Pat Quinn, Governor
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nikki Smith
July 31, 2003
Outstanding Long Term Care Ombudsman and Elder Abuse Caseworker of the Year Named
SPRINGFIELD, IL Illinois Department on Aging Director Charles D. Johnson has announced the names of people honored for work in nursing home resident advocacy and programs that address elder abuse.
The awards will be presented July 31, 2003, at the Hyatt Regency in Oak Brook. Awards will go to an outstanding Long Term Care Ombudsman of the Year and Elder Abuse Caseworker of the Year during the Department’s 17th Annual Elder Rights Conference.
"The Illinois Department on Aging and the entire aging network throughout the state applaud these remarkable people who stand out in a challenging field," Johnson said.
"They possess qualities that inspire their colleagues and directly improve the quality of life for vulnerable seniors."
Winners were chosen based on qualities of team work, professionalism, client advocacy, work ethic, accomplishments and positive attitude.
Outstanding Elder Abuse Caseworker of the Year is Sheila Haggard of Shawnee Alliance for Seniors in Carterville. Haggard has been in her position for seven years and is known as a strong advocate for her clients. According to her nomination papers, her empathy is also well known and she has formed relationships which have helped clients with their housing, health and supervision needs. Haggard is resourceful and has gone the extra mile to help elder abuse victims get out of deplorable living situations. She does not think anyone is beyond help or beyond the scope of the Elder Abuse Program, and is remarkable at establishing rapports with those individuals most in need. Haggard's nomination also describes her as a natural leader and team member. She has forged partnerships with other entities such as the Veterans' Administration, Salvation Army and others to ensure clients receive the assistance necessary to improve their lives.The following Elder Abuse Caseworkers received certificates of recognition:
The Illinois Department on Aging's Elder Abuse and Neglect Program responded to 7,425 allegations of abuse and neglect in Fiscal Year 2002.
The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program responded to approximately 6,000 complaints in the past year and answered more than 21,000 inquiries from residents and their families, as well as long term care facility staff and others.
In addition, 8,695 older persons received legal assistance last year through the Department's Legal Assistance Program, which provides help with civil legal matters such as elder abuse and neglect, financial exploitation, consumer fraud, simple estate planning, advance directives, nursing home residents' rights and government benefits programs.
Anyone who suspects elder abuse should call the Department's Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday) or 1-800-279-0400 after hours and on weekends and holidays.
To obtain the name of your Long Term Care Ombudsman, call the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (Voice and TTY).
For more information, contact the Illinois Department on Aging's Senior HelpLine.
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