With the Summer of 2013 set to start here in Illinois shortly after midnight on Friday, I wanted to remind you that high temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity levels, should be of concern to all of us, especially older adults.
Fortunately, the forecast for Friday calls for the high temperature to be right around historical averages unlike last year when we were in the midst of a heat wave as summer arrived.
Whether you are in the Chicago area, central or southern Illinois, temperatures can reach dangerous levels here in Illinois.
Looking at information from the National Weather Service, the highest temperatures on record in Springfield, our State Capital, for June is 104, which happened in 1934; for July is 112 in 1954; and for August is 108 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 degrees on 13 days in July.
In Charleston, home of our Heritage Woods of Charleston affordable assisted living community, and in Danville, home of our Bowman Estates affordable assisted living community, the temperature topped 100 degrees on 15 days in July.
In Decatur, home of our Eagle Ridge 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 heat that summer.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns us that older adults are more at risk from illness and injury due to the heat for three key reasons:
Older adults do not adjust well to sudden changes in temperature.
Older adults are more likely to have a chronic medical condition that changes normal body responses to heat.
Older adults are more likely to be taking prescription medications that impair the body’s ability to regulate temperature or inhibits perspiration.
Young children and individuals who are sick or overweight also are among those most at risk.
The CDC encourages us to visit at risk older adults at least twice a day and watch for signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Other 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/their doctor if your/their doctor has limited the amount of fluid you/they drink or if you/they are taking water pills.)
Avoid heavy meals and alcohol.
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 also 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 be wearing protective clothing such as light weight and light color fabrics, hats and sun glasses.
Take cool baths or showers. Sponge baths, ice bags and wet towels also can be helpful.
Visit air-conditioned restaurants and malls.
Air conditioning can do more than help you stay cool; it can be a lifesaver.
During heat emergencies, older adults can contact their local Area Agency on Aging or the Senior HelpLine at 800-252-8966 for assistance in locating buildings that serve as Cooling Centers.
To cool off during heat emergencies, we also invite you to visit a BMA Management community near you. For a map of where our assisted living, senior living and memory care communities are located, go to http://goo.gl/maps/thTfB
One of the included amenities that takes on so much added importance at our communities when heat warnings and heat 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.
In particular during the summer season, 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 Illinois in which a person’s body temperature can rise above 106 degrees 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 to protect yourself and others, here are a couple of websites you might want to visit:
BMA Management was honored earlier this month by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) with a 2013 Best of the Best Award for our Eat Smart, Live Strong Initiative.
ALFA is the largest national association exclusively dedicated to professionally-managed senior living communities and the residents and families they serve.
The association’s Best of the Best awards program is designed to recognize outstanding business practices in the senior living industry. BMA won the “A Taste of the Future: The Next Generation Dining Menu” category.
The award was presented to Rod Burkett, President and CEO of BMA Management, and Rachel Hawn, a graduate student at Eastern Illinois University at ALFA’s 2013 Conference & Expo that was held May 6 – 9 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
For the Eat Smart, Live Strong Initiative, we partnered up with Eastern Illinois University (EIU) to see if a program that was developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for seniors 60 to 74 years of age could improve the health and nutritional habits of older seniors in assisted living communities.
The average age of residents in assisted living communities is 83.
EIU was interested in studying whether the program would successfully motivate assisted living residents to eat at least 3.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day and to get at least 30 minutes of daily exercise.
The graduate gerontology program at EIU and the university’s kinesiology and nutrition programs were involved in the project. Jacquelyn Frank, Ph.D., Coordinator of the Master of Arts in Gerontology program directed the university’s participation.
We viewed the collaborate project as an opportunity to refine and enhance our Wellness programs offered at our communities. We operate 36 assisted living, senior living and memory care communities throughout the State of Illinois.
Our focus was on how we could help residents make lifestyle changes that would contribute to a longer and more independent life. We also used the initiative as an opportunity to incorporate the dining experience into our Wellness program.
Based on the results of the pilot project, we are expanding the initiative to all of the communities that BMA manages.
From what we learned in the collaborative effort with EIU and feedback provided by the residents, we made a number of enhancements to our dining and wellness programs.
