Assisted Living

Visit Any of Our Community Websites by Using the Drop Down List to the Right      
 
BMA Facebook BMA YouTube BMA LinkedIn

BMA Blog  

Touching Lives · Providing Dignified Lifestyles

 

Technology, Senior Isolation and the White House Conference on Aging

July 16th, 2015

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

WHCOA 2015 - Logo

Here is an interesting question, Jeff Zients commented as he was reading the question I had submitted to the 2015 White House Conference on Aging that was held on Monday in the East Room of the White House.

Jeff, who is with the National Economic Council, was moderating a panel discussion on “Technology and the Future of Aging.” I was using technology to participate in the conference. I was live steaming the conference on my laptop as I sat in my home office in Palatine, Illinois. Twitter was the vehicle I was able to use to send questions to the Conference.

The question that was selected for discussion was “will technology and in-home services reduce or increase isolation among seniors?”

As the panel members who responded to the question were involved in technology, their responses were what I expected. Technology will reduce isolation.

I certainly can see their point.

Nearly three years ago, we were celebrating my Mom’s 85th Birthday at her house in the Chicago area. We were gathered around the dining room table, interacting on Skype with our oldest daughter, our son-in-law and Grace, our first grandchild, who was born just six days earlier. They lived in the mountains of Colorado. My Mom was meeting her newest great grandchild for the first time via computer technology. What made the situation even more memorable is that while we were on Skype we received a text message that our middle daughter had just delivered our first grandson.

In our business, we partnered with Caremerge, a technology company based in Chicago, to develop a Family Engagement App. The App is designed to enhance relationships between residents, their loved ones and the staff at the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities we manage. Family members of residents can enjoy easy and secure access compliant with federal privacy laws to real-time updates and insights into their loved ones day-to-day activities. It doesn’t matter if the family member lives right down the street or in a distant country.

Gardant and Caremerge received a 2015 Assisted Living Federation of America Best of the Best Award for this program.

Residents of many of our communities can take advantage of the Dakim computerized brain fitness system.

Other technology such as Smart Shoes that incorporate sensors into the design to help improve balance and reduce falls certainly can help reduce isolation among older adults. I can’t help but think that if a person is more confident in their balance and less worried about falling they will be much more likely to get out of the house.

Later in the day, I had the opportunity to ask a couple of friends the same question. Their responses were much different. Both felt technology would likely increase social isolation, at least for their parents. In their opinion, their parents would use access to technology to further justify staying holed up in his home and her apartment.

Look at the impact that technology has had on younger people, they said.

Go into a restaurant today and take a look at a table of young people, my friends said. None of them are talking to each other. They are all focused on the technological devices they are holding in their hands.

Look at the problem we are seeing with obesity among those in our younger generations.

Won’t technology have the same impact on older adults, my friends wondered.

As a speaker was noted during the Conference on Aging, life can be good at any age as long as we stay active and engaged. More and more research is showing that social connectivity and engagement along with staying physically active are vital for healthy aging. Physical activity can reduce the risk and help in the management of chronic diseases.

What I heard leaves me with several more questions:

Do on-line interactions provide the same benefits as in-person interactions where there are opportunities for human touch?

Will older adults, their loved ones and their friends use technology to visit with each other more often or will it reduce the frequency of in-person visits?

What steps might need to be taken to ensure that technology does not negatively impact physical activity among older adults in the same way it has impacted younger generations?

In my next Blog, I will be sharing other observations of the White House Conference on Aging.


All affordable assisted living communities managed by Gardant Management Solutions 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.

“Gardant Management Solutions 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.

          

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Assisted Living Event

Celebrating Independence

July 10th, 2015

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

US Constitution - We The People with USA Flag

As I watched fireworks light up the night sky over the Independence Day weekend, I thanked my lucky stars that I was born and live in a country that was founded on the principle that we enjoy unalienable rights that include Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We celebrate Independence Day on the Fourth of July because the Second Continental Congress, meeting in what is now known as Independence Hall in Philadelphia, approved the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.

I also am so thankful to be working for a mission-driven company that has as its focus helping individuals of all financial means maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.

Thirty-eight of our 40 senior living communities operate through a special program here in Illinois called Supportive Living. The program is designed for adults 65 years of age and older and disabled adults ages 22 to 64 who need some help to maintain their independence but do not require licensed skilled nursing care.

