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Cathedral Square to Create Memory-Care Home for Medicaid recipients

Cathedral Square to Create Memory-Care Home for Medicaid recipients

In another first for Vermont, work is underway by the nonprofit Cathedral Square to create the state’s first affordable residence for Medicaid recipients who are living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The announcement came at an Oct. 2, 2017, press conference in Williston outside the former Respite House operated by the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden & Grand Isle Counties, where the licensed-care facility will be located. Cathedral Square purchased the property from the VNA in mid-September with a major investment from the University of Vermont Medical Center and additional funding from the Hoehl Family Foundation and the Amy Tarrant Foundation, as well as financial support from the Fountain Fund and several area businesses and organizations.

Cathedral Square is renovating the building to provide 14 homes with a safe and secure environment where residents will receive licensed, round-the-clock memory care. The residence, to be named Memory Care at Allen Brook, is slated to open by January 2018.

The growing need for memory care in Vermont is reflected by the fact that, based on median age, Vermont is the second oldest state in the nation and soon will be the oldest, with the number of Vermonters living with Alzheimer’s projected to increase 42% by 2025. While there are numerous private memory-care facilities in our region, average costs exceed $9,000 a month, and none of them accepts Medicaid recipients at the time of admission. Moreover, most of these facilities cannot continue caring for residents who deplete their savings and become eligible for Medicaid.

It is not uncommon for those who wind up in hospital emergency rooms to have nowhere to go after receiving treatment, according to the UVM Medical Center, which has invested $250,000 in the Cathedral Square project.

“We are proud to invest in this effort to provide affordable housing for low-income Vermonters in need of care for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, and build on our history of successful partnership with Cathedral Square” said Eileen Whalen, MHA, RN, president and chief operating officer of the University of Vermont Medical Center. “For patients who no longer need inpatient care in the hospital, this residence will provide them with high-level care in a comfortable environment.”

In addition to funding from the UVM Medical Center, Cathedral Square has received $200,000 from the Hoehl Family Foundation, $100,000 from the Amy Tarrant Foundation and $5,000 from the Fountain Fund to support the project. The Vermont Community Loan Fund is providing additional financing. The total cost of the project exceeds $1.6 million, and fundraising efforts are continuing.