We changed our menu to offer more choices of fresh fruits and vegetables and have taken steps to insure residents of all physical abilities can participate in the exercise programs available at the communities.
We also learned the value of showing residents what a cup of fruit or vegetables looks like and promoting friendly competition to get and keep residents involved. People are a lot more willing to participate if they have a peer or buddy who is willing to do it with them.
Other initiations that are being tried as part of this effort are to develop resident vegetable gardens and to combine healthy snacks with activities such as serving smoothies after an exercise program or hosting a Pizza Party in the Park, which involved a 30-minute walk in the park followed by a picnic of homemade vegetable pizza.
(Left to Right) Mark Ohlendorf – Immediate Past Board Chairman of ALFA Rachel Hawn – Graduate student from Eastern Illinois University Rod Burkett – President & CEO of BMA Management, Ltd. Richard Grimes – President and CEO of ALFA
This was the second time BMA has been recognized by ALFA with a Best of the Best award. In 2010, we were presented with a Best of the Best award for the our Leading the Way leadership training program.
This year, ALFA also spotlighted our WoW Program in the “Encouraging New Resident Engagement in the First 90 Days” category.
The WoW Program is based on the first 72 hours being the key to helping residents adjust faster to the move to assisted living. The program focuses on staff and residents delivering special personalized attention to engage new residents during their first 72 hours of residency.
Both the Eat Smart, Live Strong Initiative and the WoW Program are driven by our focus of providing residents with the love, compassion and dignity that they deserve and emphasis on helping each resident to achieve and maintain as much independence as possible for as long as possible.
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of assisted living in Illinois and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
By Wayne Smallwood of the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC)
Last month, Supportive Living communities from throughout the State of Illinois joined together to celebrate Supportive Living Week 2012.
Out 5th Annual Supportive Living Celebration provided a special opportunity to salute the Illinois Supportive Living program as the best program for affordable assisted living in the country and a model for other states to follow.
Our theme this year was “Taking the Mystery Out of Supportive Living.” Our focus was on showing why Supportive Living is the obvious solution for seniors and adults with disabilities seeking an affordable residential style of living with the availability of personal assistance and support services.
Residents, their families, and the State of Illinois all benefit from the program.
Residents benefit from a program that emphasizes personal choice, dignity, privacy and individuality. They enjoy a wonderful alternative to a nursing home or to struggling alone at home.
Families enjoy the peace of mind of knowing that a loved one is receiving the help with medications and personal assistance they need while living in a wonderful residential environment.
The State of Illinois and taxpayers benefit because the cost to the State of a person receiving financial support from Medicaid is 40% less in Supportive Living than it would be if the person were in a nursing home.
Since the first Supportive Living community began operating in the fall of 1999, the Supportive Living program has grown significantly. Today, there are 136 Supportive Living communities in operation in more than 70 Counties. Together, these communities house more than 10,500 apartments.
To help celebrate Supportive Living Week 2012, the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition sponsored several programs:
SLFs Got Talent
Residents from more than 45 Supportive Living communities participated in our 2012 SLFs Got Talent contest.
A panel of judges narrowed the field down to 25 and then popular voting was used to help determine the “Top Ten”. The “Top Ten” performed live in Springfield, with representatives from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services serving as judges.
Dave “Twinky” Stewart of Friedman Place in Chicago for his rendition on the piano of a song that he wrote.
Warren Lane of Courtyard Estates of Sullivan for his piano and vocal performance of “I Left My Heart in San Francisco.”
Rhonda Martin of Eden Supportive Living in Chicago for her vocal rendition of “King of the Road.”
Marjorie Conrad of Springfield Supportive Living for her vocal and dance performance of “Kansas City.”
The other Top Ten winners who performed live in Springfield were:
Flora Morgan of Cambridge House of Maryville singing “God Bless the USA”
Fran Henke of Glenhaven Gardens singing “Unto These Hills”
Irma Sands of Evergreen Village in Normal playing the “12th Street Rag” on the piano
A “Harmonica Medley” by Ray “Budzo” Soltis of Evergreen Place in Streator
Ted Kraft of Eagle Ridge of Decatur singing “Besame Mucho”
A performance of Peggy Lee’s “Fever” by Eleanor Coppola, Virginia Jankowksi, Marilyn Johnson, Vera Mitchell, James Wiener and Mary and Carmen Siciliano of Heritage Woods of Batavia.
