Great Christmas Gift Ideas for Loved Ones in Assisted Living

Finding the perfect gift for your friends and family can be a challenge, including buying for seniors in assisted living – after all, they have had a whole lifetime of gifts!

Here’s a list of some practical ideas from our team at our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ to help you out with your holiday shopping:

  • Time together. Spending time with your loved one is one of the best gifts you can give, from having them over for a festive event or planning something special for the New Year. You can make it as simple as spending a few hours visiting or take your loved one out to a local restaurant, art gallery or park. One fun idea is a memory tour to visit all the places your loved one grew up.
  • Books. Books are always a wonderful present and great selections come out every year in time for the festive season. Many are offered in large print, but there are other options if your loved one struggles with their vision. Kindle eBooks can be downloaded and resized to very large text and there are audio books too.
  • A personalized calendar. If you want something really unique, this is a wonderful option that you can fill with family photos. You can choose images from your own collections or even plan a fun, professional photo shoot.
  • Homemade treats. If you love baking, then this is a lovely idea that is both personal and tasty! If you have kids, you can also get the whole family involved in decorating, baking or assembling your loved one’s favorite baked goodies.
  • Something snuggly. Seniors struggle with the cold and winter holidays are the perfect opportunity to get your loved one something warm. A high-quality sweater, warm slippers with a good grip on the bottom, a thick scarf or a lovely throw all make very useful and beautiful gifts.
  • Hobby items. For seniors who have a favorite hobby, look for items that are designed to help them stay involved. Ergonomic gardening tools and kneelers help make gardening more comfortable, and there are great outdoor walking sticks that look good and help keep seniors more stable while hiking or on walking tours.


Residential and assisted living for seniors at our beautiful Camden County community 

Collingswood is part of the United Methodist Communities network of high-quality, non-profit senior living communities specializing in residential and assisted living for seniors. With an experienced senior 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 abundant life.

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

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Family-Friendly Activities for Everyone – Including Seniors!

The holiday season is here and with it comes a month filled with wonderful events for families! Here are some of the top picks from our in-home senior care team in NJ:

  • The 38th Annual Holiday Craft Show at The Hermitage. Stock up on unique, beautifully-crafted décor and holiday gifts for the festive season, all lovingly handmade by artisans from all over the USA. Many are one-of-a-kind, and in addition to Christmas wreaths, Santa Clauses and tree ornaments, they offer décor stands for Chanukah, Thanksgiving and even Halloween. It’s located in the Hermitage Education and Conference Center. Proceeds support the Hermitage Museum, located at 335 Franklin Turnpike, Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ 07423.


  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show. These beautifully imaginative stories are brought to life by a troupe of enchanting puppets for a magical 1-hour show. Fun for kids and adults alike, this show is a real treat featuring several stories from this acclaimed series. The production will be held at the DR2 Theatre, 103 East 15 Street, New York, New York.


  • DiDonato’s Magical Express. Enjoy a train ride through millions of lights and meet Santa at his workshop! Filled with the Christmas spirit, this holiday village occurs at the DiDonato Family Fun Center, 1151 White Horse Pike in Hammonton, and runs from November 10 to 26 and December 1 to 23. There will also be an after-Christmas special on the 26th for anyone who doesn’t want to miss out. In addition to the Christmas train, there’s also bowling, great restaurants and more.


  • The Butterfly Conservatory. Escape the snows of winter and come and see the magnificent butterflies of the tropics at this wonderful exhibit. Celebrating its 20th year, you can expect to mingle with over 500 fluttering butterflies among the flowers and lush vegetation of a tropical paradise. It’s on from October 7 to May 28 at the American Museum of Natural History, Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, New York.


  • Music at the Museum. If you’re a family with older children or are planning an evening out for adults, this is a fantastic event to attend. Featuring classical and jazz performers from the Mason Gross School of the Arts Extension Division and hosted at the Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, 71 Hamilton St, New Brunswick. Although these performances are free to the public, be sure to get there early as seating is limited. Performances are held on the second Sunday of every month, from October 15 to March 18.


Professional senior independent home care for a companionable festive season 

Our senior home care services team knows that the holidays are a time for companionship and family, so we work to ensure that your loved one is cared for throughout the holiday season. Whether you need a permanent in-home senior care specialist or need someone qualified and experienced to assist your loved one with in home respite care while you are on vacation, we are here to help through our HomeWorks program. Our fully certified staff has extensive senior care training and experience, so feel free to ask for formal certification and references.

For more information on our senior independent home care services NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at

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Coping With Grief during the Holidays

The holiday season is here, and for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one, this can be an especially difficult time of year. Everywhere, messages about spending time with the ones we love are abundant, and bring into focus the loved ones who will not be celebrating with us, which can lead to intense feelings of sorrow.

