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Touching Lives · Providing Dignified Lifestyles

 

5 Reasons to Consider a BMA Affordable Assisted Living Community

July 24th, 2014

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.

If you or someone you love needs some help to maintain independence, here are five great reasons why you should consider an affordable assisted living community operated by BMA Management, Ltd.

1. You will find the monthly fees to be surprisingly affordable, especially when compared with other options. Often, they are much lower than other assisted living communities. Plus, there are no Entrance Fees, Community Fees, or leveling charges that increase the amount you pay if you need additional help or services. This can mean hundreds and even thousands of dollars in savings.

5 Reasons to Consider BMA2. For those who do not have the financial resources to afford the monthly fee, either at the time of move-in or somewhere down the road, a financial assistance program is available.

3. The communities are attractive, warm and comfortable. You are not paying hundreds of dollars a month for flowery wallpaper, Queen Anne-style furniture, and tablecloths and fresh flowers on the dining room tables for every meal.

4. You will find that a higher percentage of what is spent to operate the communities goes toward what is most important to residents and their families – staff members who provide direct care for residents.

5. Resident satisfaction at the communities is no different than the high levels of satisfaction enjoyed by assisted living communities that charge much more. More than 98% of residents at the affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA would recommend the community to others.

Especially for the cost-conscious, BMA affordable assisted living communities offer great value at a great price.

All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Health Benefits of Consuming Cantaloupe

July 17th, 2014

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.

Cantaloupe

The other night our daughter cut into a cantaloupe that we had purchased a couple of days earlier from one of the vendors at the Farmers Market in our hometown of Palatine, Illinois. The cantaloupe that we had picked out was nice and firm, round and heavy. There were no soft spots or bruising.

The sweet aroma permeated the kitchen, and we enjoyed the juicy flavor.

Since childhood, cantaloupe during the summer season has been one of my favorite treats.

Little did I know of the many possible health benefits associated with eating cantaloupe.

Here are some of them:

The water content of cantaloupe is high, which helps protect us from dehydration and the effects of summer heat.

Cantaloupe contains an abundance of antioxidants that provide protection against a range of diseases and conditions from the common cold to cancer, including age-related macular degeneration, asthma and high blood pressure.

Cantaloupe contains high amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Vitamin A helps promote good vision and plays an important role in helping us maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones and our immune system.

Vitamin C is good for your skin and bones, helps your body heal, and helps your body absorb iron.

Your hair also is likely to benefit from your intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Information posted earlier this month on the Medical News Today website about the health benefits of cantaloupe suggests that you “mash together” cantaloupe and avocado, smooth the mixture onto your hair, and “leave it one for ten minutes to replenish moisture and add shine.” (MNT – Article)

Cantaloupe is one of the foods that are high in potassium. Eating foods that are high in potassium are associated with decreased blood pressure, reduced risk of stroke, protection against muscle loss and a reduction in the formation of kidney stones. A word of caution if you are taking a beta-blocker; you should consume foods that are high in potassium in moderation.

With its high water and fiber content, cantaloupe can help you maintain a healthy digestive tract and prevent constipation.

I enjoy eating cantaloupe just by itself or as part of a fruit salad, with watermelon, banana, pineapple, mandarin oranges, blueberries. On those occasions when I want to indulge and am not concerned about calories, I will scoop some ice cream onto cantaloupe and top with chocolate sauce.

I found another interesting suggestion on how to incorporate more cantaloupe into your diet on the Medical News Today website, which I have to try; “muddle cantaloupe into your glass of lemonade, iced tea or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavor.”

What suggestions might you have?

All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Need for Affordable Assisted Living Enormous

July 11th, 2014

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.

Steve Moran - Senior Housing Forom

Over the past couple of weeks, Steve Moran of Senior Housing Forum posted a series of Blogs that focused on affordable assisted living for low-income seniors.

In Part One, Steve laid the groundwork for why affordable assisted living is needed.

In Part Two, he highlighted six trigger points that our company, BMA Management, find to be important when deciding if and where to develop affordable assisted living communities.

BMA is the largest provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois and ranks as the 16th largest provider of assisted living in the country. Thirty-six of our communities operate through the Illinois Supportive Living program, a Medicaid-waiver program that enables us to serve low-income seniors and adults with physical disabilities. On average, two-thirds of the residents in the communities are receiving financial assistance through Medicaid.

Both of Steve’s Blogs are based on a conversation that Steve had during the 2014 Assisted Living Federation of America Conference & Exposition (ALFA) in Phoenix with Rod Burkett, President of BMA Management, and Wayne Smallwood, Executive Director of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC).

