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Touching Lives · Providing Dignified Lifestyles

 

Country Nurse Tells Ultimate Story of Giving

March 26th, 2015

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

As Barbara Fout Tackitt notes in the prologue to her book that was published last year about being a traveling country nurse, her first job was in a small 20-bed hospital in Flora, Illinois. She was the second shift supervisor and only RN. After 5 p.m., she became a “one-woman show.”

Flora is where BMA opened its first affordable assisted living community in 2001. The Heritage Woods of Flora community operates through the Illinois Supportive Living program and serves adults 65 and older of all incomes who need some help to maintain their independence. It houses 52 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Located in Clay County, Illinois, about two hours east of St. Louis, Flora is a rural community. Its main industry is agriculture. As of the 2010 census, the population was 5,070.

In November 1985, Barbara became a home health nurse for the Clay County Health Department. She spent nearly 30 years traveling small rural county roads, going to the homes of older adults who were very ill and frail.

Movin' On Book Cover

Her book “Movin’ On” is a collection of stories about the people she encountered along the way.

Rod Burkett, who is the President and CEO of BMA Management, is a native of Clay County. He had the opportunity to work with Barbara when he was with the Clay County Health Department.

His comments about Barbara’s book are featured on the back of the book jacket.

While Barb describes her “journey of providing care and compassion to her patients, the reader is captivated by the lessons she learns by simply being open-minded and engaging with all that the universe has to offer. She captures the deep, rich characters that were her patients, while reflecting the powerful Midwestern values that were reinforced in her,” Rod says.

It is a great message for “health care professionals and for everyone who is interested in continuing personal growth and development.”  It is “the ultimate story of sincerely giving to others… and receiving much more in return.”

Barbara’s primary job was to educate her patients and provide them with the tools they needed to care for themselves.
Along the way, she says, her patients helped shape her into the person she is today and taught her much about life.

After each story about her patients, Barbara talks about what she learned from them.

Those lessons include: “sometimes in life, you just have to take a leap of faith,” “maybe we don’t have it as bad as we think we do,” and “the key to being happy is to find joy in everyday life.”


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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Tips for Caregivers

March 19th, 2015

By Rick Banas and Jo Ellen Bleavins of BMA Management, Ltd.

Caregiver with senior

As we continue to live longer in the United States, a growing number of individuals are being thrust into the role of being a caregiver regardless of their knowledge, experience or capability.

A study by PEW Research indicates that almost 40% of those 18 years of age and older in the United States are caring for a loved one with significant health issues.

A study published by the RAND Corp. notes that informal caregiving by family and friends ranks as the primary source of long-term care for older adults in our country.

The responsibilities of caregiving can tax a person’s physical abilities, compromise a person’s immune system, and lead to high levels of stress, physical health problems, depression and premature death.

The stress associated with caregiving can also create complications with existing chronic health conditions.

For those in the “Sandwich Generation,” caregiving can cause significant challenges in trying to balance family, work and caregiving responsibilities.

Here a few tips to help caregivers take better care of themselves as they take care of others:

Support Groups & Information

Support groups offer the opportunity to talk with others, seek advice and share stories with others who are in a similar situation.

You can access a variety of support groups on the Caring.com website. Groups are available for those Caring for a Spouse, those Caring for a Parent, Alzheimer’s and Dementia, COPD, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Cancer, Diabetes, Heart, Stroke and End of Life. {link}

Support groups, chat rooms and message boards are available through the Alzheimer’s Association. {link}

AARP has an on-line Caregiver Resource Center. You’ll find information on providing care, caring for yourself, managing stress and support for caregivers. {link}

A Caregiver Forum and caregiver support are available on the AgingCare.com website. {link}

Apps for Caregivers

CareZone is a free app that caregivers can use to help manage the health needs of family member. You can use it to document the medications the person is taking; when refills are needed; and when doctor’s appointments and rehab therapy sessions are scheduled. You can document symptoms and incidents so they are conveniently available for discussion with a doctor, and you can document the doctor’s instructions. You can privately share the information with other family members. {link}

You also can find information about apps that can be helpful to caregivers in a Blog by Carol O’Dell on “Top Apps to Help Steer through Caregiving” that was posted on the Caring.com website. {link}

Local Resources

Be sure to check with local organizations such the Senior Center, churches, Area Agency on Aging on what resources such as support groups and respite care services are available to caregivers in your immediate area.


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 to Share Operational Expertise at Senior Living Conference

March 12th, 2015

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

BMA will be leading sessions on life enrichment and wellness, management and operations, and sales and marketing at the Leading Age Illinois 2015 Annual Meeting and Exhibition. The conference is being held from April 29 through May 1 in Rosemont, Illinois.

Leading Age Illinois (formerly Life Services Network) is the largest eldercare association in Illinois. The statewide association represents the leading providers of services for older adults, including senior housing, assisted living, supportive living and memory care communities.

LeadingAge Illinois Annual Conference & Exhibition Logo

Representatives of BMA and communities that the company manages will be leading the following sessions:

If You Can Measure It, You Can Manage It

Kim Ioerger, Vice President of Operations, and Amy Eubank, BMA Interim Administrator, will be talking about how leaders can empower directors and front line staff to think strategically and quantitatively and about how an organization can measure success through numbers without appearing to be all about the numbers.

The Stetson Club: Baby Boomer Gentlemen’s Recreation in Senior Living

Kristiann Ruderman, Regional Operations Director, and Danni Holman, Vice President of Marketing, Sales and Engagement, will be looking at what men of the Baby Boomers generation will desire in activities and life enrichment in senior housing and services. She will be presenting 25 great ideas for clubs, activities and other offerings for the masculine persuasion. She also will be presenting information on the 10 best low cost or no cost recreational pursuits for male older adults.

