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Posts Tagged ‘assisted living’

Don’t Have a Stroke, People

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

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

Every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke, Rochie Estrella told those of us attending an informational program about Stroke Awareness and Prevention held earlier this week at the Heritage Woods of Gurnee affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Lake County, Illinois.

Rochie is a registered nurse and Stroke Coordinator for Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan. The medical center is the first hospital in Northern Lake County to be accredited by the Joint Commission as a Primary Stroke Center.

Rochie and the hospital are making a big push to get information out into the community so people are aware of what they can do to reduce their risk of a stroke, what the symptoms of a stroke are, and the importance of getting to a hospital and getting treatment right away.

Strokes are the 4th leading cause of death in our country and are a leading cause of physical and mental disability. They can happen to anybody at any time. Women are at a greater risk of suffering a stroke than men.

Rochie explained that there are three different kinds of stroke.

TIAs or Transient Ischemic Attacks are often referred to as mini-strokes. They occur when an artery leading to the brain or an artery in the brain becomes blocked for a short period of time. While the material that Rochie distributed from the National Stroke Association notes that they do not cause any permanent damage, they can be a warning sign of the possibility of a more serious stroke and should not be ignored. Possible symptoms include numbness, trouble speaking and loss of balance or coordination.

Ischemic Strokes are the most common type of stroke. They occur in one of two ways. A blood clot or plaque fragment from somewhere in your body moves through your blood stream to your brain and blocks a blood vessel. Or, a blood clot forms in an artery that supplies blood to your brain, which interrupts blood flow and the supply of oxygen to your brain.

Hemorrhagic Strokes occur when a blood vessel in your brain bursts. The bleeding causes brain cells to die. High blood pressure and brain aneurysms are common reasons for a hemorrhagic stroke.

Rochie talked to us about the warnings signs of a stroke. They include sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body; sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes; sudden trouble walking; sudden dizziness; or a sudden loss of balance. Symptoms can also include sudden severe headaches with no known cause.

With a stroke, every minute counts, Rochie said, so she urged us to think and act FAST.

Face — Look for any facial drooping; an uneven smile.

Arm — Check for any kind of arm numbness, tingling or weakness. This also applies to the legs.

Speech — Look for any kind of slurring, difficulty speaking or understanding.

Time — You always want to call 911 and get to a hospital immediately. Be sure to write down the time the symptoms first started. This is valuable information for those treating someone suffering from a stroke to have.

If you are experiencing any signs or symptoms of a stroke, also be sure to let a family member or caregiver know right away.

Rochie also provided us with ways that you can reduce your risk of suffering a stroke. They include the following:

See your doctor regularly. Have your doctor check your blood, medications and vital signs.

Take your medications when and as prescribed. Don’t stop taking your medications because you are feeling better.

Exercise regularly, about 30 minutes of physical activity a day.

Eat a healthy diet.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Don’t smoke. If you do, quit. Smoking can narrow your blood vessels.

Check your blood pressure regularly. High blood pressure is a risk factor for strokes.

Maintain appropriate cholesterol levels. High levels of bad cholesterol can cause the build-up of plaque and narrowing of blood vessels.

To learn more, you can visit www.strokeassociation.org or www.stroke.org.


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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Make Every Moment Count

Friday, August 15th, 2014

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

The wording on his shirt caught my attention as I walked past. I was in my first lap of a walk around one of the lakes at the Twin Lakes recreational area in Palatine, Illinois. He was sitting alone on a park bench alongside the walking path.

Make Every Moment Count

“Make Every Moment Count”

I am not sure exactly why, but I immediately put aside whatever it was that I was thinking about and began focusing on those four words.

“Make Every Moment Count”

Maybe it was because of everything that had happened the previous day. In the morning I went to see a doctor for a physical. I went because my family is concerned about my health. After all, I will be turning 63 in a few weeks. The last time I had a complete physical was more than 30 years ago. The last time I saw a doctor was in 2007, only because it was required to have a hernia repaired.

In the evening, my schedule allowed me to attend Tai Chi. I started taking the class in Chi Gong and Tai Chi at Holy Family in Inverness nearly two years ago. The class is taught by Paul Semanic, who has been a Do-It Yourself Messiah trumpet soloist in Chicago for many years.

