illinois aging network alert December 21, 2020


Illinois Aging Network
December 21, 2020

ISSUE: Prioritizing Older Adults & Caregivers for the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Illinois Aging Network supports Illinois’ prioritization of the following groups for the first phases of the COVID-19 vaccine distribution:  

  • Residents of long-term care facilities
  • Older adults
  • Paid & unpaid caregivers of older adults and persons with disabilities

As the first coronavirus vaccines become available, limited supply has required the prioritization of certain groups. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices guidelines prioritize groups based on 1) reducing death & serious illness, 2) keeping society functioning, and 3) reducing health disparities in communities that have been disproportionately affected by the virus[1]. Residents of long-term care facilities and paid and unpaid healthcare personnel including home care givers are included in Illinois’ Phase 1a distribution and older adults are included in Illinois’ Phase 1c distribution[2].

Prioritizing residents of long-term care facilities, older adults, and unpaid and paid caregivers is an essential step in reducing death and serious illness.

  • Older adults are more likely to have serious complications from COVID-19 and the risk of hospital re-admittance after having COVID-19 increases with age[3].
  • 78% of COVID-19 deaths occurred in people 65 and older3.
  • In Illinois, individuals age 60 and older account for 12,840 COVID-19 deaths; 6,969 of those death were in individuals age 80 and older[4].
  • The proximity of residents and the greater vulnerability that older adults have to COVID-19, make long-term care facilities high risk[5].
  • In Illinois there have been 6,954 laboratory confirmed COVID-19 deaths among residents in the state’s long-term care facilities[6].
  • Healthcare personnel including unpaid and paid caregivers are essential to caring for vulnerable populations yet the nature of their work increases their risk of getting COVID-19[7].

It is clear that the risk of serious illness and death from COVID-19 disproportionately affects older adults, especially residents of long-term care facilities. Vaccines are a key tool in fighting this pandemic and the Illinois Aging Network continues to support the prioritization of our society’s most vulnerable populations and the individuals that care for them.



illinois aging network alert November 30, 2020


Illinois Aging Network
November 30, 2020


As of November 27th, 2020, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports 45,882 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in long-term care, with 6,047 deaths. As nursing homes and assistive living communities continue to be hit the hardest by the pandemic, the most vulnerable population is isolated in close quarters, with a poor prognosis if contacting the disease. With isolation from the outside world, aging professionals, family, and friends are not able to ensure the quality of care and treatment of our older adults, leaving them at risk for health and safety violations that pose life threatening risks.

Aside from COVID-19, Illinois nursing homes pose additional risks of using unnecessary sedation and having inadequate staffing that leaves residents neglected and malnourished. Illinois ranks 50th in the state, bottom place in the nation, for direct care of daily nursing hours per resident.1 Illinois nursing homes also provide anti-psychotic drugs to long-term care residents without a psychiatric diagnosis, becoming the second worst in the nation for this practice.1


*We urge state and federal legislators to implement new policy solutions to keep long-term care residents safe by balancing isolation with containment efforts to reduce thenumber of deaths in long-term care settings.TESTING: Provide expedient testing for staff, residents, and visitorsPPE: Provide PPE to all staff and residents as recommended by the IDPHREDUCE ISOLATION: Provide resources to keep residents connected to the outside world

*JCAR members should support the Department of Public Health's proposed rules to protect nursing home residents.

Skilled Nursing and Intermediate Care Facilities Code (77 IAC 300; 44 ILL Reg 435) proposed 1/10/20

  • Requires informed consent from the resident or surrogate decision maker before administering a psychotropic drug.
  • Improves staffing standards by requiring IDPH to enforce minimum staffing compliance, making staffing levels and violations available to the public, and providing strong remedies for violations

1Across the States 2018:IL State Profile

illinois aging network alert November 20, 2020


Illinois Aging Network
November 20, 2020

ISSUE: Area Agencies on Aging COVID-19 Response Snapshot - Safety Bedrock!

The Illinois Area Agencies on Aging continue to face the challenges COVID-19 has placed on older adults in Illinois. COVID-19 created a new footprint in each Planning and Service Area (PSA).  Illinois Area Agencies on Aging, along with service provider partners, maintained service delivery to seniors throughout the pandemic. We took swift action to pivot meal delivery services to older adults that included hot, frozen and shelf-stable meals.  With the support of emergency relief funding (Federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act & CARES Act), we eliminated waiting lists while adding over 18,000 new clients to the nutrition program since April 1, 2020.  Critical programs such as information and assistance, Medicare Part D enrollments, and benefit access programs were conducted telephonically.  Plus, we are using virtual platforms to conduct evidence-based/healthy aging programs and projects to reduce social isolation among older adults.  A partnership with the IL United Way Foundation paved the way for limited Gap Funding to help vulnerable adults keep the lights on and medications filled.  An innovative partnership with the Illinois Assistive Technology Program launched the Illinois Care Connections project which provided needed technology devices to older adults to promote social connections during the pandemic.  However, these funds are depleted.  Each Area Agency in the state played different notes (akin to a musical scale) to provide: A for Alzheimer’s/Dementia programming; to B for Benefits Access Applications; and, C for Congregate/Home Delivered Meals.  These notes created harmony for older adults who rely on the IL Aging Network for the services they depend on from a system they trust.

