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Touching Lives · Providing Dignified Lifestyles

 

Six Tips for Making the Holidays More Enjoyable, Safer for Seniors

December 18th, 2014

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

Happy Holidays from All of Us at BMA

The winter holiday season can be a time of great joy and celebration. There are the religious services, the family traditions, the gift giving and all of the food and drink. Families and friends get together for big holiday parties and smaller holiday gatherings.

At the same time, suicides and deaths are higher during the holiday season than at other times of the year, Bill Blanquart reminded those in attendance at an education program he conducted earlier this week at the Cambridge House affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in O’Fallon, Illinois.

Cambridge House of O’Fallon is one of three Cambridge House affordable assisted living communities located in the St. Louis Metro East area.

Bill is Director of Sales and Marketing for the Cedar Ridge Health & Rehab Center in Lebanon, Illinois. Bill was speaking on Holiday Stress and Safety.

Here are some of the tips he discussed for reducing stress and making the holidays more enjoyable and safer for seniors.

Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
While the holidays often involve busy days and nights, try to maintain as normal of a life during the holiday season as you do every day and try to do everything in moderation.

Carve out some time to rest, relax or take a nap. Also, don’t feel obligated to host or attend parties or family gatherings if you feel the stress level will be too high.

Adhere to a Healthy Diet
Eating healthy is one of the main things we need to do to protect our health and safety. Adhering to a healthy diet can be more difficult during the holiday season because more food usually is available and because people tend to eat more when they are stressed. One recommendation is to keep healthy options such as fresh cut fruits and vegetables on hand. Another is to focus on conversation rather than food at parties.

Stay Hydrated
We usually associate the need to stay hydrated with summer. Believe it or not, staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as it is in the summer. Bill said that his grandmother used to tell him that if your fingers are cracking, drink more water.

Bill recommended drinking an additional two to three glasses a day.

He also reminded us that alcohol and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soft drinks with caffeine can dehydrate you. He suggested drinking two glasses of water for every one glass of wine.

Keep Exercising
Exercise is one of the best ways seniors can help preserve their independence. Be sure to keep up with you exercise during the holidays and the winter months. One option is to walk a few laps around an indoor shopping mall.

Take Steps to Reduce the Risk of Falling
If you use a walker or cane, be sure to bring it with you and to use it. Also, be sure to ask for help if you have to walk up steps and there isn’t a railing or ramp available or if the sidewalk or driveway is wet or icy. If you are having older adult relatives stay in your home, be sure to remove any potential tripping hazards such as area rugs and be sure there are night lights in the hallways and bathrooms. Ideally, have them stay in a bedroom that is close to a bathroom.

Remember, Bill said, a fall will usually send a senior to a nursing home. If you fracture a hip, your life span on average is shortened by three and a half years.

Breathing Issues and Allergies
Spray on snow and pine sprays can aggravate allergies. If you are on oxygen, oil based sprays, candles and the burnt oil from e-cigarettes can cause the filter to your oxygen to clog. Be sure to take an extra filter with you.

Our hope is that these tips will help make the holiday season brighter.


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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You’ll Never Forget This Senior Living Shining Star

December 11th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

As Melanie Daniels, says, if you ever met Bridget Rumler, you will never forget her. It is easy to sense the genuine caring, the empathy, and the desire to improve the situations of all those she encounters.

2014 Shining Star  - Bridget Rumler of John M Evans SLC

Pictured above – Jo Ellen Bleavins | BMA Management, Ltd.
Bridget Rumler | John M Evans SLC 2014 Shining Star
Rod Burkett | BMA Management, Ltd. (left to right)

Melanie is the Administrator of John M Evans Supportive Living, the affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Pekin, Illinois. Bridget serves as the community’s Director of Marketing. Both Bridget and Melanie have been in their positions at John Evans since before the community opened for occupancy seven years ago.

Last Friday, Bridget was honored with BMA’s 2014 First Place Shining Star Award.

