Category Archives: Health & Wellness

A Guide to Thyroid Diseases and Health Issues

Checking the Lymph Nodes

It’s Thyroid Awareness Month, and our in home senior care team is bringing you these insights to help raise awareness of thyroid health conditions and how they affect seniors. By helping people recognize symptoms and receive treatment for these conditions, we hope more seniors can truly enjoy their Golden Years!

What is the Thyroid? 

This is a butterfly-shaped gland located in the neck. Although it’s small, it has a huge role to play in the human body, releasing hormones that control your metabolism – essentially controlling the way each cell and organ uses energy.

It helps regulate hundreds of critical functions, including:

  • Heart rate
  • Breathing
  • Body weight
  • Muscle strength and control
  • Body temperature
  • Cholesterol levels
  • Digestive functions
  • Mood
  • Bone maintenance
  • And much more

Because it affects so many different systems, it can be very difficult to link different (seemingly unrelated) symptoms to a thyroid health condition. Other indicators that you may be at risk include a family history of thyroid conditions, certain medical conditions like Graves or Plummer’s disease, and iodine deficiency.

Hyperthyroidism Symptoms 

Hyperthyroidism is when the thyroid produces too much hormone, causing many of your body’s systems to speed up. You may only experience some of the following symptoms of hyperthyroidism, including sudden weight loss, anxiety or jitteriness, tremors in hands or fingers, irregular or pounding heartbeat, sweating, increased appetite, increased body heat, and muscle weakness. It can also cause your thyroid gland to become enlarged.

Hypothyroidism Symptoms 

This is when the hormone output of the thyroid drops below ideal levels, often causing the body’s systems to slow. Symptoms can include fatigue, lack of energy, feeling cold, dry skin, high cholesterol, brittle hair and nails, unexplained weight gain, muscle weakness and aches, and depression.

Treatment for Thyroid Conditions 

Hyperthyroidism can be treated with medication or radioactive iodine to slow hormone production, while hypothyroidism is treated by taking a synthetic version of the hormone produced by your thyroid to bring you up to healthy levels. It’s a fairly simple treatment that can make an incredible difference in your health and quality of life – all it takes is a blood test to diagnose.

Companionship, Skilled Nursing and Respite Care from In Home Senior Care Specialists 

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 senior home care program, trained 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.

For more information on our seniors home care services, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/elderly-home-health-care-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/a-guide-to-thyroid-diseases-and-health-issues/

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Over 60? These 6 Eye Care Tips are For You!

Senior woman visiting optician.

It’s National Glaucoma Awareness Month and Eye Care Month, so the team at our assisted living community is sharing their best eye health tips for people over 60!

  1. Eye tests, eye tests, eye tests. We’re sure you’ve heard it countless times, but your annual eye examination is one of the most important and effective things you can do to keep your eyes healthy. It’s not just about spotting deteriorating vision, it’s about early detection of different eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and high blood pressure.
  2. Wear the right lenses for your vision. Vision deteriorates as we age and most people over 60 have several pairs of eyeglasses lying around the house. Wearing the right lenses for your vision is essential however, so don’t let yours get out-of-date. This can result in eye strain, headaches and increase the risk of falls.
  3. Know the risks. Did you know that women are more likely than men to have glaucoma — and that they are 24% less likely to get treatment? And that genetics play a role in the development of eye health conditions? Knowing your eye health risks and family history are important — this way, you can take action quickly if you notice any warning signs.
  4. Sun protection. Always wear quality sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays when you’re outdoors, as this will reduce your risks of cataracts, pterygium and macular degeneration. Pterygium, also known as surfer’s eye, is a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines your eyelids and covers your eyeball.
  5. Eat well. A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and lean proteins is important for eye health, and studies have shown that fish and omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce macular degeneration. A balanced diet also helps keep blood sugar and blood pressure regular.
  6. Get medical attention for any eye injuries. Any form of trauma to the eye, whether it’s from a fall, a foreign object or anything else, should be attended to as soon as possible by a medical professional. This will ensure the issue is treated properly and that risk of eye diseases or infections is reduced.

A Full and Abundant Life – Assisted Living Camden County, NJ 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent style 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.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at http://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or contact us and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/over-60-these-6-eye-care-tips-are-for-you/

 

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How is Alzheimer’s Disease Diagnosed?

