Chanukah Lights Up the Season

“May the lights of Chanukah usher in a better world for all humankind.”
~ author unknown

Chanukah celebrationIf it feels like life is sometimes spinning like a dreidel, Chanukah helps us to slow down – to reconnect with family and loved ones, and to celebrate with some traditional holiday foods. This year Chanukah begins on Tuesday night, December 12, and we light candles for eight nights to remember the story of the Maccabees and the miracle of the oil that burned longer and brighter in the ancient Temple, outlasting every expectation.

As winter sets in and the days grow shorter, along comes Chanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, to lift us out of the darkness. With some tasty latkes, sweet doughnuts and chocolate coins, Chanukah is a cause for celebration, no matter what your age. Digging out the old family recipes brings us a sense of tradition and closeness.

The Deeper Meaning of Chanukah

The Chanukah story is one of perseverance. As we say the blessings each night, we remember that the world may be dark but we can brighten it up with the radiant light of colorful candles. Even if the season conspires to bring us down with grey skies and gloomy weather, the menorah in the window lets us share the candles’ glow with family, friends and neighbors.

The message of Chanukah is that a little bit can go a long way. Good deeds and positive actions can lead to a better and more peaceful world. So at this season, try to appreciate the many miracles in your life, both large and small, and have faith in the belief that light drives out darkness. Indulge in some holiday treats, maybe even a few gifts, and find comfort and joy in the timely and reassuring message of Chanukah.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, or visit us at

Being Thankful in Trying Times

Thanksgiving is ideally a time to be thankful and break bread with family and friends, but we all know that this idyllic view of Thanksgiving is not always possible in a world that is, by any definition, imperfect. Whether you are dealing with personal illness, family struggles, loneliness or uncertainty, it might seem hard to muster up the strength to enjoy another Thanksgiving Day.


An Attitude of Gratitude

But the powerful impact of gratitude can change your outlook. Instead of letting things get in the way of having a meaningful holiday, try to appreciate things in small doses. Notice a simple pleasure, a moment of levity, an affectionate gesture or kindnesses from others. In fact, psychologists have found that being able to express gratitude – or thankfulness –  has been linked to better health, sounder sleep, less anxiety and depression, higher long-term satisfaction with life and kinder behavior toward others. If you increase your positive thoughts, like gratitude, you can improve your physical health as well as your sense of well-being.


Some Simple Ways to Enjoy the Day

Good food, good company and good conversations go a long way in making Thanksgiving Day enjoyable, but here are a few other things you can try to make the day even more memorable:

  • Acknowledge the ways in which you’ve given to those in need and feel gratitude for having the means to help others.
  • Help make food from scratch – even if it’s just chopping vegetables or stirring the pot, as it connects you to family and loved ones in the process.
  • Be cell-phone free! Maybe pick a set time to take a group family photo but then encourage everyone to put cell phones away and pay attention to the people whose company you are sharing.
  • Focus on what you admire and appreciate about your family members and let them know how you feel about them.


Gratitude Year Round

John F. Kennedy said, “We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.” Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to do this, but it is also just one day of the year. Gratitude can have the most benefit when it is part of your daily life. Gratitude shifts your focus from what you wish you had to the abundance of what is already present in your life. So start this Thanksgiving and try to acknowledge the people close to you who make a difference.

Keeping a journal or speaking your expressions of gratitude can increase your own awareness of what you have to be grateful for. Talk about something that happened, something you felt, an observation of beauty in nature, or someone in your life who has made a positive impact on you. Or, take the time to notice things, in the moment, that you are thankful for.


Giving Thanks Feels Good!

This Thanksgiving, no matter how difficult things may be in the world or maybe in your personal life, try to tap into a reservoir of thankfulness. If giving thanks makes people happier and more resilient, strengthens relationships, improves health and reduces stress, that sounds like a good Thanksgiving recipe to try!

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, or visit us at

When Should You See a Geriatrician

Tapping in to the Expertise of a Geriatrician

A primary care doctor is the first point of contact for most health problems, but as adults age a geriatrician may be another expert to add to the mix. A geriatrician – an expert in diagnosing and treating older adults – can help seniors who suffer from chronic, complex medical conditions, including social, psychological and physical concerns.

