Chicago to Launch First-Of-Its-Kind Memory Care Support Program

The city of Chicago will spend $1 million in federal grant money to train building managers and staffs on memory care issues and practices.

“The grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also will be used to train family caregivers and provide ‘train-the-trainer opportunities’ for staff at senior citizen centers, senior housing facilities, community and faith-based organizations,” the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday.

The program will consist of three full-time employees who will work with building management companies on-site or at a central training location.

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Many older adults who live in the city’s highrises are developing memory impairment, and they lack needed care and support. Ultimately, they fail to pay rent and turn to their building managers or city services only when in dire straits.

“Who is helping with their memory care? Because it’s expensive. They’ve depleted their own resources. And the family is half-in, half-out. That’s a very expensive proposition for families, too,” Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney said Monday, according to the Sun-Times. “So we get the requests. They’re coming to our office because they’re a month from being evicted. And when you find out the case, there’s more to it than their not paying the rent.”

There are about 316,000 adults over the age of 65 living in Chicago, and 25% of them are living in “isolation,” the Sun-Times reported.

Joyce Gallagher, deputy commissioner of the Department of Family and Support Services, described the program as a first.

“This does not exist anywhere in the country and there’s such a need for these building managers because they’re the first point of reference for each of these individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia,” Gallagher said, according to the Sun-Times.