Our Shining Star program is designed to shine a spotlight on employees at our senior living, assisted living and memory care communities who exemplify our values of providing love, compassion and dignity and who through their work each day enhance the quality of life for residents.

Bridget is an outstanding example.

As Melanie notes, she is usually the life of the meetings – the ‘class clown’ who is always ready with a funny story. We all know what a great salesperson she is and of her desire to help enrich the lives of Senior Citizens in need by moving them into our community. But there is another side of her that people don’t always experience the way I do. I have sat in close proximity to her for many years and am privy to many of her phone conversations and family meetings, and she never ceases to inspire me with her concern for her fellow man.

We get many calls each week, and unfortunately there are times when we cannot meet the needs of the caller. They may, for instance, be under the age of 65 or at a skill level too acute for us to manage. Bridget still takes the time with each person to understand their situation and be a resource for them. “Tell me what’s going on with your loved one”, she will ask.

As a long time Marketer in our area, she has many contacts from all areas of the health care field, and she makes every effort to connect those in need with the right provider. It’s not always about the sale; the setting that ensures the highest quality of life and dignity for each individual is paramount for her.

Many of the callers are in desperate situations and don’t know where to turn when they have siblings, mothers or fathers that are under the age of 65 but in serious need of help. They do not finish a call without a sense of hope. She often calls other facilities and puts them in touch with the families. Many times she has given them her personal phone number and tells them “call me and let me know how things work out.”

2014 Shining Star pin

She has kept a list of names and numbers for many years with the hopes that more affordable assisted living communities for individuals under the age of 65 will be built. She was so excited to be able to refer people to Deer Path of Huntley when it opened. The community that we manage serves adults 22 to 64 years of age with physical disabilities.

As she explains it, “isn’t it worth it to drive a few hours to know your loved one is in a beautiful facility receiving quality care?” She often works tirelessly on her own time with many people that she knows may never live with us.

She is the same way with the residents of our building. When it is time for someone to move to a higher level of care, she works tirelessly to find the best solution for them. She helps the family coordinate movers if they need them, helps them pack belongings, arranges storage, delivers treasured personal items to their new homes. She assures the families that she will continue to visit- “once they are a part of our family, they always will be, no matter where they are”. This is so reassuring to families facing the fear of the “dreaded nursing home”. She often takes them their favorite treats after they are settled – candy or maybe a chocolate shake from the Dairy Queen.

She is an inspiration to our staff, reminding them that this could be the last home for many of our residents, and we need to make it a wonderful experience for them and their families. She is interested and concerned about the staff and their lives as well and always willing to lend a helping hand when she can. She has never met a stranger. I often here the woes of the gas station attendant or the store clerk she encounters in her travels, because she wants to help them out in any way she can – always the mother hen “We have many contacts and resources available to us, and others are not so fortunate.”

These are the qualities that make her a Shining Star- the passion, the caring attitude , the empathy, the desire to improve the situations of all those she encounters – the rich, the poor, the under dogs, the neglected of our society. This is why our building is always full – it is easy to sense the genuine caring. There is no sense of phoniness. It’s not just about the sale, it’s about the People!

2014 Shining Star - Group Shot


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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Memory Care that is Priceless

December 4th, 2014

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

“Since moving to White Oaks, my mother is much happier,” says Bryan Clifford. His mother, Winnie, is a resident of our White Oaks at Heritage Woods of South Elgin memory care community.

White Oaks at Heritage Woods of South Elgin

“She participates in activities and has made some terrific friends. When I take my mom out for a drive, she loves spending time with me. But when we come back, she’s just as eager to get home to her friends at White Oaks. That is priceless.”

The program, in addition to the special architectural design, is what makes such a difference.

The program is designed to help residents maintain a sense of purpose and belonging throughout the seasons of dementia.

It is based on understanding that as we age, our heart’s hopes and desires do not.

It begins with the staff taking the time to learn a resident’s life story. A personalized and tailored approach to serving the resident and the resident’s family is then created, reflecting what the resident can still do and what the resident enjoys doing.

