How to Spend Time with Your Elderly Parents when Visiting in The Winter

Have you been wondering how to entertain your elderly parents when visiting in the winter? Enduring the long, dark days of the season can get frustrating, but a visit from loved ones is a pleasure they always look forward to. What can you do indoors during that time? Let’s discuss a few activities to enjoy together in assisted living, compiled by our team of activity directors at United Methodist Communities.  

Attend a Class or Activity at the Community with Them     

If your parents are new to the community, they’ve likely shared photos of their children and grandchildren with their new neighbors and even told an anecdote or two. Attending a class or activity during the visit with your elderly parents is a great way to see who they socialize with, and experience a bit of their daily life. 

Staying active in the winter is especially important for older adults. Even if your visit falls during scheduled workout time, they should still be encouraged to attend their exercise classes. Whether resistance training, tai chi, aerobics, or yoga, go with them where possible and make sure you dress for the occasion. They might even surprise you by taking you to a fast-paced Zumba class!

Window Bird Watching  

Birdwatching is a family activity that can be practiced anywhere, during any season – even in winter. Although many of New Jersey’s summer birds fly south in the winter, there are year-round residents and even birds that migrate to NJ from up north. If the community where your elderly parents are staying is near open water or along the coast, you might see tundra swans, loons, bufflehead ducks or northern gannets. 

Year-round bird species you can search for through the window when visiting your parents include American goldfinches, titmice, woodpeckers, cardinals, chickadees, blue jays, sparrows, and many other species of finches. And although not everyone loves squirrels, they can be very entertaining to watch through the window on a cold winter’s day.

Arts and Crafts Day    

Do you remember doing arts and crafts as a child? Why not have an arts and crafts day when visiting your senior parents in the winter, and leave something behind that will make them smile when you are not there? Paint rocks with them, do scrapbooking, or work on a memory quilt together.     

Do you have an elderly relative with dementia? The Alzheimer’s Association states art projects create a sense of accomplishment and allow for self-expression. Their tips for planning an art project for an adult with middle to late-stage Alzheimer’s are:  

  • Keep the project on an adult level
  • Build conversation into the project
  • Help the person begin the activity
  • Use safe materials
  • Allow plenty of time to complete

A Simple Board Game or Movie as a Family  

Other than sports, nothing brings out everybody’s competitive spirit more than board games. When you visit your parents, and the debate about the latest hockey scores comes to no conclusion because everybody disagrees, it might be time to sit down for a simple board game. If the grandkids are small, chutes and ladders can be fun. Monopoly, card games or chess also makes for a wonderful visit.  

Memory loss is one of the more recognizable signs of dementia. When visiting a parent or elderly family member with dementia, consider taking an old home movie to watch with them. They might not remember the occasion, but it is still something you shared together as a family. 

Just Be Together

When you are not sure how to entertain elderly parents, sometimes just being together is enough. Many older adults develop hearing problems or become sensitive to noise and might feel overwhelmed by board games and other activities. Quiet things to do when visiting in the winter are watching the snow fall or sitting together enjoying a cup of hot chocolate. After all, being together, and spending time with each other, is all that matters.

For more information about our senior living communities in NJ, please visit our website. If you have any questions about the activities or classes we offer, contact our team today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Should your Aging Parents Move into Your Home?

This is a question many of us will contemplate at some point in our lives. According to a study by AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, nearly 17% of adults living in the U.S. care for someone 50 or older. The benefits and hardships of moving your aging parents in with you drive many to consider alternate solutions, including in-home care or assisted living. You may come to find these solutions preferable for you or your parents.

What Kind of Care Does Your Loved One Need?

This is probably the biggest and most important question because no matter how badly you want to be the one to take care of your loved one doesn’t mean you will have the resources to do so. If your parents are healthy, independent, and require very little care, moving them into your home can be an easy solution. They will have the opportunity to bond and be more involved with their family, which is a priceless opportunity. However, it’s also important to consider how your loved one will spend their time if everyone is gone from the house for over 8 hours a day. They might feel just as lonely as they did in their own home. In that case, a local senior living community might be a nice option that allows them to socialize freely and attend activities while still receiving any care they may need.

