Category Archives: Health & Wellness

5 Early Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s

Assisted living Camden County NJ

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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How Moving into Assisted Living Helps Prevent Emergency Hospitalizations

Assisted Living in Gloucester County

Hospitalizations are common for seniors, especially trips to the emergency room as a result of falls, upper respiratory tract infections, medication mismanagement and complications with health conditions like diabetes and heart disease. But, according to specialists, researchers, and our assisted living team in Gloucester County, it shouldn’t be this way.

According to a congressional report on this issue, up to 60% of Medicare beneficiary visits to emergency rooms and 25% of hospital admissions in the study were preventable. These unnecessary trips to the hospital take a toll not only on hospital resources, but on the seniors themselves. Although Medicare Part A and B provide some coverage, seniors are still often subject to a copay and 20% of the bill.

Seniors often take longer to recover from falls and illness, and are at high-risk of developing secondary infections in a hospital setting because immune systems become far less effective as we age. This means that these hospitalizations can rapidly become very expensive and result in the need for additional care.

Assisted Living Reduces Unnecessary Hospitalization 

A key finding of the above report is that better care in non-hospital settings are a critical component in reducing hospitalizations — and assisted living communities are perfectly positioned to do so.

  • Communities are designed around fall prevention —  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in four seniors fall each year. It is the leading cause of injury in seniors, with 3 million visiting the ER each year as a result of a fall. Fall risks can be drastically reduced by changing a senior’s environment — installing handrails, entrance ramps, grab bars in bathrooms, and good lighting. Unlike homes, assisted living apartments are designed with fall prevention in mind.
  • Early detection of illness – Often, hospitalization can be avoided if a health complication is detected early and treated effectively. Assisted living communities have nurses and trained caregivers onsite who seniors interact with daily, so a respiratory illness can be recognized in the very early stages and can usually be treated by a doctor before it gets to a level requiring hospitalization. This means minimal severe symptoms, no emergency treatment costs, and no risk of a hospital-acquired infection.

Visit Pitman, An Assisted Living Community in New Jersey That Cares 

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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Many Seniors Suffer from Loss of Appetite – Here’s How to Help

Senior couple preparing salad

Loss of appetite is common among seniors, and is a natural result of being less active, burning fewer calories and requiring less food as we age. However, a complete or severe loss of appetite is something to be concerned about and it’s important that caregivers watch out for this health issue. Here are some insights from our in home respite care team in New Jersey.

What Can Cause Loss of Appetite in Seniors? 

There are a few risk factors that make seniors especially vulnerable to loss of appetite, including these four:

  • Loneliness or depression – According to the AARP, recent surveys show the extent of loneliness and social isolation in seniors, with one third of seniors reporting a lack of companionship and feelings of isolation. This can lead to depression as well as declines in mental and physical health.
  • Medication – Some medications can cause loss of appetite as a side effect.
  • Changes in the senses – As we age, our sensory perception changes, which can make certain foods smell or taste off-putting or different than they once did.
  • Medical conditions – Certain medical conditions can affect appetite, including thyroid disorders, dementia, chronic liver disease, kidney failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A sudden unexplained loss of appetite should be investigated by a doctor.

Four Ways to Help a Senior Regain Their Appetite 

Once any serious issues are ruled out or identified, caregivers can help seniors regain their appetite by:

  1. Having set meal times – While it’s great to get input for when meals should be served and what they should be, it’s a good idea to stick to particular meal times once they have been set. This helps people mentally prepare for mealtimes.
  2. Choose quality over quantity – Because seniors naturally eat less, it’s important that what they do eat is high quality. Choose fresh, high-nutrient foods like fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and lean proteins rather than processed snack foods or sandwiches. Present them in small meal portions.
  3. Eat together – Meals are social occasions and eating together is a bonding, companionable experience. Bringing some social elements to meal times and making it a more enjoyable experience often has the effect of all parties eating more.
  4. Stick to what they love – Get input on favorite meals and ingredients you can work with through the week, as most people are likely to eat more of the foods they love! Keep it simple, don’t try anything too adventurous, and make sure it’s easy to chew and swallow.

Affordable, Quality Support from In-Home Respite Care Services in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities, we offer high-quality senior independent home care at affordable rates, starting as low as $23 per hour, through our HomeWorks program. Our home health aides are fully certified in New Jersey and have extensive senior care training and experience, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

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

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Why are Immunizations Essential for Seniors?

independent living for seniors

August is National Immunization Awareness Month and our assisted living team in Camden County, NJ wants to raise awareness of why immunizations for seniors really matter!

Immunizations and Seniors 

Each year, thousands of adults are hospitalized with diseases that can be prevented by vaccinations, leading to costly medical bills, possible long-term damage to health, and even  risk of death.

Seniors are especially vulnerable as the immune system becomes less effective with age, making it more difficult to fight off infections, and the protection from vaccines you received as a child can wear off. Seniors also often have other health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, which can be further compromised by contracting additional viruses and infections. Because of these high risk factors, seniors are more likely to require extended hospitalization, when there is a risk of picking up a hospital-acquired infection.

What Vaccines are Recommended for Adults 65 and Older? 

  • Your annual flu vaccine (IIV or RIV)
  • Your tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis vaccine (Tdap or Td) every 10 years
  • Zoster recombinant (RZV) vaccine
  • Zoster live vaccine (ZVL)
  • Pneumococcal polysaccharide (PPSV23)

Hepatitis (A and B), meningococcal (A, B, C, W and Y) and hemophilus influenza type B, depending on your medical history of vaccines and other risk factors as recommended by your physician. Other vaccines may be recommended if you travel a lot to certain countries or if have a particular pre-existing health condition such as liver disease, heart disease or diabetes.

