I4A Alert for Week of 1-4-2016
Illinois Aging Network Alert
A weekly report on the impact of the State budget crisis on Illinois seniors and community programs from
I4A - ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION OF AREA AGENCIES ON AGING
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Contact: Joy Paeth (618) 222-2561 or Jon Lavin (708) 383-0258
I4A Alert for week of January 4, 2016 (prepared by AgeOptions)
The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4A) issues an Alert to the Governor’s Office and Members of the Illinois General Assembly each week on the status of services for older persons in Illinois.
What happens when there is an emergency and it is not certain that anyone is able to respond?
The Illinois Aging Network, unfortunately, is answering that question this week. Twenty-three counties with 269,597 residents age 60 and over were declared disaster areas because of the unprecedented winter rains and floods. Seven Area Agencies on Aging and their partner community based agencies were challenged with responding to these areas even though state funding has not been available to support their operations for months due to the budget impasse. The services affected – Information and Assistance, Transportation, Telephone Reassurance, Emergency Planning and Response and other activities essential to the older persons in affected areas – are all vital in a time of crisis and are all unfunded by Illinois as the budget impasse continues.
These regions are eligible for possible federal FEMA reimbursement, but it takes an open office, functioning organizations with full staff and the time to fill out a milliard of forms and documentation to stay even with that reimbursement system. It is doubtful that all the affected citizens in these counties will receive the help normally provided. Why? Because the State has no budget and there are no revenues to support the staff and services provided by the aging network.
What happens when the area agency on aging is able to function? Here is the report from the smallest AAA in Illinois which is open and offering direct client services for the 1,457 residents of Calhoun County, which is bordered by the Mississippi River to the west and the Illinois River to the east. The county is four miles wide, so it is affected on both sides with a bluff in the middle.
We (West Central Illinois Area Agency on Aging) made sure that all Home Delivered Meals clients received frozen meals to use when their houses became inaccessible due to high water. We assisted in-home care clients by helping their workers to reach the clients to provide service. Transportation services have been curtailed until we can get around again after the water recedes. We are staying in touch with frail older people to make certain that if they choose to move to higher ground they will be assisted by someone from the aging network, instead of only by rescue personnel.
Thankfully, the water is going down and we hope to be back to normal shortly. We are hoping for no more rain and above freezing temperatures so the water can go down.
I cannot remember a year when the water was an issue in the winter months in my entire tenure here – 41 years. I hope I never see it again! (Lynn Niewohner, Illinois’ Dean of Area Agency Executive Directors)
Illinois needs a budget, adequate revenues and support for the essential programs and services that are so important to our citizens and communities.
23 counties with a total older adult population of 269,597 are affected by flooding
County Population Planning and Service Area
Age 60 and over*
Alexander 1,881 Egyptian AAA
Calhoun 1,457 West Central AAA
Cass 2,871 AAA of Lincolnland
Christian 8,407 AAA of Lincolnland
Clinton 8,114 AgeSmart
Cumberland 2,521 East Central AAA
Douglas 4,399 East Central AAA
Iroquois 7,534 East Central AAA
Jackson 10,617 Egyptian AAA
Jersey 5,290 AAA of Lincolnland
Lawrence 3,570 Southeastern AAA
Madison 56,858 AgeSmart
Marion 9,422 Midland AAA
Menard 2,898 AAA of Lincolnland
Monroe 7,147 AgeSmart
Moultrie 3,500 East Central AAA
Morgan 8,511 AAA of Lincolnland
Pike 4,146 West Central AAA
Randolph 7,597 AgeSmart
Richland 4,025 Southeastern AAA
Sangamon 39,204 AAA of Lincolnland
St. Clair 51,313 AgeSmart
Vermilion 18,315 East Central AAA
* Source 2013 Population Estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau