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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

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Inside the Medicare 5-Star Rating System

5-star rating system

If you’re in the process of trying to select a skilled nursing provider to meet your loved one’s senior care needs, then you may have come across the Medicare 5-star rating system, also known as Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) star ratings. In this article, the team from our assisted living community in Gloucester County explains what this is all about.

What is the 5-Star Rating System? 

Over 10 years ago, Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon posed the following question to congress: Why is it easier for people to choose a new appliance than to choose a skilled nursing community? The result was the development of the 5-star rating system.

In this system, skilled nursing providers are awarded a rating of between one and five stars, with five stars being the best rating. This rating is based on several key factors, such as:

Health inspections. How the provider has performed in health inspections over the last three years.

Staff. How many hours of nursing care each resident or patient receives per day as well as the ratio of staff per resident or patient. Facilities with high care needs like hospice or nursing homes would be expected to have more skilled nursing staff than assisted living communities with lower intensity care needs.

Quality of care. Eleven different criteria covering the level of medical and physical care are evaluated. The ratings also take into account how timely the agency is in starting care, how patients and residents improve under care, and how well the provider performs in terms of minimizing patient and resident trips to hospitals and emergency rooms.

This system is fairly comprehensive and — because there are so many different providers and care plans available to seniors — this makes it a useful tool for evaluating different care options and plans. However, it shouldn’t be your only resource in making this important decision, and you should ensure that you visit different providers in person and get quality references.

Looking for Independence and Quality of Life? Visit Our Assisted Living Community in Gloucester County, New Jersey 

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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7 Senior Skin Cancer Prevention Tips

Senior woman applying sunscreen to mans nose

Spending time outdoors in the summer is a favorite activity for many people in New Jersey! While it’s important to get enough Vitamin D to keep bones, teeth and the immune system healthy, it’s still important to avoid damage from UV (ultra-violet) rays that can lead to skin cancer.

Although much of this damage is done in our earlier years of life, healthy precautions proactively protect seniors — just look at these seven tips from the team at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ:

  1. Use high quality sunblock. Always choose a waterproof sunblock of at least SPF30 (sun protection factor) if not higher, even on cloudy days.
  2. Cover up. Pretty cotton shawls, wide-brim sun hats and loose cotton pants are great for keeping cool and keeping UV rays from coming into direct skin contact.
  3. Protect those eyes. Sunglasses with large polarized lenses and a UV400 rating (blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays) are a must-have, making it more comfortable to see on bright days and protecting the eyes and delicate skin around them.
  4. Stay indoors during peak UV times. Sunshine becomes particularly dangerous around midday, so it’s a good idea for anyone — senior or otherwise — to stay indoors between 11am and 2pm and reserve the morning and afternoon for outdoor activities.
  5. Take Vitamin D. As we mentioned above, Vitamin D is very important, and many seniors simply aren’t getting enough. Your doctor will be able to tell you just how much of the supplement you should take to stay healthy, as it’s important not to have too much in your diet.
  6. Check your medications. Some medications, including some antibiotics, can make your skin more sensitive to the sun’s effects, causing you to burn more easily. Check with your doctor or pharmacist to make sure that none of your prescriptions put you at higher risk. If they do, try to stay indoors or in the shade as much as possible and be extra diligent with reapplying sunblock.
  7. Perform a skin exam. Self-examinations are a good way to spot any indications of early skin cancer. Look for spots, changes in skin color, burns, new spots or growths on moles or itchy/bleeding moles or skin growths. If you have any concerns, visit your doctor — it never hurts to have skin cancer ruled out.


Assisted Living in Gloucester County – A True Community for Independent Seniors 

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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May is Arthritis Awareness Month!

This month, our home healthcare services team is looking at a health condition that affects so many seniors — arthritis. This includes over 100 conditions that cause joint disease and joint pain, affecting over 50 million adults in the United States. Here is some helpful information about arthritis and its treatment.

Do I Have Arthritis? 

