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5 Essential Morning Stretches for Seniors

Stretching in the morning can do wonders for arthritis and joint pain. Committing to daily morning stretches along with a warm shower afterwards will help keep muscles more limber for seniors especially. If you’re not sure what stretches to start with, here’s a list of morning stretches that our senior care team in Morris County, NJ has put together.  

Safety note: Seniors should consult a doctor or primary caregiver before 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 immediately.

1. Overhead Side Stretch – Loosens up muscles in your core 

Suggested Repetitions: Hold 15-30 seconds per side. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, raise both of your arms overhead and interlace your fingers with your palms facing up. Now, slightly lean to the right and hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds. Repeat with the left side.

2. Shoulder Stretch – Targets joint pain in shoulders 

Suggested Repetitions: Hold 15-30 seconds per side. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, reach your right arm across your body, so that your fingertips are pointing to the left. Make sure to keep your arm as straight as you can. Next, place your left hand on your upper right arm and gently pull your arm towards you. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and then repeat with your left arm. 

3. Triceps Stretch – Strengthens triceps muscles

Suggested Repetitions: Hold 15-30 seconds per side. Stand tall with your feet about hip-width apart. Then, raise both of your arms overhead and bend your right arm so it rests behind your head. Next, place your left hand above your right elbow and gently pull your right arm closer. Hold this position for 15-30 seconds and then repeat with your left arm.

4. Hamstring Stretch – Targets joint pain in legs, lower back

Suggested Repetitions: 5 times per leg. Place your right heel on a bench in front of you, with your right leg straight and toes pointing up. Without slouching over, gently hinge forward from your hips until you feel a comfortable stretch in your right hamstring.  Hold this position for about 15-30 seconds and then repeat with the left leg. Alternate this stretch 5 times with each leg. 

5. Towel Squeeze – Targets arthritis pain in hands

Suggested Repetitions: 10-15 times per hand. Grab a small hand towel that is rolled up. Take the towel in your right hand and squeeze. Hold this position for 5 seconds and then alternate to the left hand, taking a quick rest in between. Repeat 10 to 15 times with each hand.

Senior Stretches at Lester Senior Living, NJ

Here at Lester Senior Living, our fitness instructors are available every morning to guide morning stretches for our senior residents. If you’re a beginner when it comes to stretching and working out, there’s no need to panic! Our instructors can easily modify the stretch to accommodate your fitness level and provide extra support during the stretch if needed. 

For more information on our morning stretches, or to learn more about the fitness services offered at the Lester Senior Living community in Morris County, NJ, please give us a call today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/


What Does Memory Care at Lester Look Like?

Each person with dementia will experience its symptoms and progression differently, so it’s important to customize care to the individual person. 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 like the one offered at Lester Senior Living in Morris County. There are many reasons to consider professional memory care, and in this article, our team at Lester will highlight the major reasons and address any concerns you may have for your senior loved one. 

Why Choose Lester for Memory Care in Whippany, NJ?

  • Specialized caregivers are onsite 24/7. All of our caregivers are extensively trained in the latest science and research-based practices in memory care. Their core goal is to make a positive difference for each memory care resident through cognitive exercises, safe socialization with other residents and assistance with daily tasks like getting dressed.

  • Advanced safety measures in place. In Lester Senior Living’s Memory Care Suite there are security personnel onsite and 24-hour alert fobs to enforce the safety of memory care residents at all times.

  • Dementia-friendly floor plans for each unit. All memory apartments are open floor plans, specifically designed to promote the safety of residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. This means that memory care apartments include enhanced safety measures like grab bars and emergency call buttons and omit features that could cause harm like a stove or clothing iron.
  • Memory care is tailored to the individual. As mentioned above, we can easily help residents with daily tasks like bathing, cleaning, dressing, managing medications and going to the restroom, to name a few. The level of care provided is dependent on our thorough evaluation of each memory care resident.

  • Many opportunities for safe socialization. It is so important for everyone to socialize, especially our seniors! At Lester Senior Living, this goes for our memory care residents as well. We have multiple options to socialize safely in our communal areas, such as the lounge, dining area, computer center, library, outdoor patio and more, with the supervision of our reliable caregivers. 

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Support in Morris County, NJ

At Lester Senior Living in Morris County, our approach is memory care changes with each resident in our care. During the initial evaluation, our caregivers really take the time to get to know your loved one, their wants and needs, and then determine the level of care necessary. By providing meaningful experiences and the necessary support in our Memory Care Suite, your senior loved one with dementia can restore and maintain what matters most – their dignity. 

