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ALFA Hero Finalist Called to Serve Seniors

January 29th, 2015

By Amber Springer of BMA Management, Ltd.

From an early age, David Noles felt like he was called to serve older adults.

David Noles and Resident

He has the kind of gentle spirit and loving heart that makes you feel like he really cares about you – traits that make him a favorite among residents at Heritage Woods of McLeansboro, an affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Hamilton County. The dietary aide can make the simplest meal feel like a 5-star dining experience because of the service he provides, but it’s the way he listens and enriches the lives of the men and women who live at the community that make him stand out.

Last month, David was recognized as a 2014 BMA Shining Star, and earlier this week, he learned that he was on a short list of finalists for the 2015 ALFA Hero Award.

Each year, the Assisted Living Federation of America recognizes five ALFA Heroes as the ideal representatives of the hundreds of thousands of people serving in senior living communities. The search committee received nearly 300 nominations this year, and narrowed the field to only 20 finalists.  The five finalists who receive the most votes will be recognized at ALFA 2015: The Senior Living Executive Conference in Tampa. (You can vote for David every day between now and Feb. 6 via the ALFA website listed below.)

This is the second year in a row that an employee at an assisted living community managed by BMA has been selected as an ALFA Hero finalist. Last year, Elizabeth “Beth” Dreas, a cook from Heritage Woods of Centralia, was one of only five ALFA Hero Award winners in the country.

The national recognition speaks to the love, compassion and dignity that is seen at each of the communities we manage and reminds us of why we do what we do every day. David is the perfect example of how we want to serve all of the men and women who walk through our doors, looking for a home where they can regain their independence and maintain their dignity.

From the moment he came to Heritage Woods, David made his presence felt. It’s not unusual to see residents at the community stop David for a quick chat. They know he is always there to listen to their troubles and offer a funny story to cheer them up.

“We’ve seen many residents come and go since we opened our doors, and David has always shown each of them how special they are,” explained Heritage Woods Administrator Kendra Millenbine.

One resident loved to talk about the small community where she was raised. She told David about the old Indian burial grounds there and said she was convinced that Heritage Woods was built on burial grounds, too, because she’d heard noises in her apartment. They joked about that and when David left that day, he stopped by her place to let out a loud Indian call. “David, is that you?” she asked, bursting into laughter. It’s a story she shared with everyone, often laughing until she cried. One year, the woman’s sisters wanted to send flowers for her birthday. They lived in Kansas, so David went out to buy the flowers to surprise her. She was touched that her family remembered her favorite flowers on such a special day.

When David noticed residents shared his passion for birds and wildlife, he bought several bird feeders and bird baths, so they could watch the birds from the dining room or patio. The group even took an unforgettable trip to see the peacocks, chickens and doves that had taken up residence at his home.

Another time, all it took was overhearing a resident say it’d be nice to see more butterflies, and David sprang into action, helping plant a butterfly bush in the flower garden. Every spring, residents come out to see the beautiful blooms on the hibiscus and all of the butterflies that flock to the plant.

David comes in on his off days to spend time with residents.  He cheers them on when they join in on the games, crafts and other activities offered at the community – and has that same enthusiasm with his coworkers. He is the first to welcome new dietary employees, showing them how to do their job well and demonstrating great leadership qualities along the way. David takes great pride in his work, and it shows. He wants other team members to have the same success.

Outside of work, David is just as committed to older adults. He volunteers with senior groups at his church and donates his time and money to local organizations that benefit seniors. When he hears about an elderly person having difficulties living alone, he immediately shifts gears to tell them about Heritage Woods and the benefits of supportive living. David is extremely humble and shies away from taking credit for all that he does. Instead, he credits his faith and says his only hope is that when he meets his Creator, He will say, “Well done.”

Let’s thank David for a job well done by helping him receive the recognition he deserves as one of the top senior living employees in the country.

There are two ways to cast your vote.
(vote once a day per email – links below)

ALFA Website       ALFA Facebook

After you cast your first vote, you will receive a confirmation email from Wishpond. You must follow the link for your vote to count.

Vote for David Noles | ALFA Hero Award

Share with your friends & family via Email | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter


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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Is Assisted Living or Home Health Your Best Choice?

