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Touching Lives · Providing Dignified Lifestyles

 

Putting Customers First

February 26th, 2015

By Rick Banas of BMA assisted living management

Love Compassion & Dignity - Covered Hand

A number of years ago, before Macy’s acquired Marshall Field’s, I bought my wife a dressy winter coat for Christmas. Unfortunately, I missed the mark on the style of the coat so I went back with her to Fields. She found a style that was perfect.

We went to the checkout counter in the coat department to make the exchange and pay the higher price for the coat that fit her so well. The clerk, and later her manager, pointed over to the Return Department and informed us that we would have to return the coat and then come back to purchase the new coat. It was our only option, they said.

The line for returns was long. I grew up with the way Marshall Field;s handled returns when the department store was in its prime. Return anything, anytime, no questions asked. Customers did not even have to purchase the item from Fields.

My response was that I did have another option. I could return the coat and not purchase the new one. Fields would be out of the money I spent on the original coat plus the higher amount I would be spending on the new coat.

Nothing else we can do, they reiterated. After talking with my wife about the situation, I informed the clerk and her manager that we would not be purchasing the new coat. They could hang it back up on the rack. We were going to return the coat. As we headed toward the Return Department, the manager stopped us and said that on second thought, she could handle the return and purchase right then and there.

All that aggravation for nothing.

The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence - Book Cover

I recalled the incident last night as I began reading a book on “The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence” that I had purchased over the weekend at a used book fair.

In the introduction, the authors tell a story about a female customer who called the Nordstrom store in Salem, Oregon, because a hubcap had fallen off her car as she was driving past the mall. A Nordstrom employee went out, checked the road, found the hubcap, washed it, and called the customer to let her know she could come in and pick it up.

The authors cite a comment from Pete Nordstrom about how this level of customer service helps create the perception that Nordstrom is not just a place to buy things. It is a “place where they can find solutions.”

Is it a coincidence that Marshall Field’s, once one of Chicago’s landmarks, is now found in historical photographs and Nordstrom is going strong?

Here at BMA Management, residents of the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities we manage and their families rank as our #1 priority. It is something we emphasize during the hiring, orientation and training process and in our day-to-day operations.

Our focus is on providing residents with the love, compassion & dignity they deserve in addition to the services and assistance they need.

Our 2015 ALFA Hero Award Finalist serves as a great example. In describing David Noles, a Dietary Aide at Heritage Woods of McLeansboro, Administrator Kendra Millenbine says “we have seen many residents come and go since we opened our doors, and David has always shown each one of them how special they are.”

Another wonderful example is our 2014 Gold Shining Star award recipient Bridget Rumler from John Evans Supportive Living in Pekin, Illinois. “We get many calls each week, and unfortunately, there are times when we cannot meet the needs of the caller,” says Melanie Daniels, the community’s Administrator. “Bridget still takes the time with each person to understand the situation and be a resource for them. They do not finish a call without a sense of hope.”

Melanie adds that Bridget “often calls other facilities and puts them in touch with families. Many times she has given her personal phone number and tells them “call me and let me know how things work out.”

The discretionary effort from these employees shows us that how we treat our customers is often much more important than what we do for them.

As a young boy, my mother and father used to go to the same pizza restaurant. The food was good, but not much different than many of the other choices located nearby. We went there because they treated us like family. Staff members would even hold my baby brothers if they got fussy, so my parents could eat.


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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Posted in BMA Management

Take Control of Your Health

February 19th, 2015

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

Health in Words

One of the best ways to maintain your independence as you age is to take control of your health.

You’ll significantly reduce your risk of developing the types of chronic health problems commonly associated with growing older. You’ll reduce your risk of needing nursing home care. And, you’ll also likely reduce the amount of money you have to spend on health care.

Here are six steps you can take to take control.

Be Social

More and more research is showing that social connectivity is one of the keys to aging well.

Researchers are finding that people tend to be happier when they are with other people than when they are alone.

Socializing also helps keep your mind sharp.

Eat Healthy

Healthy Foods Measurement

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) cite many benefits to healthy eating. The proper diet can help you maintain your energy and proper weight; may help reduce high cholesterol and blood pressure, manage diabetes, and lower high cholesterol; and reduce your risk of other chronic health conditions.

