Monthly Archives: September 2019

Use Your Diet to Help Manage Arthritis

assisted living gloucester county nj

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, degenerative disease that affects over 50 million Americans, many of them seniors. Although there are treatments for this condition, there is no cure – and the pain and loss of joint flexibility can dramatically affect the quality of life. Along with effective medications, you can help fight osteoarthritis by getting the right nutrients into your diet. Simply follow the advice below from our assisted living team in Gloucester County, NJ.

5 Anti-Inflammatory Foods 

Diet plays an important role in our everyday health and wellbeing. Keeping a healthy weight and exercising regularly is essential. For people with osteoarthritis, certain foods with anti-inflammatory qualities can help keep joints from getting sore and swollen. These foods include the following:

  1. Fatty acids – Foods rich in Omega-3s are not only good for the heart, but they also fight inflammation too. Foods rich in these fatty acids include chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, trout, salmon, eggs, and avocados.
  2. Spices – Ginger and turmeric have great anti-inflammatory properties. The added benefit is that they also make food more flavorful! Add it to muffins, make yourself a nice warm cup of ginger tea, or season chicken to add it into your diet.
  3. Green tea – A refreshing drink, green tea is rich in antioxidants that can help to fight inflammation. It is lovely as a hot or cold drink, mixed with fresh lemon or fruit juice, or even added into marinades and salad dressings.
  4. Vitamin C – This vitamin isn’t just good for fighting off colds, it also helps the body produce collagen – an essential component of the cartilage in our joints. It is most effective when you eat it in foods rather than taking it in tablet form. Try adding cauliflower, guavas, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, strawberries, leafy greens, and oranges to your diet.
  5. Anthocyanins – This is a type of antioxidant that helps keep connective tissue healthy. It is found in brightly colored fruits and vegetables like beets, cherries, berries, grapes, plums, and pomegranates.

Independence for Seniors – Quality Assisted Living in 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- and memory care, and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

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

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A Guide to Thyroid Conditions and Senior Health

Checking the Lymph Nodes

As we age our risk of developing certain health conditions increases and thyroid conditions are among these. Knowing what these conditions are and how to detect them early on is the best way of staying independent and in good health. That is why our in-home respite care team is raising awareness about this condition – what it is, what the symptoms are, and how it can be treated.

What is the Thyroid? 

The thyroid is a very small but very important gland that is located at the front of the neck, just below the larynx. It produces hormones that help regulate metabolism, heart and digestive functions, brain development, muscle control, mood regulation, and bone health. Because it controls so many important bodily functions, thyroid health conditions can lead to a wide range of symptoms and health problems.

Common Thyroid Conditions in Adults 

Hypothyroidism. This is known as an under-active thyroid, where the gland isn’t producing enough hormones to support the body’s functions. Symptoms often include weight gain, fatigue, feeling cold, dry skin, weakness, and constipation. Treatment for this condition involves taking a synthetic thyroid hormone in medication form to supplement the gland’s low production.

Hyperthyroidism. This is an overactive thyroid, where the thyroid is flooding the body with excess hormones. Symptoms can include sweating, sudden weight loss, racing heartbeat, an enlarged thyroid gland, and difficulty sleeping. Treatment can include taking medication that slows thyroid hormone production, followed by treatment with radioactive iodine. Grave’s Disease is a common cause of hyperthyroidism.

6 Risk Factors for Thyroid Health Conditions in Seniors 

Anyone of any age can develop a thyroid health condition, but it’s important to be aware of the following risk factors that may make you more likely to develop these health problems:

  1. If you have a close family member with a thyroid disorder
  2. If you have Grave’s or Plummer’s disease
  3. If you have swelling or nodules on the thyroid gland
  4. If you or close family members have an autoimmune disease
  5. If you have an iodine deficiency
  6. If you are a woman over the age of 50 (more women suffer from hypothyroidism than men)

Professional In-Home Respite Care for Seniors in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best quality senior independent home care options, including in-home respite care through HomeWorks. This program is about assisting older adults in the comfort of their own homes and providing them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness, and independence. In addition to daily home care, we also offer pastoral care for spiritual and emotional support in the home.

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

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3 Steps to Find a Senior Community for Older Adults with Alzheimer’s

CCRC Sussex County New Jersey

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. And, that means it is time to raise awareness about this condition as well as the challenges faced by caregivers and loved ones in supporting and providing for their loved ones. Today, we’d like to talk about a significant decision – finding a long-term care option for a senior with Alzheimer’s Disease.

It Is All About What’s Best for Your Loved One 

Making the decision to move your loved one into an assisted living community is a very difficult one, and many family caregivers and loved ones feel guilty or upset about making this choice. It is important to realize that whatever your reasons for making this decision, it may be the best choice, not only for them, but also for you. It is all about finding a place that gives you the peace of mind knowing that their needs are being expertly and compassionately met, which gives you more opportunities to spend quality time with them.

