How to Start the Talk About Assisted Living

Assisted living falls among the  conversations dreaded by parents and their children alike. Starting the conversation about these types of long-term plans, even when they come from good intentions, can be stressful and overwhelming for everyone involved. Here are some tips from our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, for making it a positive and constructive conversation:

  • Don’t wait until for a crisis. For many of us, it’s easier to ignore this issue while our parents are healthy and independent, but this can mean trouble when serious issues do arise. Instead, keep it a casual but meaningful ongoing conversation in which everyone is involved — especially your parents — and there are no urgent and serious decisions to be made.
    Sit down with your parents at home on a quiet day.While acknowledging that this isn’t an easy topic to talk about, it’s important to you that they are cared for properly. Ask them what they envision for themselves and start planning so that you and your family can work together to achieve it.
  • Be honest. Many families have trouble communicating their fears and concerns, and parents often feel uncomfortable talking about their loss of independence making them a burden on their families. By bringing up the subject in a non-confrontational way, you may be surprised at their response.
    Talking honestly will also help you get a better idea of how they are really coping — if managing the house is becoming too difficult, looking after a spouse too demanding, or if they are becoming lonely or isolated as friends move into away, for example. This will better help you find an option that offers the right level of support.
  • Don’t gang up and let the issue escalate. As a potentially very emotional and stressful conversation, it’s important it doesn’t escalate into an argument. Use a calm, relaxed tone of voice. Listen to what your parent or parents want, rather than giving ultimatums or talking over them. Highlight the positives of each option, whether the communities you’re suggesting  have a lively social spirit; have lovely, maintenance–free living options; or are close to friends, family and loved ones, for example.
  • Don’t put on the pressure. One of the biggest barriers to entering assisted living is that many people don’t really know what modern senior communities   offer. This fear of the unknown mixes with fear of losing independence, making many people actively dismiss an potentially beneficial option. Take your time to look at recommended assisted living communities and places where family friends may reside, and do your research online. Then, visit these communities and see for yourself what would suit your parents. This will give the peace-of-mind you need to properly communicate the choices to your parents, and help convince them to come along for their own tour.

Assisted living community in NJ for independent seniors 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities’ network of high-quality, non-profit, faith-based, assisted living communities specializing in assisted 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 to promote independence and quality of life.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living services, please contact us at https://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/start-talk-assisted-living/

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When Is the Right Time for Family Caregivers to Consider Hospice Care?

Being a caregiver to a family member or friend is a choice that many people make because it helps avoid costly care and allows you to spend precious time with a loved one. However, many caregivers find this challenging role can become overwhelming in later stages of care and when illnesses become terminal. At this point, hospice care may become the right choice for you and your loved one. Here are some insights from our hospice care provider in Ocean City on making this decision:

Hospice is about comfort and care at the end of life

Firstly, it is important to know that hospice is a level of care that is reserved only for patients nearing their end-of-life, or who have terminal conditions that can no longer be effectively treated by doctors. In order to qualify for hospice, patients or their families have to be certified by a physician to have six months or less of their life remaining, however, they will continue to qualify for hospice after six months, as long as the physician is able to continue to document the patient’s eligibility.

This qualification process remains in place because the focus of hospice is not about treating a disease — rather, it is about providing patients and their loved ones a high level of comfort, compassion and care as they go through this transition. Medical teams and care workers assist with pain and symptom management and wellness, as well as to provide bereavement support and pastoral care (if needed).

Can family caregivers and loved ones benefit from hospice care?

The short answer to this question is yes, absolutely. Providing end-of-life-care as a family caregiver is an overwhelming task, not only because it requires such a significant shift in care as well as increased care demands, but because this can be a difficult and emotionally stressful time for you as well as your loved one.

Hospice offers an entire team and range of services dedicated to assisting you and your loved one. Not only does their experience, access to medical equipment and skilled services help ensure the highest level of care and comfort for your loved one, they also free your time from daily caregiving tasks so you can actually spend quality time together.

The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit organization in New Jersey, offers a compassionate, professional hospice dedicated neighborhood in Cape May County called Bridges. This program focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for residents and their loved ones through customized care and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice neighborhood in South Jersey, please contact us today at https://theshores.umcommunities.org/.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/right-time-family-caregivers-consider-hospice-care/

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The Value of In-Home Spiritual and Emotional Support

For many senior home healthcare providers, the focus of their services is medical care and physical assistance. While these are important offerings, specialists have become increasingly aware of the health and quality of life benefits that come from combining this high-quality care with compassionate companionship and pastoral care.

Health benefits of a holistic approach to wellness 

Spiritual and emotional support in the form of companionship and pastoral care serve to balance the technological and scientific breakthroughs that benefit the physical health of seniors. This holistic approach assists and supports your loved ones in every facet of their lives, bringing significant benefits that include:

  • Developing and maintaining helpful coping mechanisms to deal with the aging process, frailty, illness, and the loss of loved ones.
  • Developing a sense of peace and acceptance of mortality that relieves anxiety and helps focus on enjoying what life has to offer.
  • Strengthening social and community relationships that help combat loneliness, depression and stress. These bonds also help keep seniors motivated and active, and bounce back from illness or injury more rapidly.
  • Providing a confidant outside of the family or social circles who can offer counselling, listen to fears and worries without judgement or personal involvement as an impartial support mechanism.
  • Helping to develop and foster a sense of purpose and belonging, enriching relationships, building positive social behaviors and contributing towards happiness.
  • An increased ability to manage the psychological effects of loss, illness, disability or health issues effectively.

