Monday, April 10, 2023
In March, AgeGuide hosted two Advocacy Collaborative events around the theme, Aging + Equity: Advocating for Healthy Longevity for All. These events, cosponsored by AARP, focused on informing legislators about issues facing older adults, caregivers, and their families in our region. Over 280 aging network professionals, elected officials, older adults, and other advocates came together to engage, empower, and advocate. Both the events were well-attended, and the speakers shared engaging stories that gave a window into aging services and sparked great conversations.
AgeGuide Chief Executive Officer, Marla Fronczak, talked about how the funding we receive for services is not keeping pace as our aging population continues to grow. This only exacerbates the already existing inequities to service access. As aging Illinoisans become more racially and ethnically diverse, AgeGuide holds fast to its commitment to viewing all aspects of service delivery through the lens of equity. Our advocacy priorities for this year focus on building healthy, age-inclusive communities, and support systems for all Illinois older adults and their caregivers. Equity is longevity plain and simple.
Courtney Hedderman, Associate State Director for Advocacy and Outreach at AARP Illinois inspired us to engage in advocacy with an insightful keynote speech. Courtney stressed the importance of aging in place and the resources needed to do so. Funding is essential, but services need to be offered in a more accessible and equitable way in order for older adults to age well.
In addition, local aging service providers and caregivers shared how interventions and supports empower older adults in our region and elected officials shared how we can advocate together for specific legislative proposals that affect older adults. The message was overall one of action. AgeGuide is committed to supporting public policies and legislation that strengthen caregiver services, reform long-term care, and support essential community-based services.
AgeGuide’s 2023 Policy Priorities
Support Essential Services
- Level funding ($44.3 million) for Home Delivered Meals
- Additional $1 million for Social Connection programs
- Additional $1 million for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders
- Increased investments particularly for Older Americans Act Title III B – Supportive Services
Support Family Caregivers
An additional $2 million in the state budget to support Illinois family caregivers to a total of $6 million in 2024. This will allow us to serve more caregivers through:
- Tailored interventions
- Support services & respite care
- Hands-on-caregiver training & stress relief
- Support for grandparents raising grandkids (kinship care)
- Increase federal investment in Older Americans Act Title III E – National Family Caregiver Support Program
Now that we’ve talked about aging, equity and advocacy on behalf of older adults, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and take action to promote a longevity agenda at the state and federal level. Join AgeGuide in advocating for caregivers and older adults in Illinois. You can make a difference by clicking here and sending a letter to your Illinois state legislators and federal legislators!