 

Female doctor showing geometric shapes to elderly patient

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the USA, with 5.7 million Americans living with the condition according to the latest Alzheimer’s Association research. Early and accurate diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is critical to managing the health of a patient and could save up to $7.9 trillion in medical care and costs.

So, how is this disease diagnosed? Here are some insights from the experts at Tapestries Memory Care, UMC’s dedicated center of excellence for individuals suffering from all stages of Alzheimers and Dementia.

6 Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease 

The first step in reaching an accurate diagnosis is for seniors and their families to be aware of the early symptoms of the condition, and to approach their medical practitioner with their concerns if the following is noticed:

  1. Difficulty remembering events.
  2. Social withdrawal, changes in mood and depression.
  3. Visual or spatial difficulties, misplacing items, and difficulty driving.
  4. Confusion regarding where they are, why they are in a specific location, or the passage of time.
  5. Difficulty finding the correct word or phrase to express themselves.
  6. Inability or difficulty in finishing daily tasks, solving problems, or making plans.

How Doctors Reach a Diagnosis for Alzheimer’s Disease 

This is a fairly complex process, as the doctor has to work through various tests and data to ensure an accurate diagnosis. This is because these symptoms may be the result of other medical conditions.

A doctor, neurologist or geriatrician will evaluate the patient’s:

  • Medical history, medication history and the symptoms being experienced. This is especially important if there is a family history of Alzheimer’s or dementia conditions.
  • Mood and personality changes, if any.
  • Memory and thinking abilities.
  • Difficulties in daily life and routines, if any.
  • Causes of the symptoms to see if they are linked to other conditions, medication interactions and other issues.

The doctor may then order tests to rule out other conditions or health issues, brain-imaging tests or even memory testing. A physical health examination will also be performed.

It’s understandable that people are reluctant to see their doctor if they experience worrying symptoms, but in reality, an early diagnosis gives you the best chance to manage your condition. It is also important to rule out other health conditions with similar symptoms, many of which are very treatable (including vitamin B-12 deficiencies and thyroid disorders) to ensure you get the right treatment.

Tapestries-Memory Care at The Jersey Shore

United Methodist Communities is no stranger to the care and treatment for adults with Alzheimer’s and Dementia diagnoses. In fact, in November of 2018, United Methodist Communities opened Tapestries-Memory Care at the Shores in Ocean City New Jersey. This specialized facility is designed for the unique concerns  and caregiving of those with all stages of dementia.

In October 2018, Tapestries became Comfort Matters® accredited. Internationally recognized, Comfort Matters® is a philosophy, care practice and an evidence-based program which offers holistic and integrated approaches to improve the quality of care and quality of life for persons experiencing Alzheimer’s and other dementias. United Methodist Communities at The Shores is one of the few facilities in the state of New Jersey to acheive the prestigious Comfort Matters® Accreditation.

To find out more about our Tapestries-Memory Care at The Shores, please visit our website athttps://theshores.umcommunities.org and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/how-is-alzheimers-disease-diagnosed/

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Making Home a Safer Place for Elderly Parents

Female Neighbor Helping Senior Woman Change Lightbulb In Lamp

One of the leading concerns for family members of elderly parents is that their loved ones will suffer a fall while at home. Although reduced reflexes and becoming less steady while standing are a normal part of aging, it does increase the risk of falls. This poses a very serious issue for seniors, as falls are the number one reason seniors visit the emergency room and the leading cause of hip fractures, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UMC’s trained home health aides can assess the fall risks inside the home and correct as many as they can. They may also develop a list of recommended modifications for the home, if necessary. Here are just a few of the most common precautions on our checklist:

