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Archive for the ‘Assisted Living’ Category

A Day in Your Shoes

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

Bringing excellent care and customer service to our residents every day requires skill, commitment, empathy, and hard work! To fully understand the experience of our employees, and to learn the joys and challenges of every department, the management team will be spending a full shift in each department. The first to experience A Day in Your Shoes was our Executive Director Dawn Mondschein, who spent a day in culinary.

10 Lessons Learned from
Dawn’s Day in the Culinary Department

Fish fry (2)

Dawn 1

1. Dining room set-up and service is no simple task. The Culinary Aides are responsible for dining room set-up and that means knowing where each and every Resident is seated and their special preferences and needs. This means everything from who likes frosted flakes, who prefers rice crispies, to who needs thickened juice, who prefers chocolate milk to who requires skim. My trainer Matt Nawrot knew every single detail by heart. I’m convinced that Matt could tell you every Resident by name, where they sit and precisely what and how they prefer to eat. He even took care to cut the sweet rolls into bite size pieces when needed. That’s a set up for success!

2. CBV goes above and beyond to bring quality to pureed meals. Teresa Anderson has been a CBV cook for over 25 years and she is the Queen of Purees. Teresa explains that most other communities serve frozen pureed products, but that’s just not good enough for OUR Residents. The Culinary department is committed to providing fresh, quality meals to everyone regardless of dietary restrictions. I learned that our pureed foods start with the same freshly cooked ingredients, seasoned to taste and then Teresa works her magic. She finishes the meals by pureeing each item to an exact consistency and then takes extra special care with presentation. That meant piping mashed potatoes into an oblong shape, hand forming the seafood entrée into a patty and piping the bright green vegetable right into the center to add a pop of color and appeal because according to Teresa, the food “should always look as good as it tastes”.

3. The kitchen is no place for a klutz. Hands down, the kitchen is the most dangerous place to be at CBV. Wet floors, sharp knives, blenders, blades, and mixers – hot pans and griddles, broilers and ovens, steamers and fryers to name a few. Fortunately, the Culinary crew takes nothing for granted and makes safety a daily priority. And with CBV’s current safety record, the proof is truly in the pudding.

4. The Culinary crew thrives on teamwork. Our Culinary department is a well-oiled machine! In a job where every minute counts, staff members constantly lend each other a hand to get the job done. I was most impressed by the way the kitchen crew works together in tight quarters, skillfully pivoting and swaying around one another in perfect harmony.

5. There is ALWAYS something cooking in our kitchen. I never thought about the sheer quantity of food that goes into serving 3 meals a day to over 200 Residents. Because most of our meals are homemade from scratch, that means nearly round the clock food delivery, chopping, marinating, cooling, cooking etc… Did you know the cooks are already preparing the next day’s meal before today’s lunch hits the dining room? Sal Caguioa, our Salad and Dessert Chef, just finished slicing his French Silk pie and he was already talking about the cupcakes he’ll begin baking for tomorrow’s main dessert. Immediately following lunch service, Chef Rob began par-cooking and prepping Saturday’s main courses. The kitchen lights go out at 8:00 p.m. each night and re-open again at 5:00 a.m. every morning. Time to make the doughnuts!

6. Time is of the essence. If you’ve ever hosted a dinner party you understand the challenge of bringing everything together at once. This challenge is no different in CBV’s kitchen only it happens THREE times each and every day. The early morning starts off at a fairly quiet but brisk pace. By 9:30 a.m. the rhythm is rising and things start moving at a much quicker rate. At 10:30 a.m. Chef Rob ricochets around and Chef TJ has his hand in every pot at once. The tempo reaches high velocity – but that’s what it takes to pull each meal together, particularly when serving such a wide variety of choices.

7. Presentation is essential. If there was one lesson learned across the board, it was to take care in the plating and presentation of each meal. From our supervisors, chefs to servers, everyone has great respect for food and each plate is handled with care. TJ advises “stay within the border and make it ‘high and wide’ to fill the plate for appeal”. And don’t forget the garnish!!!