If your loved one needs a higher care level and you’re considering moving them into your home, you will need a home health aide to help you manage their care. Even if you work from home, you’ll still need help from time to time. If this is the path you and your family choose, UMC at Homeworks can help you find the perfect caregiver to assist your loved one at home. If in-home assistance feels a little too overwhelming with working full time and taking care of your children, a senior living community that offers assisted living, nursing care, and memory care might be a better choice for your family. Your loved one will still have access to all the activities and socialization they want, but they will be able to receive a higher level of care that can be adjusted as their needs change.

What Level of Care Can You Provide?

When considering a big decision like this, you must be realistic about what care you can provide for your loved one. If you’re working full time, it’s going to be really difficult for you to provide the level of care your loved one needs. Even if your loved one doesn’t require a lot of care at the moment, they might in the future. It’s also important to consider what they will be able to do while you’re away working. Will you need a home health aide? Are you able to get up with them in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom? Are you constantly running around due to a crazy schedule?

Consider Your Relationship With Your Parent

Of course you love your parents, and you want to do anything to help them, but it is important to consider how you’re relationship might change if they move in with you. This arrangement can work incredibly well for some families, and everyone gets along great and is happy to be together. For other families, it can cause a lot of tension and actually make the home a place of stress for both you and your parents. To be clear, if the latter is the case, it’s not due to a lack of love. Some families just get along better with a little bit of distance, and that is nothing to feel shameful about. Don’t feel pressured to move your senior parents in because it’s the “right” thing to do. There is no one right thing, only what works best for you and your family.

UMC at The Shores

If moving your loved one into your home doesn’t work for your family, for whatever reason, a senior living community like UMC at The Shores is there to help. The Shores offers independent lifestyles with support, assisted living, specialized memory care, and long-term care. All services are tailored to each individual’s needs and can be adjusted as their circumstances change. If moving your loved one into your home feels like the right option for your family, but you think you might need some help, UMC Homeworks can help you find the perfect person to help your loved one when you can’t be there.

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New Year, New You!

Two multi-ethnic women sitting at a table indoors, painting on small canvases. Their spouses stand beside them, inspecting their masterpieces. The woman with white hair is a senior in her 70s. Her friend is a mature African-American woman in her 50s. The focus is on the senior couple in the foreground.

It is never too late to pick up a new hobby, learn a new skill or start a new routine. And what better time to begin than in the New Year? If you’re looking for ideas, our associates from UMC at Pitman have put together the top 5 healthy New Year’s resolutions for older adults! The best part? They’re easy to incorporate into anyone’s daily routine.

#1. Keep an optimistic mindset. What many people don’t realize is that happiness is a choice. Choosing happiness and staying positive is a conscious decision one has to make every day, despite what may be happening around them. It’s easier some days than others, but it’s crucial for everyone’s mental and physical health. A positive outlook has been linked to many benefits, like reduced risk for memory loss or a chronic health condition and quicker recovery time from illness or injuries. If you need a little help choosing positivity each day, try making a gratitude list each morning of everything you’re grateful to have in your life. It starts your day off on the right track.

#2. Eat with purpose. Life is too short to eat alone or eat unhealthily. Let’s tackle this predicament one at a time, though, starting with sharing meals. Try to share a meal with a friend or family member whenever possible – bonding over food is a great way to stay connected. Having lunch or dinner with a friend is even easier when you reside in an independent lifestyle community that has a dining room for all residents to frequent. Next, eat food that tastes good and is good for you. UMC at Pitman has culinary-trained chefs on site that can provide nutrient-rich meals three times a day for residents that contain everything you need to stay healthy. If you don’t live in a community setting, meal delivery services like Home Chef can drop off ready-made meals that are full of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.

#3. Learn something new. Did you know that learning a new language or skill like painting can keep dementia at bay? Any activity that involves hand-eye coordination has been linked to improving muscle memory. These types of activities should also be easy enough to incorporate into your daily routine if it is something you are passionate about. If you truly enjoy the new activity, you’re more likely to stick to it.

#4. Connect with family and friends more often. Keeping up with family and making new friends benefits everyone, especially older adults. Seniors who prioritize connecting with others have actually been proven to have stronger cognitive abilities and have a lower risk of developing depression and other chronic health conditions. Now that we live in the digital age keeping in touch is even easier. If you can’t meet in person, meet on Zoom or Facetime each week!

