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6 Essential Winter Safety Tips for Seniors

Teenager Helping his Grandfather

The outside temperatures are dropping quickly and that means a snowy, icy winter is on its way. As we get older, we become more susceptible to the challenges of this season, so it’s important for seniors to do a little extra preparation to stay safe and healthy over the winter. Here are six tips for older adults from our home care services team in New Jersey:

  • Reduce Winter Fall Risks – Falls are incredibly dangerous for seniors, and the ice and cold conditions of winter make falls during this season very common. Check your loved one’s winter wardrobe and make sure pants, skirts, and dresses are the right length. Check winter shoes to ensure that they have a sturdy tread. If your loved one likes wearing house slippers, these should be checked to make sure they have a stable rubber grip. If you live nearby, volunteer to clear their steps or pathway outside their home to get rid of ice, or ask a neighbor to assist.
  • Stock the Shelves and Medicine Cabinet – This is especially important when a storm is on its way. Pop over with enough food and essentials to last five to seven days, including fresh and canned goods, water, over-the-counter medicines, and prescription medication. Check that their emergency kit is stocked with a working flashlight and spare batteries, a whistle, and a warm blanket, and place it somewhere easy to reach.
  • Keep the House Warm – Seniors can lose body heat quickly and are less likely to sense that their body temperature is dropping. While many seniors are on a tight budget, it’s recommended that thermostats are set at 68 degrees throughout winter. You can help keep energy bills down with some small home improvement projects, including closing vents in unused rooms, sealing around windows and doors, and replacing your furnace filter at the start of every heating season. A dirty filter sends particles into the air that contribute to winter illness.
  • Banish the Space Heater – Space heaters are incredibly dangerous and expensive to run. So, it’s best to get rid of them. They are a leading cause of house fires, often caused by flammable furnishings, blankets or curtains that brush up against them unnoticed.
  • Check Carbon Monoxide Detectors– Seniors are especially vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning. Therefore, be sure to test detectors and make sure there’s a working detector on each floor of the home. Carbon monoxide,  a common byproduct of less efficient furnaces and heating systems, is called the silent killer because it is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating. Optimally, hire a home heating professional to make an onsite service visit during the fall.
  • Stay in Touch– Whether you are close enough to visit or whether you call, it’s important to check in on a regular basis. Winter can be a time when many seniors are vulnerable to isolation and depression, so social contact can do a lot to keep seniors connected and active. It’s also a good idea to keep in contact with a few of your loved one’s neighbors so that they can also check in on occasion and make sure everything is alright.

For Peace of Mind, 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 our HomeWorks program. This program is dedicated to assisting seniors 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

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What to Do When Your Senior Parent Refuses Help They Need

Dementia and Occupational Therapy - Home caregiver and senior adult man

There comes a time in everyone’s life when they may need a little extra help and care to live life to the fullest – but not everyone sees a helping hand as a positive thing. Many seniors struggle to accept that they need assistance, and this stubbornness can be a big concern for loved ones. Here are some tips from our home health aide services team in New Jersey on what to do when your senior loved one isn’t interested in talking about assistance.

You Can’t Force Someone to Accept Help 

The first thing to realize is that you can’t make your parent accept help – or even accept your advice. Unless they are suffering from a mental or physical health condition that legally allows you to make healthcare decisions on their behalf (Power of Attorney or a legal guardianship), they are legally entitled to make their own decisions.

Don’t Make Ultimatums 

An aggressive approach, even if it’s rational and logical, is going to look like an attack, putting your parent on the defensive. Most older adults who refuse to consider assistance or at home care are rejecting the idea out of fear – fear of getting older, fear of being removed from friends and family, and so forth. Instead, speak to your parent as someone who respects their input and their point of view, and explain your concerns.

Try Meet Them Halfway 

Try to understand where they are coming from and consider their concerns too. If they don’t want to move out of their home or away from their social circle, consider home health aide services rather than assisted living. If they are worried about having to invite someone into their house that they don’t know, then talk with your local service providers about making introductions with different caregivers so your parent can get to know them.

