Category Archives: Blog

The Best Apps for Abundant Senior Living

It’s safe to say smartphones and tablets are pretty standard at this point, for keeping in touch with family and friends more easily, especially during the pandemic. But there is another major reason why people choose to own a smart device: the apps! Apps are so much more than just silly games to download to pass the time now. There are apps that provide fitness programs, manage medications, and keep track of your blood pressure – just to name a few examples. 

With older adults becoming more tech-savvy, apps are just another ideal way to promote active aging. If you are worried about a parent, apps that track and monitor your loved one can bring you peace of mind.  If you are unsure of which apps would be beneficial to you or your senior family member, read on for thoughts from the experts at United Methodist Communities. 

Wordscapes for Cognitive Health

This free app is a challenging and addictive puzzle game that improves cognitive health through word recognition. Similar to the idea of Scrabble, the user is given a jumbled group of letters that they have to connect in order to make as many words as possible. After completing each level, users earn coins that they can later redeem for in-game hints if they become stumped.   

Keep Trainer for Fitness 

A lot of free fitness apps require users to buy a premium mode to unlock all app features. That is why Keep Trainer is so great, it is truly a free fitness app that can be used effectively without any in-app purchases. Keep Trainer has a wide array of exercises to meet every user’s expectations, whether they are experienced or inexperienced. Keep Trainer can also keep users on track by enabling pop-up reminders. Plus, the majority of exercises can be done at home, without weights or other heavy gym equipment – making this app the most convenient way to achieve each user’s fitness goals. 

Pill Boxie for Medication Management

The purpose of this app is to remind users to take their medications on time to promote a healthier lifestyle. Pill Boxie users can enter notes, such as time and dose taken, as well as how they felt after taking each medication. Users can also schedule reminders to pop-up on their smart device (even if the device is asleep) to ensure each medication is taken promptly. This information can be shared with the user’s primary caregiver in order to keep track of medical history more efficiently. 

Be My Eyes for Remote Assistance 

If you haven’t been gifted with 20/20 vision, Be My Eyes may be a godsend for you. Like the name suggests, Be My Eyes is a free app that makes the world more accessible for blind and low-vision people. The app connects users with sighted volunteers through live video calls. Through the video call, the volunteer can help guide the app user with a number of things, such as reading fine-print instructions or navigating a new location. 

Zoom or Skype to Connect with Family & Friends

If only we’d all bought stock in Zoom prior to the pandemic! At this point almost everyone is familiar with these communication apps, and the team at UMC is certainly expert at using these apps to their fullest. Zoom and Skype are the leading ways to video call friends and family almost instantly. Video communication is the next best way to keep in contact with loved ones in times of social distancing and quarantine. Scheduling a weekly video call provides your family some much-needed social interaction and connection during this unusual time. Now if only Zoom could do virtual hugs…

Technology is our Friend at UMC Collingswood

At United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, associates are available to help residents with apps on their smart devices. Our associates have the patience, compassion, and knowledge to connect seniors to the new ways of technology in order to promote the most abundant lifestyle.

For more information about the new uses of technology at UMC Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other assisted living communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.


5 Morning Stretches to Relieve Arthritis and Joint Pain

Why are morning stretches so important? Well for one reason, the morning is the part of the day that people with arthritis dread. Joint pain is an extremely common issue that people who suffer from arthritis wake up to everyday.

Stretching in the morning is proven to help alleviate arthritis and joint pains by medical experts, Matt Hyland (PT, PhD, MPA, CSCS) and Sharon Kolasinski (MD). They have claimed that people who achieved the best results committed to stretching every morning. They also mentioned that taking a warm shower before or after stretching keeps muscles more limber.  

Of course, there are other benefits when it comes to incorporating stretches into your daily routine. Some of them include: 

  • Improving blood circulation, flexibility, posture, and overall physical performance
  • Decreasing unwanted muscle stiffness and tension  
  • Finding it easier to relax and get a good night’s sleep after exercising 

So, what are you waiting for? Read on for five easy morning stretches that are proven to alleviate joint and arthritis pain for the rest of the day!