Here are links to the Blogs:

Part One:
Exploring Low Income Assisted Living
with Rod Burkett and Wayne Smallwood

Part Two:
6 Trigger Points for Developing Affordable Assisted Living
with Rod Burkett and Wayne Smallwood

Looking at both the current population of older adults in our country as well as the coming tsunami of Baby Boomers, the need for affordable assisted living is enormous.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Today’s Older Adult Population

Data indicates that a significant percentage of the older adult population that is of an age where they might likely need assisted living simply cannot afford the cost of living in an assisted living community.

A 2012 MetLife Survey indicates that the monthly average base rate for assisted living as of a couple of years ago was $3,550, which equates to $42,600 a year. In addition to the base rate, many assisted living communities charge extra for any services or assistance that are beyond what is included in the base rate. From my experience, I have seen these extra charges run from as low as $300 a month to as high as $2,000 or more.

As of 2014, an estimated 45% of the households headed by individuals 75+ have annual household incomes of less than $25,000 and more than 60% have incomes of less than $35,000.

Among the 85+ population, nearly 53% of the households have annual household incomes of less than $25,000 and 69% have incomes of less than $35,000.

The Baby Boomers

Pundits estimate that 50% of Baby Boomers will likely not have enough money to last them through retirement. When they reach the age where needing assisted living or nursing home care will be likely, they will not have the financial means to afford it.

With the phasing out of traditional pension benefits, they will need to rely entirely on Social Security benefits for income.

They lack any substantial savings.

They have little or no housing wealth.

They have substantial credit card debt.

Affordable Assisted Living

The Illinois Supportive Living program serves as a wonderful model for making affordable assisted living available for low-income individuals. As Steve notes, the communities we operate are not “stripped-down, minimalist” versions of assisted living communities. They are warm and comfortable environments where love, compassion and dignity are the focus.

The state and federal governments benefit because the cost for an individual who is receiving financial assistance from Medicaid is 45% less in a Supportive Living community than in a nursing home.


All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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I Have it Made Here

July 7th, 2014

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.

“I’m lucky to live here – not only at Prairie Living, but also in America,” wrote Demetris Berezow in a recent testimonial. Prairie Living at Chautauqua is the affordable assisted living community that BMA Management operates in Carbondale, Illinois.

He went on to say that “during my lifetime, I have lived in many other countries, and America is the best. I was born in Russia and was taken away from my family at an early age by the German soldiers. I then spent three very long years in Germany in a Concentration Camp, with unbearable living conditions and constant abuse. Following my release, I was sponsored by a farmer in Murphysboro and was able to come to America where I worked on a farm.”

Murphysboro is located in southern Illinois not far from Carbondale.

“I had many wonderful experiences during my time in America.” He even had the opportunity to teach Russian at Southern Illinois University.

“I do not want to pretend that I know everything, but people here in America do not understand that they have it made. For this they should be thankful.”

Following his retirement, Demetris was looking for someplace to live and came to look at Prairie Living. “My first impression was ‘Oh no, this place is only for the rich.”

He found out that you do not have to be rich to live at Prairie Living. The community serves older adults of all incomes, including individuals on Medicaid.

“I am so glad that I listened to the staff that encouraged me to stay and give it a chance,” he said. “Everyone is so nice and helpful. I enjoy meeting new people and telling them what a great place this is. I love living here. This is my home.”

Prairie Living - Demetris Berezow - Testimonial

As we celebrated Independence Day here in the US of A with parades, barbecues and fireworks lighting up the night sky, I wanted to share Demetris’ testimony with you.

Prairie Living is one of the more than 140 affordable assisted living communities located throughout the State of Illinois that operate through a wonderful program call Supportive Living.

The program is enabling thousands of seniors and adults with physical disabilities to live independently. It provides an attractive and affordable alternative to a nursing home or to struggling alone at home for individuals who need some help to maintain their independence.

The emphasis of the program is on personal choice, dignity, privacy and individuality.

BMA Management is the largest provider of Supportive Living in Illinois. We operate 36 Supportive Living communities in northern, central and southern Illinois, including in the City of Chicago, surrounding suburbs and in the Metro East area of St. Louis.

The Supportive Living communities we operate combine residential apartment-style housing with personal assistance, help with medications, and a variety of convenience and support services such as three meals every day, housekeeping and laundry.

Residents live in private apartments that they can furnish and decorate to their tastes. The apartments feature a kitchenette, spacious bathroom with shower and grab bars, and emergency alert system.

Certified nursing assistants, working under the direction of a licensed nurse, are on-duty in the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Residents also benefit from all of the opportunities that are available to socialize with friends and neighbors and to participate in activities and special programs no matter what the weather.

Our focus is on providing residents with the love, compassion and dignity they deserve as well as the help and assistance they need. Our emphasis is on helping each resident to achieve and maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.