Here are some coping strategies from the team at our hospice neighborhood in South Jersey to help make this season more manageable:

  • Remember that grief and healing go hand-in-hand. Grief is an integral part of the healing process, and choosing to experience the pain rather than shutting it away is a healthier path to healing. Over time, this will help make the holiday season easier.
  • Acknowledge your loss. Remembering the one you’ve lost and expressing your feelings can help make them a part of the festive season and lead to traditions in which they are kept close to your and other people’s hearts. Set aside some time or a task and make it all about that someone special and choose something that reminds you of them. For example, lighting a candle in church or at your family dinner table, opening a bottle of their favorite drink, serving a favorite dish, or playing their favorite music.
  • Set healthy boundaries. Don’t push yourself to have a perfect holiday season, attend every event, and embrace every occasion with a smile on your face. Instead, give yourself a break if you find an event too painful, or need some time by yourself. Pick and choose what events you feel comfortable with, and keep your options open. You might prefer a quiet evening in with family looking at photo albums and watching movies, rather than a big social event with lots of people. Don’t feel obligated that you have to attend an event if it’s too difficult or painful for you.
  • Speak openly with family and friends. Everyone experiences grief differently, and communicating your concerns and feelings to your loved ones is especially important during the holidays. Your support network can help ease the burden of the holiday season, from helping you to create new traditions in remembrance of your loved one, to understanding why you need time and space from certain events.

Professional care and support from Bridges, our hospice and palliative care neighborhood in Cape May County, NJ 

At The Shores, a part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit assisted living organization in New Jersey, we offer compassionate, professional care in the Jersey Shore area in a neighborhood called Bridges, dedicated to hospice and palliative care. In this program, we focus on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about our hospice neighborhood in South Jersey, please visit our website at or contact us today and arrange your visit.

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Grief Support Programs for Hospice Loved Ones

The death of a loved one has a profound effect on those left behind, and processing these changes and emotions is not something that anyone should go through alone. Realizing hospice care is just as much about supporting loved ones through this time as it is about caring for patients, these facilities offer grief support programs which provide the compassion, comfort and care needed after a loved one passes away.

Why mourning is important 

Bereavement and grief after a loved one passes is a natural part of the mourning process. Studies show that each person experiences this process in their own, unique way. It’s important to give yourself time to mourn the loss of a loved one, as this is part of acknowledging your loss and the change in your life, as well as remembering your loved one and developing a new identity for yourself.

How support groups help this process 

Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, whether sudden or the result of a long illness. Grief support groups play an important role in the journey of healing from this trauma by creating a safe haven where people can express their emotions and comfort others who are going through a similar experience — it’s a space of understanding, emotional support and advice.

These programs are especially helpful for anyone who lacks support from friends or family, are geographically far away from their support structure, wants to learn more about the grief process, or wants relief from their emotional state. They are non-judgmental, informative and compassionate communities where anyone who has lost a loved one can get a better understanding of the process they are going through, and learn from others in similar situations.

Compassionate care for patients and their loved ones at our hospice in South Jersey 

The Shores, part of the well-known United Methodist Communities non-profit assisted living organization in New Jersey, offers a compassionate, professional hospice neighborhood in South Jersey called Bridges. This program focuses on creating a nurturing and comforting environment for patients and their loved ones through customized care programs and compassionate support. To find out more about hospice care in the Jersey Shore area, please visit our website at and contact us today to arrange your visit.

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Be Aware and Save Lives: Stroke Warning Signs and Symptoms

When it comes to strokes, every second counts towards preventing permanent damage and saving lives. Here’s what you need to know from our senior home health care services team about this medical condition in order to act quickly.

F-A-S-T – The easy way to recognize stroke symptoms 

The four letters F-A-S-T, spells out the symptoms of a stroke and are key to saving lives. Here’s what they mean:

F = FACE DROOPING. Watch for one side of the face starting to droop or feel numb. Ask the person to smile to check for unevenness.

A = ARM WEAKNESS. One arm feeling weaker or numb. To test, ask the person to raise their arms up in front of them and see if their one arm drifts down or has difficulty responding.

S = SLURRED SPEECH. Difficulty speaking and articulating words. Test the person by asking them to repeat a short sentence like, “The grass is green.”

T = TIME. If someone shows one or more of the above symptoms, it’s time to call 9-1-1. This is vital even if you are unsure or if the symptoms seem to be going away, as time is absolutely vital for effective medical treatment.

Additional symptoms may include vision trouble, sudden dizziness or trouble walking, severe headache or numbness on one side of the body.

What is a stroke? 

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel bursts or is blocked by a clot. This prevents vital organs, like the brain, from getting needed oxygen and nutrients and very quickly results in damage to the organ. This is a very serious event, as the affected part of the brain may never fully recover from the damage and, if the stroke is severe enough or not treated quickly enough, the patient may die.

In fact, strokes are the fifth most common cause of death in the USA, killing around 140,000 Americans each year. Because many of these deaths and stroke-related injuries can be prevented if patients are treated as quickly as possible, knowing the FAST checklist is so essential.