5 Stretches to Relieve Arthritis and Joint Pain 

1.Towel Squeeze – Targets Arthritis Pain in Hands

Suggested Repetitions: 10-15 times per hand

Grab a small hand towel that is rolled up or a larger sponge. Take the object in one hand and squeeze. Hold for 5 seconds and then relax. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each hand.

2. Shoulder Rolls – Targets Joint Pain in Shoulders 

Suggested Repetitions: 20

Stand with your arms straight and close to the body. Roll your shoulders forward 10 times, and then back 10 times at a steady pace. 

3.Trunk Rotation – Targets Joint Pain in Hips

Suggested Repetitions: 5 times on each side

 Lie on your back with knees bent. Gently lower both legs to the left toward the ground, while keeping your knees bent. Hold in this position for 10 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Alternate the stretch 5 times between each side of the body. 

4. Hamstring Stretch – Targets Joint Pain in Legs and Lower Back –

Suggested Repetitions: 5 times per leg

Lie on your back with your left knee bent, keeping the foot flat on the bed. Place both hands behind your right thigh and lift the right leg into the air, keeping it at straight as possible. Next, use your hands to pull the right leg toward your chest. Hold this position for about 30 seconds and then gently release. Alternate this stretch 5 times with each leg. 

5.Hip Rolls – Targets Joint Pain in Hips 

Suggested Repetitions: 10-15

Lie on your back while keeping your knees straight and legs far apart. Roll your knees and feet toward each other so that you appear pigeon-toed. Then roll them back out to the starting position gently. Repeat 10-15 times. 

Safety note: Seniors should ask a doctor or primary caregiver if they are unsure about performing any new stretches. If you begin to feel any intense pain during the stretch, slowly return to the starting position and call a medical professional for assistance.

Stretch with a Physical Therapist at UMC at Collingswood!

The stretches above can be performed at United Methodist Communities in a way that is just not possible at home. At UMC at Collingswood, we have trained physical therapists and medical professionals to help seniors exercise with the utmost health and safety practices. We understand that fitness is not “one size fits all” and modify health and wellness plans for each resident accordingly.    

For more information about senior fitness services at UMC at Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other senior communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.

We’re Staying Safe at UMC Collingswood, But We’re Having Fun Too…

One big misconception about the state of assisted living communities during COVID-19 is that residents are quarantined in their apartments until further notice. Let me assure you that is not the case at United Methodist Communities and other reputable organizations! 

The team at UMC understands that real safety does not require total isolation. Our UNITEDforSAFETY standard, crafted by experts and data, tells us exactly how and when it is safe to socialize during COVID-19. And socialize we will! 

Read on to learn more about the ways we’re having fun, while staying safe and healthy. 

Theme Days at UMC Collingswood

Our theme days give everyone at UMC an exciting reason to get dressed up. Theme days are also a great way to strengthen the bonds made among residents and staff members. See below for some of the events we managed to pull off safely despite the pandemic.

Patriotic Day

Colors that look great on everyone: red, white, and blue! 

St. Patrick’s Day

“A good friend is like a four-leaf clover, hard to find and lucky to have!” (Irish Proverb). 

National Gorgeous Grandma Day

Celebrating National Gorgeous Grandma Day amid beautiful weather. We love seeing the confidence shine through each resident. 

Planned and Spontaneous Weekly Activities

Although we strive to follow a planned schedule, UMC has come to another realization during these uncertain times. Sometimes, “The best things in life are usually random, unplanned and completely spontaneous.” This mantra especially reigns true when it comes to social distancing, so we had to get creative with new activities that follow safety standards. See below for a few  that scored high marks among residents and staff.

Live Entertainment

Amy and Bob from the SJ Orchestra performed on the grounds, while residents enjoyed from an appropriate social distance. 