As our bodies change over time, our health care needs adapt and change along with us. The specialty of geriatrics addresses specific needs of aging to improve health, independence and quality of life. According to the American Geriatrics Society, there’s no hard and fast rule as to when to see a geriatric professional, but it suggests:

  • When an older person’s condition causes considerable impairment or frailty (this tends to happen after age 75 or when someone starts managing a number of health conditions).
  • When an older person’s family, friends, or other caregivers start feeling considerable stress related to care.
  • When older adults or their caregivers start having trouble following complex treatments or working with many different healthcare professionals for multiple health needs.

Geriatrician assistanceHow Does A Geriatrician Help?
Older adults have age-related changes, often take multiple medications and have more health conditions than they did in their younger years. A geriatrician adds an in-depth and complementary point of view that is targeted to managing these changes. With their special expertise, a geriatrician knows how to peel back the layers to get to the root of a problem in a complex maze of aging physiology, drug interactions and treatment challenges.

In addition, specialists in geriatrics are knowledgeable in geriatric syndromes – conditions that are common in older adults – and specifically trained in how these ailments affect the physical and emotional health of an elderly person. These may include falls, incontinence, memory problems, depression, and medication side effects. But no matter what the issue, the underlying goal is to help older adults lead a life that is fulfilling and help them maintain the activities they enjoy.

It’s A Partnership
Geriatricians often work as part of a health care team which ensures that care is focused on the whole person. The team may include nurses, physician assistants, social workers, nutritionists, physical and occupational therapists, psychiatrists and pharmacists as well as others with unique skills for evaluating and managing health and care for older men and women. Geriatricians also tap into community resources, and work with assisted living facilities and long term care facilities to try and find the best solutions for an individual’s particular needs.

As more and more of us live longer and healthier lives, we should not forget to do everything we can to enjoy years of well-being and fulfillment as we grow older. New and smarter ways to approach care for older adults and understanding the unique health circumstances that come with aging are at the core of the medical specialty of geriatrics. For a family member or loved one, a geriatrician may be just what the doctor ordered.

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, or visit us at

The Importance of Mindfulness & the Art of Paying Attention


The Art of Paying Attention, Mindfulness

“Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future. It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.” Oprah Winfrey

Open up any magazine these days and there is a new buzzword – mindfulness. Before you dismiss it as the latest fad, consider what research has clearly shown: practicing mindfulness has a positive impact on emotional and physical well-being.

So what exactly is mindfulness?  In fact, we all practice mindfulness from time to time, maybe in a daydream, watching crashing waves at the beach or being mesmerized by cloud formations in the sky. When we focus our attention to the sensations of the present moment and don’t let ourselves get carried away with anxious thoughts, we are being mindful. As a therapeutic practice, mindfulness requires this same focused attention and incorporates different techniques such as meditation, controlled breathing and body awareness activities.

Being Present In the Moment

Mindfulness is an approach that asks you to be in the moment. Easy and accessible, it is a way for anyone to improve their physical and mental well-being by paying attention to thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.

To help pay attention to whatever is happening in the present moment, mindfulness targets your focus on three things: deep breathing, meditation and gentle movements. Whether you try it in a group or on your own, the goal is to train the mind to stop wandering and become more focused on observing the breath, relaxing the body and accepting thoughts and feelings. Of course it’s not easy to stop the mind from wandering, but the more you practice, the easier it becomes.

What are the Benefits?

Research has shown that practicing mindfulness has many benefits which can result in overall better physical and mental health. Some of these benefits include:

  • Better sleep: researchers have determined that mindfulness meditation can help seniors get a better night’s sleep and reduce daytime fatigue.
  • Protection from memory loss: Research indicates that meditation and breathing exercises may slow the effects of memory loss and even Alzheimer’s disease as meditation reduces the effects of undue anxiety, stress and loneliness on the brain.
  • Improved mood: People who practice mindfulness meditation report that they feel happier, less anxious and more spontaneous.

Add Mindfulness to Your Day

The interconnections of mind and body lies at the heart of mindfulness and you can learn to harness its power at any age. Life is stressful, but practicing mindfulness can help you resist the trap of feeling overwhelmed by worries about the future. With some deep breaths and focused meditation, you can learn to accept the ups and downs of life itself and enjoy living in the moment!

The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living, Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, or visit us at