Category Archives: The Shores

Blog posts related to United Methodist Communities at The Shores.

How to Make Friends in Assisted Living

Make Friends in Assisted Living

Socialization and maintaining friendships positively impact seniors in so many ways. Staying connected to others around you improves your state of mental health by boosting self-esteem and decreasing feelings of isolation and depression. Being social also improves your physical health. More social people are reported to have fewer colds, lower blood pressure, and a stronger immune system. Keeping that in mind, we know that making friends as a senior moving into a new place can be intimidating. If you or a loved one has just moved into an assisted living community and are not sure where to start, check out our tips on making new friends, from our assisted living team in Cape May County. 

#1 – Get involved

Like a swimming pool, it’s best to take a deep breath and dive right into community life. If you’re unsure of how to get involved or what your options are, start by looking at the social calendar. This will have details about events going on, clubs you can join, and outings that are planned over the next few months. While it’s a great idea to start with activities you enjoy, remember that moving to an assisted living community creates the perfect opportunity to try something a little different, so don’t be afraid to think outside your comfort zone and look at a new skill or develop a new interest.

#2 – Bring along a friend or loved one

Feeling nervous about all the new faces? Bring someone familiar along with you! Most communities love to have friends and family participate, and you can talk to the associates on-site about having a loved one come along for a social event or a meal. This will help you gain confidence and not feel intimidated, as well as give you someone to talk to. It’s a good idea to choose a loved one or friend that’s quite social and extroverted too, as they can help you break the ice more easily, start conversations, and introduce you to other residents.

#3 – Socialize at meals

Even if your apartment has its own kitchen, try to eat in the communal dining room as often as you can. Not only is this convenient when it comes to mealtimes, but it will also help you meet new people. Meals are a great time for bonding and sharing, creating an easy and relaxed source of conversation, whether it’s about your favorite foods or family recipes, or memories you’ve shared over meals with loved ones. Welcome other residents to your table, sit with someone who is eating alone, or even share a wave and a smile when you walk in, and you’ll start learning names and faces in no time at all. 

#4 – Take it easy on yourself

Making friends isn’t always easy or quick, so be patient with yourself and others, and take it slow. Start with small, simple steps each day – lunch in the dining room, joining a session for the book club, or even just asking your neighbor over for coffee. Don’t be afraid to ask the caregivers for a little help or have a friend come help you break the ice, and before you know it, you’ll be fitting right in!

At The Shores, we know that a healthy and happy community is the best recipe for your golden years. With a lively social calendar, a wide range of clubs, and outings scheduled each month, we love bringing people together and seeing our residents thrive. To find out more about making friends in assisted living or assisted living in South Jersey, contact us today or visit our website at

How to Respond When Someone with Dementia Keeps Repeating Themselves

techniques for dealing with dementia

Dementia impacts short-term memory, so it can directly cause repetitive behavior like repeated speech. Although our first instinct can be to become annoyed or frustrated when someone repeats themself, it’s important to remember that seniors with dementia have little control over this behavior. It’s also important to equip yourself with techniques on how to gracefully handle this situation with your senior loved one. To help you out, our Tapestries Memory Care team has put together a list of ways to respond when someone with dementia keeps repeating themselves. 

Look for the cause of repetition

While repetition is common amongst seniors with dementia or Alzheimer’s, certain things may cause this issue to worsen. This can include:

  • Physical discomfort or pain
  • Stress or anxiety
  • A physical need not being met
  • Disruption or becoming unsettled

Knowing what’s at the root of your loved one’s repetition can help you anticipate it, prepare for it, and address it more effectively. Uncovering these contributing factors will help caregivers better understand what their senior parent is actually going through and correct or manage this underlying issue.

Consider emotional state, not the question itself

Start by objectively evaluating their emotional state rather than repeating the same answer over and over again (something that will leave you feeling understandably frustrated!). Often, this kind of behavior can be a result of feeling anxious or unsettled, and your loved one is looking for reassurance more than an answer to whatever it is they are asking. A hug, a hand squeeze, or another soothing action can help calm their anxiety and ease this behavior.

Introduce a distraction

Repeating a question can put your loved one in a loop that they need a little extra help getting out of. The best way to break the loop is to do something fun. An engaging distraction helps break this focus, move the thinking processes forward, and eases any stress. You can use anything your loved one tends to be very responsive to, from a favorite snack or activity to something as simple as drawing their attention to a beautiful flower or bird nearby.