Medicare Vaccine Coverage

Medicare Part B covers certain immunizations including the seasonal flu shot, seasonal H1N1 flu vaccine, pneumococcal (pneumonia) vaccine, and hepatitis B shots for high-risk beneficiaries. It will also cover certain vaccines if required as a result of treatment, for example, if you need a tetanus shot after stepping on rusty metal.

Visit Our Assisted living Camden County NJ and See What Senior Independence is All About 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus our community to provide essential resources that promote independence and quality of life.

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What is The Relationship Between Cancer and Lifestyle Factors?

assisted living sussex county

Cancer is one of the most prolific and devastating health conditions of our time and, while the exact causes of the many types of cancer are out of our control (including genetic factors), there are some ways we can help prevent these diseases. Taking a proactive approach often means making important changes to our lifestyles to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Here’s what our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey recommends:

6 Healthy Changes to Lower Your Risk of Cancer 

  1. Commit to a healthy diet. A balanced diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, limited in processed foods (especially processed meats), sugar, and animal fats is key to keeping your body in great health. The stronger your body and immune system, the lower your risk of cancer and the greater your ability to overcome this disease.
  2. Eliminate tobacco products. Using any type of tobacco is one of the greatest factors in increasing your risk of cancer of mouth, lungs, pancreas, cervix, kidney, and throat, regardless of whether it is smoked or chewed. Giving up tobacco reduces these risks significantly, not only for yourself, but also for those who live with you.
  3. Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight increases your risk for several types of cancer, including prostate, lung, colon, kidney, and breast cancer. A healthy diet and exercise will strengthen your body, reduce cancer risk and boost your overall well being.
  4. Be sun safe. Skin cancer is one of the most preventable types of cancer— and it can be deadly. Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm, cover exposed skin, use a quality sunscreen, and stay away from tanning beds and sunlamps, and you’ll substantially reduce your skin cancer risk.
  5. Get vaccinated. In recent years, vaccines have been developed for two viruses that can lead to cancer development, Hepatitis B and HPV (human papillomavirus). These vaccines are widely available for boys and girls as well as adults and are effective at lowering risks of associated cancers like liver cancer, cervical and genital cancers.
  6. Pay attention to your body. Speak to your doctor about your family’s cancer history and learn how to perform self-examinations for cancer. If you commit to regular screenings (including mammograms and colonoscopies) as recommended by your doctor and report any changes to your health, you are more likely to spot cancer in its earliest and most treatable stages.

Independent Living for Seniors at a Beautiful CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey 

Bristol Glen is a CCRC and assisted living community based in Sussex County that aims to provide seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up your time to enjoy life. Founded on a philosophy of aging in place, our Continuing Care Retirement Community residents enjoy a less restrictive care model where they do not have to move from their residential apartment to access additional services as their needs change.

Contact us 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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It’s Hot Out There! Get to Know These Signs of Dehydration

Nurse Visiting Senior Male Patient At Home

With summer in full swing, it’s important to be aware of the effects of hot weather on senior health. Here is some advice from our homecare services team on recognizing the signs of dehydration in seniors and treating it properly.

Why Do Seniors Get Dehydrated? 

While anyone can get dehydrated by not drinking enough water, playing lots of sports or being outdoors in hot weather, seniors are especially vulnerable to this problem. As you get older, your fluid reserves shrink and your body’s ability to hold on to water in its system is reduced. Your body also becomes less aware of certain senses, so you don’t always realize that you are thirsty. In addition, seniors who suffer from mobility issues, chronic illnesses and cognitive issues, often find themselves limited in their ability to get water or are even dehydrated by the medications they take.

8 Signs of Dehydration in Seniors 

If a senior is dehydrated, you may notice the following symptoms:

  1. Confusion
  2. Rapid heart rate
  3. Difficulty walking
  4. Dizziness and headaches
  5. Dry mouth
  6. Low blood pressure
  7. Low urine output
  8. Constipation

If any of these symptoms occur, encourage the person to drink water in small amounts, move them into a cool, shady area and stay with them. If you have a hydration drink with electrolytes (for example, a sports drink), have them sip that. If you notice no improvement in symptoms or are concerned because they have other serious health issues, contact a doctor.

Preventing Dehydration in Seniors 

The best approach is to prevent dehydration in the first place. Here’s how:

  • Encourage hydration throughout the day, especially with meals and in the hottest parts of the day.
  • Always ensure that they have a full water bottle with them.
  • Encourage older adults to eat foods with high liquid content, for example, breakfast smoothies, soup, yogurt, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Avoid coffee and alcohol as these can have a diuretic (dehydrating) effect.
  • Not all hydration has to be in the form of water. Suggest their favorite herbal teas or iced teas, fruit and vegetable juices, and milk.
  • Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day in a cool room. A fan or air conditioning can help a lot.
  • Avoid strenuous activities like walks unless the weather is cool and always take cotton cover-ups, hats, sunscreen, and water with you.
  • Check up on senior loved ones and neighbors during heatwaves and assist with care packages or chores around the home.

At Homecare for the Elderly – Independence and Assistance with All the Comforts of Home 

Whether you need residential in-home respite care or need someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one on a more permanent basis, our home health aide services team in New Jersey are here to help through our HomeWorks program. Our staff is certified in New Jersey and have senior care training, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

For more information on our senior homecare services in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at

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