One beauty of the program is that the emphasis is on personal choice, dignity, privacy and independence. Another is that it especially benefits those who cannot afford private pay assisted living, including those who are on or would qualify for Medicaid.

Since the first Supportive Living community opened in 1999, the program has experienced significant growth. Today, there are more than 140 Supportive Living communities housing nearly 11,000 apartments located throughout the State.

The communities provide a wonderful alternative to living in a nursing home or to struggling alone at home.

The Supportive Living communities managed by Gardant combine the opportunity to live in a residential apartment-home environment with the availability of personal assistance and support services. Each of the private apartments at these affordable assisted living communities feature a kitchenette, spacious bathroom with shower, individually controlled heating and air conditioning, and emergency alert system.

Certified nursing assistants are on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide help with medications and personal assistance. Meals, housekeeping and laundry are included.

Residents also benefit from plenty of opportunities to easily socialize with friends and neighbors and to participate in activities and special events.

Our focus at each of the communities that we manage is on providing residents with the love, compassion and dignity that they so richly deserve in addition to the care, services and assistance that they need. Our approach is to place residents first in each and every decision that we make.

You can find Supportive Living communities managed by Gardant in the City of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs, the St. Louis Metro East area and other locations in northern, central and southern Illinois.

Click here to see a Map of where our communities are located.

I hope you had an enjoyable Independence Day and that you appreciate the liberties and freedoms we enjoy in the USA.


All affordable assisted living communities managed by Gardant Management Solutions 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.

“Gardant Management Solutions 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.

          

Tags: , , , , ,
Posted in Supportive Living

Gardant Leads National Summit on Affordable Assisted Living

July 2nd, 2015

By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions

Less than two weeks ago, nearly 40 movers, shakers and thought-leaders involved in senior and assisted living gathered together at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Rosemont, Illinois, for a landmark summit on affordable assisted living.

As far as we can tell, this is the first time that so many key individuals from across the country were gathered together in one room for one day to talk about this issue, Rod Burkett, CEO and President of Gardant Management Solutions, told me as he reflected on his impressions of the summit.

Rod and Gardant spearheaded the summit, which was designed to create a national conversation about models for assisted living for seniors who cannot afford many of the assisted living options that currently are available in the United States.

Participants included the –

CEO of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA)

CEO of the American Senior Housing Association (ASHA)

CEO of the National Investment Center (NIC)

Board Chair of the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living (CEAL)

Executive Director of the National Center for Assisted Living (NCAL)

Executive Director of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC)

Also participating in the summit were representatives from the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) and the National Governor’s Association Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) as well as developers, operators and representatives of financing sources and managed care organizations.

What sparked the idea for the summit was a combination of our experience here in Illinois and what we see going on nationally and in other states, Rod explained.

Nationally, we are facing the greying of America, with a tsunami of Baby Boomers aging into their retirement years. The focus is on delivering quality health care in the lowest cost and least restrictive setting possible.

Assisted living can offer a wonderful residential alternative to a nursing home and can be much less expensive than nursing home care, says Rod. Assisted living also can be less expensive than home health care. Yet, there is no comprehensive national plan for assisted living.

At the state level, we are fortunate in the State of Illinois to have the Supportive Living program.

Wayne Smallwood, who is the Executive Director of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC), spoke about the program during this presentation at the summit on Medicaid Options for Assisted Living. Wayne served as Co-Chair for the summit.

Supportive Living communities combine apartment-style housing with personal assistance and support services such as three-daily meals, housekeeping and laundry. We are able to provide older adults who need some help to maintain their independence with the love, compassion and dignity they deserve in addition to the help and assistance they need, Rod says.

Summit participants commented that the Supportive Living program is a “perfect model” for affordable assisted living.

The program has grown so that there are now more than 140 communities located in more than 70 counties throughout the Illinois. Together, these communities house nearly 11,000 apartments.

Unfortunately, while most other states have a Medicaid option for assisted living, there inevitably are obstacles that are very difficult or impossible to overcome. Reimbursement rates are way too low; there are not enough Medicaid waiver slots available; and the processes for the community to be approved to serve Medicaid residents and for seniors to be approved for Medicaid and assigned a Medicaid-waiver slot take way too long.

“We had great discussion about the accessibility and affordability issues of assisted living for low and moderate income seniors and about what needs to be done next,” Rod says.