January 23rd, 2015

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

When it comes to whether assisted living or home health care might be the best choice, a lot depends on what you need and what is important to you.

Based on my years of experience, here are a few things to consider:

Three woman socializing

Socialization and Companionship

More and more research is showing that social connectivity is one of the keys to aging well and feelings of isolation and loneliness are dangerous to your health and well-being.

For many, the biggest advantage that assisted living has over home health care is all of the opportunities that are available in assisted living for socialization and companionship. You don’t need to drive anywhere or even go outside, which is especially nice when the weather isn’t. Just step outside your apartment door. Join other residents for programs that exercise your mind and your body, card games, musical entertainment, Wii Bowling, community health education programs, a cup of coffee or breakfast, lunch and dinner. It certainly beats eating alone at home while watching the late afternoon news or Wheel of Fortune.

I long ago lost count of the number of families who insisted prior to Mom moving into assisted living that Mom is not likely to come out of her apartment because she is one who doesn’t like to socialize. Several weeks later, the family is calling the community to check if Mom is okay. They have been calling her phone number for hours and Mom is not answering. Much to their surprise, Mom has not been in her apartment because she is socializing with other residents and participating in activities that are available.

24/7 Staffing

In assisted living communities, staff is on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide residents with the personal assistance and help with medications they need. How many hours a day and how many days a week will home health care be available to you?

Specially-Designed Apartments and Community Areas

Are any of the following an issue in your house, townhome, apartment or condominium:

Do you need to walk up and down stairs to get into your house, to the place you sleep, to your washer and dryer?

Are the doorways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair or scooter?

Is a bathroom conveniently located near the place you sleep? Is the bathtub equipped with grab bars? Can you easily maneuver a wheelchair or scooter in the bathroom? Can you easily get into and out of the shower or bathtub?

The apartments and community areas in the assisted living communities BMA operates are especially designed for those who may need some help to maintain their independence. The apartments feature bathrooms that can accommodate the turning radius of a wheelchair or scooter. There are easy-access showers and grab bars by the toilet and shower. An emergency pull cord is located in the bathroom and an alert button in the bedroom/sleeping area of the apartment that residents can activate to alert staff in case of an emergency. The flooring is appropriate for individuals who may be encountering issues with balance or ambulation.

Three Meals a Day Seven Days a Week

With home health care, what steps might need to be taken to ensure that you are eating when and as you should?

The monthly fee in the assisted living communities BMA operates includes three meals a day, seven days a week, plus snacks. The meals are served restaurant-style in the community’s dining room so you are eating with others.

In our assisted living communities, housekeeping and laundry services also are included.

Cost

According to MetLife’s most recent Market Survey of Long-Term Care Costs, the average fee for home health care was $21 an hour, which adds up to $84 a day for two hours of home health care in the morning and two hours at the end of the day. The survey dates back to 2012, The hourly rate does not include all of the other expenses associated with living in your house.

Depending on the type and frequency of services that you need, assisted living may be more cost-effective than home health care. It can pay to do a detailed analysis.

If you need help but are tempted to do without either home health care or assisted living, I suggest you take a look at the costs that can be associated with doing nothing. If you are not eating properly, taking your medications as you should or staying socially active, you are significantly increasing the likelihood of developing more complicated health problems that lead to hospitalizations and the need to move to a nursing home. The average cost of a private room in a nursing home in the United States as of 2012, according to the Met Life Survey, was more than $90,500, which was more than double the average cost for a one-bedroom apartment in assisted living.

Both home health care and assisted living have their place. Be sure to do your homework.


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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Move to Assisted Living Leads to a Rich, Full Life

January 15th, 2015

By Amber Springer of BMA Management, Ltd.
& Yvonne Peterson, Director of Marketing at Heritage Woods of Rockford

Evelyn Roach

If you should run into Evelyn Roach and ask her how she likes living at Heritage Woods of Rockford, she’ll beam and tell you, “I love it!”

When you dig a little deeper, it is easy to see why.

Throughout her life, Evelyn has experienced many losses. Her father passed away when she was a teenager. Years later, her only daughter passed away as an infant. Then, after being happily married for more than 50 years, she lost her husband, Austin. Just 11 months later, their son, Brian, lost his battle with leukemia.