Our 2012 Testimonial Contest featured testimonials submitted by residents of Supportive Living communities.
Edward and Mary Jane Marrs of Heritage Woods of Yorkville
Ora Mae Goodrich of Springfield Supportive Living
Patricia Black of Heritage Woods of Chicago
Mildred Cast of River to River in Marion
Mary Hawkins of Heritage Woods of Flora
Frances Henke of Glenhaven Gardens of Alton
Mary Lois McCarnes of Legacy Estates of Monmouth
Wii Bowling Tournament
More than 70 teams of residents in Supportive Living communities throughout the State participated in our 3rd Annual Wii Bowling Tournament.
The tournament culminated with a “Final Four” at the Abraham Lincoln Hotel and Conference Center in Springfield, Illinois.
For the second year in a row, the Glenhaven Gardeners from Glenhaven Gardens in Alton took home the First Place Trophy. Team member Edna Mobley was recognized for having the highest average of all bowlers in the Final Four competition. Her average per game score was 246.
Frank Bosoluke • Peggy Brown • Shirley Kane
Carol Kuhlman • Edna Mobley
Oy Vey! From Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook finished in Second Place. Team member Michael Malina was honored for bowling the High Game in the Final Four, bowling a 279 in the Semi-Finals. Team member Manny Shellist was recognized for being the oldest resident to have bowled in an AALC Final Four. Many is 100 years of age.
Salvatore Armenia • Dorothy Green • Frances Heagy
Michael Malina • Joan Schmitz • Manny Shellist
The Prairie Pins from Prairie Living at Chautauqua in Carbondale secured the Third Place trophy be defeating the team from Cambridge House of Maryville by seven pins.
Alla Boyer • Carol Evans • Chris Garden
Sharon Hawkins • Bridget Watson • Arline White
For the second year in a row, the Silver Sliders from Cambridge House of Maryville finished in Fourth Place. The team won the inaugural tournament in 2010.
Betty Mahan • Gladys Nasif • P.J. Weihl
Our 2012 Photo Contest featured photos submitted by Supportive Living communities.
“Wind in Your Sails” by Eden Supportive Living (Image Right)
“Enjoying the Barn Dance” by Heritage Woods of Sterling
“Academy Awards” by Magnolia Terrace in Waterloo
“Barn Dance” by Heritage Woods of Sterling
“Everyone Enjoy a Little Pet” by Evergreen Village of Normal
“Horseback Riding” by Pathway Senior Living
“Joy & Happiness of Supportive Living” by Heritage Woods of DeKalb
“Planting Flowers” by Heritage Woods of Flora
“Tractor” by Heritage Woods of Batavia
“Watch Out Below” by Evergreen Place of Litchfield
“Advocating in Springfield”
Residents and staff from Supportive Living communities travelled to our State Capitol in Springfield to advocate for Supportive Living. During their visit, they met with Gov. Patrick Quinn to express their concerns over proposed cuts to Medicaid that would have a major negative impact on the Supportive Living program.
Our thanks to Wayne Smallwood – Executive Director of the AALC – for contributing this guest blog.
As I get ready to head to the annual meeting of the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA.org) next week, I am reminded of a wonderful video that premiered last year.
Susan Vasquez, the Director of Marketing at the Heritage Woods of DeKalb affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in DeKalb, Illinois, was one of just 12 individuals who work in assisted living around the country selected to be part of the “Every Day We Make a Difference” video.
“It was enjoyable to put your mouth where your money comes from and sing a very meaningful song,” Susan said.
The music video was produced as part of ALFA’s celebration of its 20th Anniversary and the organization’s continuous focus on Choice, Independence, Dignity and Quality of Life.
Please take a moment to watch and listen to the video below.