#5. Stay active, even for just 15-30 minutes a day. It’s important to stick to attainable resolutions – especially in the world of physical fitness. Finding something easy to incorporate into your already established daily routine is the key. For example, low-impact yoga can be done in the comfort of your own assisted living apartment and strengthens muscles, improves flexibility, and promotes endurance. Or you can take a brisk walk around the local community. At Pitman, we have designated walking trails that our residents frequent almost daily – depending on weather conditions.

Physical activities for seniors at Pitman

At UMC at Pitman, we’re more than happy to keep our residents accountable for their New Year’s resolutions. If you or a loved one would like to improve their fitness level this year, our dedicated team in Pitman is here to help. We have a variety of exercise classes to accommodate each resident’s mobility, such as group yoga, meditation, and dancing – just to name a few. There is always a trained associate supervising each class and can assist or modify each exercise to ensure every resident’s safety while tackling their new fitness venture.

To find out more about how we’re keeping seniors active in Gloucester County, please call us today or visit our website at:

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Senior Skin Care: Common Issues and How to Treat Them

Winter is here, which means dry skin is, too… ugh. It may not seem like a big deal, but when your skin goes untreated, not-so-pleasant issues can pop up. As we age, our skin naturally loses fat, elasticity, and moisture – making it more susceptible to skin infections. In this article, we will address a few of the most common skin problems for seniors and how to best treat them.

Easy bruising

Even the most minor scrape could cause a serious-looking bruise for older adults. This propensity for injury is due to the natural loss of fat in the skin as we age. With less fat, there is less cushion to “soften the blow” of impact. Seniors who take blood thinners or over-the-counter pain medications are also at a higher risk of bruising more easily.

Treatment for bruises:

  • Apply a cold compress:20 minutes on the bruise, followed by 20 minutes off. Rinse and repeat this process as necessary. If the bruised area is on the leg or foot, keep it elevated.
  • Apply a vitamin-rich skin cream like Dermaka to the bruised area.

Age spots

After years and years of sun exposure, some evidence of that is sure to show up on our skin. Unfortunately, it is not always in the form of a nice summer tan. Flat tan or dark brown spots typically begin to pop up in the places most exposed to the sun, like the face, arms, and back of the hands. Luckily, age spots are harmless for the most part, but here is what you should do if you have some:

Treatment for age spots:

  • Get age spots checked out by a dermatologist to ensure they are just age spots and not something more serious like skin cancer.
  • Make a habit of wearing sunscreen with at least 30 SPF to prevent more age spots from popping up. Many facial moisturizers now include SPF, so try to use one daily.

Dry, itchy skin

Did you know that more than half of seniors have dry skin? As we mentioned earlier, this has a lot to do with the natural loss of moisture that comes with aging.Cold, winter weather conditions often exacerbate dryness. Severe dryness is also a side effect of medications that treat some chronic health conditions in older adults, like diabetes and kidney disease. Depending on the root reason for your dry, itchy skin, there are fortunately ways to treat it.

Treatment of dry/itchy skin:

  • Use a moisturizing cream daily. We recommend CeraVe or Cetaphil.
  • Make a habit of drinking more water throughout the day.
  • Run a humidifier while you sleep.
  • Use a moisturizing soap in the shower or bath instead of a deodorizing soap.
  • If symptoms do not subside, see a doctor, as this could be a sign of something more serious like thyroid or liver disease.

Treating seniors at our assisted living community in Camden County

Our associates at United Methodist Communities at Collingswood understand how susceptible seniors could be to skin issues and keep an extra eye on them during the harsh winter months. Checking our senior residents for skin conditions and treating them falls into our personal care services in assisted living. After working with older adults for many years, our associates can detect common senior skin conditions early and recommend the best treatment based on each resident’s specific medical history and needs.

For more information about our senior support services in Camden County, call us today or visit our website at:

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Thyroid Awareness for Seniors

Thyroid-related illnesses are much more common in seniors than most people realize. The symptoms can range from “fluttering of the heart” to loss of strength in legs and difficulty swallowing with a dry cough and itchy skin. To the untrained eye, most wouldn’t think any of these symptoms would be thyroid related, but that’s why it’s very important to report any symptoms to your primary care doctor so they can get a full picture of your health.


