For the final day of Senior Appreciation month, Aldermen Greg Mitchell of the 7th ward took time to focus on the specific concerns of these valued residents. Based on the topics that Senior residents found most pressing, a panel of representatives from city departments and senior organizations were assembled to create an open space for a panel discussion. The event was held at Compassion Baptist Church, and in addition to the speakers, the Chicago Department of Health arrived to also give free flu shots. As attendees arrived, they were also able to stop at informational tables to learn more about the panel and their work.
The speakers for the day included representatives from Medicare, the Cook County Accessors Office, and the Chicago Police Department’s Senior Services Office. There were also representatives from the Atlas Senior Center and the National Caucus and Center for Black Aging, both of which provide resources and services to seniors. Following a few short introductions and announcements from each speaker, the question and answer session began. Of the topics discussed, many had questions about Medicare and how it worked. There were also questions about how to process and submit applications for Medicare, updates on upcoming enrollment for Medicare were also provided. Officer Herbert Cisneros from CPD’s Senior Services Office announced the that they are currently looking for new members to join the Senior Advisory Council, which meets every first Tuesday of the month, providing input and feedback on the work within the community. When the panel discussion was over, representatives welcomed guests who had additional questions or needed clarity.
Attendees of the event were grateful to get information that they may not have obtained otherwise. For Mattie, a Senior resident of the 7th Ward, panels such as this are very helpful, especially because many seniors do not have access or often face a challenge when it comes to finding information on the internet, “A lot of the seniors don't know what’s going on. I guess everybody thinks just because the young people have computers and phones, we do too, but a lot of seniors don’t. If they have them, they don’t know how to use them. And so we don’t know how to pull this information from the different websites. So we need someone to think about us and to bring it to our attention.”