The participants talked about this being an “issue whose time has come” and how it will be “one of the biggest issues that our country will face in the next 10 to 20 years.”

The ideas include defining what affordable assisted living is for the low income and the middle income market and what the key characteristics of successful affordable assisted living models are; becoming part of healthcare reform; identifying payment sources beyond Medicaid and Medicare; and showing how affordable assisted living can slow down the spend down of assets by older adults.

A much stronger political advocacy and educational effort also is needed.

“We recognize this was step one, Rod said. “As the first step of converting our discussion to action, the Summit Steering Committee during the coming weeks will be establishing work groups to move forward on the steps we need to take.”


All affordable assisted living communities managed by Gardant Management Solutions 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.

“Gardant Management Solutions 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.

          

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Assisted Living Event

Proposed Illinois Budget Cut Measure Likely To Be Costly

June 25th, 2015

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider Gardant Management Solutions

Budget Cuts

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is poised to make a costly mistake as he looks at how to balance the state’s budget.

His administration is looking at making it more difficult for seniors and adults with physical disabilities to qualify to live in one of the state’s more than 140 Supportive Living communities by increasing the Determination of Need score from 29 to 37.

The communities, which are located in more than 70 counties in northern, central and southern Illinois, operate through a program that was created during a previous budget crisis. The program has saved the state money since the first community opened in 1999. The cost for an individual on Medicaid living in a Supportive Living community is 48% less than the cost of nursing home care.

Any decision to increase the DON score, either as part of the budget or by Executive Action, will be devastating.

The most immediate consequence will be that 4,000 residents of Supportive Living communities will be forced out of their apartments by the State. They will be homeless.

These are seniors and adults with physical disabilities who moved into the communities because they need some help to maintain their independence. These are low-income and very-low income individuals who have less than $2,000 in assets.

The longer term impact will likely result in the state losing any savings it thinks it can generate and end up costing the state many more dollars than it currently is spending.

For Supportive Living communities, losing 4,000 residents will mean a loss in occupancy of 25% to 40%. Most of the communities would be unable to survive the impact of the significantly lower occupancy, especially when also combined with the proposed cut in reimbursement rates. They would not be able to meet their mortgage principal, their mortgage interest, their mortgage insurance and their replacement reserve obligations.

This would result in . . .

Another more than 6,500 seniors and adults being forced to move out of the Supportive Living community where they currently live. Nearly 4,000 of these individuals would be eligible to move into a nursing home on Medicaid, which would cost the state 48% more than if they lived in a Supportive Living community. If less than 1,600 of the 4,000 were to move into a nursing home, the State would lose all of the potential savings it thinks it can generate from the increase in the Determination of Need score. If all 4,000 were to move into a nursing home, the cost to the state would more than double.

More than 5,000 individuals would lose their jobs, collecting unemployment benefits rather than paying income taxes.

Financing sources, including the Illinois Housing Development Authority and Illinois mortgage companies and banks, having to foreclose on mortgages, many of which range from $10 million to $20 million.

Local taxing bodies would lose the property taxes paid be Supportive Living communities.

I understand the crucial need to balance the budget and that options are limited.

I also hope that the decisions that are made will actually result in generating savings.


All affordable assisted living communities managed by Gardant Management Solutions 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.

“Gardant Management Solutions 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.

          

Tags: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Gardant, Tips

Seniors: Take the Summer Heat Seriously

June 21st, 2015

By Jo Ellen Bleavins of Gardant Management Solutions

Keep Calm and Stay Cool

With summer officially beginning as we celebrate Father’s Day today, I want to remind you that high temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity levels, should be of concern to all of us, particularly older adults.

Whether you live in northern, central or southern Illinois, temperatures can reach dangerous levels during the lazy, hazy days of summer.

In Springfield, our State Capitol, the highest temperatures documented by the National Weather Service for June is 104, which happened in 1934; for July is 112 in 1954; and for August is 108, which occurred in 1934.

In 1936, the temperature in Moline, home of our Heritage Woods of Moline affordable assisted living community, and in Urbana, home of our Prairie Winds affordable assisted living community, topped 100 on 13 days in July.

In Charleston, home of our Heritage Woods of Charleston affordable assisted living community, and in Danville, home of Bowman Estates affordable assisted living, the temperature topped 100 degrees on 15 days in July.

In Decatur, home of our Eagle Ridge affordable assisted living community, the temperature in July of 1936 climbed above 100 degrees on 17 days.