Making Flower Arrangements

UMC hosted a class for seniors to create their own beautiful flower arrangements. 

Outdoor Bingo

Who doesn’t like to play some outdoor bingo in the fresh, summer air?  

Staying Safe, While Having Fun at UMC Collingswood

At UMC, we’re always looking for new, safe ways to have fun with our residents! With effective health and safety protocols in place, we have been able to meet in the library (socially distanced) for group activities. Some included virtual tours of the San Diego Zoo, guided meditation, chair yoga, virtual Catholic masses and so much more! We understand the important role socialization plays in everyone’s life and want to make sure our seniors can continue these vital connections while staying COVID-free. 

Call United Methodist Communities to find out how we are leading the way in both resident safety, and quality of life for NJ seniors. Book your visit at UMC Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other assisted living communities across New Jersey today. 

Alzheimer’s Care: The “Tapestries” Program at United Methodist Communities

Each person with dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, will experience its symptoms and progression differently, so it’s important to modify care accordingly. Patience, flexibility and the support of family and friends will help you tackle the challenges ahead for your loved one. However, it also doesn’t hurt to consider a professional program for memory care at a reputable assisted living community.

Tapestries® at UMC

We believe every person’s life is a tapestry in some way. A tapestry of memories, experiences and relationships that define who we truly are. UMC is dedicated to continuously weaving and nurturing the tapestries of all those who require memory care. Our dementia care program, called Tapestries, is offered in all four of our full-service locations: Collingswood, Pitman, Bristol Glen and The Shores.

Every Tapestries residence is fully furnished with safety in mind, and includes the following: 

  • Beautifully appointed studio apartments designed around a central hub for safe living
  • Access to a large supervised common area for activities, consultations, socialization, games and more
  • Nurse call and wander management systems to help ensure safety and security
  • UMC Life Enrichment Team Specialists (LETS) undergo specialized training to support an active program of mental stimulation aided by an intimate familiarity with each resident’s past life and present circumstances
  • Flexible meal schedule and food offerings as dementia can impact perceptions of time and appetite
  • Complete housekeeping and cleaning services
  • Building, apartment maintenance, and laundry is all taken care of by our staff

This environment will allow memory care residents to experience “normalcy” in their own cozy apartment, while also enjoying daily activities, visiting with loved ones, and socializing with other residents in the common areas. With COVID-19 still active, it’s important to note that UMC has protocols in place, including social distancing  to prevent future outbreaks. For more information on the UNITEDforSAFETY standard, click here

The Mission of Tapestries

Unlike other memory care programs, Tapestries focuses on the cognitive strengths of each resident, while managing the challenges that come with dementia. Our program has achieved proven results by concentrating on the strengths and preferences of each resident, which has helped maximize their quality of life. 

All memory care residents receive professional care on their own terms and have the freedom to continue their established daily routines. For example, they can eat when hungry and sleep when tired, as there is no universal schedule in place. Each resident’s ability to choose provides some normalcy and independence, allowing them to engage in activities that have always made sense to them.  

Your Loved One’s Memory Care is Our Priority at UMC Collingswood

We understand the struggles that come with memory care and focus solely on what works best for each resident. Individualized care is at the heart of everything we do and is key to an abundant lifestyle in an assisted living community

If your loved one shows symptoms of the early stages of dementia, call 856-369-3092 to find out how UMC Collingswood in Camden County can meet the needs of your parent. 

To learn more about any of our other assisted living communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.

The State of Safety for NJ Assisted Living Communities

Let’s face it ─ many people still feel apprehensive about moving their parents into an assisted living community since the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Despite this, families realize that they also will struggle to handle every need of their elderly parents without help. The good news may be that with new health and safety procedures in place across most assisted living communities, senior living can still be a safe and social option for your family.

According to David Grabowski, a healthcare policy professor at Harvard University, “Facilities with more staff, PPE and ability to group patients with similar disease status together, might have better odds of avoiding major outbreaks.” With that said, it’s important to know the details of each community’s plan regarding COVID-19 as you assess their safety.

