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December 9, 2003

Governor’s Conference on Aging Looks at Change

CHICAGO – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich invites professional service providers to the over-60 population in Illinois to the annual Governor’s Conference on Aging from Dec. 10 to 12 at the Hyatt Regency in Chicago.  The conference includes numerous speakers and panels focused on the issues that affect the diverse population of 2 million older people in the state.
“As our population ages, it becomes more and more important to assess changing needs and make sure we are providing the kinds of services that will help people live long, healthy lives,” said Blagojevich.  “This conference provides a perfect venue to discuss how we’re making progress and what areas we still need to address.”
The Governor’s Conference for the Aging Network is expected to draw 600 people from across the state to the three-day event that is focused on change. This is the issue that will be discussed by Warner Saunders, news anchor at NBC Channel 5 in Chicago, and Charles D. Johnson, director of the Illinois Department on Aging that sponsors the event.
Saunders and Johnson will speak at the opening session from 9:45 to 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 11.
Also on the program Friday, Dec. 12, are Bryan Samuels, director of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, who will speak at the awards luncheon from 11:30 to 1 p.m., and U.S. Rep. Danny Davis, who will be on a panel from 10 to 11:15 a.m. called “What’s Ahead for Medicare?”
This is the 22nd year for the Conference, but this year the topics are much different than they were decades ago, Johnson said.
“Years ago we focused on activity and we addressed a smaller, less diverse and certainly younger population of older people,” Johnson said. “Today we help older people who are caring for their parents and their grandchildren, and we are less squeamish about discussing delicate issues like the end of life and the course of Alzheimer’s disease. Today the issues are tougher, but we are meeting the challenge.”


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