This was the summer of “The Dust Bowl” that hit the Plains, Upper Midwest and Great Lakes regions of our country. Nationally, 5,000 people died from the summer heat.

Senior man putting on roller skates

This year, the Weather Channel is predicting warmer than normal temperatures for the North Central part of the U.S., which includes Northern Illinois. Warmer than normal temperatures also are predicted for parts of Florida, the Southeast and the West. The Pacific Northwest and northern California could see temperatures much above average.

Older adults are much more prone to the effects of heat and dehydration for reasons including their body does not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature; they may have a chronic medical condition that changes their normal body response to heat; and they may be taking prescription medications that impair their body’s ability to regulate its temperature or inhibit perspiration.

Young children and individuals who are sick or overweight also are among those most at risk.

Tips for coping with the summer heat and sun include the following:

Drink plenty of water, regardless of activity, even if you are not thirsty. (Be sure to check with your doctor if your doctor has limited the amount of fluid you drink or if you are taking water pills.)

Avoid heavy meals and alcohol. Limit the amount of caffeinated beverages such as tea and coffee that you drink.

Keep the sunscreen handy and use it. As you age, your skin becomes more sensitive to the sun. Choose a sunscreen that offers a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. It should be a broadband UV spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB light. Be sure to apply generously.

Shield your skin and eyes from the harmful rays of the sun. Wear protective clothing such as light weight and light color fabrics, hats and sunglasses.

Take cool baths or showers. Sponge baths, ice bags and wet towels also can be helpful.

Install air conditioning or large fans to keep air moving. Check air conditioning ducts for proper insulation. Weather-strip your doors and window sills to keep cool air inside.

Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun with drapes, shades or awnings. Install temporary window reflectors such as aluminum foiled-covered cardboard to reflect heat back outside.

Visit air-conditioned restaurants and malls.

For assistance in locating buildings that serve as Cooling Centers during heat emergencies, you can go to the Keep Cool Illinois website, or you can contact the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966 or your local Area Agency on Aging.

To cool off during heat emergencies, we also invite you to visit a Gardant community; to find one near you, click the map below.

Gardant Community Map

One of the included amenities that takes on so much added importance at our communities when heat warnings and advisories are in effect is air conditioning. The cost of utilities such as air conditioning is included in the monthly fee.

In addition, in our assisted living and memory care communities, certified nursing assistants are on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They work under the direction of a licensed nurse. Conducting a daily welfare check on each resident is just one of their responsibilities.

An emergency alert system comes standard with each of our assisted living apartments, and three-restaurant-style meals are also among the included services. Snacks and beverages are available whenever the dining room is not open.

During the summer when the temperatures are high, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages us to visit at risk older adults at least twice a day and to be sure to watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

The symptoms of heat exhaustion can include heavy sweating, rapid breathing and a pulse that is fast and weak. To help overcome heat exhaustion, drink cool non-alcoholic beverages; rest; take a cool shower, bath or sponge bath; seek an air-conditioned environment; and wear light-weight clothing.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening illness in which a person’s body temperature can rise above 106 degrees in minutes. Symptoms can include red, hot and dry skin (no sweating); a rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headaches; dizziness; nausea; confusion; and unconsciousness.

If you suspect that someone might be experiencing heat stroke, call for medical attention as soon as possible. Until medical help arrives, get the person to a shady area and cool the victim using whatever methods you can such as a cool tub of water, a cool shower, cool water from a garden hose or a cool sponge bath.

For more information on heat and older adults and tips on what you can do the protect yourself and others, here are a couple of websites you might want to visit:

Centers for Disease Control & Protection

National Institutes for Health


All affordable assisted living communities managed by Gardant Management Solutions 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.

“Gardant Management Solutions 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.

          

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Gardant, Tips
contact us sign up today to receive
Home
BMA Management
Mission & Values
Housing Options
Find a Community
Helpful Resources
Touching Lives
BMA Blog
News Stories
Mission & Values
E-Newsletter
Career Opportunities


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

Phone: 877-882-1495

Email: info@bma-mgmt.com



Enter your email address below to subscribe to
our monthly BMA E-Newsletter

 

SafeSubscribe image
We will not sell or distribute your information to anyone.
 
Website Developed by VisionFriendly.com • Copyright © 2012 by BMA Management, Ltd. • All Rights Reserved