How are Assisted Living Communities Handling Resident Safety?

Despite initial media reports, many assisted living campuses are doing an exemplary job of keeping COVID-19 out of their communities. They are also mitigating and isolating effectively when there is a potential case at hand. These are the two key factors to look at when considering a move-in at this time:

Do your homework and ask questions regarding protocols in place to combat COVID-19. All assisted living facilities are legally obligated by the state to report the status of their COVID-19 cases. If the occurrence of COVID-19 cases is, or has been very high, you should ask the community what has been put in place during the course of the pandemic.

Most facilities will have had some COVID-19 cases by now either among the staff, the residents, or both. You should not be looking for perfection, but rather how aggressive the community safety protocols are and how effective you think they will be in preventing future outbreaks.

Some questions to ask include:

  1. How many residents currently have tested positive for COVID?
  2. Are any residents within the facility currently quarantined with COVID or because of COVID exposure?
  3. How often are they tested?
  4. How often is their temperature monitored?
  5. How is staff screened at the facility?
  6. How many staff members have tested positive for the virus?
  7. What sanitary protocols are in place for staff and residents?
  8. What will you do if a staff member suddenly tests positive?

A great example of a positive response comes from Jim Clancy, UMC at Collingswood’s executive director. Jim asked staff members who work at more than one facility — a possible source of viral spread — to choose one location.

All staff were also assigned to work in only one level of care to prevent spread to other areas of the building. By mid-March, long before many facilities were even fully aware of the risk, UMC stepped up Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) procurement and health monitoring as the virus spread around the country. These measures definitely put UMC at the forefront of the response to the pandemic.

UMC Presents the UNITEDforSAFETY Standard

On top of early prevention, UMC has also introduced UNITEDforSAFETY, an industry-leading standard of infection control and cleanliness. UMC has teamed up with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC). All UMC infection control specialists are certified by APIC and are working toward Certification in Infection Prevention and Control (CIC). The CIC credential identifies healthcare professionals who have shown mastery in the knowledge of the most efficient practices in infection prevention and control.

These are just some of the measures developed to maintain a healthy environment under this new standard:

  • Using the Environmental Protection Agency certified products that kill 99.9% of bacteria
  • The increasing frequency of housekeeping services with attention to common, high touch areas
  • Utilizing portable negative air pressure machines to filter harmful air particles
  • Sanitizing with UV light equipment
  • Testing and monitoring residents and associates, and screening visitors
  • Mandating hand washing and strategically placing hand sanitizer stations
  • Requiring physical distancing and a period of quarantine when needed during outbreaks
  • Wearing PPE as needed
  • Implementing recommendations of and coordinating with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), county health departments, and the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH)

All United Methodist Communities are #UNITEDforSAFETY!

As mentioned above, when considering an assisted living community during COVID-19, it’s crucial to look at how efficient the safety protocols are across locations and how instrumental you think they will be in preventing future cases. UMC took early precautions in mid-March in response to the threat of COVID-19.

To learn more about The UNITEDforSAFETY standard at UMC Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other assisted living communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.

How Seniors Benefit from New Technology in These Changing Times

“If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” In a world where so many things are out of our control, many seniors are adopting the sage advice of Maya Angelou when it comes to using new technology. A recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center discovered that older adults (aged 60+) spend over four hours each day on their smartphones, tablets, TVs and laptops. Although there may be an initial learning curve, seniors are now more willing to adapt to new technology because they understand the benefits it can have on their day-to-day lives.

Technology to promote social & exercise habits

A great phrase to remember when it comes to exercise is, “Move it or lose it!” Daily exercise is important to maintain overall health for everyone, but especially seniors. Fortunately, technology has made it easier (and more fun) for seniors to get their daily workout in.

