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4 Reasons Seniors Choose an Independent Living Lifestyle

There are many reasons behind the choice to move to an independent living community. Most of them depend on mom or dad’s current health status and lifestyle requirements. This type of lifestyle is typically desired by aging adults who are relatively healthy and need minimal to no support in order to complete daily activities. What makes this option so attractive? Here are the reasons we most often hear at Lester Independent Living in Whippany, NJ:

  • Maintaining independence – Independent living communities are designed to keep seniors as independent as possible for as long as possible, allowing your loved one to maintain the lifestyle they prefer. In these communities, most of the support is aimed at reducing stress (maintenance, housekeeping and meals, among others) in order to give mom or dad more time to spend on the pursuits they love.

  • Staying active – Most seniors really value having a physically active life and would like to stay mobile for as long as possible. Independent living offers the ideal support for this, firstly through housing which minimizes the risk of falls and injury and secondly, through amenities such as clubs, social gatherings, and fitness centers which allow seniors to get active within their community and with peers their own age.

  • Safety – For many seniors, personal and medical security is understandably important. An independent living community offers both in a way that is highly efficient and unobtrusive. From easy-to-navigate apartments, with smoke detectors and medical alert systems to 24-hour security and on-site home health services, seniors can relax knowing that support is right there when they need it.

  • Scalable services – Moving can be difficult. This is why leading independent living communities offer scalable services which change to accommodate your needs, as required. In some cases, this allows seniors to stay independent and in the comfort of their own apartment throughout their stay in the community. If higher levels of care are required, they can be accessed under the same roof.

How to Find High-Quality Independent Living for Seniors 

At the Jewish Community Housing Corporation, our aim is to ensure each of our residents maintain their quality of life and independence. Our programs encourage residents to get involved with the community at a level they are comfortable with. We tailor our services to make sure each resident gets the help and support they require to live a full and happy life as they age. 

For more information about our independent living apartments in Essex or Morris County, please contact the JCHC today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/


Celebrating Grandpa on Father’s Day in Assisted Living

Father’s Day is just around the corner! Meaning it’s time to celebrate the special father figures in our lives, including grandfathers. Taking the time to acknowledge and honor grandpa for Father’s Day will go a long way. If there’s one thing that all grandfathers have in common, it’s their love for their kids and grandkids. Grandfathers truly value that quality time with their family, so give them a day they’ll treasure for years to come! 

If you’re not sure where to start, our assisted living team at Lester Senior Living in Morris County has put together some great ways to celebrate grandpa on Father’s Day

  • Create a personalized calendar for him. Many websites like Shutterfly, Vistaprint and Zazzle can customize calendars to include pictures of your family. You could also mark special dates within the calendar, like each grandkid’s birthday. Grandpa will not only appreciate the thoughtfulness of the gift, but will also appreciate the subtle reminders of special events coming up! Not to mention, this gift is also extremely helpful if grandpa has memory issues. 
  • Take grandpa out for the day. There’s nothing like a change of scenery. Whether grandpa lives at home or in an assisted living community, he deserves a nice change of pace outside of his comfort zone. Take this day out as an opportunity to indulge in the activities he loves to do. For example, visit the local book store together if he’s an avid reader or visit the local bakery if he has a sweet tooth. 
  • Help him with chores, or let him help you. A helping hand can go a long way, especially for Grandpa who may not have the ox-like strength he once had. It will mean the world to him to take care of some of his daily chores like taking out the trash or watering the plants. If grandpa doesn’t have many chores to help with, have him help you with something. Grandfathers hold a wealth of knowledge and will really value spreading some of that knowledge onto their grandkids.
  • Plan a game day/night. Who doesn’t love to play games? They are a fun way to bring your family together for some quality time. Not to mention, most assisted living communities have communal areas you can use for this. Let grandpa teach you how to play mahjong or gin rummy, he will get a kick out of it! 
  • Bring him his favorite food or dessert. Health, mobility and memory issues could prevent some grandfathers from leaving their assisted living community. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t bring the celebration to him! Call grandpa and ask what special treat he would like for Father’s Day, and order enough for the whole family to enjoy at his assisted living community.