In the communities that we manage, here are just some of the ways that we are Making A Difference and touching the lives of older adults and their families:
br> From Garbage Truck to Mercedes
As the man in his mid-sixties sat in one of our newly opened Heritage Woods of South Elgin affordable assisted living community, he asked his friend to describe his new home. Skin cancer had cost the man his eyesight, and he had been living in a nursing home for the past two years. His friend was there to help him complete the paperwork for his move into his apartment. “It’s like you fell out of a garbage truck,” his friend said, “and landed in a Mercedes.” While the man can not appreciate the look of the community, the way he is treated by the staff has certainly caught his attention. “Never have so many people been so nice to me,” he comments. “If I could cry, I would.”
Affordable Assisted Living a Gem for Pearl & Her Family
Pearl, Gayle and Bill were quickly running out of options.
Pearl, who is 89 years old, was living alone in an apartment in Naperville, Illinois. She had fallen a couple of times in the middle of the night, and her eyesight was failing. Due to her vision problems, Pearl was no longer able to drive and she was having difficulties seeing her medications.
The solution was to hire a live-in to be with Pearl 24 hours a day so that help would be available when she needed it.
The woman who was living with Mom was very good; she was like family, explained Gayle, Pearl’s daughter. The problem was that Mom’s finances were quickly being depleted. Just the cost of the live-in help alone was more than $1,000 a week. She would soon be at the point of not being able to afford the person who was helping here. Likewise, she was not going to be able to afford assisted living. She wanted her independence, and certainly didn’t want to go to a nursing home.
“We were at the point where we didn’t know what was going to happen.” says Gayle.
Thankfully, she adds, a direct mail piece with information about Supportive Living and our Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook affordable assisted living community caught her attention as she was sorting through her mail. “It addressed what was going through our mind” so Gayle and her husband, Bill, discussed it with Pearl and decided to take a look.
“This was new to us,” says Gayle, but the more we learned, the more we were convinced that Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook was, “where Mom was supposed to be.”
• The Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook affordable assisted living community is especially designed to benefit older adults, such as Pearl, who need some help to maintain their independence but do not have the financial resources to afford assisted living.
• The location is ideal, right down the street from where Gayle and Bill have lived since 1971.
• When they inquired to get more information after getting the direct mail piece and met with Leah Mayer, who is the Director of Marketing at Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook, Gayle pointed out that, “there was no pressure and she was so easy to talk to.”
• Pearl would be able to have her own apartment…plus she would get the assistance and help with her medications she needed. She would not have to move to a nursing home.
• Everyone involved with Heritage Woods is so loving and caring. They treat us like family
Pearl, however, was not too sure, says Gayle. She had lived in her apartment in Naperville, IL for more than 20 years and wanted to stay there for as long as possible. She was comfortable where she was and apprehensive about what she would be getting into. She knew where everything was at in her apartment in Naperville, IL which was important to her because of the problems she has with her eyesight.
It was not until after construction of Heritage Woods of Bolingbrook had been completed and Pearl had the opportunity to see what her apartment looked like that she fully agreed with the decision to move.
Pearl, Gayle and Bill have all benefitted from the decision for Pearl to move to affordable assisted living after she had lived alone for so long. Pearl enjoys “a good measure of the independence that she wanted and we know that she is well cared for,” says Bill.
The woman in her 80s walked up to us to express her thanks. “You have given me my independence back,” said the resident of Eagle Ridge of Decatur affordable assisted living community that we manage in Decatur, Illinois. She and her husband had immigrated to the United States from Austria when she was 36 years old. The only reason she was not sent to a concentration camp toward the end of World War II was the camps were filled. Her “crime” she told us was that she had commented to her landlord that she hoped the Allies would win so that they would no longer have to endure the horrors of the war. Prior to moving into Eagle Ridge, she had been living with her children. As much as she appreciated their love and attention, “they were smothering me,” she said.
We Can’t Say Thank You Enough
In a touching note sent to the Heritage Woods Aledo affordable assisted living community that we manage in Aledo, Illinois, the family of Clara McConnell expressed their “heartfelt thanks to all for the care that Clara received these past four years.”
“Her family was comforted knowing that she was tucked in safe and cozy, with Heritage Woods staff looking out for her.”
“As evidenced by all her plants and treasured personal items surrounding her, Clara made this her home.”
“We consider it a blessing that Heritage Woods came along just when we needed it.”
