older couple 080921SPRINGFIELD – Older residents will have more convenient access to information on important state programs and resources under a law sponsored by State Senator Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove).

“To ensure essential information reaches all our older neighbors, we need to distribute news in a range of forms,” Johnson said. “This law will allow aging Illinoisans to keep resources close at hand—including those who may not have a computer or smartphone, or who simply aren’t comfortable navigating the internet.”

Under the law, the Department on Aging must develop an annual fact sheet to deliver to recipients of home-delivered meals with a current list of toll-free numbers to access information on various health conditions, elder abuse and programs for seniors. Recipients would also receive updates on any new programs for older adults.

“For too long seniors have been left behind and uninformed about services and programs designed to help them live a better quality of life,” said State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin (D-Olympia Fields), the sponsor of the legislation in the House. “The distribution of information fact sheets by a trusted source, like Meals on Wheels, is a proactive way we can help seniors avoid falling victim to financial exploitation or elder abuse.”

About 12 million meals were delivered to over 144,000 older adults in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, when congregate dining sites were closed, according to the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging. The lack of in-person interaction during the pandemic interrupted traditional communication channels for many older adults, who as a result missed out on important service updates and opportunities.

“For many older adults, a physical fact sheet may be more reliable than a website or social media page,” Johnson said. “By distributing a printed list of important—and even life-saving—state resources, we’re making sure no resident goes overlooked.”

The law, originally House Bill 32, was signed into law Friday and took effect immediately.