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April 28, 2009

State Healthcare Director Joins Seniors, People with Disabilities to Celebrate Supportive Living Week
Recognizes impact of state Medicaid assisted-living program for seniors, persons with disabilities

SPRINGFIELD – As part of “Supportive Living Week” this week in Illinois, Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Barry S. Maram joined Illinois seniors and people with disabilities at the State Capitol as they celebrated supportive living facilities, alternative housing options for seniors and persons with physical disabilities.  There are currently 113 facilities housing approximately 7,500 individuals who might otherwise have ended up in nursing homes.

Over 100 quilters from across Illinois participated in the Supportive Living Week Intrastate Quilting Bee, creating quilts to commemorate Illinois’ work to make senior living affordable.  Those quilts are on display in the Capitol April 28-29. 

“Supportive living offers seniors and people who have disabilities greater independence they might not otherwise have living in nursing homes,” said Director Maram.  “As the Illinois Supportive Living Program continues to grow, states around the country are looking to our success as an example for how they can give people the freedom to choose a living environment that best meets their needs.” 

Seniors also pledged to follow in Governor Pat Quinn’s footsteps to “Walk Across Illinois”.  In 2001, Governor Quinn walked the 167 miles from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan in an effort to push for better healthcare.  In recognition of that effort, supportive living residents participated in “Walk Across Illinois,” doing the exercise equivalent of walking 167 miles in one year. 

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services operates the Supportive Living Program as an alternative to nursing home care for low-income seniors age 65 and older and persons age 22 and older who have physical disabilities under Medicaid.  By combining apartment-style housing with personal care and other health and wellness services, residents can live independently and take part in decision-making. Personal choice, dignity, privacy and individuality are all emphasized through the program.

For more information about the Supportive Living Program, please visit www.slfillinois.com.


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