Illinois Aalertging Network Alert November 07, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies on Aging have on Illinois seniors.

NOTE CORRECTION – November 8, 2019
Support Illinois Family Caregivers!

1.5 Million Family caregivers in Illinois provide 1.4 billion hours of unpaid care, totaling $18.5 billion dollars.

Supporting family caregivers helps older Illinoisans remain at home longer, delaying costly nursing home care.  The Illinois Family Caregiver Act passed in 2004 established a multi-faceted family caregiver support program to assist unpaid family (informal) caregivers by:

  • Support for informal caregivers of older adults through interventions including assistive technology aimed at relieving caregiver stress
  • Providing temporary substitute support services or living arrangements that provide respite from caregiving tasks
  • Training and education about essential caregiving skills

All the above delay the need for older adults being cared for to need care in an institutional setting.

OUR ASK: Amend the Illinois Family Caregiver Act and provide funding for the following:

  • An evidenced based caregiver assessment that tailors’ interventions for caregivers and provides robust data on the impact of caregiver support programs
  • Equip Area Agencies on Aging and our network of local service provider agencies with financial resources to support and enhance programs that assist family and informal caregivers to continue to provide quality care for their loved ones.

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 October 21, 2019


alertIllinois Aging Network Alert October 21, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies have on Illinois seniors.

Older Americans Act (OAA) Programs Mandated to Serve Diverse Elders!

Courts Block Public Charge Rule. Three federal courts recently entered nationwide preliminary injunctions blocking the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing a new “public charge” rule which would have made it more difficult for older adults to immigrate to the United States or obtain permanent residency (i.e. green card).  In August 2019, DHS had published a new public charge rule which added factors for determining when someone might use public benefits including assigning a negative inference for being older than 61.

Nine separate lawsuits have been filed nationwide challenging the new public charge rule with three courts entering nationwide preliminary injunctions blocking the final rule from going into effect on October 15, 2019.  The first is State of New York v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, where the court concluded that DHS did not have a reasonable explanation for changing the definition of public charge. Similarly, in City and County of San Francisco v. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the court reasoned that the new definition was too broad and found that DHS failed to adequately consider costs and benefits. Finally, in State of Washington, et. al. v. United States Department of Homeland Security, the court discussed the harmful effects on older adults and determined that DHS exceeded its authority in issuing the new rule.

The injunctions are temporary pending permanent rulings from the courts which will be expected in the next few months.  The preliminary injunctions also do not affect the other six federal lawsuits where similar ruling could be entered.

Area Agencies on Aging advocate for all older adults in the United States.  The Older Americans Act mandates that services be offered to all older adults despite citizenship.  

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 October 10, 2019


alertIllinois Aging Network Alert October 10, 2019
A report of the impact Area Agencies have on Illinois seniors.

The Aging Network Will Receive Funding for Targeted Outreach to Older Adults during the 2020 Census!

Thank You!  The Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4A) wishes to express our appreciation to the Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) for securing $500,000 in funding to support the Aging Network conduct targeted outreach activities to obtain an accurate census count of older adults in Illinois.  I4A acknowledges Director Paula Basta, IDOA, who exercised her leadership by investing in the Illinois Aging Network to ensure all older adults in Illinois are counted. 

Action for an Accurate Census 2020!  An accurate count is needed to guarantee Illinois receives its fair share in federal dollars and representation in Washington D.C.  An accurate count of older adults is vital to assure our senior population will receive needed Federal Older Americans Act funds to serve our rising senior population.  

Census 2020 Action to be taken by Area Agencies on Aging and the Aging Network.

  • We will conduct outreach activities to “Hard-to-Count” populations – including older adults, people of color, rural residents, linguistically-challenged older adults, and people with disabilities.
  • We will work to overcome skepticism and mistrust of the federal government by some members of the community regarding the U.S. Citizenship question by ensuring older adults understand the census is confidential.
  • We will work to help implement the first “high-tech” census. Many residents do not have access to internet, especially low income and rural households.  This is especially a problem with Illinois seniors, since many face challenges with technology and do not have access to the internet. 
  • Our targeting activities to “Hard-to-Count” tract populations will include working with community partners such as the Illinois Complete Count Commissions, DHS Census Regional Intermediaries, AAA-funded service providers, businesses, human service agencies, health clinics, faith-based organizations, grandparents raising grandchildren, child care organizations, schools, libraries, park districts, and local media.

Thank you for investing in the future of older adults.  The Illinois Aging Network will deliver in its promise to ensure every older adult is able to exercise his or her right to participate in the 2020 Census!

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 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).

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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