Illinois Aging Network Alert September 24, 2019


I4A AlertIllinois Aging Network Alert September 24, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

Medicare Annual Open Enrollment Begins October 15- December 7

All Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to review their drug or Medicare Advantage plans during this annual open enrollment period, to be sure their plan will meet their needs well in the coming year and to estimate costs they will incur.

SHIP Counselors Navigate Plan Changes and Evaluate Choices For Medicare Enrollees
The Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) is a free statewide counseling service for Medicare beneficiaries and their caregivers. SHIP’s small professional staff and large corps of volunteers have no insurance affiliation and give individualized, completely objective service.

With over 20 drug plans and many Medicare Advantage plans offered in Illinois, sorting through the choices can be daunting. Drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans can change their premiums, deductibles, copayments, providers, formularies, and other variables every year. All these factors, along with changes in the enrollee’s own circumstances, can greatly affect the cost and appropriateness of a health or drug plan.

SHIP Counselors Help Beneficiaries on:

  • Initial enrollment
  • Billing issues and appeals
  • General information and problem-solving
  • Selection of drug, Medicare Advantage, and supplemental policies
  • Analysis of Medicare’s costs and benefits
  • Applications for financial assistance

New This Year - Medicare’s Plan Finder
The best way to consider drug plan and Medicare Advantage choices for 2020 is with Medicare’s Plan Finder, at “Find Health and Drug Plans” at A new Plan Finder feature this year is a link to MyMedicare accounts. SHIP volunteers can help enrollees with the Plan Finder as well as with opening and using a MyMedicare account.

Where to Get Help
SHIP volunteers work at sites throughout Illinois, at senior centers and residences, hospitals, churches, local government offices, and Area Agencies on Aging. To find local SHIP counselors, visit the IDOA website

SHIP Saves Medicare Beneficiaries Resources!
SHIP in Illinois accomplishes a great deal with a modest budget of federal and state dollars. With thousands of people receiving each of these benefits as a direct result of working with a SHIP counselor, the savings resulting from SHIP services are enormous.

  • Medicare Savings Program enrollment can save a beneficiary at least $1,600 a year
  • Enrolling in a drug plan can save an average of $1,945 a year
  • Low-Income Subsidy can save an enrollee an average of $4,000 a year

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair (309-829-2065 ext. 218) or Marla Fronczak, I4A President (630-293-5990).

Illinois Aging Network Alert September 11, 2019  


I4A AlertIllinois Aging Network Alert September 11, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.


In Illinois, more than 200,000 children under the age of 18 are living in a grandparent-headed household, and over 90,000 of those children are under the care of their grandparent. A recent study reported that those parenting grandchildren had an increased likelihood of experiencing their own physical and mental health problems, greater economic insecurity, and may feel more isolated from their peers. There is also an increasing need for multi-generational housing developments to accommodate these families.

National Family Caregiver Support Program.  Under Title III-E in the federal Older Americans Act, the Grandparents Raising Grandchildren program provides supports to seniors who have primary caregiving responsibility of children ages birth to age 18. These include:

  • Information about available services;
  • Assistance to caregivers in gaining access to services;
  • Individual counseling, facilitating support groups, and providing training in the areas of health, nutrition, and financial literacy, as well as general case management;
  • Providing respite care so that they can be temporarily relieved of their parenting responsibilities;
  • Supplemental services, which may include emergency financial assistance for housing costs, school supplies, medication, or other basic needs.

Illinois Family Caregiver Act (320 ILCS 65/).  The state reinforced the critical need to provide a comprehensive system of supports to unpaid family and relative caregivers, including grandparents raising grandchildren, through local Area Agencies on Aging. However, these crucial supports are not entitlements, and are contingent on annual appropriations. In FY 2020, Grandparents Raising Grandchildren received flat funding of $300,000 in state General Revenue Funds, and the National Family Caregiver Support Program in Illinois saw an increase of $4.5 million in federal funds.

Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, like other vital caregiver services, requires additional funding to reach all the families in need of these services statewide, particularly as the number of relative caregivers in Illinois continues to grow.  The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging asks for your support for fully funding relative caregiver supports.