8. Showtime. Possibly the greatest secret to success is the daily Showtime ritual. Just before lunch service the Culinary team, including all the Aides from the entire community, gathers around in the Commons kitchen. The supervisor shares customer service, safety and diversity tips of the day, and then reviews the daily menu in detail. Finally, each server grabs a fork to taste test the menu items. Chef TJ is on standby to make final modifications if needed.

9. I LOVE to Fry Fish! It’s no secret that I was fascinated by the deep fryer and enjoyed making Chef Rob’s famous batter fried cod. There was something simply gratifying about slipping freshly dredged pieces of cod into the fryer and minutes later lining the pan with perfectly browned and crispy planks of fish. I’d do it again in a heartbeat!

10. The dish room was the biggest surprise of the day. I admit I was not looking forward to working in the dish room but found it refreshingly rejuvenating. First of all, there’s the dish machine that works like a mini automatic car wash – so bring on all the dishes you want – Baniesa says it’s actually quite easy! The staff agrees there’s a mechanical yet meditative quality about running the dish machine. It’s a quiet time to reflect upon the day and your own personal thoughts. It’s a little steamy but by the time the dishes are clean, dry and neatly stacked, you have a real sense of peace and accomplishment. Job well done!

A Special Note to the Culinary Department:
I was telling a Resident about the day, gushing about all the passion and teamwork, and she said “the Resident’s are doing our part too” then with a smile she added, “We are blessing the food and the hands that made it”.
Thank you to the entire Culinary Department for nurturing our Residents in your very special ways. And thank you to all my teammates and trainers. I’ll never forget my Day in Culinary.

Bon Appetite!
Dawn Mondschein

You don’t have to be alone

Thursday, November 20th, 2014

Earlier we talked about the top 5 reasons to make the move to a retirement community before winter sets in, with the cold, the snow, and the ice. During the harshness of winter, a community setting is a great place to be. We take care of the chores, and you’re free to explore all those interests you never had time for.

Winter can also be a time that isolates people, especially older adults. For those who drive, it’s difficult to get motivated to shovel the driveway, clear off the car, and brave road conditions except for necessities like shopping. For seniors who don’t drive, it may be hard to get a ride or to walk to a bus stop. At the same time, TV, radio, and the Internet can provide only so much companionship during the short days and long nights of winter.

In “20 Facts About Senior Isolation That Will Stun You”, A Place for Mom lays out how living in isolation can hurt the physical, emotional, and mental health of older adults, whether it’s raising blood pressure or increasing the risk for depression and overall mortality.

Seniors aren’t the only people who suffer from the effects of isolation. According to A Place for Mom, “Caregivers of the elderly are also at risk for social isolation.” There’s only so much time in the day and so much energy to give, and caregivers often have nothing left for their own social needs.

At Central Baptist Village, we’ve seen how our residents can thrive even on the coldest, darkest days. There’s always a reason to get up and go, whether it’s to enjoy a warm, toasty breakfast with friends or to join neighbors for a fitness class or a trivia challenge. Music is also on the menu at Central Baptist Village, with regular choir practice, music programs, and even a full-time music therapist. If you’re competitive, you may want to take up Nintendo® Wii® bowling. We also offer creative pursuits. There are plenty of people here who share your interests. Of course, if you want to be alone, we’ll respect your wishes. It’s up to you how social you want to be!

For caregivers, Central Baptist Village offers more than just independent living — we also feature a continuum of care, from assisted living and memory support to skilled nursing and late-stage Alzheimer’s care. In fact, Central Baptist Village earned an overall five-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, rating in the top 20 percent of nursing homes in the state of Illinois.

Every day we see how a full life lived among good friends and neighbors is healthier for mind, body, and soul. If’ you’re an older adult or a caregiver, we are here to help you. Call us at 708-583-8500.

