Public safety agencies remind seniors that wellness checks are safe during COVID-19

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information provided by the Office of the Governor

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (April 28, 2020) – Older Illinoisans are among those most at risk for health complications related to COVID-19. The state’s posture to increase safety—of residents and first responders—has visually changed the landscape of our state. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), along with partners from Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA), Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal (OSFM), Illinois State Police (ISP), and the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, want to remind residents of the following safety measure put in place in light of COVID-19.

Police, fire, and EMS personnel conducting requested wellness checks on seniors, the disabled, or any other resident will be dressed in proper personal protective equipment that has been deemed appropriate by their local jurisdiction. This change in appearance is a safety precaution. The personal protective equipment is designed to protect the resident and our first responders. It’s also important to keep in mind that all first responders should be able to present proper identification.

“Seniors should not feel anxious about answering the door, as proper precautions are being taken by first responders to ensure the safety of residents and themselves. If someone still feels unsafe opening the door, they can communicate through a glass door or window to let the responders know they are well. Rest assured, the person may be unrecognizable under all the protective gear, but is still the same dedicated individual in uniform that is always in their community protecting citizens,” said State Fire Marshal Matt Perez.

IDoA has temporarily suspended group services at adult day centers and senior centers, and has increased one-on-one in-home services. The agency’s goal has been to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among older adults, while also increasing the ability to closely monitor their well-being. The agency has implemented guidance and tools from IDPH so that both in-home workers and the older adults they care for are safe when they do their work. The agencies in IDoA network use this as part of any protocol where face-to-face contact with an older and more vulnerable adult occurs.

The IDoA website has many ideas and resources meant to help connect people with family and loved ones to help lower distress and feelings of social isolation.

IDoA, its 13 Area Agencies on Aging, and 46 Care Coordination Units are working around the clock to ensure that the services provided will not be interrupted during this ongoing situation.

  • Visit www.illinois.gov/aging
  • Contact the Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 888-206-1327)