Hyperthyroidism is the overproduction of the thyroid hormone, also known as an overactive thyroid. That can cause many symptoms, such as weight loss, hand tremors, muscle weakness and rapid or irregular heartbeat, and thinning and brittle hair. However, these symptoms can be much more subtle in seniors and are often overlooked due to age. A senior might only feel a fluttering heart while going up the stairs or develop depression with a slight hand tremor. Additional symptoms could be increased sweating, sleep problems, and increased hunger, just to name a few. Hyperthyroidism is often initially misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s and other ailments, but it is much easier to treat and has a great prognosis.


Hyperthyroidism is often treated with antithyroid drugs and radioactive iodine. Surgery is rarely ever recommended for older patients, due to increased risks with an operation. Doctors will monitor medications until thyroid function has become normal, and will continue to monitor them to make sure the thyroid is functioning properly. If you experience any of these symptoms, we encourage you to speak to your primary care doctor. These symptoms are not considered normal regardless of your age and should be treated.


Also known as an underactive thyroid, hypothyroidism is when your thyroid is not producing enough of the thyroid hormone. This condition is incredibly common in older adults, with 1 in 4 patients in a senior living community suspected of having undiagnosed hyperthyroidism. Memory loss and decreased cognitive functioning are symptoms of hypothyroidism that can often be overlooked due to age. Additional symptoms include weight gain, tiredness, dry skin, and constipation although these symptoms might not be present in everyone.

Underactive Thyroid Treatment for Seniors

If you have an underactive thyroid, you will have to substitute your natural thyroid hormones with a pure synthetic thyroid hormone like thyroxine (L-T4). It will replace what your thyroid isn’t providing, and your body won’t know the difference. When testing to confirm hypothyroidism, doctors will often take bloodwork over three to four months to confirm. Treatment often starts at a low dose and slowly increases, allowing your heart and central nervous system to adjust to the increased hormone levels. The patient and family should be aware that shortness of breath, confusion, and change in sleep habits may occur, and if they do, to notify the prescribing physician right away.

Thyroid disorders don’t have an age limit, and hypothyroidism is actually more common in older adults. It’s more difficult to diagnose because symptoms can be more subtle and may also be disregarded or confused with other age-related illnesses. As a patient, it is important to advocate for yourself, especially if you have a family history of thyroid issues.

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Memory Care Myths

Everyone has moments they forget something, but memory care becomes a necessity when forgetfulness starts impacting one’s quality of life and safety. Does your loved one forget the names and faces of people they know? Did they leave the stove on? Usually proud of their appearance, have you noticed that your mom is now disinterested in bathing, grooming, and getting dressed up? These might be signs of dementia-related memory loss.    

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is “a general term for symptoms like decline in memory, reasoning or other thinking skills.”  Although it is not a normal part of aging, this decline is prevalent in adults 65 years and older and can be caused by Alzheimer’s, one of the most common types of dementia. As Alzheimer’s advances, people can become disoriented and confused, while experiencing behavior changes. Eventually, walking, speaking, and even swallowing will become difficult for them. 

All these changes are as traumatic for the person experiencing them, as they are for the loved ones noticing the changes. It can be stressful for everyone, and this is where memory care can help. It gives support where needed, but promotes independence and improves quality of life by encouraging the individual to engage in the tasks and activities they can still perform and enjoy.      

At United Methodist Communities, our Alzheimer’s and dementia memory care service is called Tapestries. Every life is like a beautiful tapestry that tells a story, and we feel privileged to share the lives of our residents and their families. We find there are memory care myths and would like to ease the concerns of loved ones, while sharing more about Tapestries Memory Care.  

Top Five Memory Care Myths    

Thousands of older adults live in assisted living communities where they socialize with their peers, and participate in activities they enjoy, with easy access to medical care and other services. This same lifestyle is offered to people in memory care, but there continue to be negative perceptions about it. Let’s look at the top five memory care myths.

  • Removes Independence

The core of the Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations is a person-centered focus, where a person’s independence is supported by a “doing with” rather than a “doing for” caring relationship. Tapestries received an Alzheimer’s Association Certificate of Recognition, for incorporating specific recommendations in our associate training, including person-centered care.

