Monthly Archives: April 2018

Don’t Wait Too Long for Hospice Care

Close-up of holding hands

Hospice services are a valuable resource for people of all ages, but especially the elderly and their loved ones, providing comfort, care and support through the final stages of life. Despite the value of this service, a recent study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society showed that very few elderly people who qualified for this level of care made use of it.

Here are some additional insights into the study and the value of palliative care programs, from the team at our assisted living hospice dedicated neighborhood in South Jersey:

Who is Making Use of Hospice and Palliative Care Services? 

The study looked at 562 individuals over 70 years of age, with an average age of 87-years-old. Of all the participants, only 43% were admitted to hospice care in their last year of life, and half the participants only received 13 days or less of care.

Ideally, candidates who would benefit from this care have six months or less to live, so clearly these services are underutilized.

Why is it Better to Go into Hospice Earlier? 

The most common reason for avoiding hospice care may very well be that this is a very difficult, emotional and distressing time for patients and their families. It represents a final part of a loved one’s life, and we’d all prefer focusing on their life rather than their passing.

The study also found that while certain terminal illnesses have a fairly predictable progression, others make it far more difficult to determine when treatment is no longer an option. Afflictions like frailty and dementia also make it more difficult to pinpoint when hospice care is the best choice. This makes it essential to keep in regular contact with physicians and ask questions about treatment plans and hospice programs so that families can make informed decisions that prioritize a loved one’s comfort and care when the time comes.

The reality is that hospice care is a valuable resource. It focusses on expert pain management, physical comfort and spiritual support, as well as social and physical activities tailored to your loved one’s needs.

They also provide support and care to families and loved ones, allowing them to step back as caregivers and spend quality time with their loved ones while compassionate staff makes sure their other needs are met. Hospice care also actively works to reduce hospitalizations for patients, ensuring their care and nursing needs are met in a more welcoming and comfortable community.

Find Out What Quality Care Means at 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 care in a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in the Jersey Shore area called Bridges.

It focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for individuals and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice neighborhood in Cape May County, please visit our website at or contact us today and schedule your visit.

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5 Essential Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Senior Home Healthcare Aide

care worker house call

Finding and interviewing caregivers to care for an elderly loved one can be a challenging experience. Many people are unsure of a what to look for in a home health aide, whether the costs are justified, or even if their loved one will work well with the new caregiver. On top of that, it’s often a very emotional and stressful time.

Here are some qualities to look for in your candidates that will get your hiring process off to a great start, from our senior home health care services team in NJ:

  1. This doesn’t just mean how long they’ve worked in the industry. Different caregivers specialize in varied areas, and you want to make sure that they can handle their new position. They should have knowledge, skills and experience to manage your loved one’s unique situation, whether it’s a health condition, if they need post-operative care, or specific help around the home.
  2. Your candidate should have successfully undergone the training and certifications required for the position under your state guidelines as a minimum requirement for the job. It’s a great sign if your candidate has continued their training above this level to gain additional skills – especially if they are something your loved one may need in future.
  3. The get-along factor. Your loved one and the caregiver will be spending a lot of time together and it’s very important that they are a good fit for each other. Your loved one needs to be able to trust the caregiver and build a healthy relationship. Look out for candidates that are nurturing, as well as professional and show an interest in your loved one not just as a patient, but as a person.
  4. Strong communication skills. You and your family need to rely on the caregiver to keep in touch with you about any changes in condition or care plan, as well as assist with managing doctors’ appointments if needed. Strong communication skills will give you essential peace of mind.
  5. Supportive and encouraging. Great caregivers see their position as more than a job — they really get invested and interested in their assignment. A motivated and compassionate caregiver ensures a high care standard and helps keep your loved one as active and independent as possible.

Qualified, Dedicated Caregivers for the Best At Home Care for the Elderly in NJ 

United Methodist Communities’ HomeWorks, one of the state’s leading home health aide agencies, strives to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey. This program assists the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence.

For more information on our in-home health care agency or our residential in-home respite care in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at

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How is Dementia Diagnosed?

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult woman playing with blocks

Dementia is a term used to describe a wide range of conditions that cause mental decline affecting someone’s ability to cope with daily life. While Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common dementia disorder, dementia in total, affects more than 5.5 million Americans, many of them seniors.

Here are some insights into how dementia is diagnosed, from the team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ:

Steps to Diagnose Dementia

Unfortunately, there is no single test that determines whether someone has dementia. This means that doctors, including specialists, need to evaluate a person carefully before they can give a diagnosis. This evaluation will include:

  • Complete personal and family medical histories
  • Testing of mental status and mood
  • A physical and neurological exam
  • Tests and scans to rule out other neurological conditions that may present with dementia-like symptoms

This last step is very important, because other health conditions can result in confusion and memory loss, which require early diagnosis and treatment. Some of these conditions are easily treated and even curable, like depression, so it’s important not to ignore dementia-like symptoms.

Symptoms of Dementia Conditions 

Dementia conditions are progressive and often start very slowly. It’s important to watch out for the following symptoms to ensure early diagnosis and treatment:

  • Memory loss
  • Difficulty following a plan or solving a problem
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion regarding time and place, seasons or dates
  • Difficulty judging distances, determining colors or contrasts, or interpreting images
  • Difficulty pronouncing familiar words
  • Misplacing things or putting things in strange places (keys in the fridge, etc.)
  • Problems making sound judgement calls
  • Mood and personality changes

While any of these things can happen once in a while and can increase with age, it is important to take note of any significant increases in frequency and schedule a doctor’s appointment. The earlier dementia is diagnosed, the better the treatment options.