Evelyn was lonely and sad, and who could blame her?

Fortunately, Brian’s childhood friend, John, stepped in to help. He knew Heritage Woods of Rockford would be a perfect fit for Evelyn and brought her to the community for a tour.

Located in Winnebago County, Illinois, Heritage Woods of Rockford is one of the 36 affordable assisted living communities that BMA manages. Each of the communities operates through the Illinois Supportive Living program, which enables the communities to serve individuals of all incomes, including those on Medicaid.

Evelyn also liked the idea of having three meals a day available in the dining room and being surrounded by people again. She wanted to make her life easier and felt that Heritage Woods would help her achieve that goal.

Evelyn Roach by a car

Nearly two years later, Evelyn says she is in a “happy place” in her life.

She is extremely involved at the community. She enjoys working on puzzles, playing bingo, attending church services and rolling strikes as one of the stars on the community’s Wii bowling team.

Evelyn serves as a member of the Heritage Woods Ambassador Team, welcoming new residents to the community. She also joined the Baking Buddies group to help make cookies that are sold to raise money for local non-profit organizations.

Her active role at the community has led to many friendships and a rich and full life. For Evelyn, moving to Heritage Woods was “like finding a new family.”


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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Lowering the Boom on Ageism

January 8th, 2015

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

2 Billy C e

I had the opportunity while taking some time off to visit our two grandchildren in Colorado to read one of the books that our youngest daughter, Jessica, gave me for Christmas.

The book is “Still Foolin’ ‘Em: Where I’ve Been, Where I’m Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys” by Billy Crystal.

I found the book especially fascinating given BMA’s focus on assisted living, senior living and memory care. Billy provides a poignantly insightful and charmingly funny look at aging from the perspective of a Baby Boomer who recently turned 65.

One story, in particular, about 9/11 and Billy’s Uncle Berns brought back vivid memories. At the time, I was working for Classic Residence by Hyatt (now Vi). I first heard about a plane hitting one of the World Trade Center towers as I was riding the elevator up to my office on the 37th floor in our building on West Madison St. in downtown Chicago. A group of us sat in a corner office watching TV in dismay as events unfolded. As we watched, we heard that a plane was missing and possibly was heading for Chicago. The Sears Tower was in plain sight outside our window just two blocks away.

A colleague who worked in the office next to mine was out in New York. He was providing assistance at a retirement community that we had just opened in Yonkers. Billy’s Uncle Berns was living in an assisted living community located across the street from the World Trade Center. He had just moved in on Sept. 2. Because of the situation, Uncle Berns and the other residents of the assisted living community needed to be evacuated. Many were relocated to our newly opened community in Yonkers.

In the book, Billy provides fascinating insights into his career as a stand-up comedian, playing Jodie on the television series “Soap”, working on Saturday Night Live and on such movies as “When Harry Met Sally” and “City Slickers”, hosting the Oscars, and being the oldest person ever to play for the New York Yankees.

What I found to be even more fascinating were his insights into aging and his comments about ageism.

The comfort he takes in knowing that “his 65″ is not his “grandfather’s 65″.

The treasure of grandchildren and the joy of seeing your children raise their children.

The need to stay upbeat, positive and active as you age rather than giving up.

His belief that we should celebrate our birthdays as we age, especially when we turn 65.

His concerns about professions that have mandatory retirement ages and about people being encouraged to leave their jobs just because they happen to reach a certain age.

He wonders why we do not revere our elders the way they do in some other parts of the world, and he issues a Battle Cry to us Baby Boomers.

He wants Baby Boomers to wage war on ageism.

I could not agree more. Let’s Lower the Boomers on Ageism.


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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12 Highlights of 2014

January 2nd, 2015

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

The start of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to reflect on all that we were able to accomplish in the previous year.

Here are a few of our highlights:

  1. National Leader
  2. BMA Management continued to rank as the 16th largest provider of assisted living in the country, according to information published in Senior Living Executive & Provider magazines. We rank as the national leader in developing and operating affordable assisted living communities.

    In 2014, we served nearly 5,000 residents in the assisted living, senior living and memory care communities that we operate.

