Wednesday, January 17, 2024

The new year is always exciting, and what better time to spotlight AgeGuide’s advocacy work and prepare for a busy year ahead!  

Older Americans Act Reauthorization  

On November 16th, President Biden signed another Continuing Resolution to keep the government funded. The bifurcated bill extends funding at current levels for some agencies and programs until January 19th, while other programs, including the social programs under the Older Americans Act (OAA), are extended until February 2nd. It’s critical that we continue to advocate for increases to the OAA appropriations in the final FY24 Budget. 

Action Needed 

Help support aging services! This legislative session, AgeGuide is advocating for funding for wrap-around/supportive services as well as caregiver funding at both the state and federal level. Contact your legislators now to voice your concerns. 

Please take 2 minutes to send your legislators pre-scripted letters about the budget, Medicare improvements, and increased funding for caregivers via AgeGuide’s Action Alert.   

AgeGuide’s Community Needs Assessment  

As part of a 3-year cycle for gathering input into services and the needs of our service area, AgeGuide completes a Community Needs Assessment so that we can plan for the next three years. Over the past few months, we completed listening sessions across the region and collected survey responses from older adults and stakeholders.   

Our funded partners helped us distribute and collect 1,213 surveys – almost 3 times (164%) more than our last needs assessment in 2020.  

Of the total, 76 surveys were completed by community members, service providers, and policymakers. The other 1,137 surveys were completed by service users, caregivers, or people over 60. 151 of these surveys were completed in languages other than English thanks to our translated surveys. 

With the help of community partners and stakeholders, we were able to promote and host 17 listening sessions with nearly 600 participants, I an increase of 130% over the number of participants in 2020.. We gathered at senior centers, churches, township senior centers, restaurants, and other community sites to reach limited-English speakers and people from specific racial and ethnic groups.   

Community Needs Assessment Findings Report  

We are working with the Center of Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University to provide the in-depth data analysis required to process the large volume of feedback collected. After the data is compiled, we will publish a complete findings report and offer a virtual presentation on March 6th from 10-11:30 A.M.  

To attend the findings report, please register via this Zoom link.  

I4A Legislative Update and Policy Priorities  

At the end of the month, the three Area Agencies on Aging from the Northeastern region of the state, AgeOptions, AgeGuide, and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services, will host the annual Legislative update for 2024. This meeting is an opportunity for Area Agencies to advocate for policies needed for older adults in Illinois and for policymakers to learn about the accomplishments and challenges of the Illinois Aging Network.  

The Legislative Priorities the Illinois Association for Area Agencies on Aging (I4A) is advocating for in  2024 include:  

  1. Support Unpaid Caregivers  
  2. Increase State Funding to Combat Social Isolation  
  3. Increase State Funding for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders  
  4. Sustain State Funding for Home Delivered Meals  
  5. Reduce Elder Financial Exploitation 

Illinois General Assembly Updates  

Advocating now, as the Illinois General Assembly session is starting (see the full calendar here), is crucial because it provides a timely opportunity to shape policies. Legislators are actively considering bills, and your advocacy can influence their decisions. Being engaged early allows you to have a more significant impact on the legislative process and helps ensure that your concerns are addressed during the session. 

AgeGuide stays on top of essential legislation that is vital to the health and well-being of older adults, so keep an eye out on our social media for legislative updates.  



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