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Chicago Tribune Article Focuses on Illinois' Supportive Living Facilities, an Affordable Housing Option for Low-income Seniors.

Health & Medicine Policy Research Group (HMPRG)
August 7, 2012

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Bridging a gap

Supportive living facilities offer an affordable housing option for low-income seniors

August 03, 2012|By Jane Adler, Special to the Tribune 
Glenna and Ralph LaCroix relax in a gazebo at Heritage Woods in South Elgin. (Stacey Wescott, Chicago Tribune)

At some point in life, everyone needs a little extra support.

Glenna and Ralph LaCroix lived for years in Byron, where they raised five children amid the easy rhythms of the small river town in northwest Illinois. But, as they aged and needed more help with daily activities, their children, some of whom had moved to the Chicago area, wanted their parents nearby.

"Our kids were concerned about us," said Glenna.

The couple sold their house and moved about six months ago to a one-bedroom apartment at Heritage Woods of South Elgin, a supportive living building in the northwest suburb. As a result, her adult children have peace of mind knowing their parents are safe and secure.

"There's nothing not to like about this place," said Glenna, happy to be living near her children and extended family.

Supportive living and assisted living facilities share similarities by combining apartment-style housing with personal care and services.

The LaCroixes receive three meals a day. Staff members provide personal assistance — a plus since Ralph suffers from memory loss. The staff also cleans the apartment and changes the linens. The development fosters an engaging, independent environment with activities and a wellness program.

Low-cost alternative

Private funds, long-term care insurance or veterans benefits are typically used for paying for assisted living. But while supportive housing accepts people who pay their own way, it also opens its doors to low-income residents who qualify for Medicaid.

About 10,000 Illinois residents live in the state's 136 supportive living buildings. The Chicago area has 45 buildings with a few aimed at young people with disabilities. Most, however, are for elderly residents.  Read full article