Stimulate their mind with a helpful activity

In the same vein as distracting your loved ones, having them perform an activity they can do well is a great way to calm and ease the mind. It’s not just helpful for managing repetitive behaviors, it’s also fulfilling for seniors because it affirms usefulness and purpose – and it helps caregivers out too! It could be something as simple as folding laundry, baking cookies, helping with meal preparation, or helping a grandchild complete a task. All you need to do is make sure it’s safe and appropriate to their ability and interests.

Keep answers short and sweet

Try not to use long and complex explanations, as these aren’t just frustrating to repeat, they also may add to confusion or anxiety. If you’re taking your loved one to the dentist and they keep asking why they are in the car, for example, just say that you’re off to the dentist. There’s no need to explain why you’re going to the dentist, what they are going to do there, or anything else. It may seem unfair or insufficient at first, but it delivers a key answer that is easy to say and easier for your loved one to grasp. Keep your tone gentle and light-hearted, and you’ll find it easier to soothe your loved one.

Take a break when needed with professional memory care in South Jersey

It’s absolutely normal to feel frustrated, drained, and even angry when a loved one keeps repeating themselves. You’re only human, after all! To avoid snapping, ease your own stress, and manage your response, it’s important to take a break when you can. If you’re having a challenging week, think about calling in a friend or family member to help you out. If you’re a sole caregiver,  it may be a good idea to think about professional respite care near you. These experienced caregivers understand and work extensively with seniors with memory loss, and can provide a fully trained resource for caregivers to rely on.

At The Shores, leading providers of memory care in Cape May County, we provide on-site, full-time memory care for residents through our Tapestries program, as well as on-site respite care. With activities, social events, outings, and more, we’re proud to help families and their loved ones with dementia live full, stimulating, and rewarding lives. Contact us today to find out more about techniques for dealing with dementia or memory care in South Jersey, or visit our website at

4 Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors

Foods for Seniors

World Heart Day is on the 29th of September, and that means it’s the perfect time for seniors to take charge of their heart health by choosing the right food! The American Heart Association recommends eating a heart-healthy diet to help manage high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes, which we know are more common in older adults. Our long-term care team in Cape May County has put together a list of heart-healthy foods, as well as a few healthy alternatives to comfort food favorites. 

#1 – Fresh vegetables and fruits

When choosing fruits and vegetables, go for seasonal, local produce that’s good quality. Your heart will love the extra fiber (which is great for bowel health too!). The nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in these foods will help keep the heart healthy while reducing the risks of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and high cholesterol.

It’s best to stay away from canned fruit and vegetables, creamy sauces, and fried or breaded vegetables as these have a lot of extra sugar, salt, and fat. If you’re looking for a healthy, long-lasting option, frozen fruit and vegetables are a great choice. You can also cut up and freeze individual portions to make mealtime easy and reduce waste.

If you’re craving something creamy with your vegetables, enjoy an avocado, or use natural yogurt or low-fat, low-salt cheeses to make a healthier sauce.

#2 – Whole Grains 

Whole grains like whole-wheat flour, high-fiber cereals, brown rice, buckwheat, barley, and oats are more nourishing, tastier, and healthier for your heart. They help regulate blood pressure and digestion, are versatile to cook with, and are easy to find in grocery stores.

If you’re craving the sweetness of refined carbohydrates, try to keep your portion size small and choose the healthiest option you can. We love making cooked oats for breakfast with grated apple, cinnamon, and a touch of honey. Making your treats at home means you can control the amount of sugar, fat, and salt in the food, which is often very high in store-bought products. Whole grains are also a great excuse to exercise those baking skills and try your hand at oat cookies, date balls, homemade granola, bran muffins, and popcorn.

#3 – Lean or plant protein

The fat in meat is known as saturated fat and is unfortunately very bad for our hearts, causing high cholesterol and accelerating heart disease. Luckily, there are some healthier, tasty alternatives out there! Start by eliminating processed red meats like bacon, sausage, ham, canned meat, and hot dogs, as these have a lot of salt, fat, and even sugar in them. The next step is to cut out as much red meat (think steaks, lamb, and pork)as possible. Alternatives like salmon, skinless chicken, lean pork, and extra lean ground beef can give you all the flavor and protein you need in your diet, and some (like oily fish) can even help lower cholesterol!

Of course, you can go a step further and increase the number of vegetarian or vegan meals you have each week, substituting veggie burgers, tofu, soy, and vegan products for animal protein. Just be careful to read the labels on any products you buy, as some popular vegan and vegetarian foods are also high in salt and fat.

