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Posts Tagged ‘assisted living’

Honored for Excellence in Senior Living

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

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

We are proud that two front-line staff members at affordable assisted living communities that BMA operates and a BMA Management staff member were honored last week by Leading Age Illinois. They were recognized with 2014 Honoring Excellence awards.

Rita Richter, staff nurse at Cambridge House of Maryville, was presented with the 2014 Strive and Thrive Award for front-line staff. The award is designed to recognize individuals who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to excellence and who have produced a result through innovation and creative thinking that directly benefits residents.

Bonnie Miller, housekeeper at Heritage Woods of Charleston, was a recipient of the Rising Star Award for front-line staff. The award is designed to honor individuals who have demonstrated an extraordinary performance during their first 12 months of employment. Recipients demonstrate a strong work ethic, commitment, initiative, leadership and the ability to be a team player. They routinely go above and beyond what is expected.

Roy Pfingsten, Director of Maintenance for BMA Management, was honored with the Hearts and Hands Award. The award is designed to recognize individuals who embrace person-centered care and service through efforts that go above and beyond those normally considered in the position’s job description. Recipients recognize opportunities to create personalized experiences for residents and act on those opportunities to enhance the quality of life.

 Rita Richter – Strive and Thrive Award Recipient – Cambridge House of Maryville
Rita Richter
Strive and Thrive Award Recipient
Cambridge House of Maryville

Rita Richter
Strive and Thrive Award Recipient

Rita has served as staff nurse at the Cambridge House of Maryville affordable assisted living community since 2006, the year the community opened for occupancy. The community is one of three Cambridge House affordable assisted living communities that we manage in the Metro East area of St. Louis.

Her responsibilities include assuring that the assessments of residents are accurate and completed in a timely manner. She also is responsible for giving and tracking all TB tests for residents and staff, helping to make sure that residents and staff are healthy and safe.

Her efforts have helped the community consistently receive deficiency-free surveys.

In addition to her clinical skills, Rita is constantly thinking of ways to help others. She encourages everyone she knows to save plastic grocery bags and to bring them in for residents who cannot afford to buy trash bags. She also encourages everyone to save empty coffee cans for diabetic residents who need a safe container to store used needles.

She is instrumental in planning staff appreciation gifts and potlucks. For Christmas, she personally crochets gifts for staff members.

She has a “can-do” attitude and will not stop until a problem is resolved. She has even adopted pets from prospective residents, allowing them to move into the community with the peace of mind that their loved companion is well cared for.

Bonnie Miller - Heritage Woods of Charleston - Rising Star Award Recipient
Bonnie Miller
Rising Star Award Recipient
Heritage Woods of Charleston

Bonnie Miller
Rising Star Award Recipient

Like so many employees, Bonnie Miller goes out of her way to provide residents with compassion and love. She is considered a rising star, through and through, for her devotion to residents and her leadership among employees.

She is the first to help with Bingo or with serving residents in the dining room. If a resident is in the hospital, she attempts to stop by after work to visit them. She is the one that any department can count on to help.

She serves as an inspiration to all.

 Roy Pfingsten with resident Willie Knowles
Roy Pfingsten (right)
BMA Management, Ltd.
with resident Willie Knowles

Roy Pfingsten
Heart and Hands Award Recipient

Roy began his career with BMA Management as the Director of Maintenance for the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Watseka, Illinois.

What stood out most about Roy, according to his co-workers, is his ability to build relationships with each resident. He knew what they did for a living, their favorite hobby, and how warm or cool they liked their apartment. Roy built those relationships through a genuine regard for the resident’s happiness.

After five years as a department head at the community, he was promoted to Director of Maintenance at BMA. In this role, he works with all 37 of the senior living, assisted living and memory care communities that we manage.

Roy coaches the Directors of Maintenance at each of the communities on how to prioritize their tasks by first asking what will have the most impact on residents. Everything else will then fall into place.

He is very particular about the upkeep of buildings and grounds and strives to ensure that each resident feels pride in their home. He is aware and teaches others that good stewardship leads to more resources that can be used to enhance resident safety and satisfaction. He takes the time to train new Director of Maintenance at the communities based on their learning style.

When onsite at the community, he can be found speaking to residents about how service can be improved.

Roy also has a natural tendency to volunteer discretionary effort. One recent example is when he presented resident of Heritage Woods of Chicago who is deaf and mute with a Harley-Davidson t-shirt and offered him a ride on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. It was an experience no one will forget.


