HEALTH & OLDER ADULTS
HAPPENING NOW /COMMUNITY UPDATE
The Northwest Side Housing Center successfully organized the installation of a 30 second crosswalk countdown signal at Grand and Normandy. This is a dangerously busy intersection near Shriners Hospital for Children and the Montlcare Senior Residences.
Oak Street Health, Alphazeta Healthcare, PCC Wellness Center, Rush Alzheimer Disease Center, Bethesda Rehab and Senior Care, and Mathers have organized info tables at neighborhood banks and given presentations to older adults at Montlcare Senior Residences. These presentations focus on age friendly banking and financial literary.
The Northwest Side Housing Center organized a group of older adults at the Belmont Cragin Senior Suites to successfully advocate for a new pedestrian crossing island on Grand Avenue outside the Suites. The island was installed in late Fall 2017.
Our vision for health and older adults is to be a neighborhood where all residents access high-quality, affordable health care and where our older residents can fully participate in community life. With large populations of youth, older adults, immigrants, and Spanish and Polish-speaking households, our growing and diverse community can use improved information about and access to key health care resources.
Local community health organizations are diligently working to engage, educate and provide residents with resources to address health care concerns. Gaps still exist, however, particularly around issues specific to our community, including early prevention techniques for health issues with high incidences in the community, such as diabetes, obesity and smoking rates. Other notable health concerns in Belmont Cragin include access to mental health resources and overcoming the isolation of older adults.
Too many residents do not have health insurance or are underinsured
In our local schools, parents ask for referrals to resources for non-school related concerns on a daily basis. Belmont Cragin residents of all age groups, whether native-born or foreign-born, are less likely to be insured than the average resident of the City of Chicago. In fact, Belmont Cragin ranks third among Chicago's 77 community areas for the highest number of uninsured residents. Many of our residents need educational materials in their native languages and access to local support to help them navigate to the resources they need.
Our many undocumented residents face specific health care challenges
Our community is estimated to be home to about 12,000 undocumented residents, the second highest number by community area in Chicago. Many lack access to health care and other basic needs. Health care insurance from the A ordable Care Act is not available to undocumented immigrants, and language and institutional distrust can be high barriers, as well.
Uninsured Residents by Nativity
Population Lacking Health Insurance
Older adults can feel isolated and struggle to address basic needs and health care concerns
Older adults are an integral part of our community, yet many have a hard time accessing basic needs and addressing their health care concerns. More older adults live on their own than ever before, in part because of the cultural shift for many families away from parents living with their adult children. Because Belmont Cragin does not have dense urban housing or extensive transit options, these older residents can find it difficult to travel to health care centers and other local assets. As our population ages, outreach efforts need to be targeted for older adults’ specific housing, financial, health and safety concerns.
Yet, many residents have to leave the community to find some health care services
Although we have excellent local resources, Belmont Cragin has fewer primary health care providers and specialists per resident than the average community in the City of Chicago. Despite a relatively high mental health admissions rate compared to surrounding communities, there are no inpatient mental health centers or psychiatric care within the neighborhood. Other gaps include dental care, obstetrics and gynecology services. For residents who have Medicaid insurance, many report di culties locating facilities in the community that accept patients with that coverage.
Health Care Providers (per 1,000 residents)
Existing local organizations are a great asset
Belmont Cragin is served by a number of strong health care institutions, including PrimeCare Community Health, Community First Medical Center, Riveredge Hospital, PCC Community Wellness Center and Healthcare Alternative Systems (HAS). In addition to providing health care services, these providers have programs that provide community health education and comprehensive coverage information. The value our residents place on the local health care providers was clearly shown several years ago, when community outcry over a planned closing of (what is now called) Community First helped prompt investors to purchase the facility and keep it open.
Strategies and Projects / Health & Older Adults Goals
We will expand access to health care resources to Belmont Cragin residents, improve education of key health care issues, and provide financial literacy around health expenses.