Stroke risk factors 

While a stroke can happen to anyone, these risk factors make a stroke more likely:

  • African-Americans are twice as likely as whites to have a first stroke, and have the highest mortality rate.
  • Younger age groups are increasingly at risk of stroke, but the highest age group at risk are people over 65.
  • Women are more likely to have a stroke than men.
  • Health conditions and lifestyle. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, obesity, diabetes, low physical activity, and heart disease all increase stroke risks.

Expert, compassionate at home care for the elderly in NJ 

At United Methodist Communities, one of New Jersey’s leading home health aide services organization, we strive to offer the very best quality senior homecare options, from assisted living to in-homecare through our HomeWorks program. 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. In addition to daily home care, we also offer pastoral care for spiritual and emotional support in the home.

For more information on our senior home health care services or to find a qualified home health aide in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at

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When is the Right Time to Move into a CCRC?

Moving out of your home into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) is a big step, but it can be the best decision if you do it at the right time. Here’s some advice from the experts at our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey.

What is a CCRC all about?

These are communities managed by an organization that offers a continuum of care for seniors and provide wellness and lifestyle support. These services are only implemented when and if they are required. For example, independent seniors can remain in independent living for as long as possible before making the transition to assisted living.

For many seniors, housing is a priority attraction, as these communities usually offer separate, spacious apartments maintained and managed by the organization. This takes a load off in terms of worrying about a house that has become too big or impractical to manage.

Another central attraction is the services, from social activities and clubs to wellness programs like yoga and aerobics, all on-site and available to all residents who can participate.

CCRCs are not about scheduling or managing the lives of seniors. They’re about taking care of the “work” of life so seniors can spend as much time as possible on their own, independent endeavors. Whether traveling or socializing you’ll have the peace of mind that services possibly needed in future are available.

So, when is the best time to move into a CCRC? 

The truth is that it’s probably sooner than you think! The majority seniors who entered this new chapter of their lives reported it was the best decision they made, and that they should have done it sooner. It can seem like an overwhelming decision, but the younger you are, the easier the transition will be — and the more time you’ll have to find a community that perfectly fits.

Independent living for seniors at our CCRC in Sussex County, New Jersey 

Bristol Glen, a CCRC based in Sussex County, aims to provide seniors with comfortable, serviced living arrangements that free up time to enjoy life. Founded on a philosophy of aging in place, our continuing care retirement community residents enjoy a lifestyle model where that focuses on the needs of the resident.

Contact us to find out more about our CCRC and our assisted living facilities, amenities and services, please visit our website at and book your visit today.

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Five Mistakes to Avoid When Searching for Assisted Living

When you’re looking for an assisted living solution for a loved one, you want to be sure that you’re getting the best option available for them. Stay on track with your search by avoiding these common mistakes, and use this advice from our assisted living community in Camden County, NJ.

  1. Being unrealistic about your loved one’s needs. None of us like to think about our loved ones getting older, because it makes us realize that we might not have as much time left with them in our lives. But, not taking a serious look at what kind of care they need now — and in the future — can mean bigger problems down the line. Try to be as objective as possible about the kind of help they need, and choose a facility that can increase their care level as it may be required.
  2. Rushing into a decision. For many families, the realization that their loved one needs to move into assisted living is sudden— and often results in a rushed decision on choosing a facility. To put your loved one’s best interests first, it’s better to slow down and properly evaluate options. Be sure to visit at least three recommended assisted living communities, tour them on-site and be prepared to ask plenty of questions to make sure you have peace of mind about your decision.
  3. Choosing your own tastes over theirs. This is a big temptation to overcome, especially if you’re paying the bill, but it’s important to remember that your loved one will be the resident — not you. Rather, speak to your loved one about what they like about the different facilities, from aesthetics and living arrangements to the programs.
  4. Making close location a priority. It is important that you and other loved ones are close enough to visit, however, it shouldn’t override other communities that may be slightly further away, but far more suitable to your loved one. Finding the best fit for your loved one always trumps distance!
  5. Forgetting to do your research. This is an important and long-term decision, so proper research is needed to get the right fit for your loved one. Start on the internet and have a look at options in your area, speak to friends and family about their loved ones in assisted living, and take notes about things that your loved one might need or enjoy. Then take the time to visit each facility in person, meet with the staff and talk over your points, then invite your loved one to view the best options with you.

Assisted living for seniors that preserves independence, health and well-being 

Collingswood is part of United Methodist Communities’ network of high-quality, non-profit assisted living communities specializing in residential and assisted living for seniors. With an experienced care and assistance team, scalable services customized to each resident’s needs, and a lively social calendar, our community focuses on essential resources that promote independence and quality of life.

To find out more about United Methodist Communities or our assisted living community, please visit our website at or contact us and book your visit today.

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