I used to have mixed feelings about the warmer weather months. I loved the long hours of daylight, the sun and the opportunity to be outdoors without having to bundle up. But the warmer weather meant allergy season. My eyes would water and itch. My nose would run. I’d endure bouts of sneezing. Congestion would build up in my throat and chest. I am not sure if there is any connection; since I started the class, my problems with allergies have all but disappeared. In addition, I have more flexibility and less stress. I am sleeping better and sitting up straighter.

On my way home from Tai Chi, I heard the news about Robin Williams. He was only five weeks older than me.

As I continued my walk around the lake, I began noticing things about the park that before had not caught my attention.

The joyful noise from all of the children playing on the swings, slides and other playground equipment.

The group playing touch football.

The people out on the lake in paddle boats, and the young lad in a kayak that was gleefully weaving around the paddle boaters.

The mother sitting and talking with a young boy; her arm around his shoulder.

The group walking rescued greyhounds.

The older couple walking around the lake; he with an artificial leg.

I began thinking about how lucky I am.

To have a family that cares so much about me that they demand I see a doctor. I appreciate their teaming up to make sure I made and kept my appointment.

To have health that enables me to take long walks around a lake on a beautiful summer evening. More and more research indicates that regular exercise not only benefits your physical health, but also reduces your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improves brain function.

To work for a mission-driven company that operates assisted living and memory care communities that serve individuals of all incomes.

To be able to exercise outdoors on a magnificent summer evening rather than being among those trapped on a mountain top in northern Iraq.

I also began thinking about all the ways I find to not Make Every Moment Count. The times that I find lame excuses for not exercising or not practicing the meditation, Chi Gong and Tai Chi routines that I learned. The times that I tune out family members or friends so I can watch some inane program on television.

In the days ahead, which I hope are many, I encourage you to join me in making every effort to Make Every Moment Count.


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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5 Reasons to Consider a BMA Affordable Assisted Living Community

Thursday, July 24th, 2014

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

If you or someone you love needs some help to maintain independence, here are five great reasons why you should consider an affordable assisted living community operated by BMA Management, Ltd.

1. You will find the monthly fees to be surprisingly affordable, especially when compared with other options. Often, they are much lower than other assisted living communities. Plus, there are no Entrance Fees, Community Fees, or leveling charges that increase the amount you pay if you need additional help or services. This can mean hundreds and even thousands of dollars in savings.

5 Reasons to Consider BMA2. For those who do not have the financial resources to afford the monthly fee, either at the time of move-in or somewhere down the road, a financial assistance program is available.

3. The communities are attractive, warm and comfortable. You are not paying hundreds of dollars a month for flowery wallpaper, Queen Anne-style furniture, and tablecloths and fresh flowers on the dining room tables for every meal.

4. You will find that a higher percentage of what is spent to operate the communities goes toward what is most important to residents and their families – staff members who provide direct care for residents.

5. Resident satisfaction at the communities is no different than the high levels of satisfaction enjoyed by assisted living communities that charge much more. More than 98% of residents at the affordable assisted living communities managed by BMA would recommend the community to others.

Especially for the cost-conscious, BMA affordable assisted living communities offer great value at a great price.

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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Health Benefits of Consuming Cantaloupe

Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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

Cantaloupe

The other night our daughter cut into a cantaloupe that we had purchased a couple of days earlier from one of the vendors at the Farmers Market in our hometown of Palatine, Illinois. The cantaloupe that we had picked out was nice and firm, round and heavy. There were no soft spots or bruising.

The sweet aroma permeated the kitchen, and we enjoyed the juicy flavor.

Since childhood, cantaloupe during the summer season has been one of my favorite treats.

Little did I know of the many possible health benefits associated with eating cantaloupe.

Here are some of them:

The water content of cantaloupe is high, which helps protect us from dehydration and the effects of summer heat.

Cantaloupe contains an abundance of antioxidants that provide protection against a range of diseases and conditions from the common cold to cancer, including age-related macular degeneration, asthma and high blood pressure.

Cantaloupe contains high amounts of Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Vitamin A helps promote good vision and plays an important role in helping us maintain healthy skin, teeth, bones and our immune system.

Vitamin C is good for your skin and bones, helps your body heal, and helps your body absorb iron.