Celebrate Fathers Day at Lester Senior Living, NJ

As mentioned above, we understand that some health, memory and mobility concerns may prevent some assisted living residents from leaving the community to celebrate Father’s Day. So, we encourage you to celebrate with grandpa at Lester Senior Living instead! We have fun events planned for our residents on Father’s Day: “Movies and Mimosas” at 1:30pm, “Afternoon Social and Snacks” at 2:30pm and “Fun and Games on the Patio” at 3:30pm, to name a few!

For more information on how Lester Senior Living will be celebrating Father’s Day, please contact us today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/

5 Influential Jewish Personalities Born in April

There seem to be two major traits that Jewish people in the entertainment world have: the comedy gene and the music gene. We often don’t realize how true this is, until you start to look at famous TV, film and music personalities. You may come to discover that a majority of your favorite actors, actresses and musicians are of Jewish descent. The team at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation (JCHC) would like to take this time to honor just a few of our favorite, influential Jewish entertainers that were born in the month of April. 

Robert Downey Jr. (April 4th)

It’s only right to start with Marvel legend, Robert Downey Jr. Although he’s been in the acting industry for decades, he really gained critical acclaim after nailing his leading role in 2008 as Iron Man. In the same year, he was also named as one of the most influential people by Time Magazine. Most importantly, he’s one of the best examples of how it’s never too late to turn your life around. Everyone who knows his story really appreciates his transparency about his past drug issues and how he credits multiple avenues for his continued sobriety, including family support, rehabilitation, and even yoga. 

Paul Rudd (April 6th)

Next on our list, one of the most famous New Jersey natives: Paul Rudd – who might I add, doesn’t seem to age? His breakout performance in the 1995 teen movie Clueless really put him on the map. He then went on to star in multiple comedies like Anchorman, This Is 40, I Love You Man and the superhero franchise Ant-Man. I think what we love most about Paul is his sarcastic sense of humor and how down to earth he still is. Although he moved to Kansas City when he was 10, most of his early movies took place in New Jersey or New York to honor his roots.

Sarah Michelle Geller (April 14th)

We can’t forget America’s favorite vampire slayer: Sarah Michelle Geller. She is best known for her roles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Swans Crossing, Cruel Intentions, the live-action Scooby Doo and All My Children, which won her an Emmy. Her conscious choice to play strong and independent women is definitely her mark on the world. It’s also so sweet that her and Scooby Doo co-star, Freddie Prinze Jr, have been together for over 20 years – one of Hollywood’s most successful love stories!

Barbra Streisand (April 24th)

In short, Barbra Streisand does it all. She’s a successful singer, actress, director, producer, and the only person who’s ever received all of the following prestigious awards: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, Peabody awards, the Kennedy Center Honor, American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement honor and the Film Society of Lincoln Center Chaplin Award. One major reason why she is so admired is that she comes from modest beginnings. As a child, she was raised by a middle-class family and attended the Beis Yakov Jewish School in Brooklyn. She grew up dreaming of becoming an actress. It’s safe to say, she followed that dream and then some!

Jerry Seinfeld (April 29th)

This list wouldn’t be complete without comedy legend: Jerry Seinfeld. He credits his comedy gene to his father, Kalman Seinfeld who was a commercial sign maker of Jewish descent. Jerry paved his own way with his observational humor, that often draws from real-life experiences. His long-running sitcom, Seinfeld, essentially depicts the hilarities of everyday life, like getting into a petty argument with the barista who makes your coffee in the morning or forgetting your date’s name. The show was (and still is) so popular because it reflects this situational sense of humor that so many people relate to.

Lester Senior Living treats regular folks like celebrities. 

Whether you are retiring from a long career in movies, or you’re a fan and just want to be somewhere safe and fun, the Lester Senior Living Community is a good choice. While we incorporate Jewish traditions at all of our senior living communities in New Jersey, we have residents from many faiths and every walk of life. They come to us for the upscale, active lifestyle that our team works very hard to provide. From active discussion groups and online seminars to kosher meal options and holiday celebrations like Purim, we are honored to represent Judaism in a lot of what we do, while making everyone feel at home.

To learn more about Jewish senior living in New Jersey, contact JCHC today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/independent-living-new-jersey/

What is Purim and How is it Celebrated?

While many Jewish holidays have pretty serious religious underpinnings, Purim, coming up on February 25th, is one of the most joyous and fun of the Jewish holidays. It’s a little bit of Mardi Gras, Passover, and Halloween all rolled into one. Traditions of this holiday include giving care packages to those in need and baking delicious Jewish staples. But how did these traditions emerge? What exactly is Purim? 

