Illinois Aging Network Alert July 15, 2019


I4A AlertIllinois Aging Network Alert July 15, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

 Happy Anniversary to the Older Americans Act!

This week marks the 54th Anniversary of the Older Americans Act (OAA). The Older Americans Act was passed by Congress on July 14, 1965 as part of President Johnson’s “Great Society” initiative with the goal of supporting older Americans to live at home and in the community with dignity and independence for as long as possible.

Although older individuals may receive services under many other federal programs, today the OAA is considered to be a major vehicle for the organization and delivery of social and nutrition services to this group and their caregivers, including information and referral, congregate and home-delivered meals, health and wellness programs, in-home care, transportation, elder abuse prevention, caregiver support and adult day care. These programs are provided by a national network of 56 state agencies on aging, 629 area agencies on aging, nearly 20,000 service providers, 244 Tribal organizations, and 2 Native Hawaiian organizations representing 400 Tribes. The OAA also includes community service employment for low-income older Americans; training, research, and demonstration activities in the field of aging; and vulnerable elder rights protection activities. 

In FY 2018, Illinois Area Agencies on Aging served 559,000 older adults – 21% of Illinois’ total older adult population.

The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) were added to the Act in 1973 to be the “on-the-ground’ organizations charged with helping vulnerable older adults live with independence and dignity in their homes and communities. The OAA mandates that AAAs use the flexibility provided in the law to ensure that local needs and preferences are taken into consideration and that the resulting local service delivery system is tailored to the community.

Reauthorization of the Older Americans Act is critical to keep aging services in place.  

The Older Americans Act is up for reauthorization in 2019, and we ask that you support the reauthorization in order to help us continue to provide much needed services to the Older Adults in our communities, ensuring that they maintain their independence by remaining in their homes and community for as long as possible.

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Joy Paeth I4A President (618-222-2561).



alertIllinois Aging Alert Network Alert July 02, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

Support for Family Caregivers

Summer is here!  The season for picnics and family reunions.  This season is an ideal time for families to get together and discuss important issues with their older family members. Illinois is fortunate to have a support system for caregivers to assist with their discussions. 

The Illinois Department on Aging and the state’s 13 Area Agencies on Aging have designated Caregiver Resource Centers throughout Illinois.  They are a local link to caregiving services in each community.

Information and Assistance Specialists can give caregivers resources without overwhelming them, and to steer the caregiver to the places that have been set up to help them directly. The Caregiver Support Program can help caregivers locate these and other services:

  • Respite care (services that give caregivers a rest)
  • Home Modification
  • Assistive devices (wheelchairs, walkers, etc.)
  • Home Delivered Meals
  • Assistance with housework
  • Training, counseling and emotional support
  • Adult day services
  • Caregiver support groups
  • Transportation
  • Legal and financial services
  • Assistance paying for prescription drugs

In 2013, the cost of unpaid caregiving exceeded the total value of Medicaid and paid home care.  States across the country are looking for ways to further support family caregivers.  For example, Washington State Lawmakers just passed the nation’s first long-term care benefit program, which would provide residents with up to $36,500 to pay for costs like caregiving, wheelchair ramps, meal deliveries, and nursing home fees. Jay Inslee, Democratic governor and 2020 presidential candidate, has said he intends to sign the Long-Term Care Trust Act into law.

Federally Illinois Senator Richard Durbin and Senator Tim Kaine recently introduced the Supporting America’s Caregivers and Families Act which aims to increase funding, training, and support for more than 34 million family caregivers of older Americans. Each year caregivers provide more than $470 billion worth of unpaid care—more than the entire federal Medicaid budget.  The average caregiver spends $7,000 of their own money every year to provide care to loved ones, with an average commitment of 24 hours per week.  The strains of caregiving can deplete savings, impact employment, and increase emotional stress and physical health challenges.  Durbin and Kaine’s bill would bolster the nation’s network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs), and enhance support for caregivers through skills building, resources and information, respite care, counseling, and other services.

The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging is eager to explore ways to increase the support to Illinois caregivers.  As families are seeking out resources, our state and network should also be examining how to best support our caregivers in Illinois.

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Joy Paeth, I4A President (618-222-2561).

Illinois Aging Network Alert June 14, 2019


alertIllinois Aging Network Alert June 14, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

The Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) became law in 2014 to establish consistent, federally compliant requirements for all grants regardless of the source of funding.  Recognizing that 66% of Illinois‘ general revenue budget are grants the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging believes that is GATA is good government.  However, the implementation of GATA has not been an example of good government but rather a tremendous strain and stretch on the people resources of organizations in Illinois.

The implementation of GATA began at the height of the Illinois Budget crisis.  During this time organizations were not receiving payments from the state and were laying off or terminating employees.  These organizations were just trying to maintain and were required to learn a new system to get their payments.  Training was made available, but the time and people resources were so limited during this time it made learning GATA processes even more difficult.  The format of the budget requires much more minutia and trivial details creating only math challenges for administrators which is an unproductive use of time.

