More than 1.6 million people over the age of 65 live in Illinois, one of 12 states with a senior population of more than one million. That number has gone up by a little more than 9% since 2000. That growth is smaller than almost every other state in the nation, but still, seniors account for nearly 13% of Illinois? overall population.
The Illinois Department of Aging is dedicated to keeping seniors living independently in their own homes and communities for as long as possible. The state knows this is not possible without the cooperation of younger people, so many of its programs have an “intergenerational emphasis.”
These programs include:
-- Community Care Program: Provides in-home services for frail, lower-income residents. Services in this program include:
-- Case Management: Case managers evaluate each senior and arrange for support.
-- Homemaker: Someone to help seniors with personal care and household chores.
-- Adult Day Service: Programs for seniors who cannot remain at home during the day.
-- Senior Companion: Matching seniors with volunteers.
-- Older American Services: Community-based services in conjunction with the federal government.
-- Senior Centers: Providing meals, transportation, counseling and other services.
-- Illinois Family Caregiver Support: Helping those who care for seniors.
-- Meals: Served at senior or community centers or delivered to the home.
-- Transportation: Helping seniors who can no longer drive get around.
-- Employment: Helping low-income seniors find jobs.
-- Elder Rights: Supporting the rights and benefits of Illinois’ seniors.
-- Adult Protective Services: Preventing abuse, neglect and exploitation of seniors.
-- Long-Term Care Ombudsman: Advocating for residents of long-term facilities.
-- Legal Assistance: Offering legal help if needed.
-- Community Services, Communications and Training: Getting crucial information, education and assistance to seniors.
-- Senior HelpLine: 800-252-8966 with questions, 866-800-1409 to report abuse.
-- Endangered Missing Person Advisory: Getting the word out if a senior goes missing.
-- Grandparents Raising Children: help for seniors who are raising their grandkids.
-- Intergenerational & Volunteer Programs: Matching volunteer seniors with children.
-- Gatekeeper Program: Training people to look out for older people who might need help.
-- Training: Conferences and workshops for seniors.
Living alone is a great goal for all seniors, and one tool to make sure that can happen is to acquire a medical alert device. Most medical experts and advocates for seniors suggest getting such a system for any senior living alone or with a spouse. In the event of a medical emergency, the system will place the call for help even if you are unable to do it yourself.
There are no medical alert companies that operate solely in Illinois; rather, they are national and operate in all 50 states. Shopping for a system can be a bit confusing. You can compare the services offered by all of the top companies here.
Almost every senior in Illinois qualifies for Medicare, the federal government’s health insurance program for seniors. The Department of Aging website provides key links to answer your questions and help guide you through the Medicare maze.
This is especially helpful during the open enrollment period, which is every fall. You must pick wisely; what you decide will be in effect for the entire following year.
There is also a helpful Prescription Drug Guide that is very useful for anyone who regularly takes prescription drugs, which these days is almost everyone.
The Illinois Department of Aging distributes services through Area Agencies on Aging. The state is divided into 13 Planning and Service Areas (PSAs).
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Medical Alert Systems > Illinois Medical Alert Systems and Senior Resources in Illinois