information provided by the Illinois Department on Aging
CHICAGO, Ill. (May 12, 2020) – May is Older Americans Month in Illinois and the state’s Department on Aging (IDoA) is encouraging all Illinoisans to “Make Your Mark” in the lives of our older adults. “Make Your Mark” is the theme of this year’s recognition, which highlights the differences everyone can make in the lives of the state’s more than 2.7 million older adults and in support of our more than 70,000 caregivers.
In recognition of the month, legendary television journalist, producer, and news anchor Bill Kurtis assisted in putting together a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) which encourages everyone to Make Their Mark. The PSA is also meant to raise awareness of programs and services available for seniors through IDoA.
Kurtis’s voiceover reads:
Their eyes have seen history first-hand. They’ve seen good times, hard times, dangerous times, and these times. Our seniors have Made Their Mark on our world. Now it’s our turn. May is Older Americans Month in Illinois. Make Your Mark with them, through support, interaction, communication, friendship. And you’ll see life, through their eyes.
“It’s a privilege to be a part of this campaign,” said Kurtis. “I know when I heard that being over 60 put you among the most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, it took me a while to realize how far into the bracket I am at 79. How hard it was to face the reality that these warnings were meant for me, along with the countless other older Illinoisans. After decades of being the caregivers, and the ones on the front lines, we now need to turn to rally all the non-seniors to be ever more caring and concerned about the physical and mental health and well-being of those we honor this May, Older Americans Month.”
When Older Americans Month was established by President John F. Kennedy and members of the National Council of Senior Citizens in 1963, there were only 17 million Americans 65 years of age and older, about a third of older Americans lived in poverty, and there were few programs to meet their needs. Today in Illinois, people 85 years older are the fastest growing segment of the older population, and by 2030, individuals 65 and older will represent almost 25% of Illinois’s population. Members of this age group, along with individuals with underlying medical conditions, are among those most at risk for health complications related to COVID-19.
For more information on programs and services available to assist older adults in Illinois, visit www.illinois.gov/aging or contact our Senior HelpLine at 1-800-252-8966 (hearing impaired call 888-206-1327) or [email protected].