September 16

Assisted Living – A Great Alternative

By Rick Banas of BMA Management, Ltd.

I just don’t get it. Why are so many older adults so adamant about staying in their house no matter what? Why do so many insist so strongly that the only way they will leave is horizontally with feet first?

The other day one of my cousins called with an update on my uncle, who is in his mid-90s and in the hospital undergoing treatment for cancer. My cousin was surprised that his Dad was much more alert and talkative than he was at home despite undergoing radiation treatment and surgery. We felt that it probably was the result of two factors. The hospital had him sitting up in a chair for a couple of hours at a time, and he had the opportunity to bend the ear of all of the doctors, residents, interns, nurses and technicians that stopped in to see him. His routine at home was going from his bed to the bathroom and back to bed; seldom did he have the opportunity for any socialization.

The next night another of my cousins mentioned that one of our aunts, who is in her late 80s, had spent more than 4 hours in the basement of her home ironing. (Yes, there are still people who iron; and my aunt spending lengthy periods of time making sure that every article of clothing that is washed is also wrinkle-free is commonplace). On this occasion, however, my aunt spent that much time ironing much more out of necessity than choice. She is recovering from a broken hip. She was able to make it down the stairs; she was not able to go back up. Ironing was something to occupy her time until somebody was able to come and provide the help she needed to get upstairs.

I contrast these two conversations with recent experiences in visiting two of the assisted living communities that we manage.

At the first, residents and their guests were enjoying a Labor Day Weekend Cookout. A 90-year-old resident was “cutting the rug” to a country and western classic with one of the certified nurses assistants. And, I had the honor of being introduced to a gentleman who will be joining the ranks of centurions next month. The gentleman had moved to the assisted living community from an extended care facility that had closed. Today, the staff proudly announced, he is walking farther than he ever did in extended care.

At another of our communities, I had the opportunity to visit with a retired school teacher who had just taken advantage of a brain fitness system that has been incorporated into the community’s wellness program. She uses the system about four times a week.

“I like to be challenged,” she said, adding that she really appreciates that using the system potentially can “counteract dementia.”


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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