House outfitted for people with disabilities

December 27, 2009 8:13:53 AM PST
One out of five individuals over the age of 70 struggles with dementia. This also includes those with developmental disabilities and mental illness. To help these individuals, Seguin Services, a not-for-profit organization serving people with disabilities, has created a unique living environment where both needs are serviced.

Seguin Services purchased a large and beautiful single family home in Cicero. Joe Mengoni is the vice president of adult residential services.

"In this particular home we will have up to six residents that will live here, and there will be individuals who have a primary diagnosis of a mental illness and secondary diagnosis of dementia," said Mengoni.

The cost is based upon their level of care.

"It could be on the low end to higher end, $5,000 to $7,000 a month," Mengono said.

Research shows this population is currently underserved.

"It's a growing population, and specifically with the developmental disability community-- folk with Down syndrome have a high percentage of dementia. In fact, it's almost 100 percent," said

Stuart Gaines is a member of Seguin board and a consultant on this project.

"Many of the care providers that are out there don't understand dementia care. There's an effort on the part of the state of Illinois to have a legislation to require more training," said Gaines.

Finding the right home that will provide for this growing population is essential.

"They need more kindness and more understanding, so the issues of dementia are similar to providing good, quality care, but with a little twist," Gaines said.

Seguin's first home for people with disabilities and dementia has been designed with input from Bernie Marinelli. She has set up similar homes in northern Illinois.

"I really favor a smaller lifestyle for them, because a small home is more like a real home for them," Marinelli said.

"I love the fact that it is so easy to navigate, everything is on one floor, it is charming and warm, the wood toned, and the decorating is just absolutely beautiful," said Marinelli. "It brings just an easy energy, and I think it's calming, and just someone who has or suffers cognitive impairment, they have so much going on in their mind, they actually need to have a stimulation at all times."

While they are getting ready to move in the residents, Seguin has plans for more.

"We have the second site already indentified in Burbanks, and then we are going to be searching for another site out in the western suburbs," said Mengoni.

If you want more information go to www.seguin.org.


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