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What are the Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease?

It’s common for many older adults to experience “senior moments.” They have memory lapses, misplace things or forget something they just witnessed. They also may forget the right word for a common object or have trouble performing everyday tasks. The normal process of aging is typically the culprit for “senior moments,” but sometimes there may be something more serious going on like Alzheimer’s disease. 

Alzheimer’s is a neurodegenerative condition which affects the brain and its ability to function normally in areas such as memory, problem solving and language. Generally, it occurs in people over the age of 65, although in some cases, people develop it in their 40s and 50s. As one of the leading causes of dementia, it is estimated that Alzheimer’s affects around 5 million Americans – a number that is expected to increase as time goes on. In this article, our memory care team in Morris County will go over the signs of this disease, the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia, and how your loved one can receive support for Alzheimer’s disease right now. 

Early signs of Alzheimer’s include:

  • Memory lapses (for example, forgetting where you’ve put something in the house).
  • Forgetting recent events.
  • Getting lost on routes which should be familiar.
  • Missing important appointments or special events.
  • Difficulty recalling a name or word in conversation.

As this is a progressive disease, later symptoms can be more severe:

  • The inability to follow a conversation.
  • Unnecessarily repeating things in conversation.
  • Difficulty carrying out a set of instructions or routine (getting dressed, folding clothes, cooking, etc.).
  • Dramatic personality changes, occasionally accompanied by aggression, irritation and depression.
  • Problems judging distances, navigating physical obstacles and seeing in three-dimensions.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Confusion over dates, times and locations.

The Difference Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s 

Dementia is a category of symptoms grouped around the ability to perform mental tasks, while Alzheimer’s is a disease that has symptoms which fall into the dementia category. There are many forms of dementia, some of which can be treated very successfully. Unfortunately, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s currently and scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes the disease. However, they have concluded from many years of research that genetics, hypertension and the aging process itself are known to be major risk factors.

Memory Care and Support Services in Morris County NJ

At JCHC’s Lester Senior Living, we understand that caring for a loved one who has Alzheimer’s disease can be stressful and emotionally draining. As the disease progresses, it may also become impossible for you to manage without the right support.

This is why we offer specialized memory care services at our Lester Senior Living campus, specifically geared towards assisting people with Alzheimer’s and other dementia diagnoses. Our certified caregivers are able to provide daily support to residents in our Memory Care Suite. These newly renovated apartments have dementia-friendly floor plans to enforce safety and eliminate the risk of emergency care. At Lester, we provide the latest techniques to preserve and maintain cognitive function – ensuring your loved one with Alzheimer’s can maintain their dignity and quality of life at all times. 

To find out more about our memory support services in New Jersey, contact Lester Senior Living today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org


5 Important Questions to Ask Your Assisted Living Community

Moving into an assisted living community is a big commitment. It’s important that your loved one feels confident, comfortable and happy with the community. Not only that, you and your extended family also need to consider the quality of mom or dad’s care and the proximity of the community to your current residences. After all, the move to an assisted living facility affects the entire family. That’s why it’s essential to ask all the right questions before coming to a final agreement on your loved one’s care. 

Here are some helpful questions to ask when researching different options to help narrow down your search to the right community:

  1. Where is the assisted living community located? Is it close to friends and family? Does your loved one know the area and enjoy it? These questions will help narrow down your geographic search. If your loved one likes the area and has good social and family connections in the neighborhood, then the move is likely to be an easier and more positive adjustment for everyone involved.

  2. Can we take a tour? An onsite visit is a great way to meet the staff, find out what they offer and get a general feel for the community. Ask about their services, what the culture is like and what a typical day includes. If your loved one is in fairly good health, don’t skip the more advanced care facilities. In planning for the future, it’s best to ask about dementia and Alzheimer’s care, so that you have well-rounded knowledge of all the services they offer.

  3. How much does it cost? The cost of assisted living is one of the biggest variables when looking for the right community, especially as healthcare costs have increased in recent years. Care costs are calculated after a thorough assessment and based on individual needs and requirements. At JCHC, our advisors would be happy to walk you through all of your loved one’s financial options when looking at one of our communities.

  4. What are priorities for my loved one? This is a question (among many) that seniors and caregivers need to ask themselves to help narrow down their search. Does your loved one have Alzheimer’s or dementia? Is he or she looking for a lively, involved community? Do you want a facility that only provides independent living services or one that can meet your loved one’s needs whatever the future holds? Figuring out you and your loved one’s top priorities is essential to finding the right community that offers the right services and amenities.

