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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/


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

Senior Health and Wellness Tips for Spring

Spring is finally here! Which means it’s time to ditch the lazy winter habits you may have fallen into, like binging Netflix series for days on end and avoiding the cold outdoors. In your defense, snow, ice and freezing temperatures can make it hard for anyone to stay active during the winter, especially seniors. With the arrival of spring, comes a new opportunity to refresh and start over with better lifestyle choices. It’s the perfect time for seniors to get active outside, each and every day.  

In honor of new beginnings, we’d like to take this time to highlight some key health and wellness tips that seniors can take advantage of this spring. 

  • Take up a new physical activity and incorporate it into your daily routine. Whether it’s a daily 30-minute walk or chair yoga class, staying active consistently is so important for seniors both physically and mentally. Exercising on a daily basis has the power to help seniors maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and get a better night’s sleep. Not to mention, learning a new skill can also help improve memory recollection, which is huge for those who may be in the beginning stages of dementia.
  • Preventative care for seasonal allergies and more. We love spring flowers, but hate the pollen it brings. Before allergies really take their toll, seniors should speak with their primary care provider or allergy specialist about which allergy medications to take and how often. Seniors could also use this as an opportunity to schedule all routine check-ups like prostate or breast cancer screenings, dental cleanings and hearing and vision appointments.
  • Prioritize a healthy diet filled with spring fruits and vegetables. Spring is the absolute, ideal time to grow delicious vegetables, fruit and herbs. Asparagus, basil, cucumber, mint, bell pepper, and strawberry are all in season and can be found at the supermarket. Not to mention, gardening is a very rewarding and enjoyable hobby for seniors to take up this time of year. Some of the tasty food items mentioned above can be grown easily indoors in a small container. 

Spring activities for seniors at Lester Senior Living in Morris County, NJ

With the weather getting warmer, all JCHC communities are always looking for new, safe ways to stay active with our residents! With effective health and safety protocols in place, we have been able to restore and maintain avenues for senior socialization during COVID-19.

Some activities included chair yoga, celebrations of jewish holidays, and more. We understand the important role socialization plays in everyone’s life and want to ensure our residents can continue these essential activities both indoors and outdoors starting this spring.

For more information on our senior activities in Morris County, New Jersey, please contact Lester Senior Living today or visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/activities-for-seniors-nj/


6 Winter Wellness and Safety Tips for Seniors

The winter months are here—with cold temperatures, dry air, snow and ice. Although we love the sight of fresh snow, it’s important that your senior loved ones are safe and well-prepared in case a pretty winter snowfall turns into a severe storm. (Important safety tip: give the kid down the street ten bucks to shovel for you!) The colder weather can also have negative effects on our minds and bodies,  if we don’t stick to good wellness habits throughout the season. Luckily, our assisted living team at Lester has put together some tips to help seniors stay safe and well this season.

  • Home safety. If mom and dad are still residing in their own home, It’s important to make sure someone is nearby to shovel and salt their outdoor steps, walkways and driveway. The last thing your senior parents should have to worry about is getting hurt while shoveling the snow. Seniors should also wear closed comfortable shoes or boots with rubber soles in icy weather. If they use a cane or walker, double check that the rubber tips are in good condition, so they don’t lose grip on slick surfaces. 
  • Bundle up. Seniors are less able to regulate their body temperature, putting them at increased risk of hypothermia in cold weather. Older adults should keep the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature, avoid sudden exertion, and wear layered clothing outdoors to retain body heat. They should also wear a hat or head scarf to keep their hands and feet warm, and protect their ears against the harsh winter chill. 
  • Stay hydrated. The cold air and indoor heaters can cause dehydration, if you’re not careful. So encourage your senior family member to drink plenty of water and use moisturizers to avoid itchy winter skin. Bonus tip: Indoor plants give off moisture and oxygen, and the colors brighten can up a dull, winter’s day.
  • Eat well. Comfort foods feel good in the moment, but lack quality nutrition. Seniors should include fruits, vegetables and whole grains to maintain optimal nutrition and well-being. (They may also help with digestion and may lower cholesterol and blood sugar.) Older adults should also limit unhealthy fats, sodium and added sugars. At the JCHC communities, we prepare fresh, nutrient-packed homemade soups for residents who are on meal plans. A bowl of delicious hot soup in the winter is a great way to support our seniors’ well-being with immune-boosting ingredients. 
  • Exercise. Daily exercise helps keep your body strong and your mind positive. Seniors especially should try to get fresh air and sunshine, even on cold days, as sunlight provides Vitamin D which aids in strengthening bones. Fitness classes are also a great way to help stretch, tone and strengthen muscles, promote relaxation, and improve coordination and cardiac health; better coordination and balance enhance wintertime safety by helping to prevent falls. These are all reasons why we offer a variety of regularly scheduled exercise classes at all four JCHC communities. 
  • Stay connected. Although face-to-face check-ins may be tough during a pandemic, it’s important that seniors have someone to check in periodically (even if it’s through Zoom!). An essential benefit of living in a senior/retirement community is that one always has neighbors and a staff to provide immediate care. At JCHC, we also have individual 24-hour emergency alert systems in every apartment.

Active Senior Living in Whippany, NJ

Lester Senior Living is part of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation, a collection of senior living communities in New Jersey that help support and engage an active lifestyle for seniors.

During the current health crisis, we’re not only working hard to keep your loved ones safe and healthy, we’re also doing all we can to keep families connected during the winter season. If you’d like to find out more about our senior activities and care services in Morris County, NJ, give us a call today: (973) 929-2725. Or you could visit our website to learn more about community life at Lester Senior Living: https://jchcorp.org/lester-senior-living-morris-county/