  • Not Engaging 

In Tapestries, we respect the preferences of each resident. They can choose to engage in activities independently, one-to-one, in small groups, or in large groups, depending on their personality and needs.

  • Impersonal Cookie Cutter Approach

Every person with dementia is unique, and in Tapestries, we focus on their strengths rather than their frailties and medical complexities. The life patterns of residents are respected, so for example, they sleep when tired and wake when refreshed. Each resident sets their own schedule. There is no “one-size-fits-all” program here.

  • I Can Take Care of My Loved One Best

In a report by the Alzheimer’s Association, their research shows that as a person with dementia’s symptoms worsens, family caregivers experience increased emotional and financial stress, as well as health problems. With Tapestries Memory Care, you can return to being a caring family member rather than a sole caregiver suffering from burnout 

  • Memory Care Communities Are Institution-Like Settings

Tapestries residences are part of Assisted Living neighborhoods. Each person has a one-bedroom apartment in a secure residence where they share a fireplace, dining room, living room, country kitchen, common open spaces, and a large activity area with a group of fellow residents.

What Our Memory Care Actually Is     

Did you know that you can look at the floor plans of the residences at our Tapestries Memory Care communities online? We follow a social/comfort model where we provide care for a broad spectrum of needs, rather than a medical model. It encourages residents to live in a homelike, nurturing environment where they can have meaningful experiences every day.  

To enhance security and maximize safety, we have nurse call and wander management systems that keep residents safe, but independent. At Tapestries, we have LETS (Life Enrichment Team Specialists) to care for various neurocognitive disorders and related dementias. They become familiar with each resident’s history, culture, routines and preferences, to anticipate a resident’s needs when necessary. We let people engage in things that make sense to them and not what others prescribe.  

Do you want to schedule a personal tour of one of the four full-service assisted living locations where Tapestries Memory Care is offered? Do you have questions about memory care at United Methodist Communities in NJ? For more information and peace of mind, please contact our team today or visit us at:

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Is Mom or Dad Refusing Help?

It can be tough for mom or dad to come to terms with needing help as they age, especially if they have been independent for most of their lives. However, if you feel it’s a matter of safety, then it is absolutely time to broach the subject of assistance with mom or dad. If you are currently in this predicament, fortunately, there are some ways to navigate the situation. Our team of trusted associates at our assisted living community in Gloucester County have put together some sound advice to follow when your senior parents are flat-out refusing help.

Find the balance between patience and persistence

Unfortunately, mom or dad’s acceptance of the situation will not happen overnight. If you are on the receiving end of outrage or sobbing, take a temporary step back. Patience is key. Give your loved one enough time to decompress, and then take a different approach. You have to keep at it if their safety is at risk. Remind them that it’s better to find assistance before a serious accident, like a fall, happens.

Find a way to relieve stress

As you’ve probably gathered, this process of talking mom or dad into assisted living requires patience (tons of it). If you are not accustomed to having a lot of patience, this process can quickly become stressful. That’s why finding a healthy outlet for stress relief is essential. Consider joining a senior caregiver support network, taking a weekly yoga class, or watching a new hit show on Netflix. Having an outlet to escape will keep your head clear and focused on what’s important – getting mom or dad the help they need.

Listen to their concerns about assisted living

Once your persistent patience has paid off, and your senior parent is more willing to discuss assisted living in a community like UMC at Pitman, make sure you really listen to their concerns. Even more important, make sure they feel heard and discuss solutions to ease those concerns where possible. If they’re scared of not fitting in, encourage them to tour the community with you! If they’re concerned about living life their own way, remind them that many independent lifestyle communities like UMC at Pitman do not put their residents on “one-size-fits-all” schedules. Mom or dad is still in the driver’s seat of their own life. They could participate as much or as little with the community, but we think they’ll want to be very involved after seeing all the fun that takes place at Pitman! With daily activity classes like arts and crafts, group movement classes like chair yoga, and special seasonal events featuring live entertainment, it’s almost impossible not to jump right in and form new bonds within our welcoming senior community.

Assisted living community for seniors in Gloucester County

At our assisted living community in Pitman, highly trained associates are available each day to care for our senior residents and make a positive impact in their lives. They will be there to ease any first-day jitters and encourage your loved one to get involved with community life at a level they feel comfortable with. After some time, we’re confident your loved one will find Pitman to feel just like home.

