SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is kicking off efforts for the year-long campaign 2010: Year of the Engaged Older Adult. Last month, Governor Pat Quinn made the call to action to get individuals and families engaged in efforts to benefit their communities and thus improve the state. The focus for January is Intergenerational Programs: How Generations Support Generations. People should look for examples on how older adults are engaged in their community or neighborhood. Gathering stories will help all generations save their family stories, create stronger connections among generations and foster communication skills - interviewing, listening, writing, and reading. For ideas, log onto www.law.siu.edu/GenServeGen.
IDoA Director Charles D. Johnson is leading the statewide initiative that started when Illinois was selected to participate in the National Governors Association (NGA) Policy Academy on Civic Engagement of Older Adults. The project is designed to improve the health and lives of older Americans and increase their involvement in service, learning, and work.
“Our goal is engage citizens, especially those ages 50 and older, and tap their talents to benefit others,” said Director Johnson. “We are encouraging individuals, their families, organizations and networks to find ways to do good in their communities. Whether baking cookies for our troops overseas, sharing family stories to document family history, we want people to find ways to get involved and make a difference to benefit their communities.”
A team of dedicated professionals in Illinois have been working to map out the best strategies to get older adults involved in community and to encourage more interaction between the generations. Members of the NGA Illinois Leadership Team include the Illinois Department on Aging, Intergenerational Initiative-SIU School of Law, AARP, Retirement Research Foundation, Corporation for National and Community Service, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Senate Higher Education Committee, Illinois Community College Council of Presidents, Chinese American Service League, Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging, and McCormick Foundation.
Activities will be planned across the state to engage older adults in service, learning and work. The purpose is to:
• highlight the tradition of service by reporting the stories of older generations
• increase participation in service across generations
• publicize and communicate to local communities the ways generations support one another
• emphasize the importance of each citizen’s contribution
• demonstrate how Illinoisans 50+ strengthen the economy
For more information about program services to assist older adults in Illinois and their caregivers, call the IDoA Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 or for TTY (hearing impaired use only) call 1-888-206-1327.