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Posts Tagged ‘assisted living’

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.

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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.

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Myths About Chocolate & Ten Tips to Reduce Your Hypertension Risk

Thursday, 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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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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