Skilled medical support, physical assistance and pastoral senior home care services in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best quality holistic at home care for older adults, 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. In addition to daily homecare we also offer pastoral care for spiritual and emotional support in the home.

For more information on our home health aide services in New Jersey, please contact us today at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/ .

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/value-home-spiritual-emotional-support/

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Assisted Living Facilities for Senior Veterans – Insights into PTSD

June is PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) Awareness Month. Our assisted living community in Camden County is promoting awareness of this serious condition and helping people find compassionate long-term care for veterans..

What is PTSD?

PTSD is a mental health condition in which people who have been through a traumatic event experience symptoms of reliving the event, avoid situations that recall the event, feel guilt and shame, or hyperarousal (feel jittery, unable to sleep or concentrate, easily startled, etc.). While it is normal to feel stress after a traumatic event, PTSD sufferers usually experience them far beyond the usual parameters, both in terms of the intensity of the symptoms and the duration over months, years or even decades of their lives.

It’s important to realize that this mental health condition does not affect each patient equally or in the same ways. This serious disorder deserves specialist treatment and is not a sign of weakness.

How is PTSD treated?

There are two main types of treatment for PTSD, psychotherapy (counselling) and medication. Patients may be prescribed either one or both depending on their needs.

The psychotherapy treatment can include any single or combination of the following treatments:

  • Cognitive behavioral treatment – This is about learning skills to help understand the trauma and how patients think about the event.
  • Prolonged exposure therapy – This can include repeating the story of the trauma until it loses its power to trigger traumatic symptoms and patients gain control over their feelings.
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing – This therapy teaches patients to focus on sounds and hand movements while talking about the trauma to help the brain move through the memories and gain control.

Medications for PTSD may include SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and SNRIs (Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors) which are also effective for treating depression, and Prazosin to help decrease nightmares. Medications are only available through qualified medical professionals.

Treatment and assisted living benefits for veterans

Veterans who have completed active military service, been honorably discharged or completed federal deployments as a National Guard or a Reservist are able to access benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to help treat PTSD and provide assisted living services. Programs are available that offer medical assessment, medication, psychotherapy, group therapy and more. Benefits may also include financial assistance and access to assisted living care, depending on the qualification criteria.

Expert, compassionate assisted living in Camden County

United Methodist Communities at Collingswood is an assisted living community in Camden County, NJ, offering high quality assisted living services in a comfortable, well-supported and beautiful environment. As part of the United Methodist Communities network, it also offers rehabilitation, access to therapists, hospice care, and respite care. Collingswood welcomes seniors from all faith backgrounds.

To find out more about our assisted living community, please contact us today at https://collingswood.umcommunities.org/ or book a personal tour.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/assisted-living-facilities-senior-veterans-insights-ptsd/

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Join the Fight Against Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a serious disease that causes bones to become brittle and weak, making people vulnerable to serious bone breaks and damage from minor falls, bumps and everyday impact that do not affect healthy skeletons. Unfortunately, no cure exists for this condition, which affects around 54 million Americans and up to one in every two women. However, we can adapt behaviors to help prevent this condition in ourselves and our loved ones:

  • Diet. Having a healthy, nutritionally-balanced diet is one of the main ways to fight osteoporosis. Calcium and Vitamin D are the main nutrients that help build and preserve bone mass, so include foods like milk, yogurt, cheese, oily fish, collard greens, broccoli, spinach, bananas, kale, tomatoes, peppers, oranges, papaya, and fortified whole grain cereals in your meals.
  • Limit certain foods. Too much red meat, caffeine, salty foods and beans can create a diet that limits your body’s absorption of calcium, so speak to a nutrition professional about ensuring that your portion sizes and frequency of certain foods is healthy.
  • Smoking and alcohol. Smoking and alcohol increase the risks of developing osteoporosis, so kicking the habit and decreasing your alcohol intake to a minimum will go a long way toward protecting your bones.
  • Exercise. Bone health responds to weight-baring and muscle-strengthening exercises, so incorporating these into your lifestyle helps keep bones healthy and strong. Dancing, hiking, climbing stairs, aerobics, lifting weights, yoga, and Pilates are all great examples. If you are a senior or unsure of how to safely perform these exercises, it’s best to speak to your doctor or a trained professional to ensure you exercise safely.
  • Know the warning signs. Being alert to the early signs of osteoporosis helps ensure that you will get the best possible treatment to slow progression. These symptoms include a bone break that occurred more easily than it should have, back pain due to collapsed or damaged vertebra, loss of height over time and stooped posture. Talk to your doctor about other risk factors including a generic history of osteoporosis, early menopause, thyroid problems, gastrointestinal surgery, and a history of eating disorders.