  • Get rid of all tripping hazards. Things that may never present a tripping hazard to a young person can easily cause a fall in older adults. Remove all rugs and throw carpets from rooms and passageways, or secure them firmly to the floor with double-sided tape. Remove all clutter from floors and stairways, including stacks of books and magazines, blankets and even decorative items. Make sure all wires and cords are removed from walkways, repositioned and secured against walls.
  • Rethink the furniture floor plan. Evaluate the furniture in each room and decide whether it should be repositioned, removed or replaced. Make sure it is positioned to keep primary traffic areas clear and easy to navigate (especially important for wheelchairs, walkers and walking sticks). Cupboards and storage should be easy to access, with everyday items within easy reach and with easy to operate handles. Furniture should sit solidly on the floor and not present a hazard if someone grabs onto it.
  • Update the bathroom. Low-profile non-slip mats are ideal for placing over tiles that can become slippery, and should be positioned by the bath, shower, basin, and toilet. Non-slip strips can also be affixed to the inside of the tub itself. Grab-bars can be installed to make getting into and out of the tub easier. Grab-bars, also highly recommended in the shower and by the toilet, can be easily installed by a plumber or handyman. For seniors with more severe mobility issues, a transfer bench and a hand-held shower are important, yet small investments that make bathing a whole lot safer.
  • Check the lighting. Aging affects our ability to see at night, so bright lighting throughout the house is essential, especially by stairs, hallways, main bathroom and in the master bedroom. Touch lights are also a great idea if light switches are located outside of easy reach when entering a room, and you can also install automatic nightlights in the hallway to assist your parents if they wake up late at night.
  • Ask for help. Even with all these thoughtful changes, there may come a time when your parents simply cannot keep up with their home or self-care on their own. Keep in touch with them about how they are coping and remember that help is always close by. If you want to try a home health aide even for a few hours per week, UMC HomeWorks offers care and services for older adults living at-home, assisting with everything from daily tasks, bathing and cooking, to transport, companionship and health care assistance, all in the comfort of their home.

Setting the Standard for Senior Home Care Services – One of the Leading Home Care Agencies in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities, one of New Jersey’s leading home care agencies, we strive for quality senior home care services, including in at-home care for the elderly and respite care through HomeWorks. This program assists the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, safety and independence. In addition to healthcare and daily homecare, we also offer pastoral care for spiritual and emotional support in the home.

For more information on our senior home care services, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/home-respite-care-services-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/making-home-a-safer-place-for-elderly-parents/

 

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5 Things Seniors Need to do to Prepare for Winter

Winter car upkeeping: Antifreeze

Winter is approaching quickly and along with all the celebrations and festivities, the season also brings a few challenges like snow, ice and cold weather. Here are five tips for seniors to prepare for the winter ahead from our specialists in home help services for the elderly:

  1. Home maintenance. Start early with home maintenance before the rush sets in. Have your home’s heating system checked and serviced, make sure the gutters are cleared out and schedule small home maintenance repairs before they become bigger problems. It’s also a good idea to have smoke and CO(carbon monoxide) detectors checked to ensure they’re in good working order.
  2. Wardrobe. Go through your winter wardrobe thoroughly to ensure that your warm weather items are in good condition and within easy reach when the cold sets in. Make sure you have enough warm clothing, scarves and blankets, as well as weather-proof gear, for when you go outdoors. Check your shoes to make sure they are still weather-tight and can grip well to avoid slipping on ice. Walking sticks must also be checked to ensure that worn cane tips are replaced.
  3. Car maintenance. Driving in the winter can be dangerous, so make sure your vehicle is fully serviced before the icy weather arrives — check oil, wiper blades, tires and the battery. Ensure that your roadside assistance service is up-to-date and pack an emergency kit to leave inside your vehicle (not in the trunk). This kit should include a blanket, snacks with a long expiration date, hat/socks/gloves, booster cables, emergency flare, flashlight with additional batteries, cellphone adapter to charge your phone from inside the car, basic first aid kit and bottled water.
  4. Home provisions. Stock up with non-perishable foods and bottled water to eliminate trips during bad weather. Frozen meals can also be stockpiled in your freezer. Aim for as much variety as possible and ensure that you have Vitamin-D-rich foods like tuna, salmon, milk and grains. Also, stock up on common over-the-counter medications.
  5. Assistance. If needed, don’t hesitate to ask for help from neighbors, family, and friends. They can take on bigger jobs like clearing away snow and ice, home maintenance or fetching winter goods out of hard-to-reach places. Lifts to and from the shops, appointments or social events can also make daily life a lot easier. Some communities even have shuttle services specifically to help seniors.

Winter or Summer, Choose the Best Home Help Services for the Elderly in NJ 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey through HomeWorks. This program is about assisting the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and providing them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence.

For more information on our at home health care agency or our residential in home respite care in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/elderly-home-health-care-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/5-things-seniors-need-to-do-to-prepare-for-winter/

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Diagnosing and Treating Hearing Loss

Asian old woman having her ears checked

Hearing loss typically begins around age 40 and slowly progresses — in fact, most people don’t even realize they’re not hearing things as clearly as they used to. For the elderly, hearing loss often progresses to the point where quality of life can be affected, and verbal communication is difficult, so it’s important recognize the symptoms of hearing loss early and get professional treatment. Here are some insights from our in-home respite care team in New Jersey.

How is Hearing Loss Diagnosed? 

An audiologist will be able to run a series of tests to evaluate the quality of your hearing and measure the extent of its deterioration. These aren’t painful tests and don’t require a hospital stay — most require you to answer questions about your health and hearing issues, and to listen to differently pitched tones through headphones.

It’s important to get a diagnosis on your hearing problem, as there are many conditions that can affect your hearing. These include:

  • Age-related hearing loss;
  • Build-up of earwax;
  • Infection;
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears);
  • Nerve damage; and
  • Medication (including cancer chemotherapies).

How is Hearing Loss Treated? 

Most of these conditions are very treatable, so early diagnosis is key to getting your hearing back and preventing more serious issues. Treatments can range from a course of antibiotics in the case of infection, to a high-tech hearing aid in the case of age-related hearing loss.

Managing your diet and lifestyle can also help preserve your hearing, and following doctors’ orders to manage conditions like hypertension, diabetes, vascular disease, kidney disease, cholesterol, and thyroid disease are especially important. Even simple lifestyle changes can have an impressive effect – for some people, cutting down on their caffeine intake can prevent inner ear issues like tinnitus, ear pressure problems, dizziness and hearing loss.

Compassionate, Professional Care from Senior Home Care Specialists in NJ 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best quality senior home care options, including in-home respite care through our HomeWorks program. This program assists the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers with personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence. In addition to medical care and 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 https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/home-respite-care-services-nj/

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/diagnosing-and-treating-hearing-loss/

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Prostate Cancer and Seniors – What You Need to Know

Men health man prostate cancer November awareness month vector blue ribbon

This month is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so the team from our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ is sharing essential information to raise awareness and help fight this serious health condition.

What is Prostate Cancer? 

This is the third most common type of cancer, affecting over 3 million men in the USA. Almost all cases — over 90% — occur in men over the age of 55, making it essential that seniors take active measures to be aware of this condition.

Symptoms of the disease can include:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain while urinating
  • Trouble maintaining bladder control
  • Erectile dysfunction

It is important to note that these symptoms may only show up years after a tumor begins to grow, so it is important to have regular screenings to ensure an early diagnosis. Most doctors recommend that men should go for an annual screening every year from their 40s or if concerning symptoms appear.

5 Treatment Options for Prostate Cancer:

  1. Active surveillance. This treatment program focuses on a combination of frequent check-ups (monitoring of the tumor) and PSA (prostate-specific antigen) bloodwork, and is only recommended for mild cases.
  2. Another treatment for milder cases, this involves a process whereby cancer cells are frozen in order to kill them. It can also be used along with radiation if there are still remaining cancer cells after treatment.
  3. In advanced stages of the disease, the prostate can be removed surgically along with the tumor. This does involve a hospital stay and rehabilitative therapy to combat the urinary incontinence and erectile disfunction that 80% of men experience post-surgery.
  4. Radiation therapy. This treatment uses high-energy rays focused on the treatment area to kill cancerous cells. It has a number of unpleasant side effects, although these disappear over time after a successful treatment is over.
  5. High-intensity focused ultrasound. HIFU is a newer treatment option that is less invasive and has fewer side effects than many others. It uses high-intensity sound waves to kill the cancer cells and has the advantage of being repeatable in the event that the treatment doesn’t eradicate the cancer the first time around.

As with all cancers and medical conditions, early diagnosis is key to successful treatment — so annual screenings are essential to saving lives.

Independent Style Living for Seniors – Assisted Living New Jersey 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in independent style 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 on delivering essential resources that promote independence for seniors.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, please visit our website at http://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or contact us and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/prostate-cancer-and-seniors-what-you-need-to-know/

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