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

 

Posts Tagged ‘assisted living’

Talking about Death Much Earlier in Life

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

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

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death

We need to start talking about death much earlier in life, Katy Butler noted during a presentation that I was invited to attend last week at the Loyola University School of Law.

Katy is an award-winning journalist and author of “Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death.

The event was hosted by the Chicago End-of-Life Care Coalition (CECC) and attended by well over a hundred individuals, including doctors, nurses, social workers, hospice and palliative care workers and elder law attorneys.

I thank Dan Kuhn of Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care for e-mailing me the invite.

Katy’s book is, in part, a touching memoir about the death of her parents; in part, an investigative report into our medical system and into our attitudes and expectations about life and death; and in part, a visionary guide designed to inspire the difficult conversations she feels we need to have when we are not in a panic, not facing significant loss and can think straight.

We have an epidemic of unnecessary suffering at the end of life and live in a culture that does not want to talk about death at all, she noted during her presentation. We do not want to say good-bye to the people and things we love.

Three-quarters of Americans want to die at home, but only a quarter do. Twenty percent die in an Intensive Care unit at a hospital. Executing a health care power-of-attorney document and Do Not Resuscitate Orders is not enough.

In her grandparents’ generation, there was living and there was dying. Now there is a gray zone that can last for days, for months, for years.

Katy’s father “lived” in the gray zone for years, following the crippling stroke he suffered at the age of 79.

Katy is the oldest of three children and the only daughter. She lived in California, thousands of miles and three time zones away from her parents’ home in Connecticut.

Katy Butler with Parents Jeffrey and Valerie

As so often happens, the burden of caregiving fell on Katy’s mother and on Katy, the middle-aged daughter. After spending a decade reporting on health and human behavior, Katy found herself becoming her parent’s parent. But she was not the dutiful daughter from a few generations ago who moved in to take care of her parents.

In her presentation, Katy chronicled what happened after her Dad underwent what is a relatively simple medical procedure, the installation of a pacemaker, in the aftermath of his stroke.

What I found to be so valuable are her insights into the factors that tend to make a pathway to a natural death so difficult:

Patients who approve medical procedures rather than face the prospect of mortality.

Proud parents with stoic, self-reliant attitudes.

Wives who feel that because the husband took care of the family for 50 years, now it is their turn.

Family members who are in denial or who are unwilling to accept or face the death of a loved one.

The insistence by families that doctors do everything possible to prolong life, including “Hail Mary” surgeries.

The threat and fear of litigation.

Our piecemeal approach to medicine, and the focus on fixing one particular organ or problem.

Physicians who are trained to save life at all costs, and a health care system that views death as a failure.

A health care payment system that reimburses doctors at a much higher level for using advanced medical technology than for doctors appropriately doing less, inappropriately doing more or for taking the time to have a conversation with the patient and family so they can make a truly informed decision.

Parents who grew up believing what doctors told them.

Decisions that have to be made during a crisis by exhausted and overwhelmed family members.

Katy talked about learning what it meant when a hospital discharge planner informed the family that her Dad had to be transferred to a neurological rehabilitation center “at once.” She and her mother were in a panicked rush, looking for the closest place that had an available bed.

She also spoke about her feelings of grief, fear and confusion. Her thoughts would muddle from the desire for her Dad to be fixed to the hope that he would die. In the book, she admits that at one point in time during the ordeal she felt that while it might have been better for Mom if Dad had died from his initial stroke, “it wouldn’t have been better for me.”

She challenged those of us attending her presentation with some tough questions:

How do you want to die? What is a Good Death for you?

Where is the line between saving a life and prolonging suffering and death?

What would I as the daughter do if Mom died first before Dad?

Can a daughter express her love for her father by doing all she can to let him die?

Her goal is not to push the pendulum from over treatment to under treatment. During the Second World War, doctors were not sure if Katy’s father would make it through the night after he was injured by a German shell in the hills outside Siena, Italy. They saved his life by amputating his left arm and using a miraculous new drug to fight off the infections that were coursing through his bloodstream.

Her vision is appropriate patient-centered care that recognizes that there comes a time when the focus should be on “caring” rather than “curing.” The priorities should be on postponing disability and living independently for as long as possible, relieving suffering, supporting the patient and family, and planning a pathway to a natural death.

As Katy asked us, what is one change that you would like to see made to help ensure that this happens?


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.

Like BMA Management on Facebook - Logo

Seniors: Take the Summer Heat Seriously

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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

 Keep Calm and Stay Cool

Yesterday morning I woke up to hazy sunshine. The temperature overnight at O’Hare International Airport had set a record high after climbing into the mid-90s during the day. At least the humidity was not overbearing.

With summer officially set to start on Saturday morning, I wanted 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 104º, which happened in 1934; for July is 112º in 1954; and for August is 108º, 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 of Danville affordable assisted living, the temperature topped 100º on 15 days in July.

In Decatur, home of our Eagle Ridge of Decatur 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.

During a presentation on Tuesday at our Cambridge House of O’Fallon affordable assisted living community in the Metro East area of St. Louis, a representative of the Cedar Ridge Health & Rehabilitation talked about Seniors and the Summer Heat.

Older adults are much more prone to the effects of heat and dehydration for the following reasons:

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.

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 at www2.illinois.gov/KEEPCOOL. Older adults also can contact their local Area Agency on Aging or the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966.

To cool off during heat emergencies, we also invite you to visit a BMA Management community near you. The map below shows the locations of our assisted living, senior living and memory care communities.

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. 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 CDC 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 106º 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 & Prevention

www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/elderlyheat.asp

National Institutes for Health

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/heatillness.html


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.

Like BMA Management on Facebook - Logo

Protecting Yourself from Identity Theft

Thursday, 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.

Like BMA Management on Facebook - Logo

Assisted Living Hero is Doing What God Wants Her To Do

Thursday, 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.

Like BMA Management on Facebook - Logo

Assisted Living Wii Bowling and Trivia Champs Crowned

Thursday, 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.

Like BMA Management on Facebook - Logo

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