Live a full and healthy life at our CCRC in Sussex County, NJ

Bristol Glen is an independent senior living community based in Sussex County that aims to provide seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up your time to enjoy life.

Contact us at https://bristolglen.umcommunities.org/ to find out more about our CCRC and our assisted living facilities, amenities and services, and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/join-fight-osteoporosis/

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Making the Most of Summer – Safety Tips for Seniors

Long summer days are almost here and New Jersey residents will soon be swimming, barbecuing and exploring the outdoors! Although long anticipated, this weather does carry some risks for seniors, as they are more vulnerable to the effects of the heat and sun. Here are some tips from our in-home senior care specialists in NJ on how to stay safe and healthy in the heat:

  • Drink lots of liquids. Dehydration is a serious risk for seniors, as they are often less aware of their bodies’ signals for liquid. This is a common part of the aging process, but is especially problematic in seniors with dementia. The recommended allowance of 8 ounces per day can include water, fruit juices, herbal tea or electrolyte drinks.
  • Dress for the weather. Light, natural fabrics that allow the skin to breathe will help regulate body temperature. Dark fabrics attract heat, while lighter colors reflect it, helping to cool the body.
  • Be sun safe. As we age our skin becomes more vulnerable to sun damage. Use a high SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more to protect skin. While outdoors wear a hat and sunglasses to block harmful UVA and UVB rays that can damage eyesight. It’s also important to stay indoors during the peak heat of the day, from around 11am to 3pm when the sun is at its strongest and the risks of burning and dehydration are highest.
  • Air conditioning. Keeping the air in your home cool is the best way to stay healthy in the heat. It’s recommended that homes don’t exceed 85 degrees Fahrenheit for a significant amount of time. If there is no air conditioning, visita mall, the movies or a friend’s house to get some relief. A cool bath or shower will also help regulate body temperature.
  • Check in. If you have elderly loved ones or neighbors, give them a quick call on hot days to make sure they are coping with the heat. You can use the opportunity to catch up, see if their air conditioning is on and working properly or even plan an outing to somewhere cooler.
  • Know the signs of heatstroke. Heatstroke can affect anyone, but seniors are especially vulnerable because they have a difficult time regulating body temperature — with potentially deadly consequences. Symptoms  include confusion and disorientation, headaches, nausea, exhaustion and a rapidly beating pulse. If you recognize these signs, call for medical attention immediately and get the affected person out of the heat and into a cool environment. Have them lie down and place ice packs or cold wet towels on their body until help arrives.

Compassionate, Skilled Senior Homecare Services in New Jersey 

At United Methodist Communities, we strive to offer the very best quality senior independent homecare options, from assisted living to in-homecare through our HomeWorks program. This program assists older adults 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 daily homecare we also offer pastoral care for spiritual and emotional support in the home.

For more information on our senior home care services for the elderly, please contact us today at https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/.

Original content posted on https://homeworks.umcommunities.org/blog/making-summer-safety-tips-seniors/

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Helpful Communication Strategies for Dementia

Alzheimer’s and other dementia conditions progressively diminish mental capacity as they worsen, including a patient’s ability to communicate with and understand the people around them. Here are some insights from our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ on developing an effective way to communicate with your loved one.

Common communication problems for dementia patients: 

  • Struggling to find the right word
  • Describing an object rather than calling it by its name
  • Mixing up word order while speaking
  • Finding it difficult to complete a sentence or express a train of thought in full
  • Using gestures rather than words
  • Repeating familiar words too often

How to get the most out of your communication with your loved one: 

  • Create a distraction-free zone. To encourage your loved one to focus on you and what you are saying, pick a time and a quiet and calm place where no one is likely to interrupt. This allows them to focus their effort on you and the conversation.
  • Steady your tone. Communicating can be frustrating. While you may be stressed or worried, if you want to communicate effectively with your loved one, you have to leave that all at the door. Relax, use a warm, calm tone and speak naturally without condescension or baby talk.
  • Use names. Following a conversation takes a lot of energy and effort for many dementia patients.Using names rather than “he,” “she” or “they” helps your loved one stay on track and avoids confusion and unnecessary repetition.
  • Stick to one topic at a time. It’s natural for us to jump from topic to topic and go off on a tangent, but this can be difficult for your loved one to follow. Rather, stick to one thread of conversation and only move on after you are both fully finished on that topic.
  • Patience. The more progressive your loved one’s condition, the more patience you will need to have a productive conversation with them. Give them time to express what they are trying to say, actively listen to and consider their answer, and breathe deeply and let the moment pass if you start feeling frustrated.

Above all else, it’s important to remember that there will be good days and bad days with your loved one. Some days will bring good conversation while other days it will be better to simply sit quietly with your loved one and let them take comfort from your presence.

Alzheimer’s and dementia care and support at our assisted living community in Gloucester County, NJ 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities’ network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in residential and assisted living for seniors. In addition to our wide range of customized services for seniors, we also offer expert memory care and support services for patients with dementia conditions.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living services, please contact us at https://pitman.umcommunities.org and book your visit today.

Original content posted on https://umcommunities.org/blog/helpful-communication-strategies-dementia/

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