Leaders of Faith-Based Aging Services Organizations Urge Congress to Deliver Live-Saving COVID Relief for Vulnerable Older Adults and Caregivers

PRESS RELEASE | July 28, 2020 | by Susan Donley

10 Groups Representing more than 5,000 Organizations Across Numerous Religions and Denominations Urge Congress to Find Common Ground

Susan Donley
sdonley@leadingage.org 

 

July 28, 2020, Washington DC – As Congress negotiates the next COVID relief package, ten associations of faith-based and mission-driven aging and disability service providers joined with LeadingAge to demand that lawmakers include comprehensive relief measures to safeguard older adults and care workers.

In a letter today to Congress and the Administration, they outline the crucial resources for all providers and staff who care for older adults, based on LeadingAge’s Five Essential Actions.

“Today we are coming together to urge you to find common ground, and deliver the life-saving relief we need to continue fulfilling our historic role in the lives of so many Americans,” they said in the letter. “It is not acceptable to continue on as we have been for months. This is a full-fledged crisis like we’ve never seen before that will only worsen in the crucial days and months to come.”

“We are aligned in our ardent belief that the actions you as leaders of our country take in the next weeks will determine the life and death of many of our nation's most vulnerable older adults,” the letter continues, “This is an historic moment. It must be met with historic action. Older adults deserve nothing less.”

Collectively the organizations represent over 5,000 organizations based on a range of faiths and denominations, including Catholics, Jews, Lutherans, Methodists, Mennonites, United Church of Christ, Church of the Brethren, Presbyterian, and Quakers.

The letter notes that nearly 100,000 people over 65 have died from COVID-19 in recent months, and that the virus has been most deadly for older people of color, and nearly half of all COVID-19 fatalities have been nursing home residents and staff.

“A powerful faith tradition flows through LeadingAge’s members,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “It is in that faith tradition that I am appealing to federal officials and legislators, regardless of their political or religious affiliations, to act decisively to save us, to save tens of thousands of lives.”

Sloan was joined in the letter by 10 leaders of associations of faith-based and mission-driven aging and disability service providers:

Don Shulman

President & Chief Executive Officer

AJAS

Sr. Mary Haddad, RSM

President and CEO

Catholic Health Association of the United States

Michael J. Readinger

President/ CEO

The Council for Health & Human Service Ministries

David Lawrenz

Executive Director

Fellowship of Brethren Homes

Jane Mack

President & CEO

Friends Services Alliance

Charlotte Haberaecker

President & CEO

Lutheran Services in America

Karen E. Lehman

President/CEO

Mennonite Health Services (MHS)

Reuben D. Rotman

President & CEO

Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies

Cynthia L. Ray, M.Div

Executive Director

Presbyterian Association of Homes & Services for the Aging

Mary Kemper

President & CEO

United Methodist Association of Health & Welfare Ministries

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