• A  A  A  

When are Respite Services Needed?

Caregivers or children who are providing for senior parents, sometimes need the opportunity to take a break from the daily care of an elderly loved one. While respite care can be provided at home, there are many more benefits to having your loved one spend their respite stay in a senior living community. Especially if you and your loved one have already been toying around with the idea of moving into a senior community. Often the idea of a “short term stay” is an easier bridge for your loved one to cross, when broaching the subject of moving into a senior community. “Why don’t you just try it out Ma, while we’re on vacation for a couple weeks?” In this way, seniors will be able to experience the community first-hand without any long-term obligation. With respite care, family caregivers are relieved to know their loved one will be comfortable, entertained, and professionally cared for at all times, even more than if you hired a part time caregiver in the home.

So, how do you know when respite is needed? There is no right answer for this question, but here are the main reasons we hear most often from our respite care team in Morris County, NJ

  • Caregiver burnout. Ah, the dreaded caregiver burnout. For those who may be unaware of this condition, it’s a state of physical, emotional and mental exhaustion that can occur when one is a full-time caregiver. The first signs of burnout can be a visible change in attitude, from positive and caring to negative, frustrated and unconcerned. Burnout can easily happen when caregivers don’t get the help they need, or if they try to do more than they are emotionally and physically capable. With that being said, it’s very important to take a step back from caregiving and utilize respite services when you feel you are reaching this state of mental or physical exhaustion. 
  • Travel and holidays. Being a caregiver shouldn’t prevent you from traveling for business or pleasure. And although holidays are usually a time to see extended family, it could also be a prime opportunity to get away from all the holiday madness with your close, immediate family. While you are away, respite caregivers at an assisted living facility can provide the personal care services, customized meal plans and social stimulation your loved one needs while you make travel plans. 
  • Moving into a new home. Moving into a new home is a busy and stressful experience that often leaves little time for other commitments, like caring for a senior parent. With respite services, you can rest assured knowing that your loved one’s care and companionship needs will be met while you pack up your things and settle into your new place. This will make the move far less stressful for both you and your loved one.
  • Making the transition to assisted living. As we mentioned above, If you’d like your loved one to try out senior living without making the full commitment, then respite care is the answer. With no long term obligations, you and your loved one can explore the community, find out more about our services and meet the neighbors. Fully ensuring assisted living is the right choice for both you and your loved one before making a final decision. 

Compassionate respite care services in Morris County, NJ

At JCHC’s Lester Senior Living, we’re dedicated to providing high quality respite services that deliver individualized care, companionship and many opportunities to socialize in a secure and nurturing environment. With a welcoming atmosphere, lively residents and staff members, and a calendar filled with extracurricular activities, your loved one will be in the best possible hands while enjoying their stay with us.

In addition to respite services, we also offer independent living, assisted living and are able to offer memory care services to those with Alzheimer’s and dementia. For more information on Lester Senior Living and our additional senior care services, please contact us today to request a personal tour or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org

Hearty Beef Stew Recipe for Hanukkah

We all can agree – there’s nothing that brings you back to life during the cold winter months like a good stew. If you’re in the mood for a wholesome beef stew recipe, perhaps even one you can serve your family during Hanukkah, the chefs at Lester Senior Living have just the right one for you. This kosher recipe is best made the day before if possible. Reheating the stew right before company comes over for Hanukkah dinner, calls for even better flavor! 

Serves: 8-10.
Cook Time: Approx. 2 hours


  • 3 pounds boneless chuck roast, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 yellow onions, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 cups kosher beef broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch slices
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut in eighths
  • Fresh parsley to garnish (optional)


  1. On medium-high heat, pour vegetable oil into a large heavy pot (preferably one that has a tight fitting lid).
  2. When the oil is heated and begins to smoke slightly, add the pieces of chuck roast in and brown very well. The beef can be added in batches if necessary. Then, season with salt and pepper as the beef browns.
  3. Once all of the chuck roast is browned, remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  4. Next, add the chopped onions to the same pot and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened and translucent.
  5. Reduce heat to medium-low, add the flour and cook for 2 minutes stirring often.
  6. Next, add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  7. Add wine and deglaze the pan, scraping any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan. At this stage, the flour will start to thicken the wine as it comes to a simmer.
  8. Simmer the wine sauce for 5 minutes, and then add beef broth, bay leaves, thyme, rosemary, along with the browned beef.
  9. Bring back to a gentle simmer, cover and cook on low for about 1 hour. (Making sure it does not boil).
  10. After an hour, add potatoes, carrots and celery. Let it simmer and cover the pot for another 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are tender. After about 30 minutes, taste the stew and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  11. Turn off heat and let the stew sit for 15 minutes before serving. Garnish with the fresh parsley if desired and enjoy!

