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June 8, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich announces 10,000 Illinois seniors are living safer at home thanks to the Emergency Home Response Service
Service provides 24-hour monitoring for those in need of assistance at home

CHICAGO – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today reminded eligible seniors living independently to sign up for the Emergency Home Response Service, a home-monitoring service launched in October and run by the Illinois Department of Aging (IDoA).  The service provides two-way voice pagers that automatically link seniors to a support center that can quickly send help in case of an emergency. This week, IDoA delivered its 10,000 thousandth monitor.
“More than 10,000 Illinois seniors who live independently in their own homes feel safer thanks to these pagers that can help them get emergency assistance quickly. But there’s thousands more who can take advantage of this service, and get some peace of mind for themselves and their families, and I urge them to call our Senior HelpLine at (800) 252-8966 and sign up,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
On October 15, 2006, Gov. Blagojevich launched the Emergency Home Response Service program.  The Emergency Home Response Service is run by the Illinois Department on Aging’s (IDoA) Community Care Program.  The department expects another 5,000 – 10,000 seniors to use the service, which is free for seniors who qualify for the program.
To be eligible for Emergency Home Response, an individual must:
  • Be an Illinois resident -  60 years of age or older
  • Have non-exempt assets of $17,500 or less (this does not include home, vehicles or home furnishings)
  • Have a signed physician’s statement confirming need of such service
  • Have an assessed need for long term care
Other assistance available through the program includes care coordination, home care aides, adult day service and other flexible services intended to help seniors continue living independently at home.
According to nationwide figures from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, for millions of older Americans, domestic accidents present a serious health risk.  In the United States, one of every three persons age 65 and older falls each year.  Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths and the most common cause of injuries and hospital admissions for trauma.  In 2003, more than 13,700 people ages 65 and older died of fall-related injuries.  Another 1.8 million were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries related to falls.
Fractures are the most serious health consequence of falls.  Eighty-seven percent of all fractures among older adults are due to falls.  Approximately 250,000 hip fractures, the most serious fracture, occur each year among people over age 65.  Half of all older people hospitalized for hip fractures cannot return home or live independently after their injury.
“Governor Blagojevich is committed to improving the quality of life for older persons as well as making sure that members of our greatest generation are not forced to give up their homes,” IDoA Director Charles D. Johnson said.  “The Emergency Home Response Service has been a great success and builds on the Department’s focus to reduce the need for nursing home placement.  I want to encourage those eligible seniors to consider the use of this service so that they can remain safe living in their own home for a long time.”
To learn more about the Emergency Home Response Service and the Community Care Program, call the Senior HelpLine at (800) 252-8966.


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