Category Archives: Collingswood

Blog posts related to United Methodist Communities at Collingswood.

Caring for Adults with Dementia During the Pandemic

The good news is that dementia is not a direct risk factor for COVID-19 (coronavirus). The not-so-good news is that behaviors associated with dementia, combined with age and other common health issues in older adults, may inflate risk.

People with dementia tend to forget personal hygiene habits like washing their hands, which can be crucial to preventing the coronavirus and other illnesses. Since reputable assisted living communities are open and successfully navigating the challenges of COVID-19, it’s important for dementia caregivers to take extra precautions while keeping up with the best memory care  practices. If your family member has dementia, please read the tips below for new precautions to take during the pandemic. 

COVID-19 tips for dementia caregivers and family members 

  • Write notes daily to remind people with dementia of essential hygiene habits. Post them in the bathroom, by the kitchen sink, etc. to instruct them to wash their hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Make alcohol-based hand sanitizer readily available. It can be a simple alternative if the person with dementia cannot easily get to a sink to wash their hands.
  • Ask their doctor about filling prescriptions for the maximum amount of time to cut down on pharmacy trips. 
  • Prepare ahead of time and make a “plan B” for your family member’s memory care. This is just in case you should become sick, and your family member with dementia is left without proper care. 

If your family member with dementia lives in an assisted living community…   

  • Most (if not all) assisted living communities will have had some COVID-19 cases by now. The key is to look at the progress made since the coronavirus pandemic began. Check with the community regarding their safety protocols for managing COVID-19 risk, including in memory care. For more information regarding our industry-leading standard of infection control, cleanliness, and hygiene regarding the coronavirus, please visit our UNITEDforSAFETY page
  • Make sure the assisted living community has your current emergency contact information and the contact information of another family member or friend as backup.
  • If you are showing any signs or feeling symptoms related to COVID-19, immediately refrain from visiting. Instead, ask the community about alternate ways of contacting your family member. Most communities offer video chat options like Zoom or Skype to connect virtually. 
  • If you are well enough to visit, it could prove helpful for them to see a familiar face more often. Check in with the assisted living community regarding the protocols of outdoor visitation or limited indoor visitation. 

Safe memory care at United Methodist Communities   

Our memory care program, Tapestries®, is available in all four assisted living locations: Collingswood, Pitman, Bristol Glen and The Shores. Tapestries® focuses on the cognitive strengths of each resident, while our professional associates manage the new challenges that come with dementia. Families considering memory care during COVID-19, can have confidence in UMC’s health and safety procedures for residents, associates, and visitors. UMC is combining these new protocols with best practices in memory care to help ensure dementia residents are safe during the pandemic, as well as after it passes. 

If your family member suffers from early stages of dementia, please contact UMC at Collingswood in Camden County to find out how we can effectively meet their needs. To learn more about our Tapestries® programs across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities today. 

Hearing Loss in Older Adults

Hearing loss adds to the misconceived stereotype that older adults are “slow,” which is almost always not the case! Identifying and treating hearing loss head on will help to avoid the negative notions that come with it.

Older adults who let their hearing loss go untreated sometimes become angry, lonely or depressed, which in turn could affect  their mental and even physical health. That’s why early detection is important in dealing with the complications of hearing loss. Identifying, accepting, and treating this sensitive issue is key to maintaining  cognitive function  as we grow older. 

Identifying hearing loss

Age-related hearing loss (also known as presbycusis) usually affects both ears equally  and develops gradually as a person grows older. Someone with presbycusis may not even realize that they lost some hearing at first due to the slow progression of decline. 

Consult a doctor about hearing loss if you or a family member displays the following symptoms frequently: 

  • Trouble hearing over the phone, computer or other smart devices 
  • Difficulty following conversations when multiple people are talking
  • Often asking people to repeat what they are saying 
  • Often think that others mumble when they talk
  • Feel the need to turn up volume on TVs, radios, and other devices, to the point that others complain about the excessive volume
  • Have problems hearing due to distant background noise
  • Cannot decipher softer voice registers, especially among women and children

How to handle hearing loss 

After identifying the extent of hearing loss with your doctor, it’s important to take the following steps: 

  • Notify family, friends, and others about your hearing problem;
  • Ask people to talk to you at a reasonable pace and volume. Also, make sure they are facing you when speaking. Pay close attention to the facial expressions and gestures of others when they are talking;
  • If someone is talking to you, let the person know if you do not understand something they said; and
  • Always try to find quieter spots to have conversations with others.

However, the most important thing you can do to achieve the best results is to seek professional treatment or advice from a doctor or other hearing loss experts, like an ENT (ear, nose and throat), or audiologist. 

Devices to help

Luckily, there are many devices to help aid hearing loss. Before purchasing a device, find out if your health insurance will cover the costs. In most cases, insurance will cover most of the cost, if not all! Also, it’s worth it to ask for a trial period to ensure the device is a right fit for the long haul. 

Hearing aids vary in size, cost, and features offered. It’s important to ask a doctor or specialist about which type of hearing aid they recommend based on the extent of your hearing loss. While the smallest hearing aids are most appealing, they can sometimes be the least effective. 

Cochlear implants are complex electronic devices that provide a sense of sound to people with extreme hearing loss. Part of the device must be surgically implanted within the ear. Hearing through a cochlear implant is much different than a hearing aid and requires significant follow-up therapy to learn a new way of hearing. 

Alerting devices connect to a doorbell, phone or alarm and emit loud sounds, vibrations or flashing lights. Their purpose  is to let someone with hearing loss know that something that requires their attention is happening nearby. 

Hearing assistance at UMC at Collingswood

Here at United Methodist Communities at Collingswood, we understand the struggles that come with hearing loss and provide individualized care to each resident. Our highly trained associates and medical professionals are available 24/7 to provide technological support with hearing aid devices, as well as emotional support to ease the complications of hearing loss. 

To find out more about the associates and medical professionals at UMC at Collingswood in Camden County, please contact us today. We look forward to hearing from you.

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.