#4 – Healthy desserts

Unfortunately for those who have a sweet tooth, it’s time to cut down on all that sugar. In the U.S., the average adult consumes as much as 22 teaspoons of sugar a day, which is harming our health. While the occasional treat is not off the menu, it’s important to be more aware of how much sugar is in our diets. 

Sugar dramatically increases the risks for type 2 diabetes, which puts your blood vessels and heart under severe strain. It also increases our risks of being obese by spiking our blood sugar levels rather than keeping them constant, stopping our bodies from breaking down fats, lowering levels of healthy cholesterol, and increasing blood pressure.

It can be challenging at first, but get into the habit of reaching for fresh berries and fruit when you’re craving sugar. You can also keep your sugar intake down with healthy sweeteners and small portion sizes. A few low-sugar, natural alternatives to your favorite sweet treats are banana-based ice cream, fresh smoothies, dark chocolate, and avocado chocolate mousse.

At UMC at The Shores, an assisted living community in South Jersey, we take a holistic approach to caregiving that supports a full and independent life for all seniors. We care deeply about each person in our care with our focus on active, healthy aging through regular fitness classes and nutrient-rich meal preparation.

For more information on our health and nutrition services in South Jersey, please contact us today or visit our website at

What is Vascular Dementia?

Vascular Dementia

Vascular dementia (VaD) is the second most common type of dementia. Even though it’s common, it’s important to note that the causes, risk factors, and symptoms of vascular dementia are somewhat different from Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. In this article, our team of memory care specialists in Cape May County will cover the causes, symptoms, and the difference between vascular dementia and other types of dementia.

Vascular dementia causes and symptoms

VaD is caused by reduced blood flow through the capillaries. When the brain can’t get enough oxygen and nutrients through the blood, cognitive function starts to decline. Risk factors for this type of dementia include anything that may compromise this blood flow, such as:

  • Stroke – A stroke can cause a blockage to lodge in capillaries or arteries in the brain, reducing blood flow.
  • Brain hemorrhage – Bleeding can occur in the brain for several reasons, diverting oxygen and nutrients away from affected parts of the organ. Common reasons include the vessels weakening over time (more common in people with high blood pressure), aneurysm (a weak section of a vessel that eventually bursts or leaks), or trauma.
  • Narrow blood vessels – This is commonly associated with aging, high blood pressure, atherosclerosis (a build-up of fatty tissue in the vessels), diabetes, and a buildup of plaque in the vessels from high cholesterol.
  • Diabetes – This health condition causes the blood vessels to lose elasticity, making it more difficult for blood to flow through them.
  • Unhealthy lifestyle – Including limited physical activity, poor diet, carrying additional weight, smoking, and the over-use of alcohol.
  • Age – With age, our blood vessels can start to wear out, creating weaknesses and losing elasticity, making them less effective.
  • Atrial fibrillation – This is an abnormal heart rhythm, where the upper chambers beat rapidly and are out of sync with the lower chambers. This impacts how effectively the heart can move blood to the brain, and it can also cause blood clots in the vessels, increasing stroke risks.

The symptoms of VaD can differ from person to person because they depend on what parts of the brain are being deprived of oxygen and how badly. Sometimes the symptoms of VaD look very similar to Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia, and other times they are very distinct. In general, people with VaD tend to have the following symptoms:

  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty walking or balancing
  • Difficulty expressing themselves verbally
  • Dramatic mood swings, including depression or apathy
  • Difficulty focusing or solving a problem
  • Memory problems
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts, analyzing a situation or communicating a plan
  • Slower thinking process
  • Restlessness
  • Urinary incontinence

What is the difference between VaD and Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the build-up of proteins around brain cells, making it increasingly difficult for the cells to communicate with one another. No one is quite sure why this build-up happens. In contrast, we know that vascular dementia is due to a problem in the blood vessels of the brain itself, where a physical leak or blockage causes the brain to be deprived of oxygen.

While the most noticeable, common sign of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, people with VaD instead often see changes in personality or decision-making where the memory is not usually affected.

Caring for seniors with VaD – Memory care specialists in South Jersey

As with other forms of dementia, seniors with VaD often need additional care throughout their daily life, especially if they also have Alzheimer’s. 