The focus is on abilities rather than on limitations and on maintaining and enhancing the personhood of each resident.

Residents have the opportunity to participate in a variety of social clubs and get involved in community service projects. Pet therapy, spiritual services, cognitive stimulation, outings, outdoor gardening, and art and music therapy are offered.

You can learn more about memory care at White Oaks by calling 847-531-8360.


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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Myths and Tips about Diabetes

November 20th, 2014

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

With November designated as American Diabetes Month, the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in McHenry, Illinois hosted a Diabetes Awareness informational program earlier this week. The community’s dietary consultant Michelle Carter was the speaker. Michelle is a Registered Dietician.

Diabetes is a medical condition characterized by hyperglycemia or high blood sugar. Your body is having a hard time getting the sugars from the foods you eat into your cells to use as energy. Instead, the sugars build up in your blood stream. Common symptoms include thirst, frequent urination, blurred vision and extreme fatigue.

The American Diabetes Association

One of the myths about diabetes is that it is not that serious of a disease, Michelle said. In fact, it is very serious. The American Diabetes Association (diabetes.org) reports that diabetes causes more deaths each year than breast cancer and AIDS combined. If not managed properly, individuals with diabetes can become starved for energy. Complications from the disease can affect your eyes, kidneys, nerves, heart, feet and stomach.

Other myths about diabetes include:

Senior Woman Eating Healthy Salad

Eating too much sugar can cause diabetes.

The answer is not so simple, says the American Diabetes Association. Genetics and lifestyle factors can cause the disease. A diet that is high in calories from any source can contribute to weight gain, which does increase your risk of diabetes. In particular, Michelle said, you should stay away from regular soda, fruit punch, fruit drinks, energy drinks and sweet tea as they are empty calories and high in sugar.

People with diabetes should eat special diabetic foods.

“Diabetic” and “dietetic” foods generally offer no special benefit, says the American Diabetes Association. Most still raise your glucose levels, often cost more, and can have a laxative effect if the food product contains sugar alcohols. Instead, the recommendation is to follow a healthy meal plan. Your goal should be to combine lean proteins with a little bit of healthy fat and the appropriate amount of carbohydrates, particularly non-starchy vegetables, whole grains and fruit. For most people, the recommendation is 4 to 5 servings of carbohydrates per meal, with 15 grams equaling one serving, said Michelle.

People with diabetes can’t eat sweets or chocolate.

If eaten as part of a healthy meal plan or combined with exercise, sweets and desserts can be eaten by people with diabetes. There are no more “Off Limits” foods. The keys are portion sizes and watching frequency, said Michelle.

Fruit is a healthy food. It is okay to eat as much as I wish.

Fruits are a carbohydrate that contains fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fruits need to be included in your meal planning.

The thinking about what individuals with diabetes can eat has changed, said Michelle. Generally speaking, healthy meal planning for diabetic should be no different than what would apply to anybody who is trying to be healthy. You should be eating a variety of different foods and watching portion sizes. You should be including more vegetables, whole grains, fruits, nonfat and low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, poultry and fish in your diet, said Michelle.

With the winter holiday season fast approaching, she also offered a few Holiday Tips:

Focus on friends and family rather than on food.

Eat slowly; enjoy conversation.

Try to keep your carbohydrate intake the same at each meal.

Share dessert; scrape off the frosting.

Nibble on vegetables with low-cal dip or on a few pieces of low-fat cheese.

Be selective. Pick favorites or have small portions.

Remember that if meal times are odd, you may have to have snack at your normal meal to prevent low blood sugars.

With Thanksgiving next week, here is a link to four healthy (and delicious!) recipes that Prairie Winds of Urbana Culinary Manager Devin Blobaum and his wife, Carol Shriver, regional dietician for Presence Health, shared during a “Diabetes and the Holidays” cooking demonstration earlier this week. They were the featured presenters at a Champaign Urbana Diabetes Coalition event at the Urbana Free Library. Their cooking demo, along with interviews from several residents from our community in Urbana, was part of a segment that aired on WILL News – Channel 13.