  5. What is the reputation of the facility? In order to make an informed decision it’s important to conduct the necessary research. Be sure to check reviews, talk to locals in the area, and of course, take a tour yourself. As we mentioned above, come to your tour prepared with a list of questions and make sure you’re satisfied with the responses you receive. A great question to ask is: What are the standard credentials of the caregivers within the community? It’s important to know that the people caring for your senior parent are professionally qualified to do so. 

Quality care at Lester Senior Living NJ 

At Lester Senior Living, a JCHC community, we prioritize the quality of life, independence and dignity for all our residents. With services designed to meet your loved one’s needs, even as they change, we offer seniors a chance to build a life within our active and welcoming community. Our experienced caregivers are on-site 24/7 and can assist seniors with anything from light day-to-day support to advanced Alzheimer’s and dementia care.

For more information on our assisted living community and senior care services, contact us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org


How to Combat the “Winter Blues” in Seniors

Is your loved one starting to feel sad after all of the holiday excitement? It’s normal to feel a little “blue” after the holidays pass, but it’s important to distinguish between a quick let down and Seasonal Affective Disorder, commonly referred to as SAD. For those who may not be familiar, Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that occurs during the winter months when the days are shorter and there is a constant chill in the air. In this article, we will discuss how SAD develops and what you can do to help your senior loved one if they have the “winter blues.” 

What causes Seasonal Affective Disorder?

The exact cause of Seasonal Affective Disorder is unknown, but some mental health professionals believe it is related to the lack of sunlight during this time of year. Older adults that have restricted mobility or live alone are at increased risk for SAD due to decreased exposure to natural sunlight and time spent with others outdoors. Symptoms may include social withdrawal, daytime sleepiness, decreased interest in favorite activities, weight gain and increased appetite especially with cravings for fatty carbohydrates.

Ways to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder

Non-pharmaceutical treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder are simple and easy to implement right now. Here are some ways to treat SAD from our senior caregivers in Morris County: 

  • Add more light to their living space. Welcoming more light into common areas like the living room, kitchen and bedroom where your loved one spends the most time can make a big difference. For example, move their favorite recliner closer to the window and open the curtains and blinds to allow more natural sunlight into the room.

  • Try different interior design techniques to promote wellness. It’s amazing what a little redecorating can do for our mental health. Bring more life into your loved one’s space by adding a variety of plants. Painting an accent wall a bright color can also be helpful to restoring more positivity.

  • Exercise and a healthy diet are essential. It’s important that your loved one doesn’t succumb to a sedentary lifestyle, especially during these cold, dark winter months. Encourage them to stick with a daily exercise routine, preferably a walk around the neighborhood with a friend nearby to hold them accountable. Combine daily exercise with a well-rounded diet packed with nutrients to keep SAD at bay.

  • Socialize outdoors when possible. Next time the weather permits, visit your loved one, bundle up and go for a walk outside. Spending time outdoors with family and friends can do wonders for your loved one’s happiness and well-being.  

Socialization for seniors in New Jersey

All of our senior living communities in New Jersey place a strong priority on social interactions as part of providing your loved one with the highest quality of care. Socialization plays a strong role in everyone’s life, especially older adults. Keeping seniors regularly engaged with the people around them is known to minimize feelings of isolation or depression, compared to seniors who do not socialize often. 

At our assisted living facility, Lester Senior Living, our care services are in place to minimize daily tasks and annoyances in order to free up more time for our residents to enjoy on-campus activities and connect with other residents, both indoors and outdoors. Some of our favorite social activities include live entertainment from local talent, group dancing classes and activity clubs like knitting, card games and gardening. 

For more information on the activities we offer seniors in New Jersey, call us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org

Mistakes to Avoid When Looking for Assisted Living

Selecting an assisted living community for your loved one is a challenging process. After all, it’s an important decision which places the care of mom or dad in the hands of people you do not know. Understandably, this is a major concern for a lot of children of senior parents. How do you know if you can trust an assisted living facility with your loved one? And more importantly, how do you know if you’re making the right choice for everyone involved? In this article, our care team at Lester Senior Living discusses four common mistakes that can easily be made while searching for an assisted living community, and how to avoid them:

  1. Prioritizing your preferences above those of your elderly loved one. It’s easy to get caught up in your own tastes when looking at a community and become enthusiastic about amenities your senior parent may not actually care for. Since this is where your loved one will be living, it’s important to keep them involved in the scouting process as much as possible. Especially if they have Alzheimer’s or dementia. Try and keep in mind what they used to enjoy the most before their memory issues developed. For example, if your mom loved gardening, try finding a community with lovely gardens that she can enjoy. This is essentially a more important aspect to consider than the state-of-the-art fitness center from a competitor community.

