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Touching Lives · Providing Dignified Lifestyles

 

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

June 12th, 2014

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

Your phone rings shortly after 2 p.m. on a Tuesday afternoon. It is someone saying he is from your bank. There is a problem with your account. All you need to do to get the problem fixed is provide information about your account, your date of birth and your social security number so he can verify that what your bank has is correct.

Larry Burton - Thrivent Financial - Blog Image

Your bank will not call you asking for personal information, Larry Burton cautioned us during programs on Identity Theft that he conducted last week at our Heritage Woods affordable assisted living communities in Manteno and Watseka, Illinois. Neither will the federal government.

Larry is a financial associate with Thrivent Financial.

Callers posing as representatives of the government or legitimate businesses such as banks and credit card companies and saying that personal information needs to be updated is one common method of Identity Theft. They use the information to open credit cards and take out loans in your name, clean out your bank account, file false tax returns and obtain government benefits.

Identify theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States, Larry noted. It can and does happen, and it can take weeks or months before it is discovered.

Seniors often are victims. As Loretta LaBrec, Director of Marketing at Heritage Woods of Watseka, so aptly pointed out, “unfortunately we are a generation that trusts everybody. We didn’t lock the doors to our house and our cars.”

What surprised me is that Identity Theft is more prevalent off-line than online and half of all Identity Theft is committed by someone you know – a friend, relative, neighbor, co-worker.

Here some tips recommended by Larry to reduce your risk of becoming a victim of Identity Theft:

Do not give out any personal information such as account numbers, credit card numbers, or your Social Security or Medicare numbers to anyone who calls you. If someone calls asking for personal information, hang up.

Do not open e-mail attachments from individuals you do not know.

Use strong passwords – a combination of lowercase and capitalized letters, numbers and symbols. They should be at least eight characters long.

Have virus protection installed on your computers and smartphone and update it regularly.

Do not carry around your Social Security card or your Medicare card.

Install a mailbox that locks.

Use a shredder to shred information you do not need anymore. Keep information you need in a locked box.

Beware of any goods or services that are being sold over the Internet for too good to be true prices.

Review the detail of all your credit card statements to verify that all of the charges are appropriate.

Report any suspected fraudulent activity immediately to the financial institutions you use, to your credit card companies, and to your local police department. If you are a resident of one of the senior living, assisted living or memory care homes or apartments that BMA manages, also report any suspicious activity to the Administrator or another department head. If the problem is large and extends to multiple accounts, you can also contact the Federal Trade Commission by calling 877-ID-THEFT (877-438-4388) or go online to www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

Keep copies of everything pertaining to your situation and keep a record of all your interactions.

Review your credit reports at least once a year. You can obtain free copies of your credit report from the following three credit reporting agencies:

Equifax | 888-766-0008 | www.equifax.com

Experian | 888-397-3742 | www.experian.com

TransUnion | 800-680-7289 | www.transunion.com

Since each of these companies offer a free credit report annually, the best approach would be to obtain a report from a different company once every four months.


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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Fall Prevention Safety Tips

June 5th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA assisted living management

NovaCare Rehabilitation Logo

Stephanie Mings contacted me recently with a great suggestion for a Blog. With June designated as National Safety Month, how about posting a Blog about Fall Prevention.

After all, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among older adults.

More than one-third of adults age 65 and older fall each year, and more than 1.8 million are treated in emergency rooms for fall related injuries. More than 433,000 older adults are hospitalized each year as a result of the injuries they sustain in falls.

Stephanie is with NovaCare Rehabilitation, which provides programs and services to help individuals manage conditions that impact balance. They have offices near our affordable assisted living communities in Benton, Carbondale, McLeansboro and Mt. Vernon, Illinois as well as in Marion and West Frankfort.

Stephanie offers the following Safety Tips to help reduce your risk of falling:

Always wear supportive footwear. Eliminate or curtail your use of loose-fitting shoes such as flip-flops.

Pick up telephone and electrical wires from the floor.

Make sure each room, walkway and stairway has appropriate lighting.

Use night lights where needed.

Instead of bending forward to pick up items from the floor, use reachers. Remember, picking up dropped items could cause a fall.

Try not to wear loose-fitting clothing such as robes that can catch on furniture corners.

Make sure you have tight and secure handrails on all stairs.

Place grab bars next to your toilet and next to and in your tub/shower. Make sure that they have been properly installed and can support the weight of a person who may be falling.

Place non-skid mats in your bathtub.

Remove all throw rugs.

Pick up magazines and paper off your floor and stairs.

Keep toys for your pet(s) in a designated, easy-to-avoid area.

Do not stand up too quickly. Use the armrest of your chair to steady yourself first.

I encourage you to keep in mind that the risk of serious injury from a fall increases with age so don’t delay in taking steps to decrease your risk of falling.


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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Assisted Living Hero is Doing What God Wants Her To Do

May 29th, 2014

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

Our 2014 ALFA Hero Elizabeth (Beth) Dreas is doing what she loves best, serving older adults.

 Beth Dreas - 2014 ALFA Hero Award Recipient - Heritage Woods of Centralia

As a cook at the Heritage Woods senior living community that BMA manages in Centralia, Illinois, she says she has found her purpose in life. “This is what God wants me to do,” Beth explained.

Located about an hour east of St. Louis, Heritage Woods features affordable assisted living apartments for adults 65 and older of virtually all incomes, including individuals on Medicaid. The community also features senior living apartments and rental homes for low-income adults over the age of 55.

Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) honored Beth and four other 2014 Hero Award recipients last week at a special luncheon held during the organization’s national conference in Phoenix.

”Each with a heart of gold, our ALFA Heroes represent the highest levels of excellence, caring and dedication,” noted Richard Grimes, President and CEO of ALFA. “They embody the very spirit of our industry.”

The husband and wife team of retired U.S. Naval Capt. Mark Kelly and former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords were the featured speakers at the luncheon. Capt. Kelly is an aviator who flew combat missions during the Gulf War and an astronaut who flew the final NASA Space Shuttle mission – STS 135 – in 2011.

at the luncheon, we were seated with Beth at a table next to the featured speakers. Beth walked over and told Gabby how she prayed for her after a gunman shot her during a 2011 assassination attempt. Then, she introduced herself to Capt. Kelly and mentioned that her son had just graduated with a degree in aerospace engineering, “in case you know of anything.” Later, Beth was able to something she really wanted to do; she went on stage and give Gabby a hug.

 Beth Dreas with Residents - 2014 ALFA Hero Award Recipient - Heritage Woods of Centralia

Beth also took it upon herself to seek out each of the other Hero Award honorees and personally offer her congratulations.

She thoroughly embraces our values of Love, Compassion & Dignity and is considered the heart of the kitchen and the heart of the Heritage Woods community.

“She is a ball of fire. She is in 100 places at once,” says Crystal White, Dietary Manager at Heritage Woods. “She inspires the rest of us, and we are better people because of her.”

Beth’s story is even more remarkable because of the journey that brought her to Heritage Woods of Centralia. At the age of 11, three weeks after her mother died, Beth went to a boarding school run by Catholic nuns. The other children would go home on weekends, but because of her family situation, Beth stayed behind. She often spent her time in the kitchen with a nun who cared for her.

That is where she discovered her love for cooking. “The kitchen became my comfort,” she says. “Cooking brings people together.”

Beth went on to earn a master’s degree and marry. She and her husband raised their children on their farm.

Coming to Heritage Woods has enabled Beth to fulfill her desire to serve others.

“She is relentless in seeing that residents come first and will not stop until every task is complete,” says Administrator Tom Broughton.

When she’s not at work, Beth is volunteering and touting the benefits of assisted living.

”The people who live here at Heritage Woods have made this world what it is”, she says. “They should have a right to a decent place to live and somebody to take care of them, give them the help that they need, but also encourage independence as much as possible. To see people happy, that is a special feeling.”

“I just want to be a little voice of happiness in the world.” – Beth

To learn more about Beth’s story and what makes her so special, I invite you to watch the video ALFA produced about our hero.


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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Assisted Living Wii Bowling and Trivia Champs Crowned

May 22nd, 2014

By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management

AALC 2014 State Finals Image Montage

Last week, I had the opportunity to do something I thoroughly enjoy, joining other BMA staff members as volunteers for the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition’s 2014 Supportive Living Wii Bowling and Trivia Championships.

Teams of residents from 15 affordable assisted living communities in Illinois gathered together at the Decatur Hotel and Conference Center in Decatur, Illinois for the two-day competition.

5th Annual Wii Bowling Tournament

This is the fifth year that the AALC has held a statewide Wii Bowling Tournament. The number of teams was the largest ever, with more than 80 teams entering the competition. Teams from 17 BMA communities qualified for the 32-team playoffs, with two of the teams reaching the Final Four.

The Champs from Heritage Woods of Charleston took home the Third Place trophy and medals. The trio — John Honn, Bill Pankey and Harry Waggle – won the tournament last year. This year, they fell to the Gardeners of Glenhaven Gardens in Alton, Illinois, in the semi-finals.

As one of the residents on the Champs stated, the Gardeners said they were out for us, and they did it.

The Gardeners took home the 2014 First Place trophy and medals after beating team of residents from Timberlake Senior Living in Springfield. The Gardeners have qualified for the playoffs in all five years that the tournament has been conducted. They have taken home the First Place Trophy three times.

