Category Archives: News

Meet Sharyn Pepe

Once you have made the decision to move to United Methodist Communities at Pitman you will work closely with Sharyn A. Pepe, Move-In Coordinator and “unofficial queen of admissions paperwork.”  Sharyn has been with UMC at Pitman for six years.  She started as a Community Life Associate but when a part-time Move-In Coordinator position was created she applied and got the job.  The rest as they say… is history.

Over the years, the hardworking mother of three talented daughters has proven repeatedly that she was the right person for the job.  From getting all the pre-admission paperwork in order prior to move-in to making sure welcome flowers are ordered and televisions are working – Sharyn has a real eye for details and never fails to make every family feel special and appreciated.

When asked what she likes best about her work here at UMC at Pitman she is quick to say interacting with the families and residents.  From their first call in for information to the day when she hangs the welcome sign on their door – she is involved every step of the way.

In her spare time, Sharyn who grew up in Chews Landing, (Camden County) loves art, decorating and spending time in her garden. 

When asked what advice she would give new employees she says, “Some days may be filled with challenges. However, the residents become your friends and extended family and when you can help them with their daily struggles you take comfort in knowing that you just might be the brightest part of their day.” said Sharyn.

Who Says You Cannot Teach an Old Doc New Tricks?

UMC at Pitman Resident, Dr. Jay. F.  recently attended his 65th Medical School reunion and he did not even have to leave Pitman.  Thanks to Zoom technology, Dr. Jay, who graduated from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1956, was able to connect with 11 fellow medical school graduates from the comforts of home.

“Dr. Jay’s daughter called me from Iowa to say that her father, who is a retired medical doctor wanted to participate in the reunion but this year it was going take place virtually.  Since she would not be able to get here she asked if I could assist him.  In light of the pandemic – the doctors were not able to travel to Philadelphia to meet in person,” said Alice M. Coghill, Sales Counselor at UMC at Pitman who added, “Pamela J. Ruoff, the Senior Manager, Alumni Special Services at PCOM put together the first of its kind virtual reunion.”

After a few technical glitches all the doctors, some with help from families and friends, were able to get on-line and see each other face-to-face and share some of their favorite memories from medical school. 

 “It was so wonderful that Dr. Jay and his wife Joan were able to participate in the reunion.  Pamela did a nice job putting together the agenda and getting the doctors who all in their 90’s on-line.  I am glad that I was able to help Dr. Jay catch up with his classmates. I enjoyed seeing the yearbook pictures and hearing them catch up on what was going on in their lives.”

The Pitman Birthday Brigade

Community Life Associate Wendy J. makes resident Joan L. smile (yes they are smiling under the masks) on her birthday

Over the last year the pandemic has brought out the best in people and here at UMC Pitman was no exception.  Associates from several different departments rose to the occasion to help residents celebrate their birthdays with flair and a dash of love and good humor.  The day-long celebration kicks off with the Community Life Team decorating the residents’ door with balloons, ribbons and pictures guaranteed to make the residents smile and their neighbors take notice.  Then at lunch the rest of the Brigade sings Happy Birthday, delivers cupcakes, and places a festive “celebration hat” on the birthday person’s heads.  Dining Services and the wait staff do their part by offering special meal options that include filet mignon, lobster tail or salmon and serving up a big bunch of smiles and good wishes.

“I think I speak for everyone when I say that we all felt the need to make our residents’ birthday feel special especially during the worst of the pandemic when many were separated from friends and family.   We tossed around some ideas and before you knew it the Birthday Brigade was born and judging by the overwhelmingly positive reaction, we received from residents … I don’t think the Brigade will be disbanded any time soon,” said Michele Sesok, Director of Sales for UMC at Pitman. 

United Methodist Communities at Pitman Named on U.S. News Best Nursing Homes

Ratings assure public of quality, staffing and compliance

How do you select the best long-term care providers for chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Parkinson’s disease, frailty, or others?

U.S. News and World Report rated over 15,000 nursing homes nationally to help people find appropriate, reliable providers with the highest standards of care. They named United Methodist Communities at Pitman in Pitman, NJ, on their Best Nursing Homes 2020 – 2021 list.

U.S. News rated UMC at Pitman as high performing for Long-Term Care. Rankings define each eligible nursing home as high performing, average, or below average. This year, U.S. News added a patient safety summary that reflects COVID-19 data to their nursing home profile pages.