  3. Hero Award
  4. Elizabeth (Beth) Dreas, a cook at Heritage Woods of Centralia, was honored by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) with a 2014 Hero Award. The award recognizes individuals who are ideal representatives of the hundreds of thousands of people who serve in senior living communities. Beth was one of only five individuals to be honored by ALFA at its 2014 national conference in Phoenix, Arizona.

  5. In ALFA’s “Best of the Best” Spotlight
  6. ALFA placed BMA Management in the spotlight in its 2014 “Best of the Best” awards program for the Managed Care Quality Measurement Compliance and Automation technology program that BMA developed in partnership with Caremerge of Chicago.

  7. 100% Occupancy
  8. Three more BMA communities hit the 100% occupancy mark for the first time during 2014. They were Grand Prairie of Macomb, Heritage Woods of Gurnee and Heritage Woods of Huntley.

    Overall, average occupancy of our nearly 3,600 assisted living, senior living and memory care homes and apartments increased by more than 3% in 2014.

  9. Outstanding Caregiver
  10. Cathy Dickerson, who has been cooking and caring for residents of Heritage Woods of Flora for the past ten years, was honored with the Outstanding Caregivers Award at the 2014 Illinois Governor’s Conference. The award is presented by the Illinois Department on Aging and the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition to a direct care worker over the age of 55 who serves seniors in Illinois seniors housing.

  11. Honoring Excellence
  12. 
Two front-line staff members at affordable assisted living communities that BMA operates and a BMA Management staff member received 2014 Honoring Excellence Awards from Leading Age Illinois (formerly Life Services Network).

    Bonnie Miller, a housekeeper at Heritage Woods of Charleston, was a recipient of the Rising Star Award. The award honors individuals who demonstrate an extraordinary performance during their first 12 months of employment. Recipients demonstrate a strong work ethic, commitment, initiative, leadership and the ability to be a team player. They routinely go above and beyond what is expected.

    Roy Pfingsten with Resident Willie Knowles

    Roy Pfingsten, Director of Maintenance for BMA Management (shown right with Resident Willie Knowles), was honored with the Hearts and Hands Award. The award recognizes individuals who embrace person-centered care and service through efforts that go above and beyond the scope of their positions. Recipients recognize opportunities to create personalized experiences for residents and act on those opportunities to enhance their quality of life.

    Rita Richter, a staff nurse at Cambridge House of Maryville, was presented with the 2014 Strive and Thrive Award. The award recognizes individuals who are committed to excellence and use innovative, creative thinking to benefit residents.

  13. New Memory Care Community Opens
  14. In November, BMA opened White Oaks at Spring Street, a Memory Care community designed to serve older adults with Alzheimer’s and related dementia. Located in South Elgin, Illinois, the community houses 30 private apartments. The focus is on purpose and belonging through all the stages of dementia.

  15. 10th Anniversary Celebrations
  16. Four affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management celebrated their 10th Anniversaries this past year. The communities are Churchview Supportive Living in Chicago, Heritage Woods of Benton, Heritage Woods of Watseka, and Prairie Living at Chautauqua in Carbondale, Illinois.

  17. Best of Senior Living
  18. BMA was selected as a Finalist in two categories in the SeniorHomes.com 2014 Best Senior Living Awards contest. The categories were Best Blogs by Organizations and Social Media Rockstars – Organizations.

  19. Bowling and Trivia Contest Trophy Winners
  20. 5th Annual Wii Bowling Tournament IconA team of residents from Heritage Woods of Charleston finished in 3rd Place and a team from Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook brought home the 4th Place Trophy in the statewide 2014 Wii Bowling contest sponsored by the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC). A team of residents from Cambridge House of Maryville garnered 4th Place in the 2014 AALC Trivia contest.

  21. New Community Coming to Chicago
  22. BMA began taking reservations for a new affordable assisted living community that is being developed in Chicago. The New City Supportive Living community is scheduled being developed in a historic Goldblatt’s building on S. Ashland Ave.

  23. Assisted and Senior Living Conference Speakers
  24. Representatives of BMA Management spoke at a variety of national and state conferences in 2014, including the Assisted Living Federation of America’s Annual Conference, the Aging in America Annual Conference, the Leading Age Illinois Annual Conference, and the California Assisted Living Association’s Fall Conference.

2014 Year of the Horse


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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