Guest Post: Illinois Supportive Living – A Growing Trend

Supportive Living is a subsidized, Assisted Living style program for older adults and is rapidly growing in popularity – and demand.  Before Supportive Living, older adults in need of Assisted Living care but unable to pay for the service out of pocket were relegated to nursing homes – facilities that accept Medicaid but often not an appropriate level of care for the younger, more independent clients. For those that need assistance with daily activities, medication management or are attracted to the idea of communal living among peers, Supportive Living provides an excellent option. Through Medicaid funding, older adults can now receive appropriate care in an affordable, residential setting.

Each resident must have income equal to or greater than the current SSI and contribute all but $90 each month to the facility.

Eligibility, financial regulations and program options may vary by state. In Illinois, in order to qualify the Supportive Living Facility (SLF) program, an individual:

  • Must be age 65 years or over.
  • Must not require around-the-clock skilled nursing care.
  • Must be without a primary or secondary diagnosis of developmental disability or serious and persistent mental illness.
  • Must be without behaviors such as wandering or combativeness that would pose a safety risk to themselves or others.
  • Shall not participate in any other federal Home and Community-Based Waiver Program.
  • Must meet Illinois Medicaid guidelines in order to qualify for public-assistance.
  • Must have their name checked against the required sex offender registries.
  • Must have a tuberculin skin test prior to admission and be found without active TB.
  • Must be screened by the Department or other State agency screening entity and found to be in need of nursing facility level of care. (Determination of Need=DON)
  • Must have needs that can be adequately met by the facility.

As you can imagine, the demand for this service is growing rapidly and waitlists at participating communities are getting longer and longer. Many older adults are now planning ahead – moving into Supportive Living communities while they still have private funds, thereby reserving their space when the time comes to transition to Medicaid. To begin your research, visit for a list of current Supportive Living Facilities.

Karoline Hutson

Chicagoland Methodist Senior Services

Marketing Communications Specialist

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