Join CMSS for our 2024 Fall Benefit

Thursday, September 12, 2024

Older Adults as Political and Social Advocates

At CMSS we recognize older adults are agents of change in our society, whose voices, stories, and experiences are valuable to us all. We believe that everyone has a role to play in creating a supportive society that helps older adults thrive. We created this list of suggested actions and resources to connect older adults, their families, and other advocates with opportunities and information to take action on behalf of seniors across the state and country.

Connect with your local Area Agency on Aging

Throughout Illinois there are 13 Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) with the primary task of planning and coordinating services and programs for older people in their respective geographies. AAAs often ask for input from the adults they serve, create task forces for specific initiatives,

 or plan opportunities for older adults to meet with local decision-makers. For example, CMSS recently partnered with AgeOptions, the Suburban Cook County AAA, to host an opportunity for older adults in the western suburbs to speak with city, county, and state elected officials over breakfast.

You can find your AAA through the Illinois Department on Aging’s website and  contact the provider serving your county directly.

Schedule a meeting with your local, state, or federal representatives

Meeting directly with decision-makers can be an effective way to share your thoughts and concerns with those who can put them into action. You may find opportunities to meet with representatives through your AAA or other organizations. You can also schedule your own meetings with your elected-officials when it’s convenient for you.

If you don’t know who your representatives are, begin by finding them here:

    • Visit your city’s website to find contact information for your city council member, alderman, or mayor.

Many representatives have an online form where you can submit a meeting request; while others provide an email to contact. When you reach out to schedule a meeting, let the decision-maker know what issue or legislation you want to discuss. In your message to them, it is a good idea to emphasize that you are a constituent and that you vote.

Get educated on issues and legislation, and email your elected officials

Some aging service providers create easy-to-use forms to help individuals advocate from the comfort of their homes. The National Council on Aging (NCOA)’s online Action Center shows pending legislation that affects older adults and provides convenient buttons and forms for sharing your opinion and making your voice heard. LeadingAge offers a similar set of legislation and preset forms to explore.

Volunteer with the AARP

The AARP focuses on being a strong, nonpartisan advocate for social change on issues that are important to adults 50+. The AARP has many volunteer opportunities for older adults that can be performed from home or out in the community. Their Advocacy Volunteer option connects older adults from all states to work on important issues.


You can advocate for the issues that matter to you by voting for the leaders and representatives that align with your views. The 2024 primary election in Illinois has passed, but the 2024 general election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2024.

For more information on voting in Illinois, visit the Illinois State Board of Elections website, where you can check your voter registration, register to vote, locate your polling place, find helpful voter guides, and more.

Go beyond aging issues

Of course, older adults, like all of us, care about diverse issues and topics. As agents of change with life experience and knowledge, older adults can bring insight, energy, and action to any issue that motivates them. We encourage seniors to find the issues important to them and learn how get involved in their communities. To find local efforts, reach out to organizations in your field of interest or search online for opportunities.

If you need assistance searching online, visit your local library for support.

Invite your friends and family

Ask your family and friends to join you – whether you are volunteering, voting, or meeting with an elected official. Everyone’s voice matters!

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