Senior fair provides answers about services
By Joseph Ruzich,
Special to the Chicago Tribune
Several hundred people who turned out for a senior fair in Romeoville learned about everything from home health care to veterans' benefits to the latest news on Medicare and Social Security.
The two-hour event, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., also drew representatives of about 50 organizations, agencies and businesses to the Romeoville Recreation Center.
Romeoville resident Rich Peters, 66, said he wanted to know more about services that might be available for him, and he also talked to a home health care company.
"I learned that home health care can save money and can still allow people to live independently," Peters said. "I also think it's a great alternative instead of going to a nursing home. It seems to be the way of the future."
Wayne Macejak, of the American Legion of Illinois, talked to veterans and said he usually finds some who have no idea they can receive certain government benefits due to health problems incurred during combat.
"Many of the people I talk to are Vietnam veterans who have diabetes and other problems," Macejak said. "The government has found that many of these illnesses are occurring because we sprayed the whole country (Vietnam) with Agent Orange."
Agent Orange was a herbicide used to remove trees and dense tropic foliage in the Asian country. It has been linked to a variety of illness, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, including cancer and heart disease.
Courtney Hedderman, of AARP Illinois, wanted to update people about legislation that is being considered by state and national government officials that could impact Social Security and Medicare benefits.
"There are a lot of people worried that there will be cuts to Social Security and Medicare," said Hedderman. "We inform them about new legislation and give them advice on ways to contact their local representatives."
Lipinski said he hosts about 10 to 12 senior fairs per year in his district. Most seniors he speaks with have concerns about potential cuts in their benefits.
"(Medicare and Social Security) are always on the top of the list with seniors," Lipinski said. "It's understandable because it's something that seniors very much care about."
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