As this name is given to such a large group of conditions, there’s no definitive single set of symptoms for diagnosis. However, these four most common symptoms can indicate an issue:

  1. Swelling, pain and stiffness in the joints
  2. Decreased range of motion
  3. Physical changes to the joints, for example, knobby finger joints
  4. Difficulty with daily activities like walking, typing and climbing stairs

If you have any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor as soon as possible to get the right diagnosis and treatment.

Osteoarthritis, the most common condition in this category, generally affects the elderly. It is caused when the cartilage (the hard but smooth cushioning surface on the ends of bones) wears away, leaving bone to rub against bone. This causes pain, swelling and stiffness, which often worsen over time, resulting in a lack of strength in the joint.

Inflammatory arthritis conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are immune conditions which occur when the immune system mistakenly attacks the joints of the body, resulting in painful inflammation and even damage to internal organs and other parts of the body. It can result from genetic and environmental risk factors, including smoking.

Treatment for Arthritis 

For osteoarthritis, symptoms are treated by not overworking joints, engaging in therapeutic activity and strengthening the muscles around the joints, healthy weight management, hot and cold therapies, assistive devices, mild pain medications and avoiding repetitive movements.

For inflammatory arthritis, early diagnosis is very important, as patients can get medical treatment in the form of disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to reduce pain and inflammation and prevent permanent damage.

Compassionate, Quality Care from Our Home Health Aide Services Team in New Jersey 

Whether you need permanent senior homecare services or someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one on a respite care or temporary basis, we are here to help through HomeWorks. As one of the leading home health agencies in NJ, our staff are fully certified in New Jersey and have senior care training and experience. Please feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

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

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Leave the Old Age Home Stereotype Behind

Elder talking to woman

If you grew up in the 70s, your perception of senior living is probably tainted with ideas of very old, fragile men and women with serious end-of-life issues. A tour through many of that period’s facilities may have done little to dispel your image of these “homes” as places to be avoided at all costs.

But like everything else, the world for older adults has changed and evolved. People are living longer and a greying population makes up more of the overall population in the USA than ever before. People are savvier about the care options available for them or their loved ones, and the internet offers a wealth of information on the credibility and capabilities of caregivers.

And so, 50 years later, the senior living and senior care industry has changed dramatically. The current need for care and companionship has as many different levels as the people who need them. It’s no longer a one-size-fits-all business, and the level of service, quality of lifestyle, and the diverse options for comfort of living make senior communities a vibrant place-to-be for many — both rewarding for employees and stimulating and safe for residents.

The stereotype of cold, hospital-like facilities has been left behind in favor of diverse, vibrant communities that cater to a wide range of lifestyles, living options and care services. This has made assisted living and Continuing Care Retirement Communities much-desired options for older adults, who desire a high-quality of life, convenience, independence and tailored care from trained professionals, all in a homey, comfortable and modern setting.

These demographic and consumer changes are also creating a boom industry for healthcare workers. Modern senior care aides, an enthusiastic and passionate flock of professionals, feel excited about the industry and the difference they make in the lives of seniors.

From nursing and medical staff to certified caregivers and therapists, all these associates are trained and screened. They genuinely care about delivering real quality of life to seniors. In fact, the attraction to this industry is so strong that in 2015, employment in the healthcare and social assistance sector grew by a significant 3.5%. Between 2000 and 2016, healthcare employment in general grew by a huge 42% —much of it sparked by the increased focus on healthcare services for seniors.

This transformation in the population and thus in the senior living industry creates an important milestone, changing the perception of senior care and creating communities that are a joy to live and work in.

Customized Care with a Focus on Independent Living – Assisted living in Camden County, NJ 

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 senior living. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, we focus on essential resources that promote independence and quality of life.

If you speak with the team at Collingswood, you will learn about their tremendous sense of satisfaction from caring for, and having relationships with active, vibrant seniors — often a rewarding and life-changing experience. An environment which upholds spirituality and a non-profit mission as the framework for everything they do helps. Our associates also live “the abundant life” by having a true sense of purpose when they come to work every day.

