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  2005 Press Releases  

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Januari Smith
Phone: 1-217-558-1544, Cell: 1-217-725-8212

March 25, 2005

More Seniors Receiving Assistance from State’s HelpLine

More than 77,000 calls taken last year

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging’s (IDoA) Senior HelpLine assisted more than a quarter of a million seniors and their caregivers during fiscal year 2004 (July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004).

The Senior HelpLine provides information on programs and services and links persons 60 years of age and older and their caregivers to local services. The HelpLine is available weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

"The HelpLine is an amazing resource for seniors looking for all types of information from pharmaceutical assistance to subsidized housing to income tax assistance," said IDoA Director Charles D. Johnson. "The help that is offered can be literally life-saving and is always soul-strengthening. There is nothing more important than offering the public the power of information and education when it is needed. We believe that we serve as advocates for the elderly and as the conscience of the community."

The Senior HelpLine received 77,117 calls in fiscal year 2004 compared to 64,400 in fiscal year 2003, an increase of nearly 20 percent. In FY 2004, more than half of those calls were regarding the state’s four pharmaceutical assistance programs.

"We offer the help our seniors need and the respect they deserve. When we go home each day, we leave knowing that we have performed an important service," explained Shirley Medley, the HelpLine supervisor.

A team of nearly a dozen professional staff briefly assesses needs, sends literature and writes referrals for a range of services such case management, the Long Term Care Ombudsman program, legal services, transportation and employment and nutrition services. The staff also takes reports of elder abuse and neglect.

"I encourage all seniors, caregivers and family members to call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY) with any and all questions or concerns. We're always happy to help," Director Johnson added.

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