Monthly Archives: June 2019

What is PTSD?

PTSD Awareness Month Label

June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day and the team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County is raising awareness about this condition to help people better identify, treat, and cope with it.

What is PTSD? 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a mental health condition that can be triggered by a highly stressful or traumatic event that either happens to a person or is witnessed by them. People with this condition often suffer from nightmares, severe anxiety, flashbacks, racing heart, and sweating. These can be triggered by the environment (noise, sight or smell), by something someone says, or even the person’s own thoughts.

The post-traumatic stress reaction often differs from person to person, but people with PTSD are often vulnerable to things like negative thoughts and reactions, fear, guilt, anger, outbursts of verbal or physical violence, reckless behavior, difficulty concentrating, avoidance (physical and verbal), and a lack of interest in activities they previously enjoyed.

To be diagnosed with PTSD, you need to be evaluated by a psychologist or psychiatrist with the necessary experience and specialization. Generally, a person must have documentation noting specific recurring symptoms for at least a month.

What Causes PTSD? 

There is no known specific cause or risk factor for developing this condition, as it affects people of all backgrounds, nationalities, races, culture, and age. However, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from PTSD. While one person may walk away from a traumatic event without experiencing PTSD, another may not. It’s unpredictable and affects around 3.5% of adults in the USA.

While we often associate PTSD with soldiers fighting in a war, any type of traumatic event can trigger this disorder, even if the trauma is not firsthand. For example, people have developed PTSD after receiving a phone call to tell them that a loved one has died. It can also result as exposure over time to trauma, like that experienced by police officers who deal with particularly violent, stressful, or upsetting cases.

The important thing to remember is that PTSD is treatable, and psychiatrists can work with patients to develop control over these symptoms and prevent them from getting worse, through a combination of therapy and medication.

Join Our Community and Let Your Loved One Thrive in 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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6 Easy Ways to Make a Senior’s Home Fall-Proof

Elderly woman holding on handrail for safety walk steps

Falls are a serious health concern for seniors, causing broken bones, severe bruising and injuries that can have a lasting effect on the quality of life. If you’re worried about your senior parent or loved one falling at home, here are some easy ways to make their home a safer, more fall-free space, from our in-home senior care team:

  • Secure rugs. Seniors tend to shuffle their feet rather than lifting each foot cleanly off the ground, which makes it more likely for them to trip over uneven floors. Anchor down rugs with non-slip rug pads to prevent them from sliding, folding, curling, or wrinkling, or put them in storage. Any high pile rugs should be removed.
  • Create wide, clear walking paths. Stairways should be completely clear of items and all walkways should be kept as wide as possible. This allows seniors to move easily through the home even with a walker, cane or wheelchair.
  • Increase the lighting. As eyesight diminishes with age it becomes more difficult to see hazards before falling over them. Increased lighting can be a big help, especially in frequently used rooms, entrances and around stairs. Install bulbs with the highest wattage recommended for the fixture and add bedside lighting so your loved one doesn’t have to get up and move in the dark to turn on lights.
  • Non-slip stairs. Unless the stairs are carpeted, they don’t provide much traction, and this can lead to a bad fall. If you don’t want to carpet the stairs, apply non-slip adhesive strips to each stair tread to ensure good grip. It’s also important that the handrail is in good condition and properly secured.
  • Clear out. It’s easy for our homes to become crowded with stuff, but this can quickly become a serious hazard to the elderly. Now is a good time to do a thorough home clear out of furniture, old magazines and books, and other items that create clutter. Re-arrange furniture so that it is easier to navigate around a room. Hosting a garage sale can create a budget for aesthetic or safety upgrades!
  • Install grab-bars. Bathrooms are not generally designed for seniors or the disabled. The combination of water and slippery surfaces makes daily bathing and grooming activities high fall-risk situations. Grab bars are ideal for supporting older adults getting in and out of the bath and shower and are easy to install — just make sure they are properly secured.

Senior Independent Home Care in NJ – Compassion, Care and Independence!

At United Methodist Communities, a leading seniors homecare services provider in New Jersey, we offer tailored, compassionate care through our HomeWorks program. In this program, we focus on offering in home senior care for the elderly tailored to their specific requirements to provide them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence.

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

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It’s Time to Create Your Advance Medical Directive

hospice care Jersey Shore

People often ask when is the right time to organize their estate plan and to paraphrase a common quote, “the best time to do it is yesterday, the second-best time to do it is right now.” An advance medical directive is one key part of your estate plan that protects you in the event that you need advanced medical care.

Here are some insights from our hospice in South Jersey:

What is an Advance Medical Directive? 

This is a pretty straightforward legal document that states the kind of care you’d like to receive in the event that you are incapacitated or are otherwise unable to communicate your wishes yourself. Many people have very strong feelings about advance or extreme life-saving medical measures. This document allows a person of your choosing to make sure your wishes are followed.

Benefits for You and Your Loved Ones 

By making your wishes clear, you and your loved ones have peace of mind on a very important issue. In a time of crisis, it’s good to have a medical care guide that loved ones can rely on, preventing the stress and anguish that often come from wondering what type of care you would want.

Without it, hospitals are obligated to take all measures possible to keep you alive — something which many people feel, under certain circumstances, reduces quality of life. You can decide exactly what those circumstances are for you and thereby prevent unnecessary pain, unhelpful medical procedures, and unwanted, costly hospitalization.