LEGISLATIVE ASK:  +$2M for HOME DELIVERED MEALS. Area Agencies on Aging are providing these vital senior programs during a pandemic while facing potential budget deficits at the state and federal level.   Aging Agencies on Aging have increased meals by 70% when compared to the last complete fiscal year.  We need increased funding to sustain this level of service.  If funding is not increased, we will have to make the tough decision of who will go without a nutritious meal during a pandemic!  We look to you, our members of the Illinois General Assembly, to support an increase of $2M to sustain home delivered meals during FY 2021.  Older Illinoisans have been hardest hit during the pandemic and deserve your support! 

illinois aging network alert October 5, 2020


Illinois Aging Network
October 5, 2020

ISSUE: 14A Hosting an Illinois General Assembly 2020 Update!

Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging will be hosting a ZOOM meeting on October 27, 2020 at 2:00 PM and a GoToMeeting on October 29, 2020 at 9:00 AM to inform the Illinois General Assembly of the accomplishments and challenges that the Aging Network has faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The October 27, 2020 ZOOM meeting is for the Non-Metro legislators, i.e. State House Representatives from Districts 67-76, 87-96, and 99-118 and State Senators from Districts 34-38, 44-48, and 50-59. The October 29, 2020 GoToMeeting is for the “Chicago-Metro” legislators, i.e. State House Representatives from Districts 1-66, 77-86, and 97-98 and State Senators from Districts 1-33, 39-43, and 49. Of course, we welcome any to attend either!

The Aging Network worked very hard during this time to make sure older adults and caregivers continued to receive services.  The Area Agency Director from your area will be available to discuss what action was taken in your district.  Many services have been adjusted and are being provided through technology or via the phone. Some services such as Home Delivered Meals have grown enormously due to the fact that all older adults are now considered Home Bound and eligible for a meal. 

Come hear about the innovative ways the Aging Network in your district is providing these services and what they are doing to prevent Social Isolation as our older adults and caregivers are coping in these trying times!

“Downstate” Regions I4A Legislative Update ZOOM Meeting
Tue, Oct 27, 2020 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM (CDT)
Join Zoom Meeting.
Meeting ID: 936 0515 4995 Passcode: 245881
You can also dial in using your phone.
312-626-6799 or 646-876-9923

Metro Region Aging Services Legislative Update GoToMeeting
Thu, Oct 29, 2020 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM (CDT)
Please join my meeting from your computer, tablet or smartphone.
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States: +1 (872) 240-3212 Access Code: 706-096-157


illinois aging network alert september 14, 2020


Illinois Aging Network
September 14, 2020

ISSUE: AAA’s Spring to Action to assist with COVID Relief

I4A has worked hard since the COVID outbreak to ensure that our older adults continue to receive services. Throughout Illinois, AAAs have expanded programming and made services accessible to seniors, while keeping safety at the forefront of all activities. Some accomplishments of the Area Agencies on Aging include:

  • Transitioning all congregate dining services carry-out or home delivered meals. AAAs have provided over 228,277 meals to seniors each week. This equates to more than 5.3 million meals since March. In addition, over 533,000 shelf-stable meals have been provided to older adults in Illinois through our partnership with FEMA and IEMA.
  • Providing continuous information and assistance services and other direct services through telephone hotlines.
  • Holding virtual programming via Zoom, WebEx, and Telephone calls.
  • Delivering care packages to participants with games, puzzles, and more.
  • Performing telephone wellness checks on participants via volunteer networks.
  • Providing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to providers and clients.
  • Offering emergency financial assistance for utilities, rent assistance, home repairs, and groceries for older adults to help them remain safely in their homes.
  • Providing GrandPads, iPads, or other communication devices to older adults to help them to stay connected to friends, family, and resources.
  • Continuing caregiver case management through T-Care, and programming such as Savvy Caregiver and Stress-busters to caregivers through virtual programming.
  • Offering additional modes of transportation to seniors for medical appointments.

I4A thanks its legislators who supported the Families First and CARES Acts, awarding additional dollars to our network to help keep up with the demand for Home Delivered Meals. Please help to pass additional state funding to help meet the continued needs of our network, so we make sure our older adults are safe and well taken care of as the pandemic continues.

OUR ASK: Without additional emergency funding, the aging network would be faced with detrimental situations:

  • Deciding who will receive the limited supply of to-go/home delivered meals.
  • Cutting back on vital programs that provide social engagement opportunities for older adults and family caregivers.
  • Cutting back on vital programs that provide in-home and community supports that allow older adults to age safely in their communities.

Older Illinoisans still need emergency support!

Today’s Alert courtesy of AgeLinc, Springfield. Questions? Contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 1218

Get in touch


1003 Maple Hill Road
Bloomington, IL 61705-9327


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

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

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