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Posts Tagged ‘Affordable Assisted Living Community’

The Downbeat on Music and Your Memory

Wednesday, August 8th, 2012

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

When it comes to music, I was not the one to be blessed with any talent, natural or otherwise.

ClarinetI played sticks in kindergarten; took piano lessons for about a year as a young boy, practicing on a cardboard keyboard since we didn’t have the money for a real piano; and “played” clarinet in the grade school and high school bands. My seat always seemed to be in the back row. Of course, a little more practice might have helped.

My vocal talents are not any better. When I was working for the Alexian Brothers, I was asked to sing in the choir. Voices were needed for a special Mass later in the week. All the Lord expects, I was told, is “joyful noise.” The noise part, I certainly could provide. But there is nothing joyful about it. If I happen by chance to hit a right note, I don’t even know it.

My three brothers fared much better, with Don playing trombone, Jeff on trumpet, and Jed on drums. In high school at Notre Dame College Prep, Don was a member of the Melodons (CJF1969 – p17CJF1971, p11), a jazz band that was so talented that it made special guest appearances at the Collegiate Jazz Festival (CJF). What a treat it was to watch and listen one night as Don and Jimmy Pankow of the group Chicago were up on stage, playing trombones together at a Melodons concert. Jimmy, who also attended Notre Dame College Prep and had played in the Melodons, was making a special guest appearance to play with the band.

Recent information suggests that maybe I should have stuck with my attempts to play piano and clarinet, not for the sake of others but for my sake.

As I was preparing our most recent BMA E-Newsletter, I came across a study by Brenda Hanna-Pladdy, a clinical neuropsychologist in the Department of Neurology at the Emory University School of Medicine. The study suggests that musical instrument training may reduce the effects of memory decline and cognitive aging.

The day after we posted our July 2012 e-newsletter, Ellen Belk of Keep in Mind™, sent me an e-mail about the Mature Musicians.

Ellen and I first met when we were both working at Alexian Village of Milwaukee. She and her husband now operate a company based in South Carolina that provides dementia care coaching services and memory care resources such as Memory Magz®. Check them out at

In the e-mail, Ellen talked reminded about a project she initiated at Alexian Village to show people that even at an advanced age playing a musical instrument could possibly help you stay mentally healthier and sharper. She calls it one of her proudest professional moments.

Twelve older adults ranging in age from 75 to 92 joined the Mature Musicians, taking individual and group lessons through the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music.

They were featured in a News Story on WISN – Channel 12, the ABC affiliate in Milwaukee. The news story can be viewed below.

Memory care currently offered at Bridle Brook of Mahomet in Champaign County, Illinois. Construction underway for White Oaks at Heritage Woods of South Elgin Affordable Assisted Living & Memory Care Community.

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.”


Assisted Living Residents See Saw Music

Friday, July 20th, 2012

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

Musical SawResidents of Heritage Woods of Dwight were treated to a different king of “heavy metal” music one Friday afternoon.

Wendell Lighty talked about and performed saw music at the affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Dwight, Illinois. Wendell hails from Saunemin, Illinois, a small town located south of Dwight and east of Pontiac.

Saw music is created by rubbing a fiddle, violin or cello bow across the bent metal blade of a handsaw. To create the desired bend, the handsaw musician grips the handle of the saw with one hand and usually clamps the other end between his or her knees. Wendell has a wooden knob installed on the other end of his saw.

The length of the saw can affect of tone. Shorter saws have higher pitches. Adding to the length tends to lower the tone.

There are tenor, baritone and bass saws, Wendell said.

Wendell plays the saw by ear; he says he is not aware of any saw sheet music.

No one is quite sure of the origins of saw music, but in the United States it is primarily found in bluegrass and country and western.

Saw player Tom Scribner played saw music on Neil Young’s “This Old Homestead” and saw music can be heard in Sarah McLachlan’s “Last Dance,” Tom Waits “November,” and the Flatlanders’ “Down in the Light of the Melon Moon.”

A fellow by the name of Jim Leonard penned a book called “Scratch My Back – A Pictorial History of the Musical Saw and How to Play It” that was published in 1989 by Kaleidoscope Press.

Here is a sample of some of saw music performed by Wendell Lighty for the assisted living residents at Heritage Woods of Dwight.

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.”


100 Reasons to Celebrate

Thursday, July 12th, 2012

Naomi Flesher at Heritage Woods of Watseka (activity room)By Rick Banas of assisted living provider BMA Management, Ltd., and Linda Carey, Resident Services Coordinator at the Heritage Woods of Watseka affordable assisted living community.

Naomi Flesher had a hundred reasons to celebrate last week. She became a Centenarian on Friday, July 6, 2012.

On the day she was born 100 years ago, the 1912 Stockholm”s Olympic Games were opening in Stockholm, Sweden. These were the games where Jim Thorpe gained fame as the World’s Greatest Athlete.

Naomi, who was the First Miss Iroquois County Queen, lived in her own home in Watseka until she was 92. She moved into Heritage Woods just days after the community opened for occupancy in the summer of 2004.

Naomi Flesher from Heritage Woods of Watseka with her grand childrenIn her honor, the staff of Heritage Woods hosted a special Birthday Party on Friday afternoon. The Dining Room was decorated in Naomi’s favorite colors of purple and yellow. Refreshments included a purple punch made with grape juice. To kick-off the celebration, those in attendance launched 100 purple and yellow balloons.

Naomi’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were in attendance. All eight great grandchildren were wearing T-Shirts the featured a picture of Naomi and the wording “My Great Grandmother Turns 100 Today!”