For more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia care in NJ, please call us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/alzheimers-care-morris-county-nj/


Simple Recipe for Savory Potato Kugel

Who doesn’t like kugel? Especially a savory kugel with baked potatoes. For those who might not know, kugel can be compared to a baked “pudding” that is usually prepared with noodles or potatoes. This potato kugel recipe from our chefs at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation is so good, that we just can’t keep it to ourselves! If you decide to try it out, leave a comment and let us know how it turns out!   

Potato Kugel Ingredients: 

  • Potatoes (approx. 5 lbs peeled and shredded)
  • Yellow onion (1)
  • Shallots (4)
  • Potato starch (? cup)
  • Vegetable oil (1 cup)
  • Large eggs (5)
  • Egg yolks (2)
  • Olive oil (½ cup)
  • Kosher salt (1 tbsp)
  • Black pepper (½ tsp)
  • Nutmeg (pinch)
  • Boiling water (1 cup)
  • Optional: chives to garnish

Potato Kugel Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, pour vegetable oil in a mid sized pan and heat until the oil is shimmering. 
  2. Add your shallots to the pan and cook over high heat until they are golden brown and crisp. Then, transfer the shallots to a plate using a slotted spoon. Save the shallot oil for later.
  3. After peeling and shredding the potatoes, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Then, add the chopped yellow onion, potato starch, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir well. 
  4. Next, stir in the whole eggs, egg yolks, olive oil and boiling water, followed by the sauteed shallots from earlier. 
  5. Pour your potato kugel mixture into two 8 by 11 cast-iron baking dishes. Important note: Before pouring the mixture in, heat the two baking dishes and add 2 tablespoons of the shallot oil you saved earlier. 
  6. Let the kugels bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake the kugels for 40 minutes longer. The kugel should appear golden brown and crisp on the sides. 
  7. Preheat the boiler and broil the kugels as close to the heat as possible, until they are golden brown and crisp on top. 
  8. Let the potato kugels cool for 20 minutes before slicing into squares, adding chopped chives on top and enjoying! 

Seniors dine in style in Morris County, NJ  

The culinary trained chefs at Lester Senior Living in NJ love to try out new recipes for our assisted living and independent living residents. Our residents have the option to eat in the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they’d like. Not to mention, the majority of our chef’s recipes can be modified to adhere to dietary restrictions and kosher needs. For more information about senior dining options in Morris County, NJ, please give us a call today. You could also visit our website to learn more about what independent living looks like at Lester Senior Living: https://jchcorp.org/independent-living-new-jersey/

How Seniors Can Avoid Heat Exhaustion

We love the sun, but we hate the heat! Being that it’s summer in NJ, we’ll be sure to see our share of heat waves. Exposure to extreme heat can result in heat-related illnesses, especially for seniors. Their bodies are less able to regulate their temperatures and cool themselves. When our bodies heat rapidly or when we lose fluids due to perspiration or dehydration, common conditions are cramps, heat exhaustion or heat stroke. In some cases, hyperthermia (absorbing more heat than our bodies can handle) is fatal. 

Warning signs of heat-related illnesses

Heat exhaustion is characterized as dehydration due to prolonged exposure to high temperatures. The main symptoms include muscle cramps, headache, dizziness, fatigue and confusion.

Heat stroke is the most serious heat-related condition. Heat stroke is dehydration coupled with the body physically overheating and unable to bring down its own temperature. The most obvious sign is a body temperature of 104° or higher. Other symptoms include distorted mental state, flushed skin, nausea, vomiting, rapid breathing, and racing pulse.

NOTE: Did you know that certain chronic conditions and medications increase a senior’s risk of heat stroke? Consult with your senior loved one’s primary care physician about optimal fluid intake and medication management during periods of extreme heat. If they are in an assisted living environment, the nursing staff and caregivers onsite can also help.

How seniors can stay safe in the summer heat

These simple precautions can keep seniors safe during the hottest months of the year.

  • Stay in the shade when possible
  • Stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day, usually 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Wear protective clothing outdoors – hats, sunglasses, light-colored clothing
  • Use sunscreen (SPF 30 with broad spectrum protection)
  • Stay hydrated at all times – drink plenty of water and avoid caffeine and alcohol, which dehydrate the body. Don’t rely on feeling thirsty, just drink! Our bodies lose moisture even when we are not sweating heavily.