Out of 13,433 nursing homes that received a Long-Term Care Rating, 1,139 were designated as High-Performing. Some of the measures included in Pitman’s rating include nurse staffing, pneumonia vaccination rates, registered nurse staffing ratios, prevention of pressure ulcers, ability of residents to self-care, emergency-room visits, hospitalizations, rate of substantiated complaints, and more.

UMC at Pitman Administrator, Sharon Schwarzkopf, remarks, “The combination of innovative approaches, onsite expertise, technology, and human touch, help maximize our seniors’ wellness potential. This recognition affirms that approach.”

5 Sleeping Tips for Older Adults from UMC at Pitman

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential at any age. Strong focus, better memory recollection and a healthier immune system are just a few benefits that result from great sleep patterns. Top experts recommend getting 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every single night. This especially reigns true for older adults who are light sleepers or whose sleep patterns may have altered over the years. It can be difficult to maintain good sleeping patterns as we age, but it is never impossible. 

Here are 5 highly recommended sleeping tips that can make sleep easier and longer for older adults:

Tip #1 Stick to a scheduled bedtime  

Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time every day. If you stick to a routine consistently, your body will adjust and become tired at an appropriate time. You could also train yourself to use your bedroom strictly for sleeping. If you are not asleep 20 minutes after your head hits the pillow, get up and leave the bedroom until you are tired enough to “hit the hay.”

Tip #2 Combat external stresses before bed 

Stress is a major underlying cause of sleep disruption, so it’s important to combat any anxieties you may have before getting a good night’s sleep. Listening to calming music, playing your favorite puzzle app on your smartphone, reading a book, or talking to a loved one can ease you into adequate relaxation before bed.  May adults fall asleep in front of the TV but this can actually be a bad sleep habit as you have to wake yourself up to physically go to bed. Instead, grab your favorite book and read yourself to sleep while you’re in bed already!

Tip #3 Work out regularly

Wear yourself out! Not getting enough exercise during the day can cause restless and inefficient sleep. You don’t have to stick to a strict workout regimen either. Taking a walk outside, trying out chair yoga or engaging in light morning stretches can significantly contribute to better sleeping patterns. It’s also important to avoid daytime naps to ensure you’re more tired once bedtime rolls around. 

Tip #4 Drink less fluids at night

Trips to the bathroom become more frequent when consuming beverages right before bed,  especially  alcoholic beverages. Initially, alcohol may help get you to sleep, but once the hazy effect wears off, you will wake up in the middle of the night more alert. The solution: stop all beverage consumption at least one hour before bedtime.   

Tip #5 Avoid certain foods before bed 

Similar to limiting beverages before bed, we should also limit the portions and intake of certain foods. Avoiding large portions, spices, and caffeinated foods and beverages will not only improve your overall diet, but also decrease irritable conditions like indigestion and acid reflux, that could keep you up at night. 

Want to Sleep Soundly? Come to UMC at Pitman!

As the infamous Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “A well-spent day brings happy sleep.” At UMC at Pitman, we reflect this mantra by ensuring each resident’s day is filled with activities that nourish their mind, body, and spirit. 

For more information about abundant senior living at UMC at Pitman in Gloucester County, or any of our other senior communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.


The Challenge of Downsizing: Making the Move into Assisted Living

Leaving a home of many years and opting for apartment style living in a senior community is a difficult decision for seniors and their family members. In addition to the emotions attached to memories of a life lived with a family in a familiar place, there are the sheer logistics of going from a large home to a one or two bedroom apartment. What will I do with all my belongings? But when an older adult is living alone in a big house with few opportunities for socialization, and the responsibility to clean, repair and upkeep the property – the transition into assisted living can be the best decision for everyone. 

Families will find that loved ones residing in an assisted living community have the chance to maintain their independence while relieving themselves of the stresses of homeownership. While it takes time for older adults to come to this realization, having the support of family members before, during, and after this big transition will be extremely helpful. 

If you are contemplating moving mom and/or dad into assisted living, the right mindset will help you be more empathetic while tackling the challenges ahead. Read on for strategies to assist your senior family member when you know it’s time to move.

Honest Communication Throughout the Transition

One big internal dilemma seniors face is the feeling of losing their independence. Seniors who are new to assisted living commonly feel like they are no longer in the driver’s seat of their life, but rather the passenger. Although this feeling is completely valid, it is not true in the slightest. 