Thirty-five of our Supportive Living communities serve adults 65 years of age and older. One of the communities, Heritage Woods of South Elgin, also features White Oaks, a specialized affordable Memory Care apartment-living program for older adults with Alzheimer’s or related dementia. Our Deer Path community in Huntley, Illinois, serves adults 22 to 64 years of age with physical disabilities.

Among the beauties of the program is that residents and their families are not the only ones who benefit. It costs our federal and state governments considerably less to care for someone in a Supportive Living community than it does in a nursing home.

It is a program that Illinois certainly has gotten right.


All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Talking about Death Much Earlier in Life

June 26th, 2014

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

We need to start talking about death much earlier in life, Katy Butler noted during a presentation that I was invited to attend last week at the Loyola University School of Law.

Katy is an award-winning journalist and author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death.

The event was hosted by the Chicago End-of-Life Care Coalition (CECC) and attended by well over a hundred individuals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice and palliative care workers and elder law attorneys.

I thank Dan Kuhn of Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care for e-mailing me the invite.

Katy’s book is, in part, a touching memoir about the death of her parents; in part, an investigative report into our medical system and into our attitudes and expectations about life and death; and in part, a visionary guide designed to inspire the difficult conversations she feels we need to have when we are not in a panic, not facing significant loss and can think straight.

We have an epidemic of unnecessary suffering at the end of life and live in a culture that does not want to talk about death at all, she noted during her presentation. We do not want to say good-bye to the people and things we love.

Three-quarters of Americans want to die at home, but only a quarter do. Twenty percent die in an Intensive Care unit at a hospital. Executing a health care power-of-attorney document and Do Not Resuscitate Orders is not enough.

In her grandparents’ generation, there was living and there was dying. Now there is a gray zone that can last for days, for months, for years.

Katy’s father “lived” in the gray zone for years, following the crippling stroke he suffered at the age of 79.

Katy is the oldest of three children and the only daughter. She lived in California, thousands of miles and three time zones away from her parents’ home in Connecticut.

Katy Butler with Parents Jeffrey and Valerie

As so often happens, the burden of caregiving fell on Katy’s mother and on Katy, the middle-aged daughter. After spending a decade reporting on health and human behavior, Katy found herself becoming her parent’s parent. But she was not the dutiful daughter from a few generations ago who moved in to take care of her parents.

In her presentation, Katy chronicled what happened after her Dad underwent what is a relatively simple medical procedure, the installation of a pacemaker, in the aftermath of his stroke.

What I found to be so valuable are her insights into the factors that tend to make a pathway to a natural death so difficult:

Patients who approve medical procedures rather than face the prospect of mortality.

Proud parents with stoic, self-reliant attitudes.

Wives who feel that because the husband took care of the family for 50 years, now it is their turn.

Family members who are in denial or who are unwilling to accept or face the death of a loved one.

The insistence by families that doctors do everything possible to prolong life, including “Hail Mary” surgeries.

The threat and fear of litigation.

Our piecemeal approach to medicine, and the focus on fixing one particular organ or problem.

Physicians who are trained to save life at all costs, and a health care system that views death as a failure.

A health care payment system that reimburses doctors at a much higher level for using advanced medical technology than for doctors appropriately doing less, inappropriately doing more or for taking the time to have a conversation with the patient and family so they can make a truly informed decision.

Parents who grew up believing what doctors told them.

Decisions that have to be made during a crisis by exhausted and overwhelmed family members.

Katy talked about learning what it meant when a hospital discharge planner informed the family that her Dad had to be transferred to a neurological rehabilitation center “at once.” She and her mother were in a panicked rush, looking for the closest place that had an available bed.

She also spoke about her feelings of grief, fear and confusion. Her thoughts would muddle from the desire for her Dad to be fixed to the hope that he would die. In the book, she admits that at one point in time during the ordeal she felt that while it might have been better for Mom if Dad had died from his initial stroke, “it wouldn’t have been better for me.”

She challenged those of us attending her presentation with some tough questions:

How do you want to die? What is a Good Death for you?

Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging suffering and death?

What would I as the daughter do if Mom died first before Dad?

Can a daughter express her love for her father by doing all she can to let him die?

Her goal is not to push the pendulum from over treatment to under treatment. During the Second World War, doctors were not sure if Katy’s father would make it through the night after he was injured by a German shell in the hills outside Siena, Italy. They saved his life by amputating his left arm and using a miraculous new drug to fight off the infections that were coursing through his bloodstream.

Her vision is appropriate patient-centered care that recognizes that there comes a time when the focus should be on “caring” rather than “curing.” The priorities should be on postponing disability and living independently for as long as possible, relieving suffering, supporting the patient and family, and planning a pathway to a natural death.

As Katy asked us, what is one change that you would like to see made to help ensure that this happens?


All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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