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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5 Essential Qualities to Look for When Hiring a Senior Home Healthcare Aide

care worker house call

Finding and interviewing caregivers to care for an elderly loved one can be a challenging experience. Many people are unsure of a what to look for in a home health aide, whether the costs are justified, or even if their loved one will work well with the new caregiver. On top of that, it’s often a very emotional and stressful time.

Here are some qualities to look for in your candidates that will get your hiring process off to a great start, from our senior home health care services team in NJ:

  1. This doesn’t just mean how long they’ve worked in the industry. Different caregivers specialize in varied areas, and you want to make sure that they can handle their new position. They should have knowledge, skills and experience to manage your loved one’s unique situation, whether it’s a health condition, if they need post-operative care, or specific help around the home.
  2. Your candidate should have successfully undergone the training and certifications required for the position under your state guidelines as a minimum requirement for the job. It’s a great sign if your candidate has continued their training above this level to gain additional skills – especially if they are something your loved one may need in future.
  3. The get-along factor. Your loved one and the caregiver will be spending a lot of time together and it’s very important that they are a good fit for each other. Your loved one needs to be able to trust the caregiver and build a healthy relationship. Look out for candidates that are nurturing, as well as professional and show an interest in your loved one not just as a patient, but as a person.
  4. Strong communication skills. You and your family need to rely on the caregiver to keep in touch with you about any changes in condition or care plan, as well as assist with managing doctors’ appointments if needed. Strong communication skills will give you essential peace of mind.
  5. Supportive and encouraging. Great caregivers see their position as more than a job — they really get invested and interested in their assignment. A motivated and compassionate caregiver ensures a high care standard and helps keep your loved one as active and independent as possible.

Qualified, Dedicated Caregivers for the Best At Home Care for the Elderly in NJ 

United Methodist Communities’ HomeWorks, one of the state’s leading home health aide agencies, strives to offer the very best home health aide services in New Jersey. This program assists the elderly in the comfort of their own homes and provides them, their families and caregivers personalized, compassionate care that prioritizes health, happiness and independence.

For more information on our in-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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8 Spring Cleaning Safety and Health Tips for Helping Seniors

cheerful young girl helping with household chores elderly woman home

Spring is a wonderful time of year that’s all about transitioning into those long, care-free summer days. For seniors, however, this season can bring its set of challenges despite the warmer weather!

Here are some tips for caregivers to help senior neighbors, friends, family and members of community to shake off the winter weather:

Spring Cleaning Safety Tips 

Some of us dread spring cleaning and seniors are no exception! If you’re planning to help an elderly loved one with this task, follow these tips:

  1. Plan ahead. Make a list of each area that needs to be addressed in the home and what you want to accomplish. Be sure to get approval for each step — especially about what must go and what should stay.
  2. Team effort. Your loved one is likely only going to be able to manage lighter tasks and supervise some of the process, so don’t take on everything else alone. Get friends and family in to help — it will make the job easier and faster, as well as a lot more enjoyable!
  3. De-clutter first. Clutter is a very real health hazard for seniors, so it should be a priority when cleaning out. Once you’ve dealt with initial clutter, only then move on to cupboards and storage areas. Remember to keep clear paths throughout the house that can accommodate your loved one’s walker or wheelchair, if necessary.
  4. Test safety devices. Use this opportunity to install safety devices in the home or test ones already in place to make sure they are in working order. This includes ensuring grab bars are secure, fire and carbon monoxide detectors function, and that lights are bright and in full working order.

Spring Health Checks 

Spring is allergy season, and seniors are no exception!

  1. Be sure to check if your loved one is suffering from any allergy symptoms and if so, plan a trip to the doctor to prescribe the right medication.
  2. If you suspect that the allergen is inside the home, check and clean air conditioning filters.
  3. Check for mold growth in moist areas of the home and inside cupboards.
  4. Give bedding and soft furnishings a thorough cleaning.

Companionship, Nursing and More from Our NJ Home Help Services for the Elderly 

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 program, trained and experienced 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.

In addition to helping with daily tasks, transport and personal hygiene, our senior home care services team can assist with nursing, medication management and much more on a permanent or temporary basis. For dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, we can develop specific care routines that ensure a sense of structure and help reduce stress and anxiety.

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

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