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  2002 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

March 25, 2002

Illinois Department on Aging Helping Caregivers of Adult Children with Disabilities

Demonstration Project Underway at Shawnee Alliance for Seniors

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department on Aging has expanded services in southern Illinois to include a caregiver support project aimed at helping elderly caregivers of adult children with developmental disabilities, according to Illinois Department on Aging Director Margo E. Schreiber.

The project has been started at Shawnee Alliance for Seniors in Carterville, and will be expanded to other parts of the state next year. Shawnee Alliance for Seniors, a Shawnee Health Service Project, provides services in the lower thirteen counties of the state.

"It is estimated that as many as 60 percent of adults with disabilities are living with family," Schreiber said. "This project is designed to give those caregivers information they need to help them now as well as prepare them for changes that come with growing older," Schreiber said.

"For example, the project aims to help with long term planning should an elderly caregiver predecease an adult child or become unable to provide the level of care needed. Objectives also include educating families on community-based services and setting up advisory council and peer support groups," said Schreiber.

Funding for the Illinois Senior Caregivers of Adult Children with Disabilities Project is provided through a grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging. The Illinois Department of Human Services, the Council for the Developmentally Disabled, and researchers at the University of Illinois, Chicago, are also collaborating with local service providers in southern Illinois.

Schreiber said the project is a natural extension of the Illinois Department on Aging’s Family Caregiver Support Program, which is a statewide program providing information and assistance to family caregivers struggling to care for older relatives.

Schreiber said the Illinois Senior Caregivers of Adult Children with Disabilities Project is for caregivers age 60 or older caring for developmentally disabled adults age 19 and older.

"We want family caregivers to know that we are here to help them in their efforts to care for their developmentally disabled family member and have services and information which can promote independence now and in the future," said Carol Aronson, Director of Shawnee Alliance for Seniors. "Shawnee Alliance has for the past 19 years developed and provided services which enable seniors to remain independent. We are pleased to have an opportunity to expand our services to assist the elderly family caregivers with dependent, adult children."

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For more information about the project, call Linda Sadler, Program Coordinator, at 618-985-8322 or 1-800-642-7773, or the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).

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