Recommendations for eating healthy include eating a balanced mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins every day; limiting your intake of salt, added sugars and saturated fats; and drinking plenty of liquid, especially water. Choose a variety of colors and types of vegetables.

The amount you should eat, the NIH notes, depends on your age, whether you are a man or a woman, your height and weight, your metabolism, and the amount your physical activity level.

Exercise

The lack of exercise is one of the key reasons why people lose their mobility and independence, says Dr. David Fisher, M.D., M.P.H., in his book “How to Keep Mom (and Yourself) Out of a Nursing Home.”

He suggests 30 minutes of aerobic exercise four times a week. In addition some sort of weight training also is recommended.

Strengthening your quadriceps is of vital importance because of the role they play in helping you get in and out of bed and a chair.

Balance exercise can help reduce falls, and stretching exercises can help with flexibility.

Be sure to check with your doctor before you begin an exercise routine.

Monitor Medications

Take your medications as prescribed – the right amount at the right time of day.

Do not stop taking your medication just because you are feeling better.

Tell your doctor about all of the over-the-counter and prescribed medications you are taking.

Buying all of your medications at the same pharmacy can help you keep track.

Call your doctor if you are feeling any adverse effects of the medications you are taking, especially if you are taking a new medication or a different dose.

Ask your doctor about lifestyle changes you can make to potentially help you reduce your medication intake.

Smoking

If you smoke, stop.

The American Lung Association cites cigarette smoking as the #1 cause of preventable disease and death.

Smoking can lead to cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, coronary heart disease and a host of other health problems.

Watch Your Weight

The health risks associated with being overweight include Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea and liver and kidney disease.

If you reach and maintain a normal weight, you’ll likely feel better, have more energy, and feel more like exercising. It also may help your loved ones stay healthier.


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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Posted in BMA Management, Tips

A Major Wedding

February 12th, 2015

By Amber Springer of BMA Management, Ltd.

Love has a way of finding you when it’s least expected.

Will and Donna Major - Wedding Image

That’s what happened to Will Major and Donna Webb when they moved into Prairie Living at Chautauqua, an affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Carbondale.

Will, a Chicago native and former Southern Illinois University English professor, came to the community after a stroke forced him to retire from the Gaia House Interfaith Center last year. A friend suggested the staff at Prairie Living might be able to help him get back on his feet again. Will took a tour and immediately knew that the community was the perfect fit for him.

For Donna, Prairie Living has always been like a second home. More than a decade ago, when the community opened, she was hired to care for residents as a certified nursing assistant. Donna left to go back to college and pursue her dream of becoming a registered nurse. She went on to nurse countless patients back to good health until she was sidelined by her own medical issues. After a second heart attack, Donna didn’t feel safe living alone. She turned to Prairie Living, the only place she knew she could get the assistance she needed while maintaining her independence.

The two crossed paths in their new homes and became fast friends, attending church together, accompanying each other during weekly shopping trips and eating out with other residents. One day, Will took Donna on a date. A few weeks later, she asked Will to go with her to one of the community’s social dances. They began spending more and more time together, and before long, they were making plans to get married at Prairie Living.

Everyone at the community sprang into action, planning the wedding of their dreams. Babetta Halleran, the resident services coordinator, welcomed guests, and Ray Norwood, one of the cooks, proudly stood up for Will as a groomsman. The entire wedding party was made up of neighbors and friends of the couple, many of whom live at the community. Andy Mabrey, the Prairie Living chef, prepared the menu, and all of the details – both big and small – were taken care of by residents and Megan Becker, a nurse at the community who took on the role as their wedding planner.

Afterward, the newlyweds enjoyed their honeymoon at a local bed and breakfast. Since then, they’ve become advocates for Prairie Living and the lifestyle it provides for older adults. The couple serves on the welcome committee, helping new friends get accustomed to a different environment.

Will and Donna Major - Enjoying a Moment

“I can’t think of anyone who could do a better job helping people adjust than our resident newlyweds,” said Terri Pasquino, the community’s administrator. “Although Will and Donna come from very different backgrounds, they both found love and support at Prairie Living.”