The process of implementing GATA could have been slowed with greater input from stakeholders.  State agencies were also struggling with the speed of which information was being disseminated and were not always able to assist with questions. Currently, workgroups have been established to develop a uniform template for grants management.  These workgroups seem to be an attempt to involve more individuals but once again the process is being rushed and outside input is not being considered.  We must take a step back with the GATA process before taking another huge leap forward.

The Federally mandated Area Plan on Aging budget for Area Agencies on Aging is proving to be an issue for the GATA implementation.  There is some ability to customize grant budget but at a monetary cost of each state department making the request for customization.  If GATA seeks to fully implement the process they must provide support to it’s departments and embrace stakeholder input. 

Lawmakers must understand the time and effort involved to implement a worthwhile project like GATA.  When the process is rushed not allowing input or proper guidance Illinois grantees will be spending more time and effort on implementing GATA than serving the people of Illinois.  We ask for your support in making GATA implementation a positive process for Illinois.  I4A offers the following suggestions:

  • Slow the process down to extend over FY20
  • Improve communication to all stakeholders with clear descriptions of the workgroups and clear assignments that assure representatives from all stakeholder groups are represented on each workgroup
  • Complete an assessment of the financial impact for all state agencies and grantees

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Joy Paeth, I4A President (618-222-2561).

Illinois Aging Network Alert June 07, 2019


I4A Alert

Illinois Aging Network Alert June 7, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

Thank You for Passing the FY 2020 Budget!

The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging wishes to the thank members of the Illinois General Assembly for passing a state budget and Governor Pritzker for signing into law. By putting Illinoisans first, the legislators were able to cross party lines and champion bi-partisan issues including initiatives to help serve older adults in Illinois. This effort demonstrates that legislators made fiscal responsibility a priority while maintaining a level of quality for government-supported programs.

Illinois Seniors Will Receive Needed Support:

  • Additional funding for the Home Delivered Meals program will help maintain current numbers of people being served, the quality of the meals, and to help address current waiting lists of recipients wanting Home Delivered Meals.
  • Additional funding will expand assistance to caregivers helping persons dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease and related dementia. Most individuals with Alzheimer’s and related dementia live at home with a caregiver. This funding will help address issues that may otherwise force these people into an institutional living situation.
  • Funding was added to help start a new initiative to address social isolation in older adults which can lead to many health problems. This will start saving Illinois money with fewer health-related costs and keeping older adults independent and healthy longer.
  • More funding for the Senior Health Assistance Program (SHAP) to assist older adults with Benefit Access Applications. This program helps older adults with transportation needs and license plate discounts. Access to transportation and the related costs can be a barrier for older adults to get basic needs such as food and access to medical help.

Thank you for recognizing the needs of the growing senior population in Illinois and working together to approve a budget for the people of Illinois.

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Joy Paeth, I4A President (618-222-2561).

Illinois Aging Network Alert May 24, 2019


Illinois Aging Network Alert May 24, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

Your Support is Vital in Assuring Accuracy in the 2020 Illinois Census!

An accurate count in Illinois is vital in assuring Illinois receives its fair share in Federal dollars and representation in Washington D.C.  An accurate count of our seniors is vital to assure our senior population will receive the funds to serve our rising senior population.   

If the Illinois census is undercounted in 2020 – we can anticipate the following:

  • Illinois could lose two congressional seats.
  • Illinois could lose seats in the Electoral College, thus decreasing our influence in future Presidential elections.
  • Illinois could lose a significant portion of our state’s annual allotment of $19.7 billion in federal dollars if immigrant, rural communities, low income communities and ethnic populations are not counted in 2020.
  • In total, Illinois could lose $1.2 billion in funding over the next decade if our state’s census in undercounted, which could come out to $18,000 per each person.

Other Issues Impacting Undercounting:

  • Lack of trust in our government, especially if a citizenship question is added to the form. An estimate of noncitizens living in Illinois is nearly 1 million people, which accounts for 7% of our population.  Our federal constitution mandates that all persons be counted.
  • Internet based - Many residents do not have access to internet, especially low income and rural households. This is especially a problem with our seniors, since many seniors are not computer savvy and do not have access to the internet.
  • History tells us that young children, minorities, immigrants, low income, rural, people with disabilities, homeless, LGBTQ community has been undercounted.

What can be done to ensure a complete and accurate counting? 

Illinois must invest in the census.  The Illinois Complete Count Commission is asking for $25 million in state funds for outreach, especially to “hard to count groups” such as rural and minority residents, educate people on using the internet, and to promote the importance of completing the census.  Correction:  We are also asking the General Assembly to support 2020 Census funding to the Illinois Department on Aging so we can reach out to older Illinoisans to complete the census.

We must invest in our census and invest for our future.   Your support is vital to assure an accurate census count in 2020!  Thank you!

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Joy Paeth, I4A President (618-222-2561).

Get in touch


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