UMC at The Shores is an assisted living community in Ocean City, NJ, that’s committed to providing professional, compassionate support to seniors. With our Tapestries memory care program specifically designed to maximize the quality of life for seniors living with different dementia conditions, our team of memory care specialists in South Jersey is trained and qualified to give families and loved ones the support and space they need to enjoy quality time with one another.

If you are seeking assistance as a caregiver of a loved one with dementia, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team, or visit our website at:

Relaxation Day: 3 Ways Seniors Can Unwind

assisted living team in Ocean CityMark your calendars now: Relaxation Day is on the 15th of this month, and we all deserve some time to unwind. Especially our beloved seniors who have worked hard all their lives to provide for their families! Relaxation Day is a great opportunity to kick back and relax with your senior loved ones and show them you appreciate all they have accomplished. If you’re looking for ideas, here are some relaxation techniques and activities for seniors provided by our assisted living team in Ocean City, NJ.

#1 – Meditation and deep breathing

Have you ever felt the need to stop, sit, and just simply be, even if it’s just a few minutes? That’s meditation! There’s nothing too mysterious about it. In fact, the benefits are scientifically proven, with Harvard researchers showing that it reduces stress, clarifies the thought process, lowers blood pressure, and even improves empathy.

There are lots of ways to learn how to meditate, and it’s all about finding your personal preference. Some people like to sit outside under a tree, others like to focus on a candle flame, or listen to soft, gentle music. You can even use an app like Headspace or Insight Timer. 

Here are the basics:

  • Find somewhere quiet where you won’t be disturbed.
  • Sit comfortably, stacking your head above your neck, letting your shoulders draw backward and down. Use a cushion or sit in a chair if that helps.
  • Close your eyes.
  • Try to be present. Be aware of what’s happening right now – sounds, smells, thoughts, and sensations in the body. Don’t let yourself drift off, and try to just pay attention to the moment instead.
  • It’s natural to get caught up in distractions, so try to keep your focus on your breath, breathing in and out at a slow, steady pace.
  • Don’t give up, and be kind to yourself each time you drift off – it takes a lot of practice!
  • Try to meditate for 10-20 minutes at a time, once a day.

#2 – Scents and sensations

Our environment can greatly affect how calm or agitated we are, so try and include calming elements in your home. It’s a good idea to start this project a while before Relaxation Day (and rope in some family and friends) so you can enjoy the results! 

Think about things like:

  • Aromatherapy – Scented candles and diffusers with soft, natural essential oils like lavender, jasmine, sandalwood, and orange blossom. Plan a lovely long soak in the tub with some luxurious, scented bath bombs and pamper yourself!
  • Color – Calming colors like warm greys and pale browns, soft blues and greens, off-whites, and soft pinks are cozy, welcoming, and calming. Treat your home as if it’s a spa or luxury hotel, and plan a makeover to create the perfect calming space!
  • Textures – If you are redoing your décor, think about choosing soft, warm textures rather than those that are very bold, bright, or dominating. Natural fabrics and materials are a wonderful choice that makes us feel calm and relaxed as if we’re out in nature.
  • Cleanouts – Clutter in the home can be incredibly stressful, making you feel claustrophobic, making it difficult to find things when you need them, and making a fall pretty likely! Get some help and plan a clean-out. Hold onto the things you love, replace the things that no longer work for you, and refresh your home to make it more functional, more open, and more relaxing to be in. Sit back, relax, and let the kids do the heavy lifting!

#3 – Get nurtured by nature

Reestablishing our connection to nature is an important way to get back to our roots, enjoy the blessings of our lives, and relax. Just remember to pack the sunscreen and a big floppy hat! 

Here are some ways to celebrate Relaxation Day in the great outdoors:

  • Picnic – Plan a picnic in the park with your loved ones where the grandkids can run and play, you can share great food, and relax under the arms of a tree. 
  • Nature walk – Take a gentle stroll through nature at a reserve, on a farm, or by a lake. It’s a great activity for all ages and can be combined with feeding the animals, fishing, picnicking, picking berries, or visiting a market.
  • A family-friendly escape – Relaxation Day is also a great time to go off the beaten track and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. If you’re an independent senior, this could be the perfect opportunity to bond with the grandkids at a cabin, visit a nature resort, tour a national wildlife park, or even go camping.

UMC at The Shores is a leading assisted living community in Cape May County, offering seniors of all ages a full and independent way of life. Contact us today to find out more about our services, or visit our website at 

4 Signs Your Senior Parent Needs Help

Assisted Living in Cape May County

No one knows your parents the way you do — something out of character for them may be an everyday occurrence for someone else. Even small changes shouldn’t be brushed under the rug, as they could be a sign of something more serious. Here are some signs to be aware of that may indicate that your aging parent needs help at home or in a community setting, from our senior living team in South Jersey.