Ask for a Referral

Jo Ellen Bleavins, Senior Vice President of Operations, and Julie Simpkins, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Business Development, will be leading a discussion with professional referral sources on what is important to them and the challenges they are facing. The session also will cover how to partner with professional referral sources in the new managed care environment and how to assist professional referral sources with the challenges they are facing.

Re-Inventing Me: Activities and Wellness Programs for Young Adults with Physical Disabilities

Christopher Dale, Administrator, and Julie Helm, Resident Services Director, at Deer Path of Huntley will be leading this session. Deer Path is an affordable assisted living community for adults 22 to 64 years of age with physical disabilities that is located in Huntley, Illinois. They will be talking about the link between activity programming and improved physical, emotional and cognitive functioning and utilizing leisure, recreational and educational health and wellness programs to produce positive outcomes.

Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers for the conference will be Jeffrey Cufaude, President of Idea Architects, and Andrew Carle, President of Carle Consulting.

Jeff describes himself as an architect of ideas and idealist. In his presentation on “Thriving in the New Normal: How to Innovate in a World of Constant Change” he will be exploring the critical principles and practices required to build individual and organizational capacity, competence and confidence to thrive in the “new normal” in which we exist.

Andy is an internationally recognized expert in senior housing operations, marketing and technology and new models of care. In his presentation on “Innovations, Technology and the Future of Senior Housing,” he will be talking about the need for new models of housing to meet both the demographic and the psychographic needs of the seniors of today and tomorrow. He will be highlighting examples of current and future “Nana” (a term the he coined) technologies.

He also will be talking why the collapse of what he calls the Three-Legged Stool of Caregiving will drive growth of the senior housing industry and about what will drive government policy and consumer expectations in the years ahead.

For more information about the Leading Age Illinois annual conference and exhibition, 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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Family Members Cite Benefits of Assisted Living

March 5th, 2015

By Amber Springer of BMA assisted and senior living management

For many people, the idea of a parent moving to an assisted living community can be emotionally challenging.

Will my parent be able to adjust to living in a new and unfamiliar environment? Will his or her needs be met? Did we/they make the right decision to move? Did we/they select the right community?

We recently received some testimonials from family members who had loved ones make the move to assisted living communities that BMA manages. We thought that reading about their first-hand experiences could help put minds at ease.

A Cat Named Boo

My Mom and Her Cat Named Boo

My mom and her cat, Boo, have been living at Heritage Woods of Huntley for almost a year. She has made many new friends, and she absolutely loves the staff and the CNAs, who take such good care of her every day. She often says she feels well cared for and loved.

Heritage Woods offers many activities for residents, which Mom partakes in on a daily basis. She always looks forward to all the social outings to her favorite shops and restaurants.

It is extremely comforting for our family to know that Mom is being so well taken of by such wonderful and caring people.

Making Dad’s Last Year of Life a Good One

My Dad so enjoyed his year with Heritage Woods of Rockford. He made a number of friends, and we are very thankful for the loving care he received as well.

In those 12 months, I could see a real positive change in Dad. He was healthier and eating better meals, and his attitude certainly improved with the companionship of friends and the Heritage Woods staff taking good care of him.

Thank you to the staff and residents for making the last year of our father’s life a very good one.

Bringing Peace and Happiness

We want to take this opportunity to share our appreciation for the beautiful and well-planned Heritage Woods of Freeport community and its staff. It is difficult to find the perfect words to express the happiness and peace of mind our family has found here.

Bringing Peace and Happines

Our parents were at a point where they knew they needed assistance with their daily routines, but wanted to retain their independence with dignity and respect. At Heritage Woods, they have found that special combination of assistance with independence. Even though suggesting the move was difficult, the staff helped make the discussion so comfortable that my parents could easily see the wonderful opportunity in front of them. Before they moved in, so many residents came up to us to tell us how glad they were to live at the community that we were deeply impressed.

The combination of medical support, interesting and varied meal options, housekeeping assistance and private apartment-style living has been nothing short of perfection. The community atmosphere and spirit of the residents is emotionally fulfilling and endearing. The activities are fun and engaging. The Christmas decorations, activities and caroling performances were so beautiful our mother stated she felt in awe and was seriously overwhelmed. The recent Elvis show was outstanding and “rocking,” according to our Mom. Our father has been able to retain his driving privileges and continue his hobby of building remote control airplanes. Both have truly enjoyed the musical sing-alongs. Mom is trying to persuade Dad to get up the courage to sing and play his harmonica for the other residents. (He is getting close to actually doing it!) Our parents’ church is nearby, so they also continue to enjoy the spiritual connection they’ve enjoyed for years.

Our greatest joy is seeing our parents relax, and feel happy and safe. Our mother, who has experienced some major health concerns, is gaining strength and mobility again, and her fun personality is returning. Dad is breaking out in impromptu songs during the day for no apparent reason — except he is happy. We had no idea what a wonderful place was here and available to our family.

Our fears and worries have been lifted. We can enjoy our time together, and know that when we aren’t in town, we can rest easy knowing all is well. Heritage Woods has the vision and professional ability to make senior living comfortable, safe and rewarding. The staff is selected to support the mission of the community, and everyone has gone above and beyond our expectations. We could not be happier with Heritage Woods.


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

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 go there to return the coat and then come back to the Coat Department 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 Fields 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 and leave. 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 Fields, 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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