Step One – Research

Speak to your loved one’s doctor as well as neighborhood support groups to get recommendations for long-term care facilities in your area. Go online and take a look at their websites to get an idea of the spirit of the community and the services they offer. Call up the different CCRCs and assisted living communities to get an idea of how they charge for their services so you can develop a budget. It is also a good idea to write down a list of priorities, so you can narrow down your options.

Step Two – Visit 

Once you have a shortlist prepared, visit the facilities in person. Pay attention to how the associates interact with the residents, how friendly they are, and how well-cared-for the residents look. Ask to see a room like the one your loved one will be staying in, and ask about mealtimes. Get the details, for example, what is the food like, can you or visitors join in for a meal, and so on.

While it is important to focus on your loved one’s medical care and assistance with daily tasks, it is also a good idea to ask about social events and activities. Are there gardens for your loved one to enjoy? What activities might he or she be able to participate in? How are companionship and spiritual care provided?

Of course, it is also important to ensure that they are equipped to support Alzheimer’s residents and their specific needs, and that their staff are experienced in assisting residents with dementia conditions. They should also have the facilities to care for your loved one’s future needs as they change.

Step Three – Costs 

Every assisted living community structures the costs differently. Therefore, it is important to get a clear breakdown of the costs involved so that you can plan ahead financially. This is also a good time to speak to your eldercare lawyer and get all your loved one’s finances and legal needs in order, as you may be planning to sell property or assets to fund your loved one’s care. You may even need to obtain guardianship over your loved one to ensure that you can manage their finances and medical needs effectively.

Compassionate Care from Experienced Professionals at Beautiful United Methodist Communities in New Jersey

United Methodist Communities’ network of CCRC and assisted living communities in New Jersey is dedicated to compassionate, comprehensive care for seniors that promote independence and quality of life. We offer scalable services so residents only pay for services they need.

Through Tapestries Memory Care, we provide comfortable accommodations and support for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia conditions.  Each resident enjoys a private studio apartment, spacious communal areas, and programs designed to meet each resident’s individual capabilities and aptitude. We accept seniors of all faith backgrounds.

Our communities include Bristol Glen (a CCRC in Newton, NJ), Collingswood, The Shores (Ocean City, NJ) and Pitman. Each community offers a unique setting and a different range of services, including assisted living, memory care, respite, rehabilitation, hospice, and senior housing.

To find out more about our CCRC in Sussex County, NJ, assisted living in Sussex County, NJ, or our other New Jersey communities, please contact us today or visit our website.

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5 Great Medication Safety Tips for Seniors with Alzheimer’s

Female caregiver serving afternoon tea to patient

It’s World Alzheimer’s Month, and our home care agency team is using this time as an opportunity to share some useful tips on medication management and safety for seniors with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. These patients are often on multiple medications for this and other health issues, so it’s important to take the proper precautions to avoid medication-related issues.

  1. Get to Know the Medications. Write up some basic notes on each medication – what it is for, the dosage, and possible side effects – and spend some time studying them. This makes it so much easier to quickly spot the side effects or any possible complications.
  2. Talk to the Doctor about Drug Interactions. Your doctor should know of each medication and supplement that your loved one is on (always take your list of medications and supplements to appointments to make sure your list is complete). However, it is possible for some medications to interact badly with others, especially if they are for different health conditions. Talk to the doctor about possible drug interactions and how you can help avoid them. This may mean changing what medications are taken at what time of the day, taking certain medications with food, or perhaps even changing out medications for alternative drugs.
  3. Use a Pill Box and Medication Management App. As a caregiver, there’s a lot on your plate. So, organizing medications in advance according to the doctor’s instructions and using technology to remind you when medications need to be taken can be a great help. Pill organizer boxes can be filled for each day or week, and apps like Dosecast, MedHelper, and MyMeds can be downloaded onto your smartphone and set up according to your loved one’s schedule.
  4. Develop a Routine. Individuals with Alzheimer’s rely greatly on established, reliable routines, so try to fit medication into your existing routine by making it a daily ritual. This can mean making medications part of the breakfast routine or taking them with a favorite warm drink right before bed. If your loved one has trouble swallowing, pills can be ground up into a smoothie – but ask your doctor first. Also, try to avoid making the routine part of a potentially busy time of day.
  5. Lock Medication Away. All medications that are not required for the day should be safely locked in a medication cabinet – even over-the-counter drugs. It’s very easy for those with Alzheimer’s to accidentally overdose. Another good idea is to keep emergency numbers taped to your cabinet door, including your local Poison Control Center, emergency room, and your loved one’s doctor.

Compassionate Full and Part-Time Care for Alzheimer’s Patients from Our At-Home Health Care Agency 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey through our HomeWorks program. This program assists older adults in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families, and their caregivers personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness, and independence.