Making the move to a richer life

Monday, October 20th, 2014

First in a “Moving Mom and Dad” series about helping older adults make the move to a senior living community

Moving to a new home can be exciting, but most Americans agree that it’s stressful too. There are all kinds of tasks to take on, such as calling movers, contacting utilities and the US Postal Service, letting friends and family know, and of course arranging your new home. For a new college graduate, it may be a matter of getting a few boxes, a truck, and a helping hand from friends. For your mom and dad who have lived in the same home for 20 or 30 years, there’s more effort and emotional turmoil involved. You know they’d be better off at a retirement community, and so do they. How can you help them make the transition to a new, healthier lifestyle?

  •  Focus on the positive. Older adults may feel like they’re sacrificing a lifetime of memories to move to a retirement community. It’s not just a move — it’s a lifestyle change. You can help them stay focused on the positive — the many new friends they’ll make, the amenities they can enjoy, the classes they can take, the groups they can join, and an end to their concerns about day-to-day home upkeep. Reassure them that if something happens, like a fall, help will be moments away.


  •  Separate the treasures from the clutter. Many Americans have too much stuff, and clutter can be a source of stress. Help your parents take a look at the items they need and use and the items they value. Anything else is likely to be clutter that’s weighing them down. Here are 10 Creative Ways to Declutter Your Home. One or more of these ways may work for your parents.


  • Don’t trash — donate. Your parents may have dozens of kitchen utensils and gadgets that they never use but hate to waste by throwing out. Many organizations and local thrift stores accept various items, from kitchen goods and clothing to sporting equipment and even gently used furniture. Here’s a list of Chicago-area organizations that accept donations.


  • Break the move down into small tasks. The best approach to any big job is to break it down into small, manageable tasks. For example, deal with the easy stuff first — old medications that should be tossed, magazines and newspapers, worn and ill-fitting clothing, and extra and duplicate items that won’t be needed. Focus on how good it feels to get rid of clutter and to organize the rest.


  • Get friends and family involved. Throw a moving party and make getting ready for the move a celebration of life, past and future. If no one is available to pitch in, consider hiring a professional who specializes in working with older adults. You may want to review your options at the National Association of Senior Move Managers® You can also ask the retirement community’s marketing department if move-in coordination help is available.


The process of moving is challenging and draining, especially for older adults. That’s why it’s important to stay focused on the end rewards — the opportunities that come with living in a community where services and care are available, and every day offers the possibility of friendship and personal growth. Your parents may not agree now, but later don’t be surprised if they tell you they wished they had moved sooner!

When the blues just won’t go away

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Growing older can mean adapting to a lot of changes. Retirement can leave you feeling like your useful days are behind you. Your children may move away to pursue their own careers. You may start to lose friends you’ve known since childhood. You may find yourself taking on the role of caregiver to your spouse, which can be physically challenging and emotionally draining. At the same time, you may start to face your own new or worsening health issues, like high blood pressure or painful arthritis. At times you may feel sad about some of the changes going on in your life.

It’s normal to feel stressed, anxious, or uneasy about change. In some cases, however, a person can’t regain his or her emotional footing. When sadness lingers for a long time and interferes with day-to-day life and activities, it could be a sign of clinical depression, a serious condition that requires medical treatment.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 6.5 million adults age 65 or over suffer from depression. Women are twice as likely to have depression. Remember, though, depression is not a normal part of aging. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says that studies show most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more physical ailments.

Some of the many symptoms of clinical depression may include:

• Feeling tired and run down
• Lack of interest in activities
• Irritability
• Problems focusing or making decisions
• Confusion and memory problems
• Feeling worthless
• Eating too much or too little
• Sleep issues, including sleeping too much or inability to sleep
• Vague pains, including headaches and stomachaches
• Thoughts of suicide

If you or someone you know may be suffering from depression, it’s important to talk to a doctor and get treatment as soon as possible. Some people are more prone to depression, just as some people are more likely to develop heart disease or diabetes. Certain medications can contribute to depression. It’s also known that chronic diseases may raise the risk of depression. Depression is an illness, not a character flaw.