#1 – Difficulty with daily routines

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are those things that we do almost unthinkingly each day of our lives, from cooking and bathing to dressing ourselves and moving around the house. For many seniors, these tasks become much more challenging if they feel unsteady on their feet, suffer from arthritis, are ill, or are becoming forgetful.

#2 – Unexplained weight loss

Many people do lose weight as they get older, as appetites and metabolisms change with different stages of life. However, a sudden or dramatic loss of weight without a good explanation is a cause for concern. It may mean that your parent is struggling to do their grocery shopping and prep meals. Illnesses like cancer can cause weight loss, and dementia can also cause people to miss meals out of forgetfulness. Some medications can also cause a diminished appetite.

If you notice significant weight loss, It’s a good idea to have a health check-up to ensure that any medical issues are properly diagnosed as soon as possible. Your parent’s physician can also talk to them about why they might be losing weight. It could be as simple as needing help getting groceries each week or needing to move into a community where nutritious meals are supplied in a dining room or directly to their apartment.

#2 – A messy or unhygienic appearance

Dressing and bathing often become more challenging for the elderly, with arthritis making it harder to fasten buttons and laces. Feeling unsteady can even make showering in a stall with grab bars difficult. If your parent is usually well-groomed, but you’ve started noticing that they are not bathing as often (or as thoroughly) as they usually would, or that they are wearing the incorrect clothes and have a sloppy appearance, it may be a sign that they’re having some difficulties.

Whether the problem is clothing that’s difficult to wear, a bathroom that’s difficult to use, fears of falling, or anything else, it’s an important thing to be aware of to guide your search for senior assistance.

#3 – Changes in mood, behavior, or mental status

Dramatic changes in personality and behavior can indicate anything from depression or social isolation to a dementia condition, stroke, or other illness. Typically, elderly parents who are starting to struggle may show a lack of motivation to do activities they once enjoyed, a loss of interest in hobbies, difficulty tracking time, lack of communication, dramatic mood swings, agitation, and even physically or verbally abusive behavior.

It’s important to watch for these changes because a lot can be done to assist the elderly in these areas. Whether it’s getting on track with professional memory care, getting an early diagnosis on a medical condition, or finding a community like UMC at The Shores that offers the support, social interaction and companionship they deserve, there are many options to help you maintain or enhance your loved one’s quality of life.

#4 – Neglecting the home

If your house-proud parents are no longer able to keep up with maintaining the home or garden and struggle with other household chores, moving into assisted living can take this burden off their shoulders. Not only will the right assistance alleviate concerns about safety, hygiene, and care for your parents, but it will also free up their time to spend it as they want, supporting a better quality of life all around.

When you visit your parents, keep an eye out for low food supplies, spoiled food not being thrown out, stacks of unopened mail, a dirty or cluttered home, urine smells, unusual stains, poor general upkeep of the yard, and scorch marks on pots and pans. These signs can all indicate your loved ones need additional support.

Independent, active, and abundant – Assisted Living in Cape May County

While some seniors may come right out and say they’re finding it difficult to bathe, dress, or get around the house, others find this topic difficult to talk about. Instead, you may notice that your mom who is usually so neatly dressed is looking disheveled or not wearing her favorite clothing. Your dad who usually takes care of himself may stop bathing or eating properly. Whatever you notice, remember to take note of it and start exploring ways of providing assistance that still supports a full and independent lifestyle.

At UMC at The Shores, we offer a welcoming community for seniors of all levels of independence. We also have a dedicated memory care program for residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. We aim to create a warm, active community where seniors get the support they need to live an abundant life.

Contact us today to talk more about assisted living in South Jersey, or visit our website at

When is Hospice Recommended?

Hospice is about deciding how to live life with the time that’s left. Many of us hope we’ll have more time with our parents or grandparents, even when our loved ones are in the late stages of a chronic illness. However, modern medicine can only do so much, and quality of life should always trump the longevity of life. Here are some signs to know when it’s time for your loved one to enter hospice by our hospice care team in Ocean City, NJ.