Trying New Recipes at Lester Senior Living in NJ

Our beloved chefs at Lester are always eager to try out new dishes that also accommodate the dietary restrictions of our senior living residents. Whether it’s a hearty beef stew or something more simple, there’s nothing they love more than perfecting new recipes and serving the residents in assisted living and independent living

For more information about food and customized meal plan options for seniors in Morris County, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org

How Assisted Living Enhances Your Quality of Life

Quality of life is one of the leading concerns for all of us as we age. While Desiderata may tell us to “Surrender gracefully, the things of youth…” frankly, we’d really rather not!

Still, when mom or dad’s health needs are changing, medical issues become more complicated, and day-to-day tasks are becoming more challenging, you’ll likely start to look into an assisted living community as an option for them. But is that really a better option for their quality of life than taking care of your loved one in their own home? What about your quality of life if you are an adult child doing the caregiving?  Even hiring, managing and checking in on a part time or live-in caregiver can be stressful. In this article, our assisted living caregivers will discuss the ways in which assisted living actually enhances the quality of life for your loved one and their entire family.

  • Independence: The ability to live your life as you’d like – a priority in each of our lives — is also a priority in assisted living. At Lester Senior Living, we give our residents the perfect balance between support services and gentle encouragement toward an active lifestyle filled with independence, privacy and many opportunities for social activities and engagement.
  • Physical safety: Modern assisted living communities like the JCHC at Lester, are designed especially for seniors, providing easy access for those with mobility limitations, while also reducing the risks of falls and injuries. In addition, there are caregivers and security personnel on duty 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, to provide rapid, professional assistance if needed. Gone are worries over mom leaving the oven on, or falling when she is alone, or forgetting to take her medication. This is a huge relief to both residents and their families.
  • Mental and physical stimulation: Our communities offer specialized programs which provide a wonderful level of mental and physical stimulation, including fitness classes, JCHC University classes, off-site trips, synagogue services and activity clubs like knitting, mahjong and gardening. These activities help build  strong community relationships and a sense of purpose, and are organized in a way that allows each person to choose their level of participation.
  • Day-to-day assistance: Often, household chores can become more challenging and time-consuming as we age. In order to free up your loved one’s time for more important and enjoyable activities, our staff can assist them daily. This includes assistance with personal care, apartment cleaning services and several dining options.
  • Transportation: Outings to shops, social events and more are all organized and taken care of by our fully-trained and friendly staff. This gives residents a little adventure and a change of scenery. We provide the freedom to carry out social and other appointments easily and safely, without having to worry about driving or getting someone to drive you..

Enjoy life to the fullest in assisted living 

There is a good argument to be made that moving your loved one to an assisted living community is an elevation of quality of life for the entire family. But it has to be a community that everyone can trust and believe in.

We encourage you to consider visiting Lester Senior Living in Whippany, New Jersey to see for yourself what a modern, active assisted living community can be. We’re confident that you’ll find Lester is dedicated to maintaining the independence and dignity of your family members  for as long as possible. Our assisted living care philosophy and social programs ensure residents receive the support and stimulation they need and they can be involved with the community at any level they are comfortable with. 

For more information about JCHC’s senior living options in New Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.og

Simple and Effective Health Tips for Seniors

Staying healthy isn’t just about living longer, it’s about living better too. Keeping active as we age is directly linked to maintaining our quality of life, as well as fighting mental and physical conditions that could limit our abilities. Unfortunately, it can become more and more of a challenge as we get older with family responsibilities, mobility issues, stress and lack of motivation. With that being said, our senior living teams at the JCHC communities have put together a list of tips to keep seniors healthy and motivated. 