Naomi attributes living to the young age of 100 to never smoking, never drinking and watching what she ate. She also believes her faith had a lot to do with it. One of her grandsons mentioned “her genes” and “not worrying about anything.”

Naomi Flesher from Heritage Woods of Watseka in her youthSome of the biggest changes that she has seen over her lifetime are all of the scientific advances such as TVs, computers and going to the moon. She also talked about changes in morality, saying with a grin, “you’ve got to remember, I am 100 so I have been around for a long time.”

From her years of experience, the best advice she has for her great grandchildren is “do what you think is right” and “always treat people good.”

She says she does not have any “favorite memories.” Rather, she feels “every day was her favorite.”

Naomi adds that she loves living at Heritage Woods because “it is just like home.” The staff is nice, the food is good and there is always something to keep her busy.

“The people that work and live here are just one big family.”
- Naomi Flesher

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.”


No Need to Live with Pain

Wednesday, June 20th, 2012

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

Hospice COMPASSUS logoIf you are in pain, speak up, Gwen Gladfelter advised those attending the community health education program she conducted last week.

Gwen is a Care Consultant with the Galesburg office of Hospice COMPASSUS. She was speaking on “Understanding and Managing Your Pain” at the Heritage Woods affordable assisted living community that BMA manages in Aledo, Illinois.

Pain is not all in your head and is not something you should have to live with, she said.

Pain is our body’s way of sounding an alarm that something is not right. It is the result of injury, disease or damage to the body and may be a nuisance or a signal that something is seriously wrong.

If you are in pain, ask for help. Talk to your doctor or nurse. Be your own advocate.

The longer you wait to get help, the harder it will be to get better. If you act quickly, you can often prevent things from getting worse. Getting a handle on pain can help improve the quality of life.

There are safe and effective ways to treat pain without using pills. Here are some of the examples that Gwen mentioned:

Patient and Family Education
Community Support Groups
Exercise, Yoga and Tai Chi
Massage – can help the body heal itself.
Deep Breathing
Ice and Heat – (be careful so that you don’t cause burns).
Meditation, Prayer, Spiritual and Pastoral Support
Humor – improves breathing, helps your heart, can reduce blood pressure.
Music – can help a person relax and relieve anxiety. Can also help with nausea and vomiting.
Chiropractic Care – move the spine to aid in healing.
Osteopathic Manipulation
Physical Therapy
Acupuncture – relief of pain and treating illness.
Reiki (ray-key) – a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.

Because what works for someone else may not work for you, it is important that the treatment of pain be individualized, Gwen said.

Discuss the situation and your options with your doctor. You should always feel comfortable asking your doctor why he or she is recommending a particular course of treatment.

For your doctor to best be able to help you, Gwen recommended that you be prepared to talk about such things as…

Where is your pain?
How does your pain feel?
How often do you feel the pain?
What time of day is your pain the worst?
What gets your pain started?
Does your pain stay or does it come and go?
What makes your pain better?
What makes your pain worse?
What have you tried that makes your pain better?
What do you think causes your pain?
What medications have you used in the past?
Does your pain cause you problems in meeting your personal needs?

If your doctor gives you something to help relieve or manage your pain and your pain does not go away, let them know, she said. You don’t have to live with pain.

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.”


If You Suspect, You Should Address

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd,

Alzheimer's Association Greater Illinois Chapter - LogoOf all the great information about Alzheimer’s and dementia that Heather Mulder shared Tuesday night in her presentation at Bridle Brook of Mahomet, here is the point that really hit home.

If you see signs of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, take the time to broach the subject rather than sit and stare at the elephant in the room.

Heather is Manager of Consumer Education and Outreach for the Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association ( She conducted a presentation on “Know the 10 Signs: Early Detection Matters.” Bridle Brook is an assisted living and memory care community that BMA manages in Mahomet, Illinois.

To learn the 10 Signs of Alzheimer’s and other helpful information, click here.

There are many reasons why earlier is better when it comes to memory care issues, Heather noted.

It might not be Alzheimer’s or dementia. Urinary tract infections, vitamin deficiencies, malnutrition, dehydration, anemia, thyroid and heart problems, mini-strokes, alcohol, and even the medications you are taking can cause memory problems. Some can be treated or reversed, and some can be life threatening if not treated properly.

Alzheimer's Early Detection Alliance | Alzheimer's Association - LogoIn the past, the only way to tell if a person had Alzheimer’s disease was through an autopsy. Today, doctors can diagnose through exclusion. The diagnostic steps include patient history; talking with close family members and/or friends; physical, mental and neurological exams; and brain scans to rule out other reasons for memory problems.

Be sure your doctor is comfortable in making a diagnosis; if not, you can contact the Alzheimer’s Association.

If there is a diagnosis of dementia, there are many benefits to having gotten an early diagnosis.

There are things that you can do to maximize the quality of life, including doing things on your Bucket List.

You will have more time to plan for the future and have conversations about how you want to be treated; to seek legal advice and complete legal documents; and to make plans for your finances and property.

You will have the opportunity to get the maximum benefit from available treatments.

Heather will be returning to Bridle Brook to conduct free educational programs on other Alzheimer’s topics on June 19, Aug. 21 and Oct. 16. We invite you to attend.

Bridle Brook of Mahomet features assisted living and memory care apartments and an adult day care program. The community, which is located at 1505 Patton Dr. in Mahomet, Illinois, also hosts an Alzheimer’s Support Group at 6 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month. You can call 217-586-3200 for more information about the community.

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.”


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