  1. Frequent hospitalizations – If your loved one is spending more and more time in the hospital, or needing frequent trips to the emergency room, it can be an indicator that hospice care should be considered.
  2. Frequent and recurrent infections – When the body’s immune system starts to fail, infections become commonplace, which means they take much longer to heal and tend to occur more frequently.
  3. A rapid decline in the last 6 months – If you have noticed a rapid and dramatic decline in your loved one’s health over the last 6 months or so, even under medical care, it can be an indication that they are drawing towards end-of-life care.
  4. Mental and emotional changes – Often, our loved ones have a clearer idea of the time they have left than we do, and this can cause emotional and mental changes. Often, people begin giving things away, focusing on funeral plans, making apologies, or making unusual requests. In later stages, people can start experiencing hallucinations and withdraw from family and friends.
  5. Uncontrolled pain, nausea, and difficulty – Struggling to control pain and nausea, difficulty breathing, and struggling to keep any food down can be an indication that hospice care is needed. In hospice, the focus is on actively managing pain and easing symptoms to support the person’s comfort at all times.
  6. Recommendations to focus on the quality of life rather than aggressive medical treatment – If the doctors recommend that treatment changes from looking for a cure towards easing symptoms and creating comfort, then hospice care sounds like the next course of action for your loved one.
  7. Decreased alertness, appetite, and confusion – Loss of appetite, spending more time sleeping, and losing the ability to focus and remain alert over reasonable periods of time can be indicators that someone is approaching the end of their life.
  8. Dramatically increased daily care needs – A significant deterioration in your loved one’s ability to take care of themselves in terms of eating, grooming themselves, getting dressed or using the bathroom, can indicate that hospice care is needed.

When is the right time to go into hospice care?

None of us like thinking about the end of our loved one’s lives. This makes choosing the right time to go into hospice care quite difficult and also means that a lot of people go into hospice much later than they actually should.

The most important aspect to keep in mind is quality of life over quantity of life. Instead of worrying about choosing hospice care too early, think about how hospice care can enhance your loved one’s comfort on all levels – physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you put their quality of life at the forefront, you’ll feel more secure and confident when transitioning your loved one to hospice care.

Your loved one’s doctors are also great resources to help guide their care. Usually, to get admitted into hospice, two independent physicians must recommend it based on their thorough evaluation of your loved one’s health.

We also recommend that you get to know reputable hospice care providers in your area to see what they have to offer, and ask yourself if this is the kind of thing that would benefit your loved one. For example, Bridges at The Shores in Cape May County NJ offers a very comforting and nurturing environment with a multidisciplinary team that includes doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, and more to deliver holistic hospice care. We work hard to create a very different type of hospice that supports families, as well as their loved ones with a wide range of services and amenities.

Bridges at The Shores services and amenities include:

  • Nursing oversight
  • Life enrichment program
  • Medication and pain management
  • Luxury linens
  • WiFi-enabled
  • Outdoor courtyards
  • Music room
  • Salon
  • 24/7 dining
  • Family and spiritual support

If you’d like to find out more about our hospice care program, Bridges at The Shores, or see if your loved one is eligible for hospice care in Ocean City, NJ, call our team today or visit our website at:

5 Facts You May Not Know About Assisted Living

assisted living ocean city

With so many different senior living options available, it’s easy to get them mixed up. What are assisted living communities really like? Are they all basically the same? Do some communities offer more custom services and levels of care? Can someone with dementia go to an assisted living community? Let’s find out some facts you may not know from our assisted living team in Ocean City, NJ.

Fact #1 – Assisted living is more than personal care services

The best providers offer a very wide range of services to residents that include:

  • Personal care – Grooming, bathing, and dressing
  • Nutritious meals or meal preparation
  • Transportation to stores, appointments, social events and more
  • Laundry and housekeeping
  • Medication management and health monitoring
  • Mobility assistance
  • Home maintenance and repairs
  • Hotel-like amenities like fitness centers and beauty salons

These services are designed to take care of all the essentials of daily living, making regular day-to-day tasks easier and supporting seniors in living a full and independent life.

Fact #2 – All services can be customized to the individual

At premier assisted living communities, you can choose the types of services your loved one needs. This helps match independence with assistance, which can be scaled up or down as your loved one’s needs change. For example, mom may require housekeeping, medication management and transportation, but not personal care like bathing or meal assistance. On the other hand, dad may need more intensive care due to a chronic health condition, while mom is more self-sufficient. A top notch community like UMC at The Shores will provide services to meet both of their needs.

Seniors can even move into assisted living communities temporarily when recovering from an illness or surgery, or if the family caregiver needs access to respite care. A short stay like this is a great way to give the community a trial-run before becoming a full-time resident!