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 Resident Celebrates 100th Birthday Tickling the Ivories

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

By Amber Ellis of BMA senior and assisted living management

Helen Olson - Resident of Heritage Woods of Freeport
Helen Olson enjoyed a special
birthday celebration last week.
When reflecting on her life, she
said, “100 years. Wow. It’s a real
blessing that most people don’t
get to realize and enjoy, and
let me say, what a ride!”

Helen Olson is a youthful 100.

She celebrated her centenarian status in style last week, sporting a colorful lei and taking center stage as she tickled the ivories for guests at her birthday party. She played for more than an hour, taking requests and sharing a few of her favorite songs.

It’s a scene that’s not uncommon at her new home: Heritage Woods of Freeport. Helen can often be found in the corner of the dining room, peeking over the piano as the beautiful sounds she creates fill the halls.

“This is what I enjoy, what I love,” she said. “And it’s a wonderful thing to be able to share it with everyone here. This is my release.”

Helen, who worked for decades caring for others as a nurse, lived on her own until she was 99 ½. She was one of the first people to move in when the community opened last summer. Living at Heritage Woods has allowed her to maintain her independence, meet new friends and share her passion for music with others.

One of Helen’s daughters became emotional as she shared how touched she was that so many people – the residents and staff—had come out for her Mom’s birthday celebration.

“Mom is so, so lucky, and we are, too, that she could celebrate her birthday with all of you,” she said. “You have made this day very, very special for us, for her to have a whole gallery of friends here who love her as much as we do.”

The beauty about moving into a community like Heritage Woods of Freeport is that people come together for each other. Residents have a support system, a small army of people, who celebrate things – big and small – and help them thrive in their new homes.

Supportive living communities, such as Heritage Woods of Freeport, have improved the lives of thousands of people across the state of Illinois. Each April, we celebrate all of the wonderful things that make supportive living a blessing for the individuals who live in these communities. Helen is just one example of a resident who continues to enjoy an independent lifestyle because of the love, dignity and compassion provided at BMA communities.

Below is a video of Helen sharing her life story with her new friends. Feel free to leave a birthday wish for Helen in the comments, too, and we’ll share each of them with her.


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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Affordable Assisted Living in Illinois: It’s A Wonderful Life

Thursday, April 24th, 2014

By Rick Banas of BMA senior and assisted living management

Laughing Seniors

Thousands of seniors and adults with physical disabilities in Illinois are enjoying a wonderful life because of a program in the State of Illinois that serves as a model for affordable assisted living.

The program called Supportive Living benefits seniors and adults with physical disabilities of virtually all incomes, including individuals on Medicaid. It provides them with a residential alternative to a nursing home.

This past week, the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC) posted a video that features residents sharing their comments about living in an affordable assisted living community. They talk about how the move has impacted their lives and how rewarding the experience has been.

I invite you to watch and listen to what they have to say. I also invite you to share your comments with us and this Blog and video with 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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What Sports Teach Us about Life, Aging and Overcoming Adversity

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

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

Here is an interesting question. When you are facing adversity, what is more productive, asking “why is this happening to me” or “how am I going to deal with this?”

Father Terry Keehan

Father Terry Keehan (pictured top right) explored this question during the Day of Renewal on “Life, Law and Football” that I attended this past Saturday.

The program was designed for men of all faiths and hosted by the Knights of Columbus. Father Keehan, who is the Pastor of Holy Family Church in Inverness, Illinois, was one of the presenters. His ties to sports include attending the University of Nebraska Omaha on a basketball scholarship. The Mavericks qualified to play in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament his freshmen, sophomore and junior years.

Supreme Court Justice Robert R Thomas

The program also featured Brandon New, head football coach for Saint Viator High School in Arlington Heights, Illinois and Bob Thomas (pictured bottom right), who was an Academic All-American at the University of Notre Dame and a placekicker for the Chicago Bears. Bob kicked the extra point that gave the 1973 Fighting Irish football team a 24-23 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl and the AP National Championship. He now serves as a Supreme Court Justice in the Second District in Illinois.

All of us, Father Keehan noted, face setbacks, adversity and tragedy in our lives. They can challenge our character, damage our motivation, and force us to look at life in different ways.

The speakers illustrated the many ways that competition and playing sports provide experiences that help us in our lives and in overcoming adversity.

