July 8, 2020 WASHINGTON, DC–On this day of global mourning and remembrance for older adults lost to COVID-19, aging services providers, health care workers and communities around the world are honoring hundreds of thousands of older lives lost.
Here in the United States, communities are facing a dangerous surge in coronavirus infections that threatens millions of older Americans.
As journalists report on the deadly resurgence of the worst pandemic in a century, here are several new resources worth paying attention to:
- A new LeadingAge backgrounder -- Five Essential Truths In the Fight Against COVID-19 -- that provides expert data and analysis on the growing threat to older Americans.
- Fresh evidence of shortages in the testing and personal protective equipment needed to protect older adults from COVID-19.
- A must-read analysis in the Atlantic: The U.S. Is Repeating Its Deadliest Pandemic Mistake. Award-winning Atlantic writer Olga Khazan warns that, “state and federal officials seem to be doing little to protect the elderly from further devastation.”
- She adds: “Additional COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes are probable, and they will have been preventable.”
“If our leaders don’t step up now and provide real resources, we’re going to be lighting candles around the clock to mourn a growing tally of needless deaths,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Federal policymakers should have learned from the catastrophe of round one, when the health of older Americans was not prioritized. As the virus surges, policymakers need to put nursing homes and other aging services providers first in line for testing and PPE. A second failure will be a death sentence for too many older Americans and their care workers”
As part of its national “Act For Older Adults” campaign, LeadingAge is calling on Congress to adopt a comprehensive relief package based on LeadingAge’s Five Essential Actions. The packages includes crucial resources for all providers and staff who care for older adults:
- immediate access to ample and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE);
- accurate and rapid-results testing and the funds to cover costs;
- hero pay, paid sick leave, and health care coverage for the brave frontline workers who are risking their own lives serving older people during this healthcare crisis;
- a $100-billion dollar emergency fund to help nursing homes and other aging services providers protect residents and clients. Complete details are provided in a letter from LeadingAge to senators and representatives.
“Older lives are not expendable,” said Sloan. “Don’t walk away now.”About LeadingAge:
We represent more than 5,000 aging-focused organizations that touch millions of lives every day. Alongside our members and 38 state partners, we address critical issues by blending applied research, advocacy, education, and community-building. We bring together the most inventive minds in our field to support older adults as they age wherever they call home. We make America a better place to grow old. For more information: www.leadingage.org