Being able to tailor assisted living services is easier on residents and means you aren’t paying for services your loved ones do not want or require. 

Fact #3 – The amenities are great

Assisted living communities vary in terms of what amenities they provide their residents, and the best communities try to create a holistic community that enhances every aspect of resident life. This can include beauty salons and barbershops, art and fitness centers, swimming pools, gardens, places of worship, libraries, movie theatres and more. This helps promote a full, enjoyable and independent-style of living right on campus!

Fact #4 – Assisted living is different from a nursing home

Although both cater to the needs of seniors, they’re pretty different in reality! Assisted living is about creating a senior-friendly community, filled with similarly-aged residents who are out and about, enjoying life, and are fairly independent. Usually, residents have their own, apartment-style space, and can enjoy an extensive range of services, amenities, and social events. While some facilities do offer more intensive medical care for residents, the main focus in assisted living is living an abundant, social, and independent life.

Nursing homes cater to seniors who need skilled nursing care, constant supervision, and intensive medical treatment. While any senior can join an assisted living community, getting into a nursing home requires a professional recommendation by a physician. Generally, accommodation is shared in these communities, and it caters to residents who are bedridden or otherwise require a high level of care.

Fact #5 – Assisted living communities can take seniors with dementia

If you have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s, you may think a nursing home is the only option. However, some of the top assisted living communities can assist residents with these conditions through a professional, specialized Memory Care program.

Qualified, experienced professionals will help manage symptoms and problem-solve strategies to handle challenges and difficulties associated with dementia. They will also employ memory-enhancing therapies to help stimulate cognitive function. Assisted living communities offering Memory Care help create a safe, secure, and supportive environment, especially in the earlier stages of these conditions.

Interested in exploring assisted living in Cape May County as an option for your loved one? Visit our website, call our team, and have an online consultation. You’ll quickly see how we can fit into your support network, and provide your loved one with the comprehensive care and fulfilling life they deserve. To learn more, visit us online at:

How to Help Mom or Dad Transition to Memory Care

Memory Care Cape May County NJ

The transition to memory care can be tough for families to navigate. Strong emotions, confusion, and relationship shifts may play out when moving  a loved one into a memory care neighborhood. We can confidently say, from years of experience, that it helps not to go into this transition blindly with mom or dad. Keeping an honest dialogue and having a solid plan in place for the move will make the process easier for all involved. With that said, our Tapestries© Memory Care team in Cape May County has compiled their best advice in order to make the transition process smooth for your loved one, and you.

Have a Simple, Positive Message

Moving to a memory care neighborhood is often disorienting and confusing for your loved one, so it’s important to have a reassuring response in mind that you can repeat to them. Rather than trying to explain what’s happening in detail or everyone giving their own individual responses, have everyone involved stick to a simple response. Some examples are “You’re moving to your new home” or “You’re moving to somewhere you will be safe.” Having conflicting messages can cause distress for your senior loved one, which can be completely avoided by sticking to this method.

Pack Up Privately

It’s best to handle the packing process yourself without the involvement of mom or dad. Pack up their items while they are at an appointment, asleep, or out for the day, as this will minimize distress and anxiety. Work with their memory care advisors to get your loved one’s space as ready as possible before moving day, so that the actual move isn’t too busy and frantic.

Fill their room with their favorite flowers or potted plants, put a picture of your family on the bedside table, and make the space as welcoming and warm as possible so that it reminds them of home.

Unpack Together

We recommend packing a few boxes of essentials before moving day (especially sentimental and favorite items that will make your mom or dad feel at home), and have them ready to unpack in their new space to help them settle in faster with minimal disruption.

By asking your loved one where they want a picture hung up, or what they’d like on their bed or bedside table, you can practice good communication techniques and help your loved one gain a sense of control over their new surroundings.

Get to Know the Community

The faster your senior parent becomes familiar with the community, the easier the transition will be. However, that doesn’t mean pushing them out of their comfort zone. Instead, ask the memory care team about different activities going on in the community and find one or two options your parent would be interested in.

Pick a day to move in where everyone on-site is doing something your loved one enjoys, then go with them to participate in the activity together. This is a gentle way to introduce mom or dad to their new neighbors and Memory Care team in a low-pressure situation.

Stay Connected

Moving to a new home isn’t easy for anyone, and it’s understandably stressful for families and loved ones with dementia. While they will settle in time, you can help make this process smoother by visiting and staying in contact frequently. Also, have other family members and friends pop in for visits, call, or set up online video calls (the memory care team can help with this). 