Memory Care Services for Dementia Patients – Assisted living in Gloucester County, NJ 

Pitman is an assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ, offering high quality 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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Lifestyle is a Leading Differentiator Among CCRCs

Seniors Dancing At Home

The senior living industry is thriving in the US, ensuring seniors’ access to a huge variety of services and lifestyle choices through many providers. These days, Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) go above and beyond, offering far more than standard care to create real value and quality of life.

Here are some insights from the team at our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey:

Greater Healthcare Choices 

Not so long ago, it was a challenge to find assisted living or independent living communities equipped to deal with more complex or unusual healthcare services — but not anymore. In addition to providing standard medical care services, many communities offer services designed for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, seniors with hearing or vision impairments, mobility issues, or even specific nutritional requirements.

These services are offered on an as-needed basis, allowing residents to tailor and scale healthcare as needs change. This empowers seniors to access communities that look at their needs holistically, rather than compromising future care.

Home and Lifestyle Choices in Abundance 

While there’s an overall focus on quality of life, each community focuses on different offerings to help deliver this promise. In terms of living arrangements, some offer apartment homes and condominiums of different sizes for independent seniors, and many have additional temporary or permanent residential arrangements for less independent seniors, hospice patients, and patients recovering from illness or surgery.

In terms of additional lifestyle choices, there are communities to fit almost any interest including religious affiliation. Most communities have a thriving social calendar and some even offer extras like golf courses, onsite gyms, social clubs, music and dancing classes, day trips and much more.

Our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey is All About an Independent, Happy Lifestyle! 

Bristol Glen is an independent senior living community in Sussex County that provides seniors with comfortable living choices that free up time to enjoy life.

Contact us to find out more about our CCRC and assisted living facilities, amenities and services. Please visit our website at and book your visit today.

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8 Spring Cleaning Safety and Health Tips for Helping Seniors

cheerful young girl helping with household chores elderly woman home

Spring is a wonderful time of year that’s all about transitioning into those long, care-free summer days. For seniors, however, this season can bring its set of challenges despite the warmer weather!

Here are some tips for caregivers to help senior neighbors, friends, family and members of community to shake off the winter weather:

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips 

Some of us dread spring cleaning and seniors are no exception! If you’re planning to help an elderly loved one with this task, follow these tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Make a list of each area that needs to be addressed in the home and what you want to accomplish. Be sure to get approval for each step — especially about what must go and what should stay.
  2. Team effort. Your loved one is likely only going to be able to manage lighter tasks and supervise some of the process, so don’t take on everything else alone. Get friends and family in to help — it will make the job easier and faster, as well as a lot more enjoyable!
  3. De-clutter first. Clutter is a very real health hazard for seniors, so it should be a priority when cleaning out. Once you’ve dealt with initial clutter, only then move on to cupboards and storage areas. Remember to keep clear paths throughout the house that can accommodate your loved one’s walker or wheelchair, if necessary.
  4. Test safety devices. Use this opportunity to install safety devices in the home or test ones already in place to make sure they are in working order. This includes ensuring grab bars are secure, fire and carbon monoxide detectors function, and that lights are bright and in full working order.

Spring Health Checks 

Spring is allergy season, and seniors are no exception!

  1. Be sure to check if your loved one is suffering from any allergy symptoms and if so, plan a trip to the doctor to prescribe the right medication.
  2. If you suspect that the allergen is inside the home, check and clean air conditioning filters.
  3. Check for mold growth in moist areas of the home and inside cupboards.
  4. Give bedding and soft furnishings a thorough cleaning.

Companionship, Nursing and More from Our NJ Home Help Services for the Elderly 

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 program, trained and experienced 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.

In addition to helping with daily tasks, transport and personal hygiene, our senior home care services team can assist with nursing, medication management and much more on a permanent or temporary basis. For dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, we can develop specific care routines that ensure a sense of structure and help reduce stress and anxiety.

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

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4 Warning Signs that a Senior Needs Help

Serious Senior Woman With Adult Daughter At Home

When an elderly loved one needs help coping at home, the signs aren’t always easy to see. Often, family members and friends don’t notice a physical or mental health decline because it is gradual or perhaps they live further away and can’t check in often enough to evaluate the situation properly.

The key here is to remember to watch for small signs that can indicate a bigger problem, which will help you know when to step up and assist, and plan for the future. Here are some warning signs to look out for, from the team at our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ:

  1. Physical injuries. These may indicate they are having difficulty caring for themselves, becoming frail, and are struggling to manage daily tasks. Signs include cuts, bruising, limping, and burns. It is also important that these heal properly, as many elderly people need more intensive wound care.
  2. Changes in physical appearance. Changes of this nature, especially if your loved one always takes care of their personal appearance, can be a warning sign of health conditions, mobility problems or difficulty maintaining personal hygiene. They can include significant weight loss, neglecting hygiene, mismatched clothing, and difficulty getting around the house.
  3. Behavioral changes. Consistent out-of-character behavior should be taken very seriously as it may indicate more serious health issues. Keep an eye out for paranoia, speaking difficulty, mood and personality changes, depression, anxiety, confusion, unfounded accusations against others, decrease in social activity, and memory loss.
  4. Decline in home maintenance. Although clutter and maintenance issues pile up on us all, observe your loved one’s home as this may indicate that they are having trouble keeping up with its demands. Watch for piles of unopened mail and unpaid bills, piles of dirty laundry and dishes, old food in the refrigerator, lack of yard and home maintenance, and excessive clutter in the home.

Independent Living for Seniors from Our Welcoming Assisted Living Community in NJ 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit, assisted living communities specializing in senior living. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus on 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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