Don’t put any pressure on – your parent needs to come around to the idea of assistance by themselves. Often, they have just as many misconceptions about these services as younger people do, so it is often just a matter of showing how useful and rewarding a little senior care can really be.

Home Health Aide Services New Jersey – Compassionate At Home Care for the Elderly 

At United Methodist Communities in New Jersey, we strive to offer the very best quality senior care options, from assisted living to in-home care through our HomeWorks program. 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. We can assist you with respite care, overnight care, hourly or live-in care, as well as provide experienced care for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.

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Ask These 3 Questions When Hiring For In Home Respite Care Services

Female caregiver serving afternoon tea to patient

In home respite care services are a useful option for seniors who need some additional assistance in their daily lives after an operation, fall or illness, or for family caregivers who need additional help caring for their loved one. Here are some important issues to cover in the interview process.

What are Your Qualifications? 

In most states – but not all – home health aide services are required to have the correct license, which includes regular reviews, in order to ensure that the quality of the services they offer meet a particular standard. You can ask to see an up-to-date license and you can also call your state health department to confirm that the company you are interviewing is licensed to operate.

Another area to look into is the personal qualifications of the individual who will be providing your in home respite care services. This can be confirmed by talking to the organization about their employee background screening process, by contacting personal references, and getting a clear idea of their training and experience.

What Services Do You Cover? 

Home health aide service providers offer a wide range of services that meet the needs of a variety of people and offer an hourly rate. This ensures that you aren’t paying for time or services that you don’t need. It’s important to understand the range of services that your home health aide can cover, which may include:

  • Companionship
  • Bathing and dressing
  • Light housekeeping (laundry, vacuuming, etc.)
  • Grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation
  • Transport to social and medical appointments
  • Home care for patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia, palliative care, stroke recovery, cancer recovery, etc.

What Do These Services Cost? 

It’s important to find out how the agency handles expenses and billing (especially when it comes to skilled nursing care), whether costs can be submitted to health insurance or Medicare, and if the agency offers any kind of financial assistance. Be sure to get quotes in advance so that you can check with your insurance provider and ensure that it fits in your budget.

High-Quality, Compassionate In-Home Respite Care Services in NJ 

Whether you need assistance as a family caregiver or your loved one is recovering from an operation or illness, our care team is here to help through our HomeWorks program. As one of the leading residential in-home respite care providers in NJ, our fully certified staff have all the essential senior care training and experience needed to provide for Alzheimer’s and dementia care, so please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

For more information on our home health aide services, please contact us today or visit our website at

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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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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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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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6 Things You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure

Doctor Checking Blood Pressure

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, so the team at our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey would like to share some facts about this health condition that can help save lives!

  • High blood pressure is a primary or contributing cause to almost 1,000 deaths per day: This is according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who says that high blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure and kidney disease.
  • 1 in 5 American adults don’t know they have high blood pressure: 7 in 10 adults in the USA have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and use medication to manage it. An annual health checkup is essential to monitoring blood pressure.
  • It may be linked to dementia: Recent studies have shown indications that high blood pressure could be a contributor to dementia conditions and loss of cognitive function, especially if high blood pressure develops between 45-65 years old.
  • It’s not just a senior condition: Young people can get high blood pressure too, especially between the ages of 25-45 years old. This and the high obesity rates among young people are thought to be some of the reasons why strokes are on the rise in this age group.
  • There aren’t usually any symptoms: It can be impossible to tell if you have high blood pressure, which is why it’s often called “the silent killer”. Even if you feel completely healthy, have your blood pressure checked by a doctor for your peace of mind – it’s painless! This is especially important if you are in a higher-risk group, which includes women and African American men.
  • It is manageable: The most important fact is that having high blood pressure isn’t an automatic death sentence – if you manage it correctly. Getting diagnosed early is key, and your doctor can recommend a regimen that may include weight loss and dietary as well as lifestyle changes along with medication that can help you live a long, enjoyable and healthy life!

Become Part of a Community at Our 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 ageing 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 to find out more about our CCRC and our assisted living in Sussex County, New Jersey, please visit our website and book your visit today.

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