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2021 Governor's Engaging Aging Award

​Shawnee Alliance

Nominated by Egyptian Area Agency on Aging

Shawnee Alliance is a Case Coordination Unit for 18 counties (13 in PSA 11 and 5 in PSA 10).  During
Covid-19, their agency went above and beyond for older adults.  They put food bags together and delivered them to over our 13 counties, in addition to the 5 counties they serve outside of PSA 11.  In a couple of instances, they partnered with restaurants to ensure additional meals were available until the senior centers were able to cover the gap.  In regard to vaccination efforts, they made contracts with transportation companies to ensure any older adult needing transportation to a vaccine clinic had access and assistance setting it up.  They found in-home vaccination avenues for several counties.  They partnered with IDPH and IDOA and participated in the clinics in Alexander and Union Counties and
worked to promote vaccinations for minority populations.  Care Coordinators making calls to identified vulnerable adults assisted our agency in making sure the people in most need were given an opportunity for a vaccination

Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurses Association

Nominated by Age Smart

SIVNA Home Care & Senior Services brings top-notch medical care and support services and operates the regions Case Coordination Unit.   

SIVNA began providing nursing care to the sick and injured in their homes in 1918 The great influenza pandemic of 1918 enabled the agency to provide a valuable service to the community.   That was the beginning of a long tradition of caring for the SIVNA. Over 100 years later SIVNA stepped up during the current pandemic and partnered with East Side Health District and Age Smart Community Resources to vaccinate homebound seniors in the greater East St. Louis Community.  They did this over and above their day-to-day work and vaccinated 245 Older adults in their homes.  The older adults have referred to them as angels in scrubs.

Senior Services of Will County

Nominated by Age Guide Northeastern Illinois

Caregiver Specialists, at Senior Services of Will County, tirelessly advocate for caregivers in Will County. Caregiver Specialists are constantly meeting the needs of caregivers in Will County not only by utilizing the CCP and Title III Services but also accessing Illinois COVID Relief Funding and IL Grandparents Raising Grandchildren funds to bridge the gaps that Title III and CCP might not be able to fill.  The Specialists at Senior Services follow up monthly with their Stressbusters for Family Caregiver participants as they requested ongoing monthly check in calls. These efforts are proving successful as evidenced by the large number of assessments and referrals given to TCARE participants over the past year and a half. Our Caregiver Specialists have fully embraced TCARE and we are the leading our region in implementation.

Cook County Department of Public Health

Nominated by AgeOptions

The Cook County Department of Public Health has been a long-time collaborator with AgeOptions by collaborating with us on health promotion programming and by participating in the Fatality Review Team. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) has tirelessly worked to keep Cook County residents safe and informed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
They quickly prioritized older adults as a group that needed immediate, focused attention and worked with AgeOptions to find ways to make sure the safety messages were effectively communicated to older adults in suburban Cook County. When it was clear that vaccinations would be available soon, CCDPH worked with AgeOptions and others to craft messages and strategies for vaccinations and priority populations. At AgeOptions request, CCDPH added family caregivers, APS and Long-term Care Ombudsman workers, among others, to the priority 1A group for vaccinations. The vaccine clinics that
AgeOptions established with support of community partners reached more than 3,000 people. Throughout this process, CCDPH prioritized vaccines for our work, provided valuable data to reach the high-risk older adults and worked with AgeOptions and partners on vaccinating homebound individuals.

Chicago Internal Medicine Practive and Research (CIMPAR)

Nominated by AgeOptions

CIMPAR (Chicago Internal Medicine Practice and Research) has supported AgeOptions first through our health promotion program and recently with Dheeraj Mahajan, M.D., President and CEO, serving on the AgeOptions Board of Directors. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, CIMPAR quickly offered to help vaccinate AgeOptions frontline staff and other priority 1A professionals in the suburban Cook County aging network. The role eventually evolved into working with AgeOptions and its partners to offer vaccination clinics throughout suburban Cook County so that the most vulnerable older adults and their caregivers could get registered by community organizations and receive their vaccine in a convenient location—avoiding the need to be internet fluent and find a rare vaccination slot at a drugstore. The vaccine clinics that AgeOptions along with CIMPAR established with support of community partners, reached more than 3,000 people.

CIMPAR and their team of vaccinators helped us find sites that would work well for vaccinations and helped us vaccinate high-risk older adults by allowing us to do weekend vaccination clinics so family caregivers could bring homebound individuals to the clinics and by doing in-car vaccinations for individuals who could not make it inside. While the pandemic was a significant challenge for all involved, we could not have imagined more helpful partners in limiting the damage caused by the pandemic and getting us out of it through vaccinations.