  1. Find an activity your loved one enjoys: Dad is far more likely to stick with an activity he enjoys, so take some time to explore options with him. Preferably, an option that you both could do together. For example, if he loved hiking back in the day, then regular nature walks with him or other senior friends is a perfect choice. Not to mention, staying active with a family member or friend is a great way to stay accountable and motivated. 
  2. Don’t forget about mental exercise: Staying active isn’t just about physical health – mental fitness is just as important. Have your loved one learn to play bridge, compete in crossword competitions and indulge in Sudoku, as they are ideal games to challenge and strengthen the brain.
  3. Manage your stress levels: Stress is well known for negatively affecting our mental and physical well-being, so finding an effective outlet to release stress is a good way to keep your loved one’s health on track. Many seniors come to find that fast-paced physical exercise helpful, while others prefer something more relaxing and low-impact like meditation or yoga. Occasional social engagements with the people they love and enjoy is also a great way for your senior parent to release stress as well.
  4. Good nutrition: It’s never too late to develop good eating habits! Proper nutrition can help fight a wide range of issues seniors often struggle with, from helping to control weight, osteoporosis, blood pressure and diabetes, to reducing your risk of heart disease.
  5. Annual checkups: Regular checkups are key to senior health. Make sure you stay in control of Mom’s health issues and deal with any emerging conditions effectively. Your top priorities should include her primary care physician, eye doctor and dentist, as well as any specialists she requires.
  6. Take preventative measures: Falls are among the most common reasons for seniors needing medical treatment. As we get older, it often becomes harder to heal and bounce back from injuries. Although staying physically healthy is an ideal way to combat this, removing hazards in your loved one’s home is vital to preventing injuries in the first place. Rugs that can be tripped over, stairs, poor lighting and bathrooms without grab bars are good examples of hazards which should be dealt with head-on.

Lester Assisted Living, for a Healthy Life 

Lester is an assisted living community dedicated to helping older adults live full, happy and healthy lives. With an active community spirit, spacious apartments, great exercise programs and support services designed to maximize independence, we’re a welcoming space for seniors to really feel at home. 

For more information about our assisted living and senior exercise programs in NJ, please contact us today to schedule a tour or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org


Dark Chocolate Recipe to Benefit Senior Health

You have probably heard the age-old saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” but has anyone ever told you that a sweet treat, like dark chocolate, could improve your health as well?

Studies suggest that eating raw unprocessed cocoa, a natural rich source of flavanols, can positively increase energy levels, raise exercise stamina, and improve other measures of heart health in inactive older adults. In fact, numerous studies have demonstrated that cocoa flavanols, found in dark chocolate, can relax the arteries, decreasing blood pressure; increase blood flow to the brain, improving memory and thinking skills; and suppress the production of stress hormones, thus decreasing stress and improving one’s mood.

Now before you go to devour an entire box of chocolates, you need to be aware that most chocolate companies remove the many antioxidants that would provide any health benefit. Since most people find the flavanols very bitter and undesirable, they are removed during processing.

If you are interested in adding chocolate into your healthy lifestyle, look for non-alkalized dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa content or higher. The higher the cocoa content, the more antioxidants the chocolate contains. And while most dark chocolate contains added sugar, make sure it is not the main ingredient. Lastly, it is recommended to limit your cocoa intake to one ounce a day — just enough to curb your sweet tooth.

If you want to enjoy chocolate without the guilt, how about treating yourself to some dark chocolate dipped apples? Here’s a JCHC signature recipe from our culinary trained chefs in Morris County

Dark Chocolate Dipped Apples Recipe

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 60 minutes
Total Time: 90 minutes


  • 6 apples
  • 1 bag 70% dark chocolate melting chips
  • 4 cups total of the topping(s) of your choice: crushed peanuts, toasted coconut, almonds, walnuts, sea salt… just to name a few. 


  1. Dry apples completely before beginning. Poke a stick in the bottom of the apple. Make sure to only go a little more than halfway through the apples with the stick.
  2. Melt the dark chocolate in a double boiler.
  3. Roll the apple in the melted chocolate, making sure to only coat each apple once.
  4. Roll the chocolate covered apple in the topping(s) of your choice. 
  5. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  6. Repeat the process for the remaining 5 apples.
  7. Put the baking sheet with the finished apples in the refrigerator and allow to cool for at least one hour before enjoying! 

For more information about our culinary trained chefs on-site in Morris County, please contact Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what it’s like to live in a JCHC senior community: https://jchcorp.org/