  • Download free fitness apps like Keep Trainer, Keep Yoga and Beginner’s Workout.
  • Video game systems like the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo Switch offer sports games to keep seniors moving and engaged and will help them bond with their grandchildren!
  • For mental exercise, seniors should try app games such as Trivial Pursuit or Tetris, or my personal favorite … Bubble Witch!

And of course, maintaining social relationships can be tough, especially in the midst of COVID-19. Luckily, there is ample technology available to keep in contact with family and friends. Seniors are now utilizing Zoom, Skype, Facetime, and more to maintain their social relationships. The staff at assisted living facilities, like UMC at Collingswood, have become well-versed in these technologies since COVID-19 and are available to help residents learn these social platforms.

Technology to monitor health & medication requirements

Monitoring health and multiple medications can be tough, especially if seniors only have themselves and a pillbox to rely on. But, where there’s a will, there’s an app! Smartphones now have apps available to assist seniors and their primary caregivers when it comes to administering medication, keeping track of medical history, and storing physician contacts.

Some popular health monitoring apps include:

  • Medisafe Medication Management
  • Express Scripts
  • Vela for caregivers

Technology is a Breeze for the Staff at UMC at Collingswood

At United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, trained staff members are available to teach our residents how to use new technology. Staff members have the patience, compassion, and knowledge to connect seniors to the new ways of technology in a virus challenged world.

For more information about the creative use of technology at UMC Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other assisted living communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.

Precautions Seniors Can Take to Combat Growing Cyber-Crime During COVID-19

One by-product of the protections UMC at Collingswood has put in place to keep our residents safe, has been the increased use of technology and the internet for virtual communication and visitation. Senior residents who never touched a computer prior to Covid-19, now have experience with email, Zoom, Facetime, Facebook and Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and more that they never thought possible!

It is somewhat ironic that in addition to being most vulnerable to coronavirus, seniors may also be vulnerable to online scams brought by the very technology that keeps them closer to their families and friends. Because many of our residents have limited experience with technology and best practices for avoiding cybercrime, they are highly susceptible.

FBI Deputy Assistant Director, Tonya Ugoretz, has said the number of cybercrime reports nationally, has quadrupled compared to months before this pandemic. Many of these scams are actually related to Covid-19 by preying on people’s fears and the confusing information out there about treatments, vaccines, etc. It’s especially important for older adults, and frankly all of us, to take precautions to prevent becoming a victim of identity theft or financial scams that can cause tremendous hardship.

Here are 5 simple ways to prevent scams on seniors in the age of COVID-19.

1. Reach out to someone you trust before you do anything. 

When something just doesn’t feel right, it’s important to reach out to someone reliable such as a family member or professional caregiver for support. Ginny Fahs, a member of the Aspen Institute’s Tech Policy Hub, who led a successful study on this topic stated, “One of the biggest hurdles seniors reported facing was an embarrassment. They didn’t want to raise red flags about a potential incident for fear of bothering family members or sounding like they didn’t understand the technology.”

That’s why it’s important to remind seniors that this is nothing to feel embarrassed about. Anyone could be a target of online scams and early detection is the key to preventing financial or personal information from being compromised or stolen.

 2. Beware of emails or Facebook ads offering cures for COVID-19, or vitamins or supplements that allegedly prevent it. 

There is no “cure” for Covid-19, no prevention strategies other than social distancing and wearing a mask, and there is no vaccine expected for at least another six months to a year. Emails and ads stating or implying otherwise are flat out lying or misleading you, no matter how many testimonials they seem to have.

While it certainly is a good idea to redouble your efforts to stay healthy and active during this time, stick with long  accepted strategies. New remedies or drugs that promote themselves using fear of Covid-19 are just looking to make a quick buck, and are unlikely to be legitimate health strategies.

 3. Create a different password for every account and device.

This is hard for everyone, yet it’s extremely important. It’s very difficult for a hacker to retrieve any sensitive information if every account is protected by a different password. Although it may be inconvenient to remember dozens of passwords, it’s much safer to have them all written down on one piece of paper and stored in a safe spot at home. Take this one step further and password protect all your devices (cellphone, tablets, etc.) as well, in case they become lost or stolen.

