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posted: 8/22/2011 5:00 AM

Agencies available to help boomers plan for aging

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Thank you so much for recently highlighting several important issues on the aging of our communities ("Suburban landscape goes gray as population ages" and "Cuts to meals for Illinois elderly worry advocates").

The community's role is vital as the population ages. The Barrington Area Council on Aging, for example, has been able to continue to provide its Meal with Wheels program while other communities face cutbacks. This is primarily due to the continued generosity of individuals, foundations, service organizations, local government and churches in the Barrington area.

We're grateful for their support and hope that articles such as these will create more awareness and more support in other communities as well.

As the first of the baby boomers turn 65 this year, the need for services and programs to help older adults will increase steadily. As Carol Morello points out in her article on suburban planning, AARP research shows that nine in 10 older Americans want to stay in their homes as they age. But as they face possible health, financial and emotional challenges of aging, along with the reality that their caregivers are increasingly less likely to live nearby, older adults and their families are becoming more dependent on service providers to help them identify needed resources.

Such resources, as both articles mention, can mean the difference between a senior remaining at home and having to enter a nursing home, generally a much more expensive alternative.

Service providers such BACOA, AgeOptions (mentioned in the meals story) and the Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging can help seniors and their caregivers identify services that can improve the quality of life for older adults and help them to remain independent in the community for as long as possible.

Joyce Palmquist, executive director

Susan Grossinger, board president

Barrington Area Council on Aging

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