The doctor may prescribe medications, which help most older adults who have depressive episodes. These medications help certain chemical levels in the brain to normalize. Make sure your doctor knows about all the drugs, vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies you are taking, such as St. John’s wort.

Your doctor may also suggest talk therapy. According to NIH, a study examining depression treatment among older adults found that patients who got better with medication and interpersonal therapy were less likely to have the depression return if they continued their combination treatment for at least two years. In addition, NIH says that research has indicated that treating depression in older adults often improves the outcomes of co-existing medical conditions.

If you feel you are in a crisis situation, don’t wait. Tell someone who can help immediately if you are thinking about harming yourself or attempting suicide.

• Call your doctor.

• Call 911 for emergency services.

• Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.

• Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

For more information about depression in older adults:

NIHSeniorHealth About Depression:

NIHSeniorHealth Frequently Asked Questions:

National Alliance on Mental Illness Depression in Older Persons Fact Sheet:

Couples: What happens when one person needs care?

Monday, March 10th, 2014

 When a couple is young, in love, and celebrating the start of their lives together, they’re not thinking about what “in sickness and in health” means at age 70, 80 or beyond.  They’re certainly not ready to plan for their long-term care needs, such as assisted living or skilled nursing. Unfortunately, they won’t be able to put the future off forever.

 The reality is that 1 in 3 older adults has Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia when they pass away, and the figures are rising (2013 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, Alzheimer’s Association). It’s likely that at some point one member of our happy young couple will need long-term care.

 Professionally and personally I am seeing more spouses who are growing older at different rates. When illness or cognitive decline presents itself, the healthier spouse has to take on a new, difficult, and often emotionally and physically draining role: Caregiver. The caregiver-spouse must care for his or her frail partner, as well as maintain the home, cook, pay bills, and carry on with day-to-day living. Family members and outside agencies may be able to offer occasional relief, but in most cases the caregiver-spouse bears most of the burden. All too often, the health of the healthier spouse starts to fail as well — a bad situation for both.

 I am an advocate for continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) for many reasons — and to my mind a couple can make no better choice than a CCRC. In the senior living field, a CCRC provides one-stop shopping: independent living, assisted living, memory support care, and nursing care, all on one campus. When a couple moves into an independent living apartment, help is on hand if one spouse’s needs should change due to physical or cognitive impairment. When that spouse moves to a different level of care, the couple can continue to stay in close contact every day.

 At Central Baptist Village, several couples have one member who lives in independent or assisted living, while the other benefits from the care and support offered by our memory care programs or our nursing pavilion. Moving into a CCRC has been described as a lifesaver for these couples. Professionals provide the needed care, so they are free to share their private time together. You can see them strolling through the gardens, sipping coffee in the café, and attending entertainment programs — in short, enjoying life.

 A CCRC is also great for couples whose energy or activity levels are no longer in sync. Maybe one spouse wants to travel while the other is happy to watch TV at home. Life at a CCRC offers each individual abundant choices for this chapter of life. Most CCRCs feature lifelong learning classes, social opportunities, fitness centers, craft rooms, libraries, and other outlets for a variety of interests, from intellectual challenges to physical fitness.

 It’s better to start planning for the future now, when in good health, than to wait for something to happen. If you want to learn more, call 708-583-8527. We’re here to help you stay together “in sickness and in health.”

central baptist village

Welcoming Seniors
of All Faiths Since 1896

Central Baptist Village is a not-for-profit continuing care retirement community with more than a century of dedicated service in caring for older adults.

Why choose
Central Baptist Village?

Our team approach supports residents and their families through the transitions of aging. We offer on-site independent living, assisted living, memory support care, skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation. Residents enjoy enhanced independence and greater peace of mind knowing health care needs are based on a personalized plan and delivered within a community of friendship, faith, and family.

award-winning care

Central Baptist Village is fully focused on the safety of our community. For our complete COVID-19 response, please click here.