Whenever I tell someone who is unfamiliar with H.O.M.E. about our housing program I am almost always asked “So, it’s like a nursing home”?
While it’s tempting to compare our Shared Living program to a nursing home, our program is very much different.
According to the 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home Care Costs, the average daily cost of a private room in a nursing home in the United States is over $87,235 a year, or around $239 a day. However, it costs $15,828 a year, or $33 a day, for a senior to live in shared living (just one of the housing options we offer our residents!) in one of our affordable buildings. While our program is vastly more affordable than nursing homes, what makes our housing program unique is in its operations.
As you may or may not know H.O.M.E. owns, manages, and maintains three residential buildings dedicated to intergenerational living, which enables low-income seniors to live in either individual apartments or shared living.
The concept of Intergenerational living is innovative. It is based on the idea that the blending of families, students, and seniors together in social living activities builds a community that enhances our understanding of one another. Our intergenerational homes provide a congenial environment for those who wish to connect and share with other generations on a daily basis. Having opportunities for peer companionship helps eliminate feelings of loneliness and isolation that is sometimes associated with the aging population.
In many instances, the only family or individuals caring for our seniors are the residential managers, coordinators, and neighbors who we and the residents refer to as the “H.O.M.E. family.” In fact last week, our residents threw a baby shower for two of our Resident Assistants!
The type of support that we provide our residents is also what sets our program apart. The 59 low-income seniors who live in our affordable housing develop supportive relationships with people age 2 to 90. Each Shared Living resident enjoys their own bedroom and nutritious home-cooked meals served family-style seven days a week. Resident Assistants, typically college students, live on-site and assist residents with housekeeping and laundry, as well as sharing creative and social activities with them.
At the Pat Crowley House in Edgewater, up to 12 seniors, four resident assistants, and a family live together in the three-story six-flat in Edgewater. Resident Assistants help the elderly residents with cooking, laundry, and housekeeping services.
The Nathalie Salmon House in Rogers Park, a five-story 54-unit building that just recently celebrated its 20th Birthday offers apartments for independent elderly, resident assistants, and families. The first floor of Nathalie Salmon House has an array of amenities, including a kitchen, a community room, a recreation area, a garden room, a library, and a family apartment. The offices of the property manager and a three-bedroom apartment are also located on the first floor. The second, third, and fourth floors offer 27 one- and two-bedroom apartments for independent elderly, three studio apartments for resident assistants, and three three-bedroom apartments for families with children. The fifth floor is a shared living community for 14 frail elderly who need some assistance with their daily activities. All shared living senior residents have their own rooms and receive help from the Resident Assistants with their Activities of Daily Living including light room cleaning and meal preparation.
The support we provide our seniors would not be possible if not for the dedication of our resident assistants! They are able to improve the quality of life for senior residents in a unique shared-living environment. In exchange for their services resident assistants receive free room and board. Typically, they work 20-24 hours per week cooking and serving meals, keeping house, running errands, engaging with our senior residents in meaningful ways and helping our community to run smoothly.