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September 30, 1999

Governor Announces Opening Of First Assisted Living Facility

BEARDSTOWN -- Governor George H. Ryan today announced the grand opening of Evergreen Place, the state's first Supportive Living Facility operated by the Department of Public Aid under a federal waiver.

Operated by Heritage Enterprises of Bloomington, the facility held an open house inviting the public and officials to tour the building. The facility is located at the former St. Luke's hospital site on Boulevard Road in Beardstown.

"I have pledged that senior citizens would have alternatives to nursing homes and that affordable housing, appropriate to senior's special needs would be available. These types of facilities provide low-income senior citizens with those alternatives," Ryan said. "Evergreen Place, the first of many facilities under the Supportive Living Program, will help seniors who do not require the higher level of services that a traditional nursing home provides."

The Supportive Living Program is designed to offer assisted living to frail elderly people, both from the private sector and those who are Medicaid-eligible. With the approval of a federal waiver and the passage of Public Act 89-499, an array of services not routinely covered by the State's Medical Assistance Program can be secured for eligible participants.

Supportive living facilities are designed for individuals who do not need nursing care, but who may find it difficult to live safely in their own home. Assisted living is a special combination of meals, housing, and personalized supportive services designed to help individuals in daily living.

"Evergreen Place is a unique development, because it is the first time that the Department of Public Aid is offering Medicaid assistance for assisted living," said Ann Patla, Director of the Department of Public Aid. "Without the Supportive Living Program the poor are often forced into nursing homes at a higher cost to the state, because the services they require are too costly without state or federal dollars to supplement the cost. This is a way for older adults to maintain an independent lifestyle while providing a savings to the state."

The assisted living facility features a selection of private secure apartments ranging in size from 180 square feet to 350 square feet. Each apartment will feature an emergency response notification system that will be responded to 24 hours a day. In addition to daily personal care assistance, three meals will be served family style in the facility's common dining area.

"Assisted living has been a missing component in the local health care options for older adults. Assistance with daily living activities will be a key component that differentiates Evergreen Place from traditional independent living facilities," said Joe Warner, President of Heritage Enterprises.


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