Category Archives: Memory Support Services

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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What are memory care and support services all about?

While memory care services are often associated with assisted living and may overlap, the two are not the same. Assisted living primarily focuses on providing essential support for day-to-day living like bathing, dressing, meal preparation and medication, while memory care services specifically assist residents with dementia conditions like Alzheimer’s. Here’s some insight into these services from memory care service providers in South Jersey.

Comfortable residential settings for dementia patients
United Methodist Communities at The Shores, offers residents with memory conditions a comfortable, homey residential setting specifically designed to foster the best quality of life. Our staff and therapists are fully trained to care for all residents as well as offer compassionate companionship.

Our programs are based on each person’s individual needs and capabilities, as well as their preferences and strengths. We incorporate everyday routines into a neighborhood lifestyle, including tasks like setting the table, cooking, folding clothes, gardening and group discussions.

In addition to this, we offer therapeutic programs that promote involvement and participation including fitness programs, hands-on creative art, music sessions and other forms of sensory stimulation and entertainment.

By offering comfortable studio apartments, a range of communal activity areas and state-of-the-art nurse call and wander management systems, we strive to balance our scalable care services with patient dignity and independence.

Customized memory care and support services in South Jersey
At The Shores, as part of United Methodist Communities, we aim to serve our memory care residents as well as their loved ones with compassion, respect and expert support. As an EAGLE accredited organization, we are mindful of our not-for-profit status, remaining accountable and continually improving our performance and services in order to provide residents with the best quality care available.

For more information about our assisted living and memory care services for Alzheimer’s and dementia, please contact us today to arrange for a personal visit.

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Memory games that promote healthy brains

Memories play an important role in forming who we are but, as we age, certain dementia conditions can start to erode these vital building blocks of our relationships, knowledge and personality. Conditions like Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia and Lewy body dementia currently have no cure, but there are ways to fight against memory loss, help exercise your brain and keep neurological pathways firing and responding properly, say memory care services specialists in Gloucester County, New Jersey.

Sudoku: This Japanese numbers game has gained a popular following in recent decades, with people of all ages enjoying the challenge. Using a grid of nine by nine spaces or cells, you fill the grid using the numbers 1 to 9, never using them more than once vertically, horizontally or within the 3×3 subgrids. This is a great way to exercise patience, pattern recognition and the process of elimination. They range from easy beginner’s games up to more difficult challenges, so it’s easy to try and see if you enjoy it. Most newspapers publish a few puzzles and there are books of Sudoku challenges as well as free puzzles online.

Crossword puzzles: A traditional favorite, these challenges are good for exercising memory recall and problem solving. They are available in different formats and sizes that offer unique challenges, including simple or easy clue formats or the more difficult indirect or cryptic clues. Sometimes, they follow different themes, including pop culture, literature, sports, history, or a combination of themes. Try out the crosswords in your local paper for a quick memory training session.

Apps and games: For a slightly more advanced take on brain training, you can use a wide range of programs on computers, tablets or smartphones. Many of them, like Lumosity, have been developed by neuroscientists, making them engaging as well as offering practice training for your brain.

Puzzles: These come in a wide range of sizes and complexity and many people enjoy doing them with a friend as well as on their own. Puzzles form useful therapy tools for memory care residents, helping to rebuild problem solving skills as well as encouraging memory stimulation and participation. If you are looking for a puzzle for a loved one with a memory condition, a therapist will be able to help you choose one that provides optimal stimulation without causing frustration.

Education: While this isn’t a memory game, learning new things is pivotal to keeping your brain fit and active. Attending guest lectures, enrolling in classes and clubs, and reading new books will all help your brain to form new, healthy neural pathways.

Expert memory care and support services in our assisted living community
Pitman is a senior living and assisted living community in Gloucester County, New Jersey. As part of United Methodist Communities, we’re dedicated to providing our residents with the highest quality of life possible through our compassionate care and professional services. As part of our services, we offer memory support to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia, promoting dignity and independence while meeting each person’s individual needs.

For more information about our assisted living community or memory care services, please contact us today or arrange a visit to our premises.