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 August 30, 2019


I4A AlertIllinois Aging Network Alert August 30, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.


Please vote YES to FY 2020 federal funding for Older Americans Act (OAA) and other aging programs within the Departments of Labor and Health and Human Services.

OAA Services Do Make a Difference.  Funding for OAA programs and services is essential to the health and independence of millions of older adults and caregivers, including the 559,000 older adults and caregivers that are being served in Illinois – 21% of Illinois’ total senior population.  These OAA programs and services are funded through the U.S. Administration on Aging and delivered locally by Illinois area agencies on aging and our network of community providers.  In Illinois, these services helped divert an estimated 183,903 older adults from long-term care facilities, resulting in an estimated $16.4 billion in cost savings (based on Genworth’s 2018 Cost of Care Survey).

Please approve the House-passed FY 2020 OAA Funding Levels.  We greatly appreciate that Congress adopted a Bipartisan Budget Agreement for fiscal years (FY) 2020 and 2021 to raise arbitrary federal budget caps. We now urge you adopt funding levels for OAA and other aging programs to address the need for essential community-based services for older adults and caregivers in every community across the country, as we rely on this foundational federal funding to carry out our mission.  Specifically, we encourage you to pay special attention to OAA Title III-B Supportive Services programs.  In Illinois, over 389,000 older adults received one-on-one assistance with Medicare Part D applications, and other benefit programs.  

Please approve OAA Title III-B funding at $422 million!  Please check out how Title III-B Supportive Services help older adults and caregivers across the country by clicking on this brief one-pager from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a). We are happy to provide local Title III-B stories and data should you wish to learn more. 

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



I4A Alert

Illinois Aging Network Alert August 12, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

 No Person Left Behind – The National Census    

Once a decade, America comes together to count every resident in the United States, creating national awareness of the importance of the census and its valuable statistics. The census counts our population and households, providing the basis for redistricting, appropriate congress seats and distributing more than $675 billion in federal funds annually to support states, counties and communities’ vital programs — impacting housing, developments in aging, transportation, employment and community-based programs. 

Federal Programs on Aging use the census to support community initiatives involving legislation, quality-of-life and consumer advocacy.  Accurately counting an increasingly diverse urban and rural population is a massive undertaking. It requires years of planning and the support of thousands of people. It’s also about fair representation.  Aging trends have shown us that those turning 60 by the year 2030 will nearly double from 2020. Over 90% of the population desire to continue living in their own residences. Now is the time to prepare through an accurate aging census in order to have funding and programs ready for the following:

  1. Rapidly changing use of technology and availability in each part of the state;
  2. Transportation and regular routes;
  3. Constrained funding available for program development and care; and,
  4. Community initiatives.

The Illinois Area Agencies on Aging are ready to stand up and count older adults in each of their regions. Who better to represent aging than the agencies developing programs for older adults in their region?  The Department of Human Services (DHS) has been designated as the lead state agency to release funding to assist in capturing the count among target populations.  Unfortunately, the requirements DHS is placing on potential grantees prohibits Area Agencies on Aging from participating in this important effort.  The published requirements for the DHS Census funding opportunity serve as a barrier to agencies like ours. We need aging experts in the field to be an active partner to ensure all older adults are counted in our regions; therefore, we need your help.

Statewide Census Outreach.  You can help by allowing DHS to ease up on its grant restrictions so Area Agencies on Aging can become eligible for statewide funding to specifically target older adults in Illinois. Collective capturing a “no one is left behind” count is and should not be left to advocacy groups alone. Funding formulas set under the Administration of Community Living and the Illinois Department on Aging are dependent making sure everyone is counted.

We ask for your support to become an active partner in the 2020 Census count through the Department of Human Services, so no person is left behind.

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 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).

Get in touch


1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327


Phone: 309-829-2065
Fax: 309-829-6021

Opening hours

Mon-Fri: 8:00 am to 4:00 pm


Seniors may call toll free:
Phone: 1-800-888-4456