Something called “Two Factor Authentication” has become very popular on sensitive websites recently. In addition to providing your account name and password, every time you log in, a code will be sent to your cellphone, and you must enter it accurately to complete the login process. All seniors should opt for two-factor login where available and get used to this process by having their cell phone handy to receive the code any time they login onto a website.

4. Think three times before clicking on suspicious links. 

Questionable links sent via email are one of the most well-known ways for scammers to retrieve your private information. If you are faced with a hyperlink in an email from a source you don’t know well, it’s best to look at the URL of the link carefully, do some research or ask for help before clicking on it. If you are still unsure after asking for help, delete the email entirely. It’s not worth the risk to keep a suspicious message in your inbox as you may inadvertently click on it later.

  5. Always log out. 

It’s a simple thing to do but it is amazing how many people fail to take this simple step. When you are done using an app or website, logging out is an extra step to ensure online safety. Leaving your recent activity open on a computer, especially one that is shared, could make you vulnerable to people stealing your information.

UMC at Collingswood – Safe minds, safe bodies, safe cyber!

Because of our emphasis on proactive care for the mind and body of all our residents, UMC continues to respond to the Covid-19 storm. Our associates have become versed in cybercrime and promote awareness among residents, especially in this changing care landscape.

To find out more about the safety of our assisted living services at UMC Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other senior communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.

Should You Take Your Loved One Out of Assisted Living During COVID-19?


The age of COVID-19 is an uncertain time for everyone. We are all navigating these uncharted waters, and families with loved ones in assisted living are particularly concerned as this population is vulnerable. A lot of people with elderly family members in assisted living are asking themselves the same question: Should I bring them home?

Every family must do what feels right to them and weigh the risks against the benefits. With this decision, comes even more questions that must be answered openly and honestly:

Can you reasonably reduce exposure in your home environment?

Do you have the emotional and physical strength to directly tackle this?

Can you give your family member all the attention they require and deserve at home?

Can you deal reliably with their medical needs?

Is the change to their accustomed lifestyle, worth the disruption?

If you’re unsure about the answers to any of these questions, it’s prudent to take some time to understand what really constitutes safe seniors living in the age of COVID-19, and what assisted living communities are doing to keep residents safe.

Can any assisted living community really keep residents safe?

With so much unfavorable press during the early days of the pandemic, many people simply decided that all senior communities were risky environments. But as our understanding of disease transmission evolved, so did our ability to respond.

A good example of what responsible senior communities are doing to balance quality of life with virus safety is the initiative in place at UMC called “United for Safety” This plan prioritizes the safety and well-being of every resident with specific, quantifiable actions that allow a balance between our desire to increase residents’ socialization and keeping them safe.

Key changes to safety protocols outlined in the initiative have been in place for some time now and continue to be adjusted based on the best science available from experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci, the CDC, and the New Jersey Department of Health. Inside our communities the following protocols are in place:

  • Partnering with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology
  • Using Environmental Protection Agency certified products that kill 99.9% of bacteria
  • Utilizing portable negative air pressure machines
  • Sanitizing with UV light equipment
  • Increasing cleaning and disinfecting of all common area with attention to high-touch surfaces
  • Testing and monitoring residents and associates, and screening visitors
  • Mandating handwashing and strategically placing hand sanitizer stations
  • Requiring physical distancing and a period of quarantine when needed
  • Wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as needed
  • Requiring 100% use of masks in all UMC common areas


UMC reacted early and quickly to the outbreak and has observed long-established infection control protocols well before the virus hit our area. In fairness, many senior care communities took aggressive steps to prevent the introduction and spread of the virus.

