Our Role in the Community
AgeOptions creates and sustains a variety of innovative programs that respond to the rich diversity of our communities and older adults. We serve a diverse population of more than 480,000 older adults in 130 communities, providing leadership and support to programs that respond to the needs of older persons.
AgeOptions is designated by the federal Older Americans Act and the Illinois Department on Aging as the planning and service agency for the 30 townships surrounding Chicago – home to more than 2.5 million people. Our responsibilities include funding and programming for the 130 communities in suburban Cook County.
We administer more than $15 million annually in federal and state funds. More than 88 percent of resources support services through grants to more than 60 community-based senior service organizations such as councils on aging, townships and senior centers. We also receive and administer grants for special programs from organizations across the country.
With our partner agencies in the community, we anticipate assisting more than 200,000 people every year with a variety of information and programming, including one-on-one services and support to media, students, academic institutions, local government and the general public.
A Community Resource
AgeOptions provides resources to community agencies for the delivery of essential services to older persons. These include:
- Community and home delivered meals
- Central Point of Entry information and assistance so older persons, their families and friends have local, reliable and knowledgeable resource centers for information
- Culturally appropriate services and supports for limited-English-speaking and newly arrived residents
- Elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation services to support older persons through local senior service agencies
- In-home care
- Legal assistance
- Senior centers
- Housing assistance
- Respite support for family caregivers
- Training and education
- Ombudsman services for older persons in long term care and assisted living facilities
- Health promotion and disease prevention
- Medication management
AgeOptions is part of a national network of Area Agencies on Aging established by the federal Older Americans Act of 1965. Designated by the Illinois Department on Aging in 1974 as the Suburban Cook County Area Agency on Aging, we changed our name to AgeOptions in 2006 to reflect our revitalized mission, vision and growth as an organization that creates and sustains a variety of innovative programs that respond to the rich diversity of our communities and older adults.
Leadership, Advocacy and Innovation
While our programs are concentrated in suburban Cook County, AgeOptions also leads coalitions and has direct responsibility for several programs that serve metropolitan Chicago and the entire state of Illinois. Programs initiated with AgeOptions support are often, in time, carried forward totally by state and local agencies.
As an independent corporation (not part of any governmental unit) we address issues professionally and with the goal of assuring that there is a framework for responding to the needs of older persons.
AgeOptions provides leadership on major issues affecting the lives of older persons in our community, including:
- Medicare benefits and services
- Long-term care reform
- Affordable care
- Health care fraud and abuse prevention
- Community preparedness
- Topical initiatives that connect, support and improve the lives of older persons (e.g., community health initiatives, digital television transition, census participation)
AgeOptions is an innovator, developing and testing programs such as:
- African-American community support of caregivers for older family, neighbors and friends in south suburban Cook County
- Counseling individuals with severe economic challenges through the multifaceted Economic Security Initiative
- Video advocacy demonstrating the importance of Older Americans Act programs to tackle major economic issues affecting older persons
- The Veterans Independence Program, established with support from the Veterans Administration and three VA Medical Centers in the metropolitan area
AgeOptions is an advocate, seeking and developing support for:
- Community based services and programs
- Preventive health care
- Prescription assistance
- Self-directed care
- Alternatives to nursing home placement for older persons.