To find out more about our assisted living services for seniors in Pitman NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at:

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Let’s Get Physical in the New Year!

Hands down, physical therapy is the best New Year’s resolution seniors could make for themselves. Older adults who regularly go to physical therapy move more easily, reduce pain from other health conditions, and, most importantly – retain their independence for longer. If you or a loved one is interested in physical therapy, our senior rehab specialists in Camden County have put together a list of the benefits and why it’s so important for older adults to take advantage in the New Year.

Improve balance and motion. Falling is usually the catalyst that leads to mobility loss in seniors. Most often, falls happen to older adults who do not have good balance, core strength, or quick reflexes. This means seniors should prioritize strengthening these areas through physical therapy to avoid trips to the emergency room, surgeries, and long recoveries. Physical therapy teaches seniors new ways to strengthen their bodies, improve their range of motion, and react more quickly to unexpected movements.

Quicker recovery from surgery or illness. Although resting is essential after a major surgery or illness, it will delay recovery without combining physical therapy. With the help of experienced physical therapists, seniors can heal much quicker and with better results than those who just try to rest it off.

Manage health conditions more easily. Chronic health conditions common in older adults, like arthritis, can benefit from physical therapy. For those who may not be familiar, seniors who suffer from arthritis often have recurring joint pain, making it more difficult sometimes to complete daily tasks. However, seniors who go to physical therapy can strengthen their joints and relieve some of the pain that comes with arthritis. PT can also help manage symptoms of other health conditions, including osteoporosis, diabetes, stroke recovery, and multiple sclerosis.

Improve exercise routine. Exercise is an excellent New Year’s resolution for anyone, especially older adults. It is one of the best ways seniors can retain independence, strength, and mobility if they exercise correctly. Trying out a new exercise routine could result in unsafe over-straining and injuries. That’s why a trained physical therapist should oversee a new fitness regimen to ensure safety and efficiency.

Physical therapy at our senior community in Camden County

At UMC at Collingswood, our short-term rehab program includes physical therapy administered by experienced professionals who specialize in working with seniors. Our physical therapists take the time to get to know each new patient to ensure their comfort level. Then, they focus on developing a recovery program unique to that person made up of physical therapy exercises, medical treatments, and dietary requirements to follow. PT is not all business either – our physical therapists even take into consideration the types of activities each patient can get involved in around our senior living community and do their best to make exercise enjoyable.

For more information about physical therapy services for seniors in Camden County, please contact us today or visit our website at:

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New Year, New You…Right?

It’s that time of year again, and you probably feel the pressure to think of a good New Year’s resolution that you can actually manage to keep. There’s a lot of hype around the “new year, new you” idea and while that can be the motivation some people need, it often wears off in a few days. If you have a habit you want to change or add to your routine, it is best to focus on changing who you are rather than focusing on the results you want. While this sounds like a big task, it is simpler than you think. For example, if you resolve to exercise every day, your focus shouldn’t be on the results you want from the exercise, but rather on changing your identity to being a physically fit person. This will bring you the results you’re hoping for and make your goal much more achievable. We have a few actionable ideas for senior resolutions that you can actually stick to!

A Positive Mind

Keeping a positive mindset can improve your health and has been linked to a lower risk of memory loss, injury, and feelings of loneliness and isolation while increasing preventive care. Positive thinking doesn’t mean you have your head in the clouds but rather that you choose to look at the positives over the negatives. An easy way to start being more positive is to write down three things you’re grateful for every morning. They can be as simple as a warm cup of coffee or the more important things like your family. Making this a daily practice will allow the positivity to seep into the rest of your life. When you find yourself getting down about something, we challenge you to find the good in the moment and remember it doesn’t always have to be one or the other, you can acknowledge being grateful and frustrated at the same time.

Daily Exercise

Committing to a daily exercise routine is one of the most common resolutions out there and also the most failed resolution out there. As we mentioned earlier, when you’re committing to a resolution like this you really need to commit to changing who you are rather than just making the commitment for the results. Choosing to become a physically active person is bigger than the results, and all you need to start is 10 minutes a day. We encourage you to find an exercise program or routine that gets you excited and plan to do it right after you wake up in the morning. Figure out what you need to make this routine work. Maybe you watch a morning talk show while you work out, maybe you attend a class, or maybe you just crank your favorite tunes!