Bring treats, spend time together exploring their new community, visit with neighbors, and listen to your loved one’s concerns. Rather than being relentlessly positive, be empathetic. Tell them you understand that this is hard and that you’re going to be there for them every step of the way. This reassurance makes a person feel heard, understood, and calm, rather than opening the door to frustration.

Try to spend some time with the memory care team too. Talking to them about your loved one will help them ease your parent’s concerns and more accurately monitor their progress. It takes a village to care for a loved one with dementia, and the Tapestries Memory Care professionals at UMC are there to create a safe and loving space for your parent.

A Welcoming Transition to Tapestries Memory Care in Cape May County

At UMC at The Shores, we offer compassionate memory care to support residents with dementia. Our caregivers’ compassion and experience, combined with dementia-friendly floor plans and advanced technology, help create safe spaces for dementia residents to experience the most abundant life possible.

For more information about UMC at The Shores, and how we can help your loved one transition to memory care in NJ, please contact us today or visit our website at

6 Summer Activities for Seniors in South Jersey

Summer Activities for Seniors in South Jersey

Summer is here and the sun is shining! With COVID-restrictions lifting and more people getting vaccinated, it’s the perfect time for seniors to step outside and enjoy some fun summer activities. If you’re not sure what activity to do first with mom and dad – don’t worry! Our assisted living team in South Jersey has put together a list of local summer activities to do with your senior loved one.

#1 – 32nd Annual Cape May Music Festival. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds of summer at the 32nd Annual Cape May Music Festival! The line-up for this year’s event includes the Atlantic Brass Band, the Bay Atlantic Symphony, the New York Chamber Ensemble, and legendary jazz singer Paula Johns. This series of outdoor musical events will take place through June at the beautiful, historic Emlen Physick Estate. There are also online-only events that you can stream to your home if you want to avoid the crowds – the perfect opportunity to create your own garden concert.

#2 – The West Cape May Strawberry Festival. Nothing says summer quite like the fresh, ripe sweetness of strawberries – and the West Cape May Strawberry Festival has the very best! This free event sponsored by the West Cape May Business Association is all about honoring these delicious berries in all their forms, with plenty of food, live music, and more. Hosted at Wilbraham Park, it’s a great family event for all ages.

#3 – Greater Cape May Historical Society Antique Sale. This antique show and sale is perfect for anyone who loves history, treasure hunting, and finding special vintage pieces to showcase in their homes. It will be hosted at Wilbraham Park on June 19th, with all funds going towards the Colonial House Restoration Fund. Come along and be enchanted by the past!

#4 – The Summer Crafts and Collectables Show. Beautiful local crafts and collectibles make this one of the best markets in the county. Hosted on June 26th at the Emlen Physick Estate, the Summer Crafts and Collectables Show is a fun day out for seniors and their families. With plenty of food stalls, treats, and entertainment, it’s a great chance to enjoy the sunshine, spend time together, and see what the best crafters and vendors in the area have to offer.

#5 – 31st Annual Quilt & Fiber Arts Show. Catch the 31st Annual Quilt and Fiber Arts Show at Historic Cold Spring Village on June 26th for a day of artistry, craftsmanship, history, and of course, fun. Listen to interesting speakers, watch live demonstrations, and see incredible craftsmanship from the top quilting and fiber art vendors in the country. It’s an outing for anyone who loves arts and crafts, plus children under 3 are free.

#6 – West Cape May Farmers’ Market. Farmers’ markets are back – and this is one of the best in New Jersey! The West Cape May Farmers’ Market will run for 10 weeks starting June 29th at Backyard Park’s Municipal Complex. This market is on no matter the weather, so put on your sunscreen or grab your umbrella and come visit the vendors. From fresh farm produce to herbs, antiques, live art demonstrations, seafood, kettle corn, great coffee, and local musicians, this market has it all – and plenty of wide-open space in which to enjoy it!

At The Shores, our assisted living community in South Jersey, we take a holistic approach to caregiving that supports a full, healthy and independent life in a professional, yet fun setting.

We care deeply about each person in our care, balancing the need for strict health and safety protocols with our focus on active aging. Our core mission is to help seniors stay independent and healthy, while enjoying life with those who mean the most.

For more information on the senior care services we offer at our assisted living community in South Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities today or visit our website at:

Resources for activities mentioned: