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Posts Tagged ‘assisted living’

Assisted Living & the Wizard of Oz

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

Wizard of OZ - Wicked Witch of the West and Dorthy” title=

Why do so many seniors insist on waiting until after a crisis has occurred before they are willing to move into an assisted living community?

Susan Schaefer of Heritage Woods of Huntley and I were pondering this question earlier this week. Sue is the Administrator of Heritage Woods, an assisted living community that we manage in Huntley, Illinois.

I was telling her about a family that was doing everything possible to get Mom and Dad to move. Their parents weren’t eating properly and taking their medications as they should. But their parents were not about to budge. They were staying in the house.

The family contacted us on a Sunday to let us know. Two days later, on a Tuesday morning, they called, wanting to know how quickly we could accommodate a move. Mom had fallen in the bathroom. Dad tried to pick her up. In the process, the bathroom was flooded and Dad cut his hand badly enough to require a visit to the emergency room.

Fortunately, their parents still qualified for assisted living, and an apartment was available. Often, this is not the case. As a result of a crisis, a nursing home becomes the only option.

As I thought more about the question on my drive home from Heritage Woods, I recalled a program that my wife and I attended on the Wizard of Oz led by Friar John Paul Cafiero. Friar John Paul served as a police officer in New York City before joining the Franciscans. Over the past 50 years, his family has collected more than 24,000 pieces of Wizard of Oz memorabilia, many of which are on display at the Wizard of Oz museum in Wamego, Kansas.

Growing up, watching the Wizard of Oz movie with Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale was an annual event. What I really remember is seeing the movie on a color TV for the first time and how the next day we would march around the playground at school as Winkie Guards, chanting O-Ee-Oh! Eoh-Ah!

As an adult, I really appreciated all of Friar John Paul’s deep insights into the movie and the questions he asked us to consider.

While L. Frank Baum wrote the story for his children, many of the themes and questions apply as we age and our mortality looms during our journey down the Yellow Brick Road of life.

They especially are apt as we face separation, loss and the possibility of leaving familiar surroundings and moving into an assisted living community.

Putting a little bit of a twist on what I learned during Friar John Paul’s program, here are 10 questions you might consider.

Wizard of OZ - Wicked Witch of the West Flyer Monkey and Dorthy” title=

What in life is most important to you?

What brings you joy and contentment?

What do you truly desire?

What satisfies you most about where you are living now?

What do you wish you could do differently?

What demons, wicked witches and flying monkeys are pushing you back, causing you to “turn back if I were you?”

What are your deepest fears as you look ahead? What do fear most?

Which do you prefer, doing nothing or doing something to help your control your fears?

Looking back to a time that you faced your fears head-on, what was the outcome?

How did you tap into your courage?


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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Loneliness is Dangerous

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA assisted living management

One of the biggest advantages of living in a senior living or assisted living community is all of the opportunities that are available for companionship and social interaction.

I was reminded of this again earlier this week as I heard a colleague talk about a conversation she had with a resident of one of the affordable assisted living communities that BMA manages.

His wife passed away and his children all live a good distance away. Before moving into the community, he told her, he’d lived alone and went 22 days without contact with the outside world.

John T. Cacioppo profile picture

Feelings of isolation and loneliness are dangerous, Psychology Professor John T. Cacioppo of the University of Chicago, noted earlier this month in a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). His presentation was on the benefits that rewarding social connections have on successful aging.

While people in the United States may cherish rugged individualism and personal achievement, he said, these characteristics may not be highly compatible with living longer and healthier lives. Humans are fundamentally social. We tend to underrate the value of “sharing good times” with family and friends.

Research, he says, shows that feelings of loneliness and isolation significantly impact your well-being. They lead to poor physical, mental and emotional health. You are, for instance, at a much greater risk for dementia and depression.

Much more importantly, you are at a much greater risk of an earlier death.

The key, he says, is not simply being in the presence of others, but in companionship and meaningful relationships. It also is about mutual assistance, not just receiving support from someone else, but mutually supporting one another.

Residents of the senior living and assisted living communities that we manage benefit from so many opportunities for companionship and social interaction.

They are not isolated, especially on days when the weather is nasty. They do not have to worry about driving or walking through snow, ice, sleet or freezing rain to visit a friend or neighbor. All they have to do is open the door to their private apartment and walk down the hall.

They can eat meals with others, enjoying conversation and companionship rather than eating alone.

They can participate with others in social and recreational activities.

I hear so often from families of residents before Mom or Dad moves in that we should not expect their parent to be coming out of their apartment a lot. Their parent is not very social. Several weeks later, the son or daughter is calling the community to make sure Mom or Dad is okay. Mom or Dad is not answering the phone. It is because they have been out enjoying social interaction and the companionship of others.


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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A Little Voice of Happiness in the World

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

Elizabeth Dreas of Heritage Woods of Centralia

As a cook at Heritage Woods of Centralia, Elizabeth (Beth) Dreas is doing what she likes best, serving others.

Her love for her work and for the residents who live here is never ending, says Tom Broughton, who serves as Administrator of Heritage Woods. The community features affordable assisted living apartments designed for adults 65 and older of all incomes, including those on Medicaid. The community also houses senior living apartments and rental homes for low-income adults 55 and older.

We are proud to say that Beth is one of only 15 individuals nationwide to be selected by the Assisted Living Federation of America as 2014 Hero Award program finalist. The program is designed to spotlight role models in senior living.

Elizabeth Dreas of Heritage Woods of Centralia

Beth embraces our values of Love, Compassion & Dignity, says Tom. She is relentless in seeing that residents come first, even if it means taking time away from her family. She is like the Energizer Bunny. She never stops and will not stop until every task is complete and every resident’s nutritional needs are met. Her love for her work and the residents she serves is never-ending.

When she interacts with residents, Tom adds, there is nothing but sunshine and smiles on both her face and the faces of residents. Our hope is the every staff member models her work ethic and her passion.

Outside of work, Beth volunteers in church and the community, touting the benefits of assisted living.

Beth learned to cook when she was living at a boarding school run by an order of nuns. The other kids would go home on weekends, she says. Beth, however, did not have a home to go home to so she would go to the kitchen and learn to cook.

“The kitchen is my comfort,” she noted.
“Cooking brings people together.”

Vote for Elizabeth Dreas - 2014 ALFA Hero Award

You can help Beth become one of the five ALFA Hero Awards program finalists to be honored in-person at the Assisted Living Federation of America’s 2014 Annual Conference to be held in May in Phoenix, Arizona.

The top five Hero Award finalists are being selected by popular vote. You can vote once a day everyday through Wednesday, Feb. 26, by going to http://www.alfaconference.org/heroes

We invite you to cast your votes for Beth. We also would appreciate your sharing this message with others and encourage them to vote.

As Beth says, “there are so many heroes. I just want to be a little voice of happiness in the world.”


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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A Valentine Wish of Love, Compassion & Dignity

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show

One of my favorite memories dates back 50 years ago. I was one of the more than 70 million viewers to watch the debut performance of The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show on Feb. 9, 1964. I was parked in front of the TV set as the lads from Liverpool launched into “All My Loving.”

Six months later, my brother Don and I convinced our parents to take us to a movie theatre in downtown Chicago so we could see A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles first movie. (Movie trailer below)

We were hooked and with each new album, grew to deeply appreciate their musical and song-writing talents.

My passion for the Fab Four continues to this day. A Sunday morning family tradition is tuning in to Breakfast with The Beatles radio show on WXRT here in Chicago. A summer tradition is attending the performance by American English, a Beatles tribute band, at Community Park in Palatine.

Of course, this past Sunday, I was parked in front of the television, with the channel once again tuned to CBS, to watch “The Night that Changed America – a Grammy Salute.”

As I watched, I found it hard to believe that Ringo is 73 and Paul is 71. It seems like only yesterday when I first heard “When I’m Sixty-Four” in which Paul questions what life will be like when he gets older and loses his hair, many years from now. Will a certain someone still need him, feed him and be sending him a Valentine?

Valentine's Day Heart

My wish for you as we celebrate Valentine’s Day 2014 is that each and every day of the year is filled with Love, Compassion and Dignity.

If you or a certain older adult or person with a physical disability needs someone to feed them, provide help with medications or other types of personal assistance, I invite you to contact any of the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities that BMA operates to see if we may be of help.

Happy Valentine’s 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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Help Paint Our Nation Red

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

American Heart Association - Go Red for Women -logoThis month, we celebrate the 10th Birthday of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign and tomorrow, Feb. 7, is the association’s National Wear Red Day.

The goal of National Wear Red Day is to paint the nation red in support of Women’s Heart Health.

WHY?

Heart disease, according to the American Heart Association, is the #1 killer of women.

It kills more women than all other forms of cancer combined.

In addition to encouraging us to wear red, the American Heart Association is asking us to raise our voices to save lives. Talk to the women in your life about this serious issue. Encourage them to check into their cardiovascular risk and into the steps they can take to live longer and healthier lives.

All of us also should be familiar with the signs of a heart attack and what you should do in case of an attack.

Signs of a Heart Attack

Not all heart attacks are like what you see in the movies or on TV, where a person collapses after grabbing their chest. Yes, some heart attacks are sudden and intense. There is not any doubt about what is happening.

Most heart attacks, however, start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort, notes the American Heart Association.

Here are the signs that you may be having a heart attack, according to the association:

Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.

Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, your back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without discomfort or pain.

Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom for women.

Women are somewhat more likely to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back or jaw pain.

What To Do If You Suspect a Heart Attack

If you experience any of the signs of a heart attack, the American Heart Association says do not wait more than five minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1.

Here are the reasons why you should call 9-1-1 for help rather than calling a son, daughter, friend, neighbor or physician:

Emergency medical staff can begin treatment when they arrive at the scene.

They can treat you on your way to the hospital and prepare the hospital for your arrival.

They are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.

Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital.

Do not try driving yourself to a hospital unless you have absolutely no other option.

Here is what you should do if you encounter someone who is experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack:

Call 9-1-1 immediately, or ask someone else to call 9-1-1 if you are not able to make the call.

Be sure to let the operator know where you are located, especially if you are using a cell phone.

Wait for instructions from the operator.

If the person is an adult or teenager who has collapsed, begin administering Hands-Only CPR immediately after calling 9-1-1. Administering CPR can more than double a person’s chances for survival. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the classic disco song “Staying Alive.” The song has the right beat for Hands-Only CPR.

Here are a couple of heart association videos that can help:

What You Can Do to Reduce Your Risk

There are things you can do to improve the health of your heart and reduce your risk of a heart attack. Recommendations from the American Heart Association include the following:

Manage your blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

Control your cholesterol.

Lose weight if your Body Mass Index number is at unhealthy level.

Get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Physical activity has many other physical and mental health benefits in addition to helping your heart.

Eat a heart healthy diet.

If you smoke, stop. Programs are available to help you quit.

To help find out where you stand, the American Heart Association invites you to take a My Life Check assessment. It only takes about seven minutes of your time and costs you nothing. Just 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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