Stimulate Your Mind

Challenging your mind is crucial for staying mentally sharp as you age and reducing the chances of memory loss conditions like dementia. Challenging your mind can be easy, simple activities like daily reading or puzzles. Joining a book club is a great way to stay accountable. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can learn to play an instrument or even take on learning a new language! The possibilities here are endless, and it’s important to keep trying new things.

Intentional Goals for 2023

Whatever goal or resolution you choose for 2023, make sure it is something you can stick to. If you are still considering how to best stick to your goal, make a plan before the new year on actionable steps you can take toward your goal. Break your goal down into small steps, even if you start at ten minutes a day- it’s a start, and that’s all that matters. Living at a senior living community like UMC at Bristol Glen can actually make it easier to commit to your goal. With exercise and activity classes available every day, you’ll always have an opportunity to stay fit and try something new.

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Can You Add Your Elderly Parents to Your Insurance?

Children with elderly parents want the best for them, including the security of knowing their medical needs are taken care of. Although we generally grow in wisdom as the years go by, we know our bodies and minds start showing our life experiences through various health conditions.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), personal health care expenditures accounted for the largest share of total national health expenditures in 2019, pre-Covid. Personal healthcare includes hospital care, physician and dental services, eyeglasses, prescription drugs, and nursing home care. Access to quality medical services is expensive, so you might wonder if adding your elderly parents to your health insurance could help cover costs. Is it possible?       

Can You Add Your Senior Parents to Your Insurance?  

As with most medical and insurance-related matters, the question of whether you can add your parents to your insurance is complicated. No mandate requires health plans to offer coverage for parents on their children’s insurance. In the FAQ section of a national health insurance provider, their response to the question whether a person can add their parents or spouse’s parents to their plan was as follows: “No, you cannot include your parents on the plan. They must enroll in their own health plan through their job, an individual insurance plan, or Medicare (if they are eligible).”

However, this does not mean that all insurance providers have the same policy. It is best to find out from your employer if your parents can be added to your health plan. If your parents are not eligible for the employer-sponsored plan, Medicaid, or Medicare, the next best consideration would be getting them private health insurance.  

When Are Your Parents Considered Dependents?    

There is, however, one instance in which your elderly parents, stepparents, or parents-in-law could possibly be included in your insurance plan. If you claim them as dependents on your federal income tax return, some health plans might allow your parents to be added. 

The Inland Revenue Service (IRS) has strict eligibility requirements if you want to declare one or both parents as dependents. It is advisable to consult with a tax professional on your situation, as there might be tax benefits or implications you are unaware of. The IRS eligibility requirements include:

  • They must be citizens or residents of the United States
  • Their gross income must be less than $4,300 per year
  • They cannot be someone else’s legal dependent
  • You must provide for more than half of their financial needs per year.   

If you pay more than half the cost of keeping your parent in a nursing home or assisted living community, the IRS counts it as providing for more than half their annual financial needs. 

How Do You Add Your Parents to Your Insurance?

If you are fortunate enough to have insurance that allows your parents to be included, you can add them during the policy’s open enrollment period. As you know, the enrollment period for most plans usually runs from November through the end of the year, with coverage starting in the new year. There are instances where you are allowed to add a dependent at other times, such as a parent losing their job, losing their medical insurance coverage, or if their spouse passes away.

When Should You Add Your Parents to Your Insurance?

The reasons and timeline for adding elderly parents to your insurance depends on personal circumstances. It could be sudden due to the losses mentioned above, developing circumstances such as an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, or a decision made after estate planning discussions. 

There is a growing awareness that family dynamics have changed. For example, the state of California signed into law what is informally called the “Parent Healthcare Act”, thereby expanding the definition of dependents to include qualifying parents and stepparents. Individual health plans are required to cover qualifying parents on their children’s health insurance, if the parents are not eligible for Medicare or don’t have enough Social Security quarters for free Medicare Part A coverage. 

If you would like more information about long-term care offered to senior adults in NJ, because you are concerned about your elderly parents, please contact us today or visit our website at:

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