IL Congresswoman Bustos, Peoria City/County Health Departmen

|Apr 8|magazine10 min read

CHICAGO, April 8, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing the mounting fear and isolation felt by Illinois residents 60+, who are at increased risk for serious illness from the novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19), Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (D-17) and Peoria City/County Health Department Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer for Heartland Health Services Dr. Gregg Stoner will speak live with thousands of older adults from the 17th Illinois Congressional District in a telephone Town Hall on Wednesday, 4/8 at 6 p.m.

The telephone town hall will offer participants a chance to hear directly from the Congresswoman and local health official about the importance of social distancing, measures to protect residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and senior housing, and other pressing concerns for older adults across the state.

"During this critical time, we must do everything in our power to ensure Illinoisans have access to the resources and information they need to protect their physical and financial health," Congresswoman Bustos said. "I thank AARP for this opportunity to help address the concerns of their members and Dr. Stoner for offering his medical expertise as we navigate this public health crisis." 

Participants in the Town Hall will also be able to share their experiences and ask questions during the hour-long conversation, developed to address growing concerns about health, wellness and service offerings.

The Town Hall will be available to 20,257 AARP members across 17th Illinois Congressional District as well as members of the general public through a Facebook and Twitter Livestream. Data shows that members of the older population, specifically people that are age 60 or older are more vulnerable to COVID-19, which causes a respiratory illness that can lead to serious cases of pneumonia.  

"Each day, we hear from older adults across the state who have questions about how this crisis is going to impact their health, their financial security, and the safety of their loved ones and caregivers," said AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. "AARP is grateful that Congresswoman Bustos and Dr. Gregg Stoner recognize the uneasiness that comes from these uncertain times, and their willingness to speak directly with our members about resources available."

In addition to working to ensure that older adults, their families and those caring for them have the most accurate and up-to-date information to protect themselves from COVID-19 and prevent the spread to others, AARP Illinois has also been working with state leaders on other concerns related to the outbreak, including:

  • The need for robust support and resources provided to states and local communities, including health care professionals and first responders, who are on the front lines of this effort.
  • The potential for fraud as scammers prey on older adults during this time – using headlines as opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information.
  • Social isolation and the risks associated with leaving vulnerable older adults without access to food and regular human contact during this time.
  • Worries about financial security during uncertain economic times with markets reacting (or overreacting) to coronavirus news of the day.

The Town Hall will be monitored live by AARP screeners, who will patch through callers with questions covering a variety of concerns from all across Illinois. 

AARP Illinois members in Illinois who opt to receive telephone Town Hall calls as part of their membership will receive a phone call shortly before the start of the April 8 event. Those who wish to join the tele-town hall through Facebook and Twitter can do so from the AARP and Congresswoman's pages.

Last week (4/1) a similar Telephone Town Hall with Illinois Governor Pritzker and Illinois Department of Public Health Chief, Dr. Ezike brought in more than 5,000 phone participants and another 15,000 who listened through the Facebook livestream.

You can find AARP's coronavirus resources at

About AARP
AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, 1.7 million members in Illinois and 250,000 in Chicago, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.  To learn more, visit or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media. 

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