SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — May is Older Americans Month in Illinois and the state’s Department on Aging (IDoA) is encouraging you to build strength in the lives of our older adults.
“Communities of Strength” is the theme of this year’s recognition. It highlights the differences everyone can make in the lives of the state’s more than 2.8 million older adults and in support of our more than 600,000 caregivers.
In recognition of the month, IDoA has released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to create awareness of how important it is to support our older family members, friends, and neighbors, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The PSA is also meant to raise awareness of programs and services available for seniors through IDoA, our 13 Area Agencies on Aging, and 55 Care Coordination Units.
When Older Americans Month was established by President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens in 1963, there were just 17 million Americans 65 years of age and older, about a third of older Americans lived in poverty, and there were few programs to meet their needs. Today in Illinois, people 85 years of age and older is the fastest growing segment of the older population, and by 2030, individuals 65 years of age and older will represent 25% of Illinois’s population.
Just over 80% of older Illinoisans have now received the COVID-19 vaccine, However, there is an incredible amount of work that still needs to be done as over 88% of the COVID-19 deaths in the State of Illinois have been adults 60 years of age or older.
Countless others have suffered from the effects of social isolation. It is imperative that we all continue to make sure that our older Illinoisans understand that they continue to be at risk without the vaccine.