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  2002 Press Release  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Jan Costello
Phone: 217-785-9020, TTY: 1-800-252-8966

January 15, 2002

Illinois Department on Aging
Trains Gatekeepers

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department on Aging has partnered with Gallatin River Communications to launch a program that trains their customer service representatives and linemen on ways to identify and assist isolated seniors.

"As part of the Department’s Gatekeeper Program, utility personnel are trained about what to do and where to call if a distressing situation arises involving a vulnerable older person," said Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber. "These ‘Gatekeepers’ become more alert to danger signals."

Schreiber said signals that an older person may need help include a change in appearance or behavior, or exhibiting signs of confusion, disability or hardship. An overgrown lawn or mail piling up are also signals that an older person needs help.

Gatekeeper trainings will be held January 29 in Galesburg; January 30 in Pekin, and January 31 in Dixon, cities which were formerly served by Sprint and now have telephone service provided by Gallatin.

"We commend Gallatin for its commitment to the Gatekeeper program which has proven to be a successful and rewarding community outreach program," Schreiber said.

Gatekeepers are not expected to be social workers or counselors. Rather, they are trained to recognize danger signs and to call (the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966, Voice and TTY) to report that someone is in need of assistance or services. Local professionals then take appropriate action.

In addition to Gallatin, other utility companies that participate in the Gatekeeper Program are: CILCO, Commonwealth Edison, United Cities Gas, Union Electric, Peoples Gas, Illinois Power, Central Illinois Public Service Company, NiCor Gas, GTE, and the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives.

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  Contact  

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For more information, call the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).


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