More than 350,000 people in California have a developmental disability and, as a population, they are dealing with issues related to aging for the first time. Why for the first time? Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has increased dramatically in recent decades – from 25 in 1983 to 60+ today.
The current housing choices for people with developmental disabilities who are dealing with Alzheimer’s are not much of a choice at all. While the average age of admittance to a nursing home is 79, adults with developmental disabilities in need of aging and dementia care tend to be in their 50s and require a higher staff to resident ratio along with specialized care. The US Department of Health and Human Services released a study that found that one-quarter of assisted living communities had one Personal Care Assistant ratio for each 23 or more residents.
To address the growing need, in 2017, Noah Homes opened two 5,000 sq. ft. homes for 20 people with developmental disabilities who were diagnosed with aging issues, Alzheimer’s, or another related dementia. Most homes under Noah Homes management have a staff to resident ratio of approximately 1:4 and 1:6. The Memory Care Homes, now affectionately known as Casa de Amor and Casa de Lauridsen, have a staff to resident ratio of 1:2 and include state-of-the-art technology, access to national research, and opportunities for residents to participate in groundbreaking new techniques to fight Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other aging struggles.
Residents are selected based on an interest list of adults with developmental disabilities receiving services through the San Diego Regional Center. We are hopeful that these homes will be replicated by other organizations throughout California and across the nation, alleviating some of the burdens of the 15.5 million caregivers who provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care, valued at more than $220 billion.
With people with Down syndrome, their age is so much younger, so almost the only pathology that really matters is the Alzheimer's disease pathology. So I would argue that it’s almost inevitable. Some escape, but I think as we learn more about it we are going to find that very few do escape if they live long enough. And they are living longer, thank God for that, because we’re doing the right things to help these people. Think about the change in longevity—it didn’t come because we had a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it’s because we already had treatments for heart disease and pneumonia. And we finally let these people in. We finally let them into our homes, our businesses, and our schools, and made these services available to them, enabling them to live longer lives. And from what I can see especially at places like Noah Homes, happier lives.Dr. William Mobley, Professor, Department of Neurosciences; Associate Dean, Neurosciences Initiatives; Interim Director, Sanford Institute for Empathy and Compassion; University of California, San Diego School of Medicine
Noah Homes is one of the best service providers in San Diego County. If you think about the phrase ‘Home is where the heart is’ it’s the hearts of the Noah Homes Board of Directors, the Ark Angel Foundation and the Noah Homes staff that creates the culture for which Noah Homes is praised. Noah Homes has always enjoyed the support from and partnership with the San Diego Regional Center and we look forward to growing our work together as Noah Homes explores the creation of new and innovative options to serve more persons with developmental disabilities in the community.Carlos Flores, Executive Director of San Diego Regional Center
On behalf of DAHLIN Architects, I will simply say that my colleagues and I have nothing but sincere admiration for everything that Noah Homes stands for. We have been genuinely impressed with their inspiring mission, the compassion and selfless giving of Noah Homes’ staff, their vast experience and technical knowledge related to their operations, and of course their joyful residents. It was a very humbling experience for DAHLIN to be a part of the vision and execution of the new residential buildings for Noah Homes, and we will forever treasure the time we spent with the entire team associated with the design and construction of the new facilities, and the opportunity to meet and interact with the residents during each visit to the campus. Thank you for all you do, and please keep up the good work!Jack Gallagher, AIA, LEED AP, Managing Principal at DAHLIN Architecture Group
I am grateful to Molly Nocon and her team for their tireless efforts to ensure that adults with developmental disabilities live with the dignity, freedom, and respect they deserve. Recognizing that Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are terrible afflictions impacting our community, Molly is also leading the effort to create California’s first memory homes for adults with developmental disabilities to ensure that they will have opportunities to remain independent. Molly is a blessing to our community and is a shining example of compassionate service to all.Joel Anderson, San Diego County Supervisor
There’s an awful lot of organizations out there that do the same work that we do, some are individual, some have three or four homes. And had they had Liz, it wouldn’t have been long after all of these years, they would have gone to their provider, the Regional Center as it would, and they would say ‘look, she’s gotten old, she’s non-ambulatory, we can’t take care of her and she’s costing us a fortune to take care of her and we need to have her moved. Can you do it in 30 days?’ I’ll guarantee all of you that that thought never ever crossed Sandra or Molly’s mind. They were there with her to send her off. That, ladies and gentlemen, can only happen with people like you who have been so generous not only to Noah Homes, but to the Noah’s Ark Angel Foundation. And so, all the things that you have done, that story gives me the right to say it again. Noah Homes is unequivocally, the best place on earth for those with developmental disabilities.Peter Ferrantelli, Board Chairman Emeritus of Noah's Ark Angel Foundation