Every day, Lifescape Community Services in Rockford says it sees more and more people signing up for its programs, specifically for its Meals on Wheels.
"We could add 20 people a week to our home delivery meals route," Lifescape Executive Director Mike Hughes said. "Right now, we’re delivering 1,000 meals a day to clients across the four counties that we serve."
A big reason behind the growth? Aging baby boomers.
"The federal government through the administration on aging has been telling people this has been coming, let’s prepare," Hughes said.
But Lifescape says it wasn’t able to prepare because of the state’s previous budget stalemate.
"We could add another route or two for our meals on wheels, but we don’t have the trucks or staff and that takes time to build that up," Hughes said. "If we had had that planning in place two years ago, we would be ready to go."
And Lifescape isn’t the only one trying to keep up with an aging population.
"Before we didn’t have to worry about people being 60, 70, 80, 90 years old, now not only do they need health supports, they need the other supports just to live," Access Services of Northern Illinois Executive Director Matt Toohey said.
Access Services works with people who have intellectual disabilities and says it’s getting tougher to ensure specialized care.
"The smaller community settings no longer have enough staff on shift to necessarily attend as well as they would like to," Toohey said.
Shortages, which it said is another result of Illinois’ budget problems.
"What I’m afraid is that as our population ages, their needs are going to require more supports and the community agencies aren’t going to be able to provide those supports," Toohey said.
Growing concerns over an aging population of people in the Stateline area.