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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2006

Gov. Blagojevich urges seniors to take advantage of state assistance through Senior Help Line one-stop-shop for information
Illinois State Fair focuses on state programs during Senior Day

SPRINGFIELD – As patrons celebrated Senior Day at the Illinois State Fair today, Governor Rod R. Blagojevich announced that senior citizens can easily find out about all the programs and services the state offers older adults by calling the recently improved Illinois Senior Help Line. The toll-free Help Line number is 1-800-252-8966, and more trained operators were recently added to provide assistance Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 5 pm. Information is also available at a number of locations around the Illinois State Fairgrounds today.

"Navigating the labyrinth of state government departments and agencies that offer useful services to older adults can be frustrating and confusing. We want to eliminate the delays and frustration of being transferred and put on hold by making information about all of those services available through a single number – the Senior Help Line. The Illinois State Fair is a great opportunity to get the word out, and I am proud of what we’re doing to help seniors," said Gov. Blagojevich.

The Senior Help Line offers information about a wide range of existing programs for seniors, including hot meal delivery, transportation services, and employment opportunities, as well as information on programs like the Illinois Cares Rx program, which can save seniors money on their prescription drugs as they deal with changes resulting from Medicare Part D. This summer there is also $9 million available through the State of Illinois’ Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program for summer electric bills.

The Governor’s office worked with the AARP of Illinois this summer to add more funding and new services to benefit senior citizens.

Increased funding for the home-delivered meals program so more seniors can participate.

Bolstered the Community Care Program to provide seniors with the support they need while living at home.

Expanded our Home Modification Program, so seniors can install the equipment they need to live more comfortably and safely in their own houses.

Invested in a new Emergency Home Response program, so elderly residents living at home can signal for help and get emergency care right away, anytime, day or night.

Thanks to St. John's Hospital, the Illinois Pharmacists Association, the Lions Club and the Illinois Optometric Association, seniors can obtain free health screenings at the State Fair for the following conditions:

Cholesterol · Mental Health · Rheumatoid Arthritis

Blood Pressure · Osteoporosis · Skin Cancer

Blood Sugar · Pulmonary Function · Stroke

Body Composition · Height/Weight · Overactive Bladder

Diabetic Eye Testing

Today, Jim Karras, a nationally known fitness and weight loss expert, spoke to seniors about staying fit and healthy. The special presentation was sponsored by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Illinois. They are among a number of companies at the fairgrounds providing information about services they offer seniors. Other companies participating include:

Scooter Bug

Illinois Pharmacists Association

Watkins Home Products

Illinois Bee Keepers

Prairie Heart Institute

Illinois Optometric Association



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