Organizations like United Methodist Communities are passionate about providing an abundant and active lifestyle for all older adults. It’s important to have a meaningful conversation with your loved one to reiterate that the transition to assisted living will only improve their quality of life.

Seniors will be able to engage in activities they love and socialize with friends and family safely while living in a retirement community. The biggest difference between an assisted living community and their past home life is a safe environment. Your loved one will gain more time and opportunity for socialization, and have all medical needs taken care of immediately.

5 Strategies to Tackle the Logistics of Downsizing

Now pangs the question, “How does one begin the downsizing process?” It definitely can be overwhelming to sort through a huge family home filled with years of heirlooms and knick-knacks. Mom and/or dad will want to be a part of this process because of the irreplaceable memories associated with most items. With that said, we have compiled tips to make the downsizing process easier for all involved.

  1. Get an early start on sorting through the house. Rushing makes any task (big or small) even more stressful. Do not attempt to sort through in one day or weekend – mistakes will be made and tensions will run high, which is not good for anyone’s health. Give yourself and your senior family member at least a month to go through the house top to bottom.
  2. Begin with the smallest room, then work your way up. Usually, the smallest rooms, like the laundry room or bathroom, hold items with the least emotional attachment. This is a great place to start in order to feel a sense of accomplishment early on.
  3. “Yes” or “no” piles ONLY. “Maybe” piles delay the downsizing process even more. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid – the quicker you pull the trigger, the easier the aftermath will be. Also, make sure not to hang onto duplicate items – nobody needs five spatulas.
  4.  Don’t downsize alone. This is a great chance to bond with the entire family. Mom and/or dad can reminisce about each belonging, and you may learn a thing or two about your family history. Your loved one could also use this process as an opportunity to pass on special heirlooms to family members.   
  5. Figure out a packing plan. Will family members take turns packing and driving the moving truck back and forth from point A to point B? Or is it easier to hire a full-service moving company to pack and unpack your loved one’s belongings? This is definitely something to discuss with your senior family member and other members of the family before moving day.

Have Patience After the Move

While adjusting to their new life, some older adults may experience outbursts and audibly refuse to accept this major change. This reaction is normal and should be viewed as a prime opportunity to exercise patience and reassurance. Your family member must be assured that this is absolutely the right move and that they are now a part of a community of individuals who feel (or have felt) the same way.

Encourage them to make connections with other residents. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone who already experienced what they are going through. Changes in surroundings, meal preparation, and other activities take time to adjust to, but your family member will overcome the challenges ahead with flying colors. 

Safe and Compassionate Assisted Living at UMC Pitman

Concerns over COVID-19 have factored into the decision to downsize. Families need to understand that reputable assisted living communities like UMC, have responded aggressively to COVID-19 with top-of-the-line health and safety procedures for residents, associates, vendors, and visitors. These scientific-based procedures, some might argue, make assisted living  safer for older adults than residing in a home with multiple unscreened family members and others coming in and out.  

On top of this, UMC practices an individualized approach with each resident. This means that our associates take the time to really get to know residents and their families, to then create a unique plan that suits all their needs. Making the decision to move into assisted living may not be easy, but the highly-trained onsite associates will help mom and/or dad transition to community living successfully. 

For more information about community life at UMC Pitman in Gloucester County, or any of our other senior communities across New Jersey, please contact United Methodist Communities and book your visit today.


United Methodist Communities at Pitman to host its 14th Annual Car and Cycle Show on June 17

“Honk if you love cars.” The public is invited to attend United Methodist Communities at Pitman’s 14th Annual Car (and now Cycle) Show on Saturday, June 17, 2017 from 11am to 3pm. The “stars” of this much anticipated community relations event will be the approximately 150 vintage automobiles and motorcycles from throughout the region that will be on display.

During the free event, visitors young and old will be able to enjoy the cars, musical entertainment, judging as well as an award ceremony at approximately 2:15pm. Hoagies, chips and beverages will be available for purchase to visitors and car owners.

New this year, motorcycles will be introduced in the event with a separate award allocated to the most impressive cycle. Proceeds from this year’s Annual Car and Cycle Show will benefit the Fellowship Fund. The car show will take place in the back parking lot of the community which is located at 535 North Oak Avenue in downtown Pitman. The show will take place rain or shine.