  2. Forgetting about future needs. The independent living community you’re looking at may offer the lively social life and apartment-style living your loved one would enjoy, but what about when he or she grows older? Is the apartment easy to navigate with a wheelchair? Can they provide meals? What programs are available to Alzheimer’s or dementia residents? Try to choose a community which offers both independent and assisted living services, so that your loved one isn’t faced with a second, stressful move in the years to come.

  3. Not realizing how much care is actually needed. Here, it’s important to honestly and accurately evaluate your loved one’s care needs in order to find a community that can provide the right level of services. Take note of mobility limitations and other health issues, as well as their level of independence. Will your loved one need bathing assistance? Is he or she able to cook meals? Are they suffering from memory loss? Answering questions like these will help make sure your loved one’s comfort, safety and health will be properly managed within the community.

  4. Deciding under pressure. This is a stressful time for any family, but rushing into a decision can easily leave mom or dad worse off than before, so it’s worth it to take as much time as you need. First, work out your loved one’s priorities and do some research into the areas which suit your family. Then, book visits with 3 to 5 different communities to help get a better idea of what they offer and how they differ from one another. Don’t forget to keep your loved one involved wherever possible, and go back to any community for a second look or to ask any unanswered questions.

Assisted living communities that prioritize independence

At JCHC’s Lester Senior Living, we’re all about keeping seniors as independent as possible, while supporting them with personal care services to make their lives easier. Additionally, we are able to scale these services at any point if they require a higher level of care, including professional memory support for Alzheimer’s and dementia residents in our specialized memory care suites. We also offer social programs to encourage residents to get more involved with  community life and make new friends along the way. The top priority at all JCHC communities is to ensure each resident gets the help and support they require to live a full and happy life with us. 

For more information about our senior living communities across New Jersey, please give us a call today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org


Core Strength Exercises for Seniors

Core strength exercises improve the fitness of the stomach, back, hips and pelvis. These muscles are important for improving balance and stability, as well as posture. For seniors, these exercises are a good way to help reduce risk of falls and make walking and other daily tasks much easier. Which, might we add, is key to retaining independence in your golden years. With that said, here are some easy core exercises for seniors from our independent living coordinators at JCHC.

Safety note: If you are unsure of how to do the exercises or require assistance in performing them correctly and safely, please speak to your doctor or physical therapist before attempting any new movements. 

  • The Bridge: This exercise focuses on the muscles in your buttocks, lower back and stomach. Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your torso to create a straight line between your knees and your chest. Be careful not to arch your back. Hold for three seconds and slowly go back to the start position. Repeat five times.
  • Leg Lifts: In this exercise, your pelvic muscles and lower stomach muscles are strengthened. Start flat on your back on a yoga mat. Contract your stomach muscles as you lift one leg about five inches off the floor, without bending at the knee. Hold for three seconds and slowly go back to the start position. Then, do the same with your other leg. Repeat five times.
  • Seated Side Bends: This will focus on the muscles that run down your torso. Sit on a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Put one of your hands behind your head and stretch the other out parallel to the ground. Now bend down to the side as if using that hand to pick something up, hold for three seconds and return to your start position. Do the same with your other arm and repeat five times.
  • The Superman: Named because it resembles Superman flying through the air, this exercise strengthens your lower back. Lie face down on the floor on a yoga mat, keeping your arms stretched out in front of you. Now raise your head, right arm and left leg at the same time to about two inches off the ground. Hold this position for three seconds and return to the start position. Do the same thing with your left arm and right leg. Repeat five times.

Fitness programs for independent seniors in New Jersey

If your loved one in independent living would like to improve their quality of health and wellbeing through fitness, our dedicated team at Lester Senior Living is here to assist them. We have a community calendar filled each month with different fitness classes to satisfy every resident’s mobility, such as “Stretch & Flex,” “Sit and Be Fit” and “Cha Cha Chair Dancing” – just to name a few. Our trained instructors are ready to assist or modify each exercise for your loved one to ensure their safety is the top priority at all times. 

In addition to our fitness programs, our communities also offer more advanced senior care services like assisted living and memory support for those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To learn more about our senior health and wellness programs in New Jersey, contact JCHC today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org