The Bowling Brooks from Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook took home the Fourth Place trophy and medals. The team finished in Second Place in 2012 and in Third Place last year. The 2014 team members are Anne Duncan, Vonnie Heagy, Michael Malina, Jeanne Pridmore, Joan Schmitz and Elsie Sottile.

“And the Answer is…” Trivia Competition

Teams from six BMA affordable assisted living communities qualified for the semi-finals. T-Time from Cambridge House of Maryville took home the Fourth Place trophy. Cambridge House team members included Eldora Chadwick, Paulette Creek, Lynda Leggett and Glenna Stewart.

The Useless Facts from Prairie Living at Chautauqua were recognized for having the most unique team name.

What those of us in attendance found to be the most remarkable is that the team from Victory Centre of Galewood in Chicago did not miss a trivia question in the qualifying round, the regionals, the semi-finals or the finals. Victory Centre took First Place honors.

Trivia Teams from BMA Communities

Bowman Estates of Danville • Brain Teasers
Nancy Bowden • Helen Halloran • Suella Rennick

Cambridge House of Maryville • T-Time
Eldora Chadwick • Paulette Creek • Lynda Leggett • Glenna Stewart

Deer Path of Huntley • Deer Path Scholars
Steven John Bradley • P.J. Brosmith • Andrea Ortiz

Heritage Woods of Batavia • The Trivia Tigers
Richard Becker • Jim Gent • Jerry Wall

Heritage Woods of Centralia • Wonder Wizards
Betty Fenton • Kathryn Francois • Polly Raines

Prairie Living at Chautauqua • Useless Facts
Madeline Brossart • Will Major • Norine Rose


All affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA Management, Ltd. are certified and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. All assisted living communities are licensed and surveyed by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

“BMA Management, Ltd. is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois
and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”

What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.

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Myths About Chocolate & Ten Tips to Reduce Your Hypertension Risk

May 15th, 2014

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

Oasis Medical Group Logo

The #1 diagnosed health condition in the United States is hypertension or persistent high blood pressure, Michael Joyce told those of us attending the informational programs he conducted last week at our Heritage Woods affordable assisted living communities in Manteno and Watseka.

The condition can affect your heart, brain, kidneys, arteries and eyes. It is known as The Silent Killer because often there are not a lot of symptoms. It can cause depression, increased urinary frequency, sexual dysfunction and a cough. If your blood pressure becomes very high, you may experience fatigue, a decrease in your ability to tolerate physical activity, dizziness, heart palpitations, chest pains (angina) because your heart is not getting enough oxygen, and shortness of breath (dyspnea).

Mike is the CEO of Oasis Medical Services in Bradley, Illinois, and has been a registered nurse since 1991.

He recommended Ten Lifestyle Modifications that you can make to reduce your risk of hypertension:

Maintain a healthy weight.

Reduce your intake of salt. Eat foods that are low in sodium. Buy fresh poultry, fish and lean meats. Eat fresh, plain frozen or canned with “no salt added” vegetables. Use herbs, spices and salt-free seasonings and decrease or eliminate use of table salt. Avoid foods that contain high amounts of sodium such as smoked or processed meats; pastries or cakes made from self-rising flour; bouillon, sardines, tomato juice, frozen or canned peas, canned spinach and canned carrots.

Increase physical activity.

Stop smoking.

Limit your consumption of alcohol.

Limit your intake of fat.

Control diabetes, if you have this condition.

Practice stress relieving techniques such as meditation, deep breathing and visualization.

Monitor your blood pressure.

Take you blood pressure medications as prescribed.

Mike also shared some good news for those of us who are Chocolate Lovers. Research indicates that the regular consumption of chocolate may help reduce the risk of hypertension.

Chocolate

He went on to dispel some of the Myths about Chocolate.

Myth: Chocolate is high in caffeine.
Fact: A 1.4-ounce bar of chocolate or an 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk contain 6 mg of caffeine. A cup of regular coffee contains about 65 to 135 mg of caffeine.

Myth: Chocolate is loaded with saturated fat and is bad for your cholesterol.
Fact: Stearic acid, the main saturated fat found in milk chocolate is unique. It does not raise cholesterol levels like other types of saturated fats. In fact, eating a 1.4 ounce chocolate bar has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Myth: Chocolate lacks any nutritional value.
Fact: Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Chocolate also contains polyphenols (the antioxidant found in tea and red wine) that has been associated with a decreased risk of coronary disease.

Myth: Chocolate causes weight gain.
Fact: An average chocolate bar contains 220 calories and 15 grams of fat. It can be part of a healthy diet if consumed in moderation. In addition, enjoying a piece of chocolate may reduce the risk of severe bingeing, which can occur if you feel deprived of your favorite foods.


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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Bradley, Illinois 60915

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