“Our goal once again in hosting this event is to give our residents and their families an opportunity to spend time together. The car owners enjoy showing off their vehicles and nothing brings people together quicker than swapping car stories and memories. It is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon with Dad or Granddad,” said UMC at Pitman’s Director of Operations, Ebby Majd, who is the chairman of this year’s Car Show Planning Committee.

For more information about the upcoming car show or to register a vehicle please e-mail Ebby Majd at


Bridges Comes to Pitman

What’s Your End-of-Life Plan?

Death in the American mind is something in the very distant future. Despite the fact that about half of adults say they have a friend or relative who has had a terminal illness or who has been in a coma within the last five years, only 30 percent have conversations with loved ones about their end-of-life wishes.

As a leading assisted living and nursing community in Gloucester County, United Methodist Communities at Pitman now offers another supportive option to people who cannot or prefer neither to receive hospice at home nor in the hospital. The newly-established Bridges at Pitman assists people to live out their last days with dignity and comfort.

Bridges has seven new hospice-dedicated studio apartments located in a private assisted living neighborhood. The environment has been designed for individuals facing terminal illness that no longer responds to curative treatment. Welcoming gathering spaces for families and friends and meaningful amenities such as customized dining, Wi-Fi, salon, gym, bistro, and elegant furnishings, enhance comfort.

A skilled, compassionate, multi-disciplinary team of healthcare professionals focus on bringing much-needed care and support to Bridges’ residents, as well as to their loved ones. The expertise of the hospice team includes advanced, traditional and alternative therapies; 24-hour nursing oversight; medication management; certified caregivers; emotional and spiritual support; personal services; and palliative care for symptom management and pain control.

Pitman Executive Director, James Scalese, reflects, “We are very pleased to announce the inclusion of a hospice-dedicated program within our assisted living community. The apartments are designed to provide end-of-life care in a warm and supportive non-institutional environment.”

Getting Back on Track

Transitions Customized Solution Comes to Pitman

Were you recently discharged from a hospital or rehab facility and faced a dilemma because you didn’t feel quite ready to return home or did so and found you needed additional support? United Methodist Communities at Pitman now offers Transitions, a customized solution for these instances.

A Transitions stay may last between one and six weeks. Similar to traditional rehabilitation settings, Transitions focuses on people requiring recovery, reconditioning and clinical monitoring.

Typical residents need observation for new clinical situations such as medications, therapies and devices; rehabilitation to regain skills to manage living at home; extra support to gain confidence before returning home; time to allow the implementation of support structures at home; and further stabilization.

Robbie Voloshin, corporate director of marketing, reports, “This short term program works toward getting people back home safely.”

Guests receive services in Transitions’ neighborhood of private, fully-furnished, home-like apartments. While the environment is less restrictive, it continues to support overall recovery and wellness. The care and services include rehabilitation, social engagement, wellness programming, home environment assessments, and transitional care to home follow-up.

Meals, laundry and housekeeping; transportation; community life programming; social work, clinical and aide services; and SeniorFITness are included in the daily rate. Call 856-589-7800 for information regarding Transitions or other services at United Methodist Communities at Pitman.

Soldiers Without Guns: Women Defense Workers of WWII

In recognition of National Humanities Month, United Methodist Communities at Pitman will welcome living history interpreter, Stacy F. Roth of History on the Hoof (Burlington, NJ) who will present Soldiers Without Guns: Women Defense Workers of World War II.   During her hour-long program, Roth will speak as Rose Helen Niemiec, a 1940’s home maker, who decides to show her support for the war by taking a job as a welder in a shipyard.

According to Roth, “Rose Helen Niemiec was not an actual person. She is a composite of many women who entered defense production positions. My presentation is based on histories and interviews of many women who did just that when their country asked it of them.”

This unique presentation features a character monologue, a display of period artifacts and ephemera, a discussion of women’s participation on the Homefront, and an invitation to the audience to share memories, memorabilia, and personal and family stories of World War II. 

The program, which is being offered for FREE to the community, will take place on Wednesday, October 5 at 2:00 p.m. in the United Methodist Communities of Pitman auditorium. This program is funded by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

For more information about this event, contact Alice M. Coghill at 856-589-7800, ext.7417 or  For more information about the Horizons Speakers Bureau please visit