By Rick Banas of Gardant Management Solutions
Each year in January, we celebrate National Thank You Month. It is a time to show gratitude, express appreciation, and thank others for the little and the big things they have done to make life better.
In keeping with the spirit of the month, I want to thank the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the members of the Illinois General Assembly for their continued support of the Illinois Supportive Living program.
The program serves as model for making affordable assisted living available to those of virtually all incomes who are in need of some assistance to maintain their independence.
One simply has to show they have enough of a need for personal assistance, help with medications, and support services but does not require care beyond what a supportive living community is able to provide.
They also need to be on or eligible for Medicaid at the time of occupancy or be able and willing to pay privately for as long as their financial resources allow and then convert to Medicaid.
The Supportive Living program was developed by Illinois in the mid-1990s, and the first community began operating in 1999. The first Gardant-managed Supportive Living community opened in town of Flora in 2000.
Today, there are more than 150 Supportive Living communities located in more than 70 Illinois counties. There are communities that serve adults 65 years of age and older, communities that serve adults with disabilities who are 22 to 64 at the time of occupancy, and two communities that serve adults with visual impairment.
Gardant manages more than 40 of the communities in locations ranging from the inner city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs to cities, towns, and rural areas in northern, central, and southern parts of the state.
The beauty of Supportive Living is that it provides a wonderful, cost-effective alternative to more costly nursing home care and is a WIN-WIN-WIN for the residents, their families, and the state and federal governments.
Win for Residents
Residents benefit from living in a residential rather institutional environment. They live in private apartments, which they can furnish and decorate to their taste. Staff is on-duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Personal assistance, help with medications, and support services such as three daily meals plus snacks, housekeeping, and laundry are included.
Residents also benefit from all of the opportunities that are available to socialize with family, friends, and neighbors and to participate in the scheduled social, recreational, educational, and wellness activities and special events.
Win for Families
Families benefit from knowing that their loved one is living in a community where help and support services are available and where staff is checking on the well-being of residents on a regular basis.
Win for Government
The state and federal governments benefit as the reimbursement cost for a resident on Medicaid in a Supportive Living community is much lower than the cost of nursing home care.
On behalf of everyone at Gardant, we are so thankful for the continued support of the Illinois Supportive Living program. We are dedicated to making assisted living available to those of all incomes.
Our deepest hope is that other states are willing to follow the Supportive Living model.