By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.
With the loss of independence being one of the biggest concerns of older adults, we are thrilled that three of our affordable assisted living communities were selected to test the viability of offering special programs for older adults with osteoarthritis and chronic medical conditions.
The Affordable Assisted Living Coalition (AALC), which is based in Springfield, Illinois, secured grant monies from the Federal Stimulus program to enable three communities in the Chicago area to test the award-winning “Fit & Strong” program and six communities in other parts of the state to test the “Live Well, Be Well” program.
The AALC represents 120 Supportive Living communities in Illinois that offer an alternative to nursing home care for older adults and the disabled of all incomes, including those on Medicaid.
The grants enable us evidence-based programs to promote healthy aging by holding exercise and educational classes in supportive living communities for both residents and non-residents, says Wayne Smallwood, Executive Director of AALC.
Our Heritage Woods of South Elgin affordable assisted living community is testing the “Fit & Strong” program, which is designed for individuals suffering from osteoarthritis or arthritis in the lower extremities. Osteoarthritis is the leading cause of disability in older adults and a significant risk factor for future disability.
The eight-week program involves education, exercise and evaluation and has been shown to improve lower extremity stiffness, pain and strength and increase aerobic capacity.
The program is designed for those with chronic conditions such as arthritis, heart disease, asthma, lung disease, diabetes, emphysema and Parkinson’s disease.
In the six week program, participants learn about building a more effective relationship with their doctor; dealing with pain, isolation and frustration; and communicating with family and friends. Tips on eating, exercise and medication management also are covered, and participants are provided with a copy of a companion book “Living a Healthy Life with Chronic Conditions.”
Our goal is to help seniors care develop healthy lifestyle habits and ultimately live longer and stronger, says Smallwood. Both of these programs have proven to improve the quality of life; reduce disability and injury; improve health; and lower health care costs.
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“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.”