Dancing with Barrington Stars to Boost Seniors “Ravaged” by Covid-19

4 mins read

The Barrington Area Council on Aging (Bacoa)’s 4th annual Dancing with the Barrington Stars fundraiser is this weekend. The virtual event starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 6th 2021 and you don’t want to miss out on the one of the hottest tickets of the year in Barrington! Five local couples will dance in this year’s competition while raising money for programs that support a growing number of seniors reaching out for help in the Barrington area. While this event is fun from start to finish, these couples are dancing for those in our community who need our help now more than ever.

Click here to register or make a donation.

This year’s dancers include Pooja & Dr. Raja Chatterhi, Kate & Lee Duncan, Judy and Peter Gibbons, Amy & Dr. James Kane & Angela & Dr. Reinhold Llerena. They’ve been rehearsing for months, their dances have been videotaped and now the community waits to see their best dance moves, rehearsed with LOVE on behalf of Bacoa!
(Photos by Cristyn Cara Photography)

Bacoa Programs Coordinator, Janine O’Leary says the needs in our Barrington area senior population right now are growing.

“I would say that the needs for the aging are like a silent cry…. There is an incredible amount of need, from isolation to financial to physical to cognitive. But these are proud people who have lived long lives. They have faced and have overcome many obstacles. It is hard for them to ask for help.”

“They are private and want to retain their independence and dignity. That is what we try to do at Bacoa. To be that empowering bridge.”

To give us a sense for how many people are asking for help and how much it takes to support them, Janine put together this snapshot of Bacoa’s services & some of the costs for our seniors, By the Numbers:


Approximately how much more Bacoa has to go to reach their 2021 Dancing with the Stars fundraising goal. Every penny will support Barrington’s aging population.


Number of Meals with Wheels meals served in 2021


Number of local seniors served in 2021 (Number is GROWING since Covid-19)


Percent increase in the number of participants in Bacoa’s programs during the pandemic


Cost or a person to attend Bacoa’s “a Day Out” program giving respite care and a much needed break for caregivers


Cost to buy a new walker. A wheelchair is over $150. Bacoa loans them out for free.


What BACOA charges for 1 Meals with Wheels meal.


Percentage of Bacoa clients who can not afford that and depend on agency donations


Cost of a caregiving consultation…. Bacoa does this for free


Cost of an art therapy session for individuals with cognitive impairments


The average cost for getting your taxes done. Bacoa provides this service for free with AARP volunteers.


Buys lunch for 100 aging adults so that they don’t celebrate a holiday not in isolation


The cost of the Meals with Wheels program to run for a year (that funding has been cut)


How much Bacoa saves aging adults on medicare supplement and prescription drug plans by providing SHPS counseling. Bacoa does this for free.


Approximately how much more Bacoa has to go to reach their 2021 Dancing with the Stars fundraising goal. Every penny will support Barrington’s aging population!

Click here to register or make a donation.

I asked Janine O’Leary to share more about the work Bacoa is doing today based on the level of support currently being requested by seniors in the Barrington area. Here’s what she shared and how we can help:

365: What are seniors in Barrington needing more of today?

Janine O’Leary: “During this pandemic, I think three areas of concern have been exacerbated: isolation, financial crisis, and increased cognitive loss. Many people who were able to navigate prior to this crisis on their own can not do so now. The loneliness has been crippling. Our two social service coordinators have been fighting the good fight to keep folks fed via meals with wheels, their electricity on through hardship applications, and finding affordable housing options. In this world with little outside stimulation the aging adult brain can really take a toll.”

365: Why is the need for funding greater?

Janine O’Leary: “Because of COVID donations are down. fundraising is challenging and we ‘ve seen increased need. Also, with most of our program pivoting to virtual, zero revenue was coming in.”

365: What will the funds raised during Dancing with the Barrington Stars pay for?

Janine O’Leary: “It goes to all three facets of Bacoa: 1. Care for individuals, families and caregivers impacted by cognitive losses (dementia , Alzheimer’s, etc.) 2. Social Services ( counseling and case management, housing and Medicare navigation, meals with wheels) 3. Aging adult enrichment programs (social engagement, educational presentations, tools to promote and encourage active adult living, ride services).

365: What are BACOA’s top goals for 2021?

Janine O’Leary: To listen to the ever growing needs of the aging adult population and to continue to evolve and improve our services to meet those . To stimulate the community conversation and engagement in addressing our aging population. And our biggest goal, is to secure a location to house our offices and programs that can become a center for enrichment, education, and resources for older adults in Barrington.”

365: How can the community help you efforts?

Janine O’Leary: “Do not turn a blind eye to those who forged the path before us. Through donations, volunteerism, and community connections we can ensure older adults are flourishing here in Barrington. Two examples are that many in this community have shared their time and talents to conduct virtual programs over this past year- from BHS orchestral students and history teachers doing zooms. Community leaders like Karen Darch and business leaders like Steve Hollis have done programs this year. We also had a huge community drive for gift cards at Christmas time. All sparked by my post on the next door app.”

Over the last year, COVID has ravaged our senior community. BACOA is there to help, by providing education, support and camaraderie during times of need and isolation. Demand is higher than ever and BACOA needs your donations to help support this valuable generation of friends, family and neighbors. If you can’t join this year’s Dancing with the Barrington Stars’ VIRTUAL event on Saturday, please consider a donation. Every penny helps serve a senior in our community!

Click here to register or make a donation.

About the Barrington Area Council on Aging

Located at 6000 Garlands Lane in Barrington, The Barrington Area Council on Aging (BACOA) is the primary organization in the Barrington area serving seniors and caregivers, including family and friends, since 1984. BACOA offers programs, services and activities to help older adults remain vital, contributing members of the community. To learn more about BACOA, call 847-381-5030, email tchanner@bacoa.org or visit BACOA.org.

bacoa21 from Janine O’Leary on Vimeo.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Latest from Blog