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Understanding different types of dementia

Dementia is a term that covers a category of diseases and conditions that primarily cause memory loss through physical changes to the brain. Here’s a guide to the different conditions in this category:

  • Alzheimer’s disease: The most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s accounts for between 60 and 80% of dementia conditions. It has been known to cause short-term memory loss, confusion, apathy, behavior changes, depression, decreased communication skills and decreased judgment. This is the result of beta-amyloid protein deposits (known as plaques) or twisted tau proteins (tangles) in the brain cells that lead to nerve cell damage and cell death.
  • Parkinson’s disease: A progressive disease that affects movement, it can lead to dementia symptoms similar to those of Alzheimer’s. Parkinson’s disease is caused by the development of clumps of alpha-synuclein protein deep within the brain that lead to nerve degeneration.
  • Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome: Caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1, this disease often affects alcoholics. This vitamin plays an important role in brain function and nerve cells cannot function properly without it, leading to severe memory loss.
  • Huntington’s disease: This is caused by a defective gene on Chromosome 4, which results in abnormal brain proteins. Over time, this disease worsens, leading to involuntary movements, a decline in thinking and reasoning abilities, irritability and mood changes.
  • Normal pressure hydrocephalus: Caused by a buildup of fluid in the brain, patients experience memory loss, as well as difficulty with urinary control and walking.
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Known as ‘mad cow disease,’ this fatal brain disease can be transmitted to people in certain circumstances, impairing memory and coordination.
  • Frontotemporal dementia: Little is known about this category of diseases, which includes primary progressive aphasia and Pick’s disease, as there is currently a lack of research-based evidence to link each case. These conditions affect the front and sides of the brain and include symptoms such as personality changes, difficulty with language and behavioral changes.

Memory care and support services from assisted living specialists

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we understand that caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s or dementia can be stressful and emotionally draining, and as the disease progresses it may become impossible for you to manage without qualified support.

This is why we offer specialist memory support and care services specifically geared toward assisting Alzheimer’s and other dementia residents. By focusing on providing onsite customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style community, we help ensure your loved one maintains his or her dignity and quality of life.

To find out more about our services for Alzheimer’s patients, please contact the nearest UMH today:

UMH Bristol Glen in Sussex County, NJ: (973) 300-5788

UMH Collingswood Manor in Camden County, NJ: (856) 854-4331

UMH Francis Asbury Manor in Monmouth County, NJ: (732) 774-1316

UMH Pitman Manor in Gloucester County, NJ: (856) 589-7800

UMH The Shores in Cape May County, NJ: 609-399-8505


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What are the essential do’s and don’t’s of dementia care?

If you have a loved one with dementia, it’s important to know how to handle any challenges you may face when socializing with or caring for them. Here is some great advice from assisted living specialists in New Jersey.

How to manage aggression in dementia patients

It’s common for caregivers and loved ones to be confronted by aggression – verbally or physically – when assisting someone with dementia. While often an upsetting and frustrating experience, it’s important to understand why this behavior is occurring in order to handle it properly.

Key to this, is discovering what triggers the outbursts. The most common triggers include unfamiliar surroundings, physical discomfort and fear. So what should you do and what actions should you avoid?

DO: Try to identify what is at the root of the behavior and find a way to remedy the situation, keeping in mind that different things work for different people. For some people, talking calmly and gently touching them, helps to soothe – for others, it increases aggression. Another course of action is to ensure that they aren’t in harm’s way and simply walk away and give them the chance to calm themselves.

DON’T: Under no circumstances should you become confrontational or try and force your loved one to do whatever they are refusing to do. This will only escalate the situation.

How to manage a confused dementia patient

Because dementia affects the memory, confusion about time, places and people are common. People with dementia can easily become fearful or uncertain when they don’t recognize someone or their environment.

DO: Try simple explanations accompanied by familiar things such as photographs, favorite items or even scents. Remember your aim is to try help your loved one feel safe and in control, even if it means delaying an activity or social gathering until they feel comfortable.

DON’T: Don’t use lengthy explanations or reasoning to overcome these moments of confusion, as they simply aren’t effective. Short, to the point explanations or even therapeutic white lies are the fastest and most effective way of calming and helping your loved one – which is the priority during these moments.

Expert Memory Care and Support Services

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, we offer support services and assisted living communities specifically for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents in environments that deliver the highest quality of life. An individualized care plan, developed for each resident, addresses their unique needs and level of independence and focuses on everyday routines like cooking, gardening, socializing, setting the table and other common tasks within a community lifestyle. These memory care programs also include activities for general wellness such as fitness, music and other sensory-rich activities suited to your loved one’s enjoyment.