Creating Your Advance Medical Directive 

Although it is a simple document, it is a very important one. Here are three things to consider when creating your own:

  1. If you are unsure as to the legality of your document, have it created by an elder law attorney.
  2. Clearly name and detail the person who will act in your interest and include a back-up person to do so in the event your first choice is unable. This is especially important for seniors who name their spouse.
  3. In addition to specifying medical treatment and the circumstances to which the directive will apply, also remember to specify any end-of-life care wishes, including whether you want to stay at home, in a hospital, or in a hospice. You can also specify your spiritual care needs.

Our Hospice in South Jersey is Dedicated to the Care, Support and Comfort of Your Loved One 

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 are 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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How to Help Your Loved One with Alzheimer’s Enjoy Summer Outings

CCRC Sussex County New Jersey

One of the most important things to do when a friend or loved one has Alzheimer’s disease is to make an active effort to keep them a part of your social circle. Socializing and engaging with others helps fight depression and anxiety and is thought to be beneficial. Here is some advice to help make summer outings easier for your loved one to attend from the team at our assisted living and CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey.

Develop New Traditions

The activities you used to do together may be difficult or impossible for someone with Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to come up with new traditions that align with their capabilities. If you always participated in the Bridge Club together, you may have to stop when memory loss becomes too advanced. However, it’s the perfect opportunity to start new traditions that don’t rely on memory abilities. For example, you could start bird watching, join a walking club or start a supper club together.

Bring the Past to Life

When you speak to your loved one, pay attention to the old memories of the past they talk about. These memories often remain very strong for people with Alzheimer’s, even as short-term memories fade. This could be a source of great inspiration for activities to do together – revisiting a favorite park, seeing a musical performance together or having a classic movie night are all great opportunities to bond.

Learn When They’re at Their Best

Many Alzheimer’s residents experience times of the day when they feel fresh, energized and active, and others when their symptoms seem more pronounced. You can observe these by spending time with your loved one or by chatting with their caregiver. Generally speaking, the best times of the day for an activity are mid-morning to early afternoon. Anxiety and agitation frequently peak in the late afternoon or evening, when fatigue sets in. Routines are very important, so work with a caregiver to determine the best time to get together with your loved one on a regular basis.

Compassionate Care for Independent Seniors at Our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey

Bristol Glen is a CCRC and assisted living community based in Sussex County that provides seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up your time to enjoy life. Founded on a philosophy of resident-directed living, our continuing care retirement community residents enjoy a less restrictive care model in which they do not have to move from their residential apartment to access additional services as their needs change.

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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For the Health of It: Promoting the Wellness of Older Adults

While prevention is better than cure, it is never too late to get healthy. United Methodist Communities at The Wesleyan, located at 9 Wall Street in Red Bank, New Jersey, embraces a wellness agenda every day. On May 30, to promote the importance of regular physical activity not only for the older adults who reside there, but also for seniors in the community, they held For the Health of It.


Wendy Cedar, MBA, RDN, CDN, on-site coordinator of Wellness on Wheels, shows Elizabeth Abrams the hydroponic greenhouse.

Free and open to the public, the indoor and outdoor event highlighted local organizations, which focus on improving the health of older adults. Wendy Cedar, MBA, RDN, CDN, on-site coordinator of Wellness on Wheels (RWJBarnabas Health), showed attendees the hydroponic greenhouse, invited them to taste dressed salads, and distributed healthy recipes for its avocado-ranch dressing, as well as hummus, Indian-spiced cauliflower, etc. The mobile unit also demonstrates healthy cooking.

Many additional resources stationed indoors aided guests. Erik Jodelka, R.Ph., volunteered at the Ask a Pharmacist station, advising on prescription medication. Ask a Medicare Specialist, Charles Clarkson, Esq., project director of Senior Medicare Patrol of NJ, helped people understand the insurance program and answered questions. Laura Puccarelli, a local exercise instructor, conducted private individual fitness evaluations.


Charles Clarkson, Esq., project director of Senior Medicare Patrol of NJ, helps a guest interpret some Medicare documents.

Paula Ross, RN (registered nurse) from Monmouth Medical Center, tested for balance, explaining the importance of the inner ear, vision, joints, and feet, in maintaining balance and preventing falls, a major risk factor among older adults. Since bone health also correlates with fall risk, a second nurse from Monmouth Medical, Linda Grimes, RN, screened for bone density. Shari Wiseman, beauty consultant, and Elisa DiCorcia, store manager from Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Tinton Falls, shared advice and goody bags of health and beauty aids. All organizations shared handouts in Spanish and in English, and provided referrals.

Pamela Joyce, social service coordinator, arranged the logistics and organized the event. “The Wesleyan actively promotes senior wellness through our resident-oriented programs. We also offer programs and resources to the broader community through Senior Space, held at the Women’s Club of Red Bank every Wednesday.”

About United Methodist Communities at The Wesleyan

The United Methodist Church of Red Bank and Shrewsbury Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church partnered with United Methodist Communities to construct The Wesleyan. Funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Monmouth County Home Program brought this 60-unit residential senior community to life. The first residents took occupancy in October 1998.

For additional information about United Methodist Communities at The Wesleyan, visit or call 732-936-0760.

About United Methodist Communities

United Methodist Communities is a not-for-profit organization guided by a volunteer board of directors affiliated in ministry with the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey. The mission of the United Methodist Communities is compassionately serving in community so that all are free to choose abundant life.

With over 111 years of continuous operation, the organization has grown to nine communities offering independent, residential and assisted living; Tapestries® Memory Care; respite; rehabilitation; long-term care; Bridges Hospice and Palliative Care; affordable senior housing; and case management, live-in and in-home personal care through HomeWorks.

For additional information about United Methodist Communities, visit

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