For a copy of some
Thanksgiving Recipes, click here.


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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Winter is Coming: Be Prepared

November 14th, 2014

By Jo Ellen Bleavins of BMA Management, Ltd.

Our daytime high temperatures that past two days have failed to reach the freezing mark. Our nighttime lows have been in the teens. Weather forecasters are predicting the possibility of snow over the weekend. They are saying that this weather pattern will likely to continue over the next several weeks.

All this and the official start of winter is still more than five weeks away.

Cold weather can be dangerous for older adults. They are among those most vulnerable because of a diminished ability to endure long periods of cold temperatures.

One source, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce, certainly has all bases covered when it comes to Illinois and surrounding states. On one hand, a drier than average winter with average temperatures is forecasted. At the same time, we fall into a part of the country which has an “equal chance for above, near or below normal” temperatures and precipitation.

Over the past two years, no area of Illinois escaped the wrath of winter weather.

Last year, we endured the polar vortex.

Some highlights of the winter of 2012-13 included the following:

Older man using a snowblower

On Dec. 26 of 2012, much of southern Illinois was crippled by near blizzard conditions and six to 12 inches of snow.

On March 5, 2013, a storm dumped six to ten inches of snow on the northern third of the state.

On March 24, 2013, central Illinois was clobbered by a record-setting snowfall, thunder and lightning.

In the past few weeks leading up to the official start of winter, periods of snow, ice and extremely cold temperatures has hit the entire state.

Older adults are among those who are especially vulnerable to winter weather because of a diminished ability to endure long periods of exposure to cold temperatures. Older adults often make less body heat because their metabolisms are slower and they are less physically active. Certain diseases such as diabetes, thyroid problems, Parkinson’s Disease, and arthritis and some medications, including over-the-counter cold remedies, can make it harder for your body to stay warm.

Some older adults can even develop hypothermia after exposure to relatively mild cold weather or a small drop in temperature.

With hypothermia, your body temperature drops to dangerously low levels. Among older adults, significant health problems can occur when the body temperature drops below 95 degrees. Hypothermia can cause a heart attack, problems with your kidneys, and damage to your liver. It can cost you your life.

Based on information from the National Institute on Aging (NAI) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), here are some things you can do.

  • Set the temperature in your home or apartment to at least 68 degrees. Be sure to check the temperature often.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not drink alcoholic or caffeinated beverages as they cause your body to lose heat more rapidly.
  • Dress in layers as the air between the layers help you keep warm. Wear wool, silk or polypropylene inner layers as these fabrics hold in heat better than cotton. Wear a hat or cap.
  • Wear long johns under your clothes. Throw a blanket over your legs. Wear socks and slippers.
  • Wear long johns under your pajamas. Use extra covers. Wear a cap or hat when in bed.
  • Stay inside when it is very windy outside. A high wind can quickly lower your body temperature.
  • Finds ways to stay active.
  • Talk with your doctor about any health problems and medicines that can make hypothermia a special problem for you.
  • Ask relatives, friends, neighbors to check on you frequently, especially when the weather conditions are extremely cold.
  • Know the signs of Hypothermia and watch for them.

Signs of Hypothermia

Pale skin, cold feet and hands.
Puffy or swollen face.
Shivering.
Slower speech, slurring words.
Acting sleepy.
Anger or confusion.
Trouble walking or moving.
Clumsiness.
Stiff or jerky arm or leg movements.
Slow, irregular heart beat.
Slow, shallow breathing.
Blacking out, loss of consciousness.

If you think someone has signs of Hypothermia, call 911 and get medical attention immediately.

Until medical help arrives, get the person into a warm room or shelter. Wrap the person in a blanket. Warm the center of the body first. Do not rub the person’s arms or legs, do not use a heating pad, and do not try to warm the person in a bath.

To read the Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) guide to Winter Weather Preparedness, click here.


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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BMA Management, Ltd.
535 East North Street, Suite E
Bradley, Illinois 60915

Phone: 877-882-1495

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