Your hair also is likely to benefit from your intake of Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Information posted earlier this month on the Medical News Today website about the health benefits of cantaloupe suggests that you “mash together” cantaloupe and avocado, smooth the mixture onto your hair, and “leave it one for ten minutes to replenish moisture and add shine.” (MNT – Article)

Cantaloupe is one of the foods that are high in potassium. Eating foods that are high in potassium are associated with decreased blood pressure, reduced risk of stroke, protection against muscle loss and a reduction in the formation of kidney stones. A word of caution if you are taking a beta-blocker; you should consume foods that are high in potassium in moderation.

With its high water and fiber content, cantaloupe can help you maintain a healthy digestive tract and prevent constipation.

I enjoy eating cantaloupe just by itself or as part of a fruit salad, with watermelon, banana, pineapple, mandarin oranges, blueberries. On those occasions when I want to indulge and am not concerned about calories, I will scoop some ice cream onto cantaloupe and top with chocolate sauce.

I found another interesting suggestion on how to incorporate more cantaloupe into your diet on the Medical News Today website, which I have to try; “muddle cantaloupe into your glass of lemonade, iced tea or water for a burst of fresh fruity flavor.”

What suggestions might you have?

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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Need for Affordable Assisted Living Enormous

Friday, July 11th, 2014

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

Steve Moran - Senior Housing Forom

Over the past couple of weeks, Steve Moran of Senior Housing Forum posted a series of Blogs that focused on affordable assisted living for low-income seniors.

In Part One, Steve laid the groundwork for why affordable assisted living is needed.

In Part Two, he highlighted six trigger points that our company, BMA Management, find to be important when deciding if and where to develop affordable assisted living communities.

BMA is the largest provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois and ranks as the 16th largest provider of assisted living in the country. Thirty-six of our communities operate through the Illinois Supportive Living program, a Medicaid-waiver program that enables us to serve low-income seniors and adults with physical disabilities. On average, two-thirds of the residents in the communities are receiving financial assistance through Medicaid.

Both of Steve’s Blogs are based on a conversation that Steve had during the 2014 Assisted Living Federation of America Conference & Exposition (ALFA) in Phoenix with Rod Burkett, President of BMA Management, and Wayne Smallwood, Executive Director of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC).

Here are links to the Blogs:

Part One:
Exploring Low Income Assisted Living
with Rod Burkett and Wayne Smallwood

Part Two:
6 Trigger Points for Developing Affordable Assisted Living
with Rod Burkett and Wayne Smallwood

Looking at both the current population of older adults in our country as well as the coming tsunami of Baby Boomers, the need for affordable assisted living is enormous.

Here are some of the reasons why:

Today’s Older Adult Population

Data indicates that a significant percentage of the older adult population that is of an age where they might likely need assisted living simply cannot afford the cost of living in an assisted living community.

A 2012 MetLife Survey indicates that the monthly average base rate for assisted living as of a couple of years ago was $3,550, which equates to $42,600 a year. In addition to the base rate, many assisted living communities charge extra for any services or assistance that are beyond what is included in the base rate. From my experience, I have seen these extra charges run from as low as $300 a month to as high as $2,000 or more.

As of 2014, an estimated 45% of the households headed by individuals 75+ have annual household incomes of less than $25,000 and more than 60% have incomes of less than $35,000.

Among the 85+ population, nearly 53% of the households have annual household incomes of less than $25,000 and 69% have incomes of less than $35,000.

The Baby Boomers

Pundits estimate that 50% of Baby Boomers will likely not have enough money to last them through retirement. When they reach the age where needing assisted living or nursing home care will be likely, they will not have the financial means to afford it.

With the phasing out of traditional pension benefits, they will need to rely entirely on Social Security benefits for income.

They lack any substantial savings.

They have little or no housing wealth.

They have substantial credit card debt.

Affordable Assisted Living

The Illinois Supportive Living program serves as a wonderful model for making affordable assisted living available for low-income individuals. As Steve notes, the communities we operate are not “stripped-down, minimalist” versions of assisted living communities. They are warm and comfortable environments where love, compassion and dignity are the focus.

The state and federal governments benefit because the cost for an individual who is receiving financial assistance from Medicaid is 45% less in a Supportive Living community than in a nursing home.


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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