For more information on our at-home health care agency or at-home care for older adults, please contact us today or visit our website at

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5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Being a little forgetful is a normal part of our busy, everyday lives. But, if an elderly loved one seems to be getting more forgetful than normal, then it could be a sign of early cognitive decline. As with many diseases, it is important to detect Alzheimer’s early to supply the best possible level of care and support. Here are some essential early warning signs of this condition that everyone can watch for, from the team at our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ:

  • Getting Lost Easily – If your loved one suddenly can’t find their way around a place that’s very familiar to them, such as their local mall, doctor’s offices or even their neighborhood, it may be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. People with this condition are often confused about where they are or how to get to and from a place they should know well.
  • Memory Issues – Alzheimer’s affects memory – especially short-term memories. Patients often forget information they have just learned, like appointments, messages or recent conversations. Keep an eye out for your loved one asking you the same questions over and over again, like the name of a new friend, whether you ran an errand for them, and so on. They may also constantly misplace items and forget where they are, or struggle to retrace their steps or the events of the day.
  • Money Mistakes – Because this condition affects short-term memory, it’s easy for seniors with Alzheimer’s to make mistakes with their money, for instance, like paying bills multiple times. This can leave them vulnerable to unethical people, so it’s important to help your loved one keep an eye on their finances and budget. This way you can spot issues like questionable financial decisions, giving away money, trouble balancing their household budget if they were always good at it before, and overbuying items (duplicate groceries, and the like).
  • Social Withdrawal – A change in social habits (hobbies, visiting friends and family, and so on) can be an early sign of a range of concerning issues including depression and Alzheimer’s, so it’s important to watch for. Your loved one may be worried that they are unwell or realize that they are being forgetful and, as a result, they can withdraw, either out of embarrassment or not wanting to concern others.
  • Problems Communicating – Information on Alzheimer’s disease often focuses on memory loss, but the condition can also affect written and spoken communication skills. Problems with forming a clear sentence, struggling to remember words and names, or incorrectly identifying objects can all point to this health condition.

It’s not easy to think about a loved one having Alzheimer’s disease, but it’s so important to recognize these symptoms early. A diagnosis can be frightening, but it gives your loved one the best possible support and care from the start. And if your loved one doesn’t have Alzheimer’s, a doctor’s examination can give you peace of mind.

Memory Support and Care for Alzheimer’s Patients Through Our Beautiful Assisted Living Community 

United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, New Jersey, is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit, assisted living communities specializing in an independent lifestyle for seniors. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, we also offer rehabilitation, access to therapists, hospice care, respite- and memory care, and support services. We welcome seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about career opportunities at any of the four full-service United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at or contact us today.

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7 Symptoms and 4 Causes of Congestive Heart Failure

An elderly Indian man with heart problems

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a progressive and chronic condition in which fluid builds up around the heart, limiting its ability to pump properly. Here are some insights into this health condition from the team at our hospice in South Jersey.

7 Symptoms of CHF 

  1. Shortness of breath
  2. Fatigue
  3. Swelling in the legs, ankles, and feet
  4. Difficulty concentrating
  5. Coughing and wheezing with pink phlegm
  6. Rapid weight gain
  7. Difficulty exercising

The most important signs to watch for include rapid/irregular heartbeat, chest pain, fainting, and severe weakness. If any of these are detected, a doctor should be alerted immediately.

4 Causes of CHF 

There are several cardiovascular diseases and conditions that can cause damage to the heart, leading to heart failure. The most common of these include:

  • Heart Attack – In a heart attack, the artery leading to the heart is blocked, blocking incoming blood flow. Without a flow of blood and oxygen into the heart, this tissue can become damaged, resulting in the formation of scar tissue. This scar tissue affects the pumping performance of the heart, which can lead to fluid building up.
  • Cardiomyopathy – This disease affects the tissue of the heart, causing the heart to become larger and more inflexible, which negatively affects its ability to pump blood, leading to fluid buildup. This condition can be caused by chronic high blood pressure, problems with the heart valves, abnormal protein build-up, inflammatory infections, metabolic disorders, and certain drugs.
  • Coronary Artery Disease – Plaque, cholesterol, and fatty deposits can build up in the arteries, causing narrowing that restricts the flow of blood to the heart. This can be caused by long-term smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • Strain on the Heart Muscle – Certain health conditions can put a lot of strain on your heart that can lead to fluid buildup, including kidney disease, birth-related heart defects, HIV, hyperthyroidism, and hemochromatosis.

Treatment of CHF 

Treatment for hospice patients with congestive heart failure focuses on reducing symptoms and maintaining the best possible quality of life, and may include blood thinners, ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, and other medications. What type of medications the patient will receive depends on whether or not they have an underlying heart condition, other chronic health conditions they may have, other medications they may be on, and how they are affected by certain medications. The team of doctors, medical practitioners, and wellness therapists will work together to ensure the best holistic care for each patient on an individual basis.

Expert Hospice Care Led by a Compassionate Team of Specialists 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 compassionate, professional hospice care in the Jersey Shore area 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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