Older Illinoisans, Advocates Urge Legislature to Protect Critical Services

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 General News J E 4

On "Older Illinoisans Phone Lobby Day," Groups Hit Phones Pressing Legislators to Pass a Responsible Budget

SPRINGFIELD, Ill., May 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With the clock ticking towards adjournment in the State Capitol, older Illinoisans have no time to spare. AARP, all of the 13 Illinois Area Agencies on Aging, and dozens of senior service providers hit the phones today, from early in the morning through the afternoon, urging legislators to protect the critical services hundreds of thousands of older Illinoisans need, and to pass a responsible budget that fixes Illinois' fiscal mess.

From Centralia to Chicago, and from Rockford to Carterville, older residents and advocacy organizations dialed 1-800-719-3020 urging legislators to make sure a final budget preserves funding for home care and community based services, Illinois Cares Rx, and other critical programs and services that provide care, health and other forms of assistance to 1.3 million older Illinoisans.

The budget proposal introduced by Governor Quinn earlier in the year includes cuts of $140 million to the Community Care Program community care services, and $70 million to Illinois CaresRx among many other harmful cuts.

"Thousands of older Illinoisans depend on home care services provided by the state so they can age independently and with dignity in their own home and communities," said AARP Illinois Director of Advocacy and Outreach, Nancy Nelson. "But if those services are cut, thousands of individuals may be forced into institutional care, tripling the cost to the taxpayer. AARP urges Illinoisans to call their legislators at 1-800-719-3020, and urge them to pass a responsible budget that brings the new and fair revenue necessary to provide these services and fix our fiscal crisis."

"It is amazing how a simple Home Delivered Meal can help someone remain independent in their home and community. Funding for these services must be spared. If these services are not spared the alternatives will cost the tax payer more money," said Joy Paeth, Chief Executive officer for the Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois.

AARP is working today with all of Illinois' 13 Area Agencies on Aging to lead an "Older Illinoisans Phone Lobby Day," so that legislators hear a clear and urgent message from their older constituents.

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