If you are an adult child paying for your parent’s assisted living, you are also able to deduct these expenses providing that they meet the criteria above and that you cover more than half of these expenses in the applicable tax year. If you cover between 10 and 50% of these expenses, you can still qualify for a deduction if you contribute according to a Multiple Support Agreement.

This agreement must be signed between all contributing family members and the total contribution must be for more than 50% of your loved one’s expenses. In these agreements, each person will qualify for the deduction.

Visit Our Assisted Living Community in Camden County, NJ and Experience True Independent Living for Seniors 

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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