As a concerned individual, you need to evaluate the care and caution your loved one is receiving and remember, that although some assisted living facilities were impacted in the initial outbreak, they acted responsibly and remains vigilant. To learn more about UMC’s “The Road Forward” plan in the time of COVID-19, click here.

Will residents simply be confined to their apartments until the virus is over?

Absolutely not. While residents entering or reentering the community are required to obey an initial 14-day quarantine, for all other residents the level of available socialization options and contact is entirely dictated by specific conditions in our communities. As of this time, no otherwise healthy residents are confined to their apartments.

Understanding the challenges of quarantine and its dramatic effect on the senior quality of life, UMC associates have increased the use of technology for virtual communication by providing an iPad or tablet for each resident. Seniors who never thought they’d use a computer, now have experience with multiple video chat platforms like Zoom, Skype and Facetime!

When you can’t be face-to-face with your loved ones, video communication yields a good option for keeping in contact. Scheduling a daily call with a family member is a great way to ease their stress, keep current with the latest news, and enjoy each other’s company safely.

While these digital substitutes aren’t as comforting as a hug perhaps, most seniors have found them a satisfying substitute for staying in touch. This is coupled with other heroic efforts by staff to provide outdoor visitation and manage socially distanced interaction and entertainment. As conditions allow, seniors at UMC remain socially active and well attended to, despite virus challenges.

Should I stay or should I go?

Folks who had a knee-jerk reaction to widespread media coverage of early assisted living community outbreaks owe it to themselves to take a more considered approach now that New Jersey cases have stabilized. For most seniors, the decision to move into an assisted living community should not be undone lightly, and living in, or moving into a community during COVID-19 should continue to be based on whether that community is safe, has a robust plan for the new normal, and can properly provide the care and safe socialization that made your family consider assisted living in the first place.

To learn more about UMC’s UNITEDforSAFETY initiative at UMC Collingswood in Camden County, or any of our other assisted living communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your virtual visit today.

Prevent Age-Related Muscle Loss, Even During Quarantine!

Senior women taking care of herself she exercise with dumbbells

During times like these, it’s easy to indulge in comfort food and set aside the importance of exercise. However, as we age it’s vital to maintain muscle mass, particularly during this time of self-quarantine. Age-related muscle loss is known as sarcopenia and can start at the early age of 30.

Muscle loss can contribute to a few related health problems like a low-trauma fracture, hip injury, and can impact your ability to recover from illness. However, the good news is that you can rebuild some of your muscle mass with simple lifestyle and diet changes.

Train your muscles

If you are used to training at a facility that is now closed, don’t stress — you don’t have to sacrifice exercise altogether. Even a daily 30-minute exercise routine in the comfort of your home can be advantageous to your health.

  • Stretch for a few minutes in the morning, if you are not sure how or what to do, follow this link on 10 Minute Morning Stretches For Seniors.
  • Set out 10 minutes for a light walk at lunch. This will not only strengthen your muscles but will help with digestion after your meal.
  • Following dinner, use light weights or a stretch band for 10 more minutes of exercise.

Some exercises that are easy to do include:

  • Heel raises
  • Squats
  • Marching, standing or sitting

Eat balanced meals

Protein is vital for muscle growth so include foods like chicken, turkey, white fish, oily fish (like salmon), tuna, and eggs to your daily meals. Replace white, refined grains that lack vitamins and fiber with whole grains like brown rice, bulgar, quinoa, barley, or oats. Fresh vegetables are also high in fiber. Opt for low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese.

We all like a sweet treat and there is nothing wrong with that, but try to save those cookies, cakes, and delicious desserts for special occasions.


Make it a priority to sleep at least seven to nine hours a day. Getting enough sleep is essential for helping maintain optimal health and well-being. When it comes to health, sleep is as vital as regular exercise and eating a well-balanced diet.

Limit alcohol intake

Drinking alcohol causes dehydration and can affect your muscle function. Women should have no more than one glass of alcohol a day, while men should set their limits at two. It is believed that the loss of muscle mass is inevitable with age, but the effects caused by sarcopenia are avoidable and can be prevented with proper lifestyle choices.