The Origin of Purim

The story of Purim commemorates the events that took place in the Bible: Book of Esther. The protagonists of the story are Esther and her cousin Mordecai who raised her as if she was his own daughter. Esther was a young and beautiful Jewish woman living in Persia. She was taken to the King of Persia, Ahasuerus, who immediately took a liking to her. So much so, that he made Esther queen. However, the king did not know an important part of Esther’s identity. She hid her Judaism from him per her cousin Mordecai’s advice. 

The antagonist, or villain, of the story is Haman. He’s the smug and self-absorbed advisor to King Ahasuerus. Haman decided he wanted to destroy all Jewish people just because Mordecai wouldn’t bow down to him. He told the king, “There are certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the peoples in all the provinces of your realm. Their laws are different from those of every other person’s, and they do not observe the king’s laws; therefore, it is not befitting the king to tolerate them.” Esther 3:8. Since he was the king’s trusted advisor, Ahasuerus decided Haman could move forward with whatever plot he had in mind. When Mordecai found out about Haman’s evil plans, he persuaded Esther to speak to the king in order to save the Jewish people. To prepare herself for an unpredictable outcome from the king, Esther fasted for three days before going to speak to him. 

Luckily, the king welcomed Esther with open arms and she decided it was the right time to reveal her true identity. Later, she told him of Haman’s evil plan against her people. Because of Esther’s bravery, the Jewish people were saved.

Celebrating Purim at Lester Senior Living

Purim is preceded by a minor fast, the Fast of Esther, which commemorates Esther’s three days of fasting in preparation for meeting with the king. The primary commandment related to Purim is to hear the reading of the book of Esther, which we read to our residents every year. While listening to this reading, it is custom to boo, hiss, stamp one’s feet and rattle noisemakers whenever Haman’s name is mentioned in the service. After all, he is the bad guy.

But arguably the most fun way to commemorate this holiday is to eat, drink and be happy! If you are looking for a sweet treat to make for Purim, check out our signature recipe for Hamantaschen cookies: https://jchcorp.org/how-to-make-delicious-hamantaschen-cookies-before-purim/. These delicious triangular fruit-filled cookies are supposed to represent Haman’s three-cornered hat. In addition, Jewish people are commanded to share these treats with others or make donations to charity, also known as shalach manos (lit. sending out portions). 

If you’d like to know more about how we are celebrating Purim at Lester Senior Living, or have any other questions regarding our senior care services, please contact us today. We’d love to hear from you. 

How to Make Delicious Hamantaschen Cookies Before Purim

For many Jewish families, Purim wouldn’t be complete without Hamantaschen or the “triangle cookies” that are a traditional part of the holiday. These staple cookies are so simple to make once you gather the right ingredients. Not to mention, you can fill the center pockets of each cookie with whatever filling you like! For this recipe, we decided to alternate between apricot preserves, raspberry jam and Nutella. Without further ado, here is Jewish Community Housing Corporation’s signature recipe for Hamantaschen cookies!


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups margarine or butter
  • 2 large eggs 
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • Fillings: apricot jam, Nutella, Raspberry Jam
  • Baking sheet 
  • 3 in. round cookie cutter
  • Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Prep Time: 30 mins (if dough is prepped ahead of time)
Cook Time: 15 mins


  1. Begin by mixing the sugar and margarine together. Then, add eggs and mix together until the mixture is smooth. Once smooth, stir in water and vanilla extract. Next, add flour, and continue mixing until the dough forms a ball. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for a couple hours before baking.

  2. Heat oven to 375 F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Start to cut pieces with your floured cookie cutter. Place 1 teaspoon apricot, raspberry  or Nutella filling in the center of each piece of dough. Bring 3 edges together over filling, overlapping slightly (a small portion of filling should show in the center) and then pinch edges gently. Place each cookie 1 in. apart on an ungreased baking sheet.

  3. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. Using a spatula, carefully remove the cookies from the baking sheet and transfer to a wire rack to cool. Lightly dust each cookie with confectioners’ sugar (if desired) and enjoy!

    Bonus tip: If you are not eating the cookies immediately or want to save them for another day, store them in an air-tight container for maximum freshness.

Can’t be bothered to bake? 

At Lester Senior Living, our chefs are always baking something. For more information about senior living activities in Morris County, NJ, please contact JCHC: Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what community life is really like in Morris County, NJ: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/