Among other things, sports teach us about the importance of performance, goal setting, practice, hard work, skill, passion, discipline, perseverance, concentration, mental attitude and desire.

Through sports, we learn about the importance of team work, team chemistry and everybody being on the same page. We also learn about the relationship between mental and physical toughness.

We discover what it takes to be the best and that often times you do not win on talent alone. The best teams on paper at the start of March Madness, for instance, did not compete Monday night for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship.

We learn that life is not fair or just, that being part of a team is not a sometimes thing and that quitting is not an option.

Personally, I never had the type of talent necessary to play high school or college sports. But boy, how I enjoyed all of the games of football, basketball and baseball I played with my brothers, cousins and friends. It didn’t matter whether we were playing in a parking lot, street, alley, driveway or field or how many of us there were. What we enjoyed was being outdoors and competing against each other.

Growing up in a family of four boys, sports also dominated our lives at the dinner table. My poor mother frequently asked if we might argue about something other than football, baseball, basketball or hockey.

Chicago Cubs Next Year License Plate

As lifelong Chicago Cub fans, we certainly have experienced year upon year of setbacks. But as we learned from other diehards early on in our lives, there is always next year.

From my years of experience in working with older adults and their families and with what BMA does in our senior living and assisted living communities, there was one point made by the speakers that, in particular, caught my attention.

When it comes to overcoming adversity, they stressed the importance of camaraderie, of building relationships, of support from family and friends, of people being there to help us through times of trouble.

They also pointed out the impact of love, courage, mental attitude and spirituality.

Asking how am I going to deal with this is a much more practical question than why is this happening to me, Father Keehan pointed out. We likely will never get an answer to why.


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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Independence Often a Matter of Balance

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

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

The evidence is clear. Falls are the leading cause of injury and loss of independence among older adults.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention LogoFacts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) speak for themselves:

One out of three individuals 65 and older fall each year.

Among individuals 65+, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries.

Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injury.

20% to 30% of those who fall suffer moderate to severe injury.

Individuals 75 and older are four to five times more likely to fall than those 65 to 74 years of age.

Many people who fall develop a fear of falling, even if they are not injured. As a result, they limit activity which leads to reduced mobility and a loss of physical fitness which increases the risk of falling.

Less than ½ of those who fall talk to their health care providers about it.

People fall for many reasons, including loss of strength and flexibility, the medications they are taking, their eating habits, clutter, the shoes they wear, and improperly adjusted or poorly designed canes and walkers. Hearing issues also can affect your balance.

Fortunately, falling is not a normal part of aging. There are steps you can take to improve your balance, reduce the possibility of falling. Here are some of them.

Talk with your doctor and other health care providers immediately if you fall or are having issues with your balance. Do not ignore the situation.

Have your doctor and pharmacist review all of the prescription and over-the-counter medications that you take, especially to identify any medications that may cause dizziness, drowsiness or other side effects.

Have your eyes checked at least once a year, and do not ignore any changes in your vision. Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration as well as not having the right prescription for your glasses can increase the risk of falling.

Reduce your risk of a hip fracture by getting adequate amounts of Vitamin D and calcium.

Wear properly-fitting shoes with non-slip soles.

Reduce tripping hazards in your home by eliminating the clutter. Also eliminate or tape down small throw or area rugs. As nationally recognized safety expert Dorothy Drago suggests in her recently released book on Living Safely – Aging Well, if the rug can’t go, consider hanging it on a wall like a tapestry.

Install grab bars by the toilet and in the shower/bathtub. Install railings on both sides of the stairs.

Be sure the lighting on both the inside and outside of your house is adequate. You should have lighting at both the top and the bottom of any staircase. Nightlights should illuminate the path from your bed to your bathroom.

Equip your shower/bathtub with non-skid mats.

Using a cane or walker can help reduce your risk of falling. Ask your doctor or other health care professionals for their recommendations on what cane or walker is right for you. Be sure your cane or walker is properly adjusted for your height and that you receive instructions on how to properly use your cane or walker. Remember, your cane or walker does you no good if you do not use it.

Be sure items you frequently use are stored in an area you can easily reach without having to use a step stool or ladder.

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to exercise regularly, especially focusing on exercises that will strengthen your legs. Your legs are not only essential for mobility; they help you get out of bed, chair, car, bathtub or shower and off a toilet.

I encourage you to take every step you can to Age Well.


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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