Tips for seniors to stay cool indoors

Even when indoors during very hot weather, it is important for seniors to stay hydrated, especially if the air conditioning is not working or if it’s kept at a moderate temperature to reduce energy consumption. Fans that circulate the air are somewhat helpful but don’t do enough to help cool down the body. If your senior loved one is out and about on a hot day, tell them to visit a local public place to access air conditioning like public libraries, senior centers, shopping malls, or movie theaters.

Additional indoor cooling tips during periods of extreme heat include:

  • Cool drinks, such as water, iced herbal teas, and lemonade help moderate the body’s temperature and refresh.
  • Wear lightweight layers you can add or take off as needed; cotton and other natural fibers are best because they breathe and won’t trap heat.
  • Eat cool snacks such as frozen ice pops, grapes or berries.
  • Choose light, cold meals over hot, heavy dishes. Think salads—grain or pasta, tuna, egg and tossed salad—over pot roast or lasagna.
  • Place a cool washcloth on the back of your neck; keep a pan of cool water handy to re-cool the towel. Taking a cool shower or bath is also effective.
  • Sit with your feet in a pan of cool (not cold) water.

Seniors stay cool at Lester Senior Living in NJ

If mom or dad is still living in their own home, you should call or check on them often during times of very hot (or cold) weather. It doesn’t take much to feel the effects of heat exhaustion and it may be difficult for them to call for help when they start to need it.

Of course, if mom or dad resides in a senior living community like Lester, they’ll have access to cool spaces, plenty of refreshing beverages, an emergency call system, and helpful staff members to lend assistance if needed. That’s just one reason why so many seniors choose independent or assisted living options at the Lester Senior Living community

To learn more about independent living and assisted living in Morris or Essex County, NJ, contact us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org

What are The Three Weeks Leading up to Tisha B’Av?

The Three Weeks is a period of mourning that occurs in the summer every year leading up to Tisha B’Av. We mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and the exile of the Jews from Israel. Observing and relearning the details of these events helps us to recognize the weaknesses which brought about these tragic happenings. We do this through the process of “teshuva,” which means self-reflection with a commitment to become better. With “teshuva,” everyone has the power to turn tragedy into joy. The Talmud actually states that after the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, these days will be altered as weeks of happiness and celebration. 

History has a tendency to repeat itself, if we don’t learn from it. That’s why it’s so important to shed light and observe even the most tragic times. With that said, here are some observances and more information regarding Tisha B’Av that the team at JCHC has put together.  

What Happened on Tisha B’Av? 

On Tisha B’Av, five major tragedies occurred.  

  1. During the time of Moses (approx. 1312 BCE), the Jews accepted the malicious report of the 10 Spies. Immediately after, a decree was issued forbidding the 10 Spies from entering the Land of Israel. 
  2. The destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. At this time, approximately 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more were exiled. 
  3. The destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Approximately two million Jews died and another one million were exiled. 
  4. In 135 CE, the city of Betar was conquered by the Romans. This was the Jews’ last stand against the Romans and over 100,000 Jews were killed. 
  5. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city and named Aelia Capitolina. The Romans declared that access into the city was forbidden to Jews.

Observances During The 3 Weeks and Tisha B’Av

There are many mourning-related customs and observances that are followed for the entire three-week period leading up to Tisha B’Av. Some examples are no haircuts, no new clothing purchases, no listening to music and no Jewish weddings are to be held during this time. 

The afternoon before Tisha B’Av, we are to eat a full meal to prepare for the fast. When the afternoon concludes, the Seudah Hamaf-seket is eaten. This is a meal that contains bread, water, and a hard-boiled egg only. The hard-boiled egg represents two major elements. The roundness of the egg reminds us of the precious circle of life. The second element is that the egg is the only food that becomes harder the more it is cooked – i.e. a true  symbol of the Jews’ ability to rise over the ashes, no matter what life throws our way. 

Jewish Learning at JCHC in Morris County, NJ

If you’d like to know more about Jewish culture, or about how we are observing the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av, please contact the team at JCHC today. At our Lester Senior Living community, we read the Torah, hold Maariv Services and even offer university level classes about Jewish history and culture. 

To learn more about the Jewish teachings offered at our assisted living community in Morris County, NJ, please visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/