‍At United Methodist Communities in Collingswood NJ, we encourage our seniors to stay healthy and active during these times aiding them in every way we can. We have staff that is more than willing to assist any senior wanting to exercise. visit our website at

5 Ways to Boost Your Immune System

Now more than ever it is time to think about our health, and what we can do to boost and support a healthy immune system. When it comes to prevention, everyday defenses such as washing your hands often and avoiding sick people are great.

Boosting your immune system, however, goes beyond that so that if you do get sick, it is less severe and doesn’t last long. Here are five easy things you can do to boost your immune system:

1. Keep active every day, no matter how little

It’s almost universally understood that exercise is very good for your immune system. That probably goes double for older adults! In addition to the natural tendency to slow down as we age, our immune system naturally loses some of its effectiveness. We lose skeletal and muscular flexibility, and good blood flow in our extremities is a bit harder to come by. A regular program of movement and exercise can help.
The challenge for most seniors is overcoming the mental and physical obstacles toward exerting onesself when eating chips in front of the TV may be a much more appealing option.
Seniors need to commit to 20 minutes of walking, deep knee bends, yoga, swimming, or stretching every day. Of course, your overall health will dictate what you can do but you must gently find your limits and work to extend them over time. The payoff will be an improved quality of life, and a better immune system response than you may have thought possible.

2. You are what you eat

Another key component of a healthy immune system is a healthy gut. “Eighty percent of your immune system is in the gut, so when it’s healthy, we tend to be able to fight off infections faster and better,” says Yufang Lin, M.D., of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “When it’s not, our immune system is weaker and more susceptible to fighting off infection.”
Dr. Lin recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats while limiting your intake of starch, processed foods and red meat. This way of eating is high in nutrients and vitamins while limiting foods that cause general joint and body inflammation such as red meats and fried food.
Every senior (really everybody) should be having a mixed green salad every day. Fermented foods like yogurt can be good but beware of the sugar content in many common yogurt brands. Solid adherence to a good diet will build good bacteria in your gut, and a healthy gut means a healthy immune system.

3. Manage your stress

Most of us are under increased stress at the moment, and our options for dealing with it are limited. When you are under heavy stress or experience anxiety, your body produces a stress hormone that subdues your immune system.
People who are stressed are more susceptible to developing illnesses like colds and viruses’. They tend to sleep less, which further compromises the immune system. Although it is impossible to entirely avoid stress you can create habits to manage it like finding ways to exercise. Talk to a loved one on the phone or in a virtual meeting. Cut back on the amount you are eating and try not to eat late at night or before going to bed.

4. Get plenty of sleep!

When sleep deprived, your body releases stress hormones like cortisol to keep you awake and alert, which then suppresses your immune system. Getting enough sleep creates higher levels of immune system defense, so try to get at least seven hours of shut-eye a night. Your immune system works like a computer, if you work it too hard without rest, it will overheat.

5. Consider vitamin supplements

There is no such thing as one pill to prevent you from getting ill, but a moderate dose of vitamin D (especially if you are already low) and vitamin C could offer some form of protection against viruses. Make sure you invest in good quality supplements. Take these vitamins with meals that contain fats or oils to increase absorption.
When cooking, use ingredients like garlic, ginger, rosemary, oregano, and turmeric. All have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.

Much of the supplement equation, however, goes back to eating the right foods. “When my patients ask me about taking supplements to enhance their immune system, I always go back to food, food, food,” says Dr.Lin.

Nutritionists help Collingswood residents elevate their immune systems.

At United Methodist Communities in Collingswood NJ, we have the advantage of meals prepared with senior nutrition in mind. One of the many advantages of an assisted living lifestyle is how many elements of stress and health are managed for residents and families, decreasing worry and strengthening immune systems for everyone.

For more information on assisted living at our Collingswood Community please visit our website at