Chicago Bridge February Event

Featured Presentation on Aging Services and Long-Term Care

On Wednesday February 17th 2010, the Chicago Bridge hosted its monthly event at the Adler School of Professional Psychology with 22 people attending the meeting. Dr. Mark Bilkey, Program Director of the Master of Arts in Gerontological Counseling at the Adler School, was our gracious host, providing delicious Giordano’s pizza, salad, and nutter-butter cookies. February’s event featured Amy Wiatr on the topic of, “Structure of Aging Services and Long-Term Care Policy for Older Adults.”Amy works for the federal government?s  Administration on Aging and helped Bridge members navigate through federally funded older adult programs in Illinois and the surrounding states.

Getting Acclimated to the World of Acronyms in Aging and Long-Term Care

Amy acknowledged the vast number of acronyms that are commonly associated with any discussion on Aging or Long-Term Care. Some common acronyms that came up throughout Amy’s presentation include: Long-Term Care (LTC) – When an individual needs assistance with their Activities of Daily Living (ex: feeding, bathing, toileting) due to a disability or chronic disease. About 9 million Americans age 65 and older will need LTC services this year. Community Care Program (CCP) – Illinois’ state and Medicaid waiver-funded program for older adults that helps seniors remain in their community when they need a nursing home level of care by providing home and community based services. CCP includes the following services:  Adult Day Care, Homemaker, Emergency Home Response System, and, in some areas, Senior Companions. Administration on Aging (AoA) – The Federal leader of the Aging Network. The Aging Network is a result of the Older Americans Act and includes: State Units on Aging, Tribal Organizations, Area Agencies on Aging, and State, Local, and Community Based service organizations.

Long-Term Care Funding & Balancing

Amy shared with the group information on how LTC is funded in Illinois.   According to the National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information: across the country, almost half (~49%) of LTC services are funded through Medicaid (state and federal funding), another 20% is paid by the federal government through Medicare, 18% is paid through out-of-pocket costs, 7% paid by private insurance, and the remaining costs are covered by other public and private funds. She also discussed the concept of balancing our LTC system (the term rebalancing is often used but inappropriate since it was never balanced to begin with).  According to a 2007 report from the Illinois Older Adult Services Advisory Committee’s Finance Work Group, almost 75% of public funding for LTC services in Illinois goes to nursing home care (institutional care), compared with the remaining 25% for home and community based care.  Illinois is currently in the process of balancing these services to reflect a more balanced funding of care and less reliance on institutional care.

February Chicago Bridge Announcements

In addition to an information rich presentation by Amy Wiatr, there were several Chicago Bridge announcements: -The deadline to be a mentor or a mentee for the new Chicago Bridge Mentorship Program has been extended to Friday February 26th, 2010. Please email Courtney Bouker, the Chicago Bridge Professionals Outreach Director for more information. -The Chicago Bridge Blog Team is actively seeking writers for the Blog. Please check out our website on becoming a Chicago Bridge blog writer for more information. Or contact the Chicago Bridge Blog Team. –The American Society on Aging (ASA) Conference is in Chicago this year the week of March 15-19th.  On Wednesday March 17th, the Chicago Bridge will meet at the Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Drive) from 6-7pm after the conference.  The informal gathering will bring together aging professionals from across the country.  For more information, please contact Gayle Shier. – On Wednesday March 24th, the Chicago Bridge will host an event on Family Systems at Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work (111 E. Pearson) Room 1201, for more information, please contact Kristen Oshyn.