The couple says they are eternally grateful that Prairie Living brought them together and helped them find love.

“This is our home, and we want to share our joy here,” Will explained. “We want to show everyone that just because we live in a supportive living facility, that doesn’t mean we can’t make our own decisions. We know we are still in control of our destiny, and only we can control the path our lives take.”

When residents move into our assisted living communities, one of the first perks they notice is all of the opportunities they have to socialize with others. They develop meaningful friendships, and every once in a while, if they’re lucky like Donna and Will, they’ll find someone they want to be with for the rest of their lives. Seeing that new love blossom is a beautiful thing.

Help us wish the newlyweds many years of love and happiness – and be sure to visit the Prairie Living Facebook page to see more photos from their special day.


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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Posted in Assisted Living Event, BMA Management

How The Times They Are A Changin’

February 5th, 2015

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

Bob Dylan - Shadows in the Night

Our daughter, Elizabeth Clark, left me a voice mail a couple mornings ago. “Dad, I want to give you a heads up on something you might be interested in for a Blog. I heard a report on NPR about how Bob Dylan had just put out an album of Frank Sinatra re-make songs. He only did one interview for promotion, and it was with AARP (Interview).”

Wow! As a child of the 60s, I grew up listening to Bob (Robert Zimmerman) as a folk singer, performing such great hits as the “Subterranean Home Sick Blues,” “Just Like a Woman,” “Positively 4th Street” and “Like a Rolling Stone.”

A couple of decades later, Dylan joined up with George Harrison, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison and Tom Petty as a member of the Traveling Wilburys. The group recorded its first album at Dylan’s home studio in Malibu, California, in 1988. I have a copy of the CD, which we purchased used for just $2, in my collection. “Tweeter and the Monkey Man” is one of my favorites.

But, raspy voiced Bob Dylan doing 10 Frank Sinatra classics such as “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Autumn Leaves,” and “Why Try to Change Me Now” in his new album “Shadows in the Night.

Be careful not to prejudge about how people can change, I reminded myself. After all, take a look at Joni Mitchell. In my late teens and early 20s, I was listening to her as a folk singer, sounding off about how “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot” in “Big Yellow Taxi.” Her “Both Sides Now” CD, which was released in 2000, features beautiful versions of Joni singing “At Last,” a popular song from the 1930s that was made famous by Billie Holliday, and “You’re My Thrill,” a song written in the 1940s for a musical. I have played the CD for many family and friends without telling them who is performing the songs. They are so surprised to hear that it is Joni Mitchell.

Then there is Robert Plant. Back in the early 1970s, I saw him singing with the hard rock band Led Zeppelin at the old Chicago Stadium, performing such classics as “Stairway to Heaven.

Forty some on years later, I had the opportunity to see him perform with Alison Krauss at Ravinia, the oldest outdoor musical festival in the United States. He had transformed himself into a highly successful bluegrass musician. The “Raising Sand” CD by Plant and Krauss won five Grammy Awards in February 2009.

So I mentioned it to my wife. Bob Dylan doing Frank Sinatra, she cringed.

And, as for Dylan only doing an interview with the AARP magazine, he is 73, she reminded me.

I’m thinking, why would Dylan try to change himself now, at this point of time in his life, and do an album of songs that are at least a half a century old and performed by Old Blue Eyes. He explains why in his interview with AARP.

As for the “Shadows of the Night” album itself, Rolling Stone magazine gives it 4 out of 5 stars. In his review that is posted on USA Today, Chris Chase notes that “quite remarkably, Dylan sounds great.”

Respectfully, I have to disagree. Yes, Dylan does the songs “His Way” rather than simply covering the songs. Yes, the quality of Dylan’s voice is much better than it has been in recent years; you can actually understand most of the words. Yes, I like the musical accompaniment. To me, however, Dylan’s voice never sounded great. But his unique vocal style and quality that worked so well on such albums as “Blonde on Blonde,” “Highway 61 Revisited” and “The Times They Are A Changin” do not work on “Shadows of the Night.”

What are your thoughts about his new album and about his only doing one interview to promote the album – with AARP rather than with a publication like Rolling Stone.


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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Posted in BMA Management

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.

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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Posted in Assisted Living Event, BMA Management
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