Illinois Aging Network Alert
May 18, 2020


Nursing homes and assisted living communities are on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. About 11,500 cases of coronavirus and over 1,550 deaths are linked to nursing homes in Illinois. The hardest hit counties, with 100 or more confirmed cases in long-term care facilities, include Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, St. Clair, and Will.

Illinois has not done enough to support these communities. Long-Term Care (LTC) facilities, their staff, and their residents are experiencing a lack of proper infectious disease control. In addition, residents are socially isolated and unable to connect with family and loved ones. The Long-Term Care Ombudsmen are not able to enter facilities to assess health and safety or investigate reports of violations; putting lives at risk. 


We urge state and federal legislators to implement new policy solutions to address the immediate and long-term issues impacting long-term care facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Testing: Provide LTC facilities with the capability to verify residents, staff, and visitors are free of COVID-19. Also, require facilities to report cases of COVID-19 immediately and accurately.

Support: Immediately prioritize full access to Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), and monitor the program to ensure effectiveness. 

Address Social Isolation: Provide resources to keep residents safe and connected with friends and family so they can stay engaged.

Hold LTCs accountable: IDPH must ensure LTC facilities have adequate staff, provide infection control, and enforce an effective PPE program.

Establish a Statewide LTC Emergency Response Task Force: Convene key stakeholders to identify pressing issues and implement solutions.

If we do not address this now, we will likely see thousands more deaths in the coming months and maybe years. Our Older Illinoisans deserve better!

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 1218

Illinois Aging Network Alert May 07, 2020


Illinois Aging Network Alert
May 07, 2020

ISSUE:  The Illinois Long Term Care Ombudsman Program *A Vital Link to Residents of Long-Term Care Facilities*
Nursing homes account for 44% of coronavirus deaths in Illinois.  Source:  May 1, 2020 IDPH Long Term Care Facility Outbreaks COVID-19 Website.

CMS to Require Nursing Homes to Report Cases of COVID-19

In the spirit of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) effort to increase transparency within nursing homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, CMS is proposing new requirements for long-term care facilities to report confirmed COVID-19 (or COVID-19 Persons under Investigation) cases among residents and staff. 

CMS is reinforcing existing requirements under 42 C.F.R. § 483.80 that nursing homes must report cases of COVID-19 and potential outbreaks to State and Local health departments, and now CMS is adding the requirement that these facilities report suspected cases, confirmed cases, and deaths to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in a standardized format with frequency determined by CMS and CDC (at least once a week).  In addition to the COVID-19 case reports, nursing homes will be required to report information about ventilator capacity, protective equipment, staffing shortages, and access to COVID-19 testing for their residents. 

Further, CMS will be requiring nursing homes to inform residents, their representatives, and families of those residing in facilities by 5 p.m. the next day when a case of COVID-19 is confirmed within the facility or when three or more residents or staff have symptoms within 72 hours of each other. As part of this requirement, the nursing homes must inform residents of mitigating actions being implemented to prevent or reduce the risk of transmission, including if normal operations in the nursing home will be altered.  If nursing homes do not comply with these requirements, enforcement action will be taken by CMS.

Regional Ombudsman Programs are advocating on behalf of residents to ensure they receive proper care and their rights are protected as these CMS requirements are enforced.  Residents of long- term care facilities are our most vulnerable population.  Your support for the Illinois Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program is needed now more than ever!

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 1218



Illinois Aging Network Alert
April 24, 2020
ISSUE: Emergency Nutrition Response around COVID-19

Meeting the food access needs of older adults is among the top priorities of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) throughout our planning year, with this being especially pressing during the COVID-19 health crisis. Illinois AAAs have adapted their Older Americans Act funded senior meal programs, both congregate and home delivered, to ensure that all older adults who need access to nutritious food are receiving it.

With suspension of in-person dining at congregate meal sites, the Congregate Meal Programs have implemented drive-through meal pickup options and distribution of longer-term supply shelf stable meals. Home Delivered Meal programs have accommodated significant increases in demand and expanded delivery routes.

As of April 17th, 2020, the Illinois AAAs have:

  • Delivered 600,087 home delivered meals
  • Received 4,297 new referrals for clients needing meals
  • Provided 102,176 shelf stable meals to older adults across the state
    (Source: Illinois Department on Aging FY20 NAPIS Report)

All meals and food items distributed by AAAs comply with Older Americans Act nutrition standards, meaning that healthful, nutrient rich foods are reaching our older adult participants.

It is clear from the data that the need for nutrition services is great during this crisis and that AAAs will need increased funding and support from federal and state revenue streams to remain equipped to handle the increased demand for nutrition supports.

It is crucial that all players within the network of older adult stakeholders are directing seniors with nutrition needs to their AAA so they can be referred to the proper meal provider.

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 218

Illinois Aging Network Alert April 09, 2020


Illinois Aging Network Alert
April 09, 2020

Illinois Area Agencies on Aging warn that seniors are at increased risk of experiencing social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Social isolation and loneliness among older adults results from the absence of interactions between an individual or social network. A recent report from AARP showed that 1 in 3 adults age 45 and older are lonely and that physical distance, such as that resulting from required social distancing, is a key driver of social isolation. These older adults are also seeing their existing social networks diminish in size as their families and neighbors also practice social distancing.

Isolation and loneliness have been connected to an increase risk of negative physical and mental health outcomes, including depression and anxiety. Seniors are already at increased risk of serious health complications from COVID-19 and those who are experiencing diminished social connectedness are less likely to receive needed wellness checks in this critical moment.

While technology can reduce loneliness, not all methods of engagement provide real human interactions. The Friendly Phone Call (aka Telephone Reassurance) program is one of the key tools that local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are using to combat social isolation during this pandemic. By connecting staff or volunteers with seniors in their community, we can identify additional supports older adults may need during this stressful time, including home delivered meals or medical care.

Stakeholders must ensure that AAAs continue to receive funding and support to engage in this proactive outreach to our vulnerable isolated older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 218

Illinois Aging Network Alert March 24, 2020

I4AIllinois Aging Network Alert
March 24, 2020


The Older Americans Act (OAA) protects the health and wellbeing of older adults by providing critical support that addresses their needs. During times of emergency, meals are of the greatest concern for older adults, as many are unable to access food. Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) receive funding from the Older Americans Act and the Illinois General Revenue Fund for meal programs serving 85,467 congregate participants and 43,436 home delivered meal participants. (Source: IDOA FY 2019 NAPIS Report)

Nutrition for older adults is our top priority! The Illinois Area Agencies on Aging (I4A) have worked tirelessly to adapt programs and service delivery to meet the quickly changing situation and address the emerging needs of older adults created by the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Congregate programs located at Senior Centers developed creative grab and go meal options
  • Home-delivered meals programs increased to serve more older adults unable to leave their home
  • Meal delivery routes expanded to accommodate increased numbers of meals
  • Shelf-stable and frozen meals are being offered as a meal alternative to address delivery capacity

OAA funded nutrition programs are ensuring that older adults continue to receive nutritious meals. The Aging Network remains open for business to provide these life-saving services.

During this crisis, AAAs are faced with an increased demand and cost for meals and services for Illinois' most vulnerable older adults. Additional resources are critical for ensuring the protection of the health and wellbeing of our older adults.

For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 218

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1003 Maple Hill Road
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