Our residences are designed to be comfortable and homey, encouraging independence while supplying essential support and onsite medical care. For more information on our memory support services for Alzheimer’s and dementia, please contact the nearest UMH today:

UMH Bristol Glen in Sussex County, NJ: (973) 300-5788

UMH Collingswood Manor in Camden County, NJ: (856) 854-4331

UMH Francis Asbury Manor in Monmouth County, NJ: (732) 774-1316

UMH Pitman Manor in Gloucester County, NJ: (856) 589-7800

UMH The Shores in Cape May County, NJ: 609-399-8505


For more information, please visit


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Five Signs Your Aging Loved Ones Need Assistance

  1. Uncharacteristic neglect of home maintenance/housekeeping: If your loved ones are known for the pride they take in their home and garden, a lapse in this care can be a sign they are no longer coping. Ignoring excess clutter, the garden overgrowth, and home maintenance issues can also increase the risk of falls and injuries in the home. If you suspect they feel overwhelmed, offer to help out with certain tasks, but if your parents can’t seem to regain control over their home it may be time to suggest assisted living.
  2. Bills aren’t being paid – or are being overpaid: An occasional lapse or moment of confusion is understandable when it comes to a person’s finances, but if you notice bills starting to pile up or your loved ones making other financial errors, it is right to feel concerned. Managing your own money is a hallmark of independence, so this may be a difficult conversation to have, especially with parents, but it is important to help your parents trust that they can have help handling their finances.
  3. Weight loss: This can be linked to a number of issues, such as grief, depression, and fear of driving or leaving the house. Stay on the lookout for spoiled food, empty fridges or an unwillingness to leave the house to run errands such as grocery shopping. Identifying the issue can help your parents manage their health and stress.
  4. Uncharacteristic, inappropriate behavior: This covers a wide range of issues from odd conversations, forgetting to dress properly and decreased personal hygiene, to paranoia, accidentally taking too much medication and notably increased forgetfulness (like burning food on the stove, etc.).
  5. A serious medical diagnosis: Medical conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s will affect your loved ones’ ability to cope with day-to-day activities and permanent caregiving is key to slowing the condition’s progression and ensuring their quality of life. While you may be able to assist in the early stages, it’s important to remember that qualified professionals such as those at UMH memory care residences are available to provide additional compassion and support.

Adult children are often the best at picking up on these issues and determining whether these behaviors are just personal quirks or something more serious, so remember to rely on your instincts. If you are worried about your parents or aging loved ones, a gentle conversation will help determine if they need help and what support is available.

Compassionate care and community assisted living 

At United Methodist Homes of New Jersey, our priority is to deliver affordable, expert assisted living, nursing home care and support services to seniors based on their individual needs. With residential apartments designed for optimal access and mobility, meal programs and 24-hour medical and security services, we help our residents to live independent, full lives. We also have a great selection of social programs, classes, events and trips, as well as customized support services for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents.

For more information on our assisted living communities and long-term care services, please contact us today or visit

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How to Fight Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a form of dementia which primarily affects the parts of the brain that control memory, resulting in progressive and permanent neurological damage. The disease affects more than 5 million Americans. While research continues to bring us closer to effective treatments, there are additional steps that patients, their families and caregivers can take to help fight this condition.

  1. Physical exercise: Engaging in a healthy amount of physical activity has significant health benefits for the brain as well as the heart, vascular system and body’s physical strength. Studies have shown that exercise can stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain older neural networks as well as stimulate new connections. It’s recommended that people over 65 years of age do 40 minutes a day of aerobic (e.g., walking or water aerobics) or non-aerobic exercise (e.g., stretching and toning muscles) to experience the full benefits.
  2. Mental exercise: A healthy body is important, but so is an active mind. Just like a muscle, the brain needs to be regularly challenged in order to maintain a healthy level of cognitive function. Stimulation is also vital to maintaining cognitive pathways and building new connections. Some of the best forms of mental stimulation include reading, doing crossword puzzles, playing games, social interaction and social activities such as going to museums or community events.
  3. Diet: Research has shown that certain foods can help keep the brain healthy while others can be harmful to cognitive health. A diet rich in lots of fruit, fish oil, legumes, vegetables (especially broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables) and whole grains is recommended. Foods such as saturated fats and refined carbohydrates (like white sugar) should be avoided, as studies indicate these foods may assist cognitive decline, especially in the areas of the brain focused on learning and memory.
  4. Early diagnosis: Knowing the signs of early onset Alzheimer’s, working on mental and physical health, as well as having access to professional and medical assistance will help ensure your loved one is kept comfortable, healthy and independent for as long as possible. An early diagnosis will allow caregivers to start implementing the best measures available as soon as possible.

Memory care and support services at UMH New Jersey 

Housed in Assisted Living, the memory care and support residences at UMH are specially designed to support individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. By focusing on  customized care plans and activities within our comfortable apartment-style communities, we maximize your loved one’s dignity and quality of life .

To find out more about our services for Alzheimer’s residents, please contact UMH today or visit

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