SPRINGFIELD – May is Older Americans Month – a time to celebrate the nearly 2.9 million Illinoisans aged 60 and older and the many ways they contribute to, support, and benefit from their communities. The 2024 Older Americans Month theme, selected by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), is Powered by Connection, focusing on the profound impact that meaningful connections have on older adults’ health and well-being.

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“Older Illinoisans form the bedrock of communities across the state,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “This Older Americans Month, we celebrate them and reaffirm our commitment to promoting connection and health in their best years.”

This May, the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is joining ACL and its partner organizations across the country to promote resources that help older adults engage socially, as well as local services, such as transportation, that can help them overcome obstacles to achieving or maintaining meaningful relationships.

Senior centers provide access to an array of opportunities for older adults to stay healthy, active, and socially connected. Senior centers offer a wide variety of programs and services, including:

  • Information and assistance
  • Transportation services
  • Employment assistance
  • Health, fitness, and wellness programs
  • Educational and arts programs
  • Social and recreational activities
  • Volunteer and civic engagement opportunities
  • Intergenerational programs
  • Meals and more.

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Available at senior centers and other community focal points, group or congregate dining programs provide older adults with nutritious meals, as well as opportunities for social interaction and activity. Congregate meals are served at approximately 400 locations in Illinois, often for free or a suggested donation of $3-5.

To find a congregate meal site near you, use IDoA’s interactive map tool or contact your regional Area Agency on Aging (AAA).

AAAs, AAA-funded entities, Care Coordination Units, and Adult Day Services providers may also refer older adults who are socially or geographically isolated to IDoA’s Illinois Care Connections program. The program operates in partnership with the Illinois Assistive Technology Program to provide free tablets and accessories to qualifying older adults, enabling them to connect with online resources, friends, and family.

“Social connection is fundamental to our health, well-being, and even longevity,” said IDoA Acting Director Mary Killough. “This Older Americans Month, harness the power of connection by investing time with people to build new relationships or trying a new activity—or a familiar activity in a new setting. When older adults remain involved and included in their communities, everyone benefits.”

Reinforcing Illinois’ commitment to inclusivity and connectedness, Governor JB Pritzker has issued a proclamation declaring May as Older Americans Month in Illinois. For more information, visit the official Older Americans Month website or contact your AAA to learn about Older Americans Month activities in your community.

About IDoA: IDoA serves and advocates for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life. For information about the Department’s programs and services for older adults and persons with disabilities, visit https://ilaging.illinois.gov/ or contact the Senior HelpLine toll-free at 1-800-252-8966, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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