“As a ‘graduate’ from Mercer County Nursing Home in November 2006, following recovery from a stroke, Clara found independence in this assisted living setting but was secure in knowing that help was immediately available if needed.”
“Thank You… again and again. We can’t say it enough.”
Mary Klepitsch moved to the Heritage Wood of DeKalb affordable assisted living community with her husband, Fred, from Nevada. Due to medical issues, they needed to be closer to their son, who lives in the area. Mary feels blessed to be able to live in comfort and maintain her independence. “It saved my sanity. I didn’t have to worry about Fred when I was out, and I wasn’t alone in dealing with life.”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”
Here in Chicago, we already are well above the full season averages for snow fall, the number of days when the temperature fails to get above freezing, and the number of days that the ground has been covered with snow.
The past two nights have been among the coldest of this winter season, with temperatures dropping well below zero and wind chills down to 20° to 25° below.
At this time last week, we were still digging out from the Blizzard of 2011, which featured the combination of 20+ inches of snow, 50+ mile-an-hour gusts of wind, flashes of lightning and claps of thunder.
It’s during times such as these that the benefits of living in a senior living or assisted living community become so amplified, as told to me by residents and their families.
Residents don’t have to worry about running out, or finding someone to take them, to stock up on things as warnings of the need to prepare for a blizzard pound the airwaves on the radio and television. They don’t have to worry about shoveling or snow blowing driveways and sidewalks nor about being isolated in a home alone.
Even more importantly for those in assisted living, they don’t have to worry about a relative, home health agency or meal delivery service being able to reach them to provide them with something nutritious to eat, help with medications or the personal assistance that they need.
As I listened to those at our communities recap all of the steps they took to ensure that residents would be safe and secure during the Blizzard of 2011, the following two stories in particular captured my attention.
Cabin Fever Party
At our Eagle Ridge of Decaturaffordable assisted living community in Decatur, Illinois, board games were used to help relieve boredom.
The community hosted a Cabin Fever Party to help residents ride out the storm.
“We went down to the Activity Room, pulled out every game we had, and brought them all to the Dining Room,” says Kristi Ruderman, Administrator. With Big Band music playing in the background, residents and staff, including the department heads, played Yahtzee, Scrabble, poker, checkers, Bunko, and juice pong. While playing, residents munched on freshly baked banana bread, cookies and Snickerdoodles and sipped hot chocolate.
The residents talked about how happy they were that they didn’t have to be outside.
But they are not the type to never go anywhere or do anything, says Robin Bauerle, Director of Marketing. They are on-the-go, visiting friends and family and going to the Mall, beauty shops and exercise. They love the outings we offer to places such as the Bement County Opry and Prairie Gardens.
Since they don’t like to be stuck inside, we didn’t want them to become bored because they had nothing more to do than watching all the snow accumulate outside.
“We want to add quality and fun to their lives,” Kristi says, in addition to making sure they receive the help and assistance that the need.
At our Heritage Woods of Sterlingaffordable assisted living community in Sterling, Illinois, residents took notice as department heads moved into the community to spend the night of the blizzard with them.
“We ate together, bowled on Wii, played cards, popped popcorn and watched a movie” before retiring for the evening,” says Rae Ann Higley, Resident Services Coordinator.
Staff made sure that the residents were safe and warm while the world around us was a whirlwind on snow, ice and wind.
In the morning, everyone pitched in to make sure that their bellies were full. As we helped pour coffee and serve food, we were reminded about how well the Dietary staff knows the likes and dislikes of residents – for this resident, it’s ½ Cornflakes™ and ½ Cheerios™ – mixed together – not in two separate bowls; this resident wants milk in a tall glass, not small; this resident likes tomato juice with ice.
During the Blizzard, the community also posted updates and pictures of what was going on at Heritage Woods of Sterling on Facebook to help provide comfort and peace of mind to family members.
“It is nice not to have to worry about our loved ones in the midst of this huge blizzard,” one family member commented in thanking Heritage Woods for the Facebook postings. “I feel very comfortable that he is well taken care of.”
What are your thoughts? Leave a comment and let us know.
“BMA Management is the leading provider of affordable assisted living in Illinois and one of the 20 largest providers of assisted living in the United States.”