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Local

Low-income housing for dementia patients in the works

Heritage Woods of Sterling, 2205 Oak Grove Ave., is one of 40 new sites selected by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to develop housing options under the state's Supportive Living Program.
Heritage Woods of Sterling, 2205 Oak Grove Ave., is one of 40 new sites selected by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to develop housing options under the state's Supportive Living Program.

STERLING – A local assisted living facility has been tapped to take part in statewide program that provides an alternative to nursing home care for low-income people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

Heritage Woods of Sterling, 2205 Oak Grove Ave., is one of 40 new sites statewide selected by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to develop housing options under the state’s Supportive Living Program.

Plans are to build 40 affordable apartment units, to help fill a gap for those with memory diseases in the Sauk Valley area, Heritage Woods Administrator Dawn Powell said.

SLP is a Medicaid-supported program that provides financial assistance to state residents to help pay for the cost of personal care services in assisted living. For those with dementia, it allows them to live independently and take part in decision-making as long as possible.

“We’re trying to keep them independent as possible,” Powell said. “For the time being, we can offer this to them.”

Participants must be qualified for nursing home care and choose to receive that care in an assisted living facility.

Under SLP, DHFS has obtained a “waiver” to allow payment for services not routinely covered by Medicaid, such as personal care, homemaking, laundry, medication assistance, social and health activities, recreation, and 24-hour staff to meet residents’ scheduled and unscheduled needs.

Residents are responsible for paying the cost of room and board, and are allowed to keep $90 a month of their income as a personal needs allowance.

The state is projecting the newly selected sites will be open for business over the next 3 years, with most opening sometime next year.

A local timetable has yet to be established, however, Powell said, adding that applications for the new units won’t be taken until plans are further along.

Bourbonnais-based Gardant Management Solutions, the company that operates Heritage Woods, also operates 40 of the 152 existing Supportive Living communities in the state.

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