Leaders of Organizations Focused on Aging Urge Congress to Deliver Life-Saving COVID Relief for Vulnerable Older Adults and Caregivers

PRESS RELEASE | August 05, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

Groups Call Out Rampant and Persistent Ageism Threatening Older Americans as Congress Deliberates Over Relief Package

Lisa Sanders
lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

August 5, 2020, Washington DC – As Congress negotiates the next COVID relief package, five nonprofit organizations and associations focused on aging joined with LeadingAge to demand that lawmakers include comprehensive relief measures to safeguard older adults and care workers.

In a letter 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 come together to urge you to find common ground, and deliver the life-saving relief desperately needed by older Americans and the people who serve them,” they said in the letter. 

“For decades, our nation has undervalued and under-invested in systems/policies that benefit us all as we age,” the letter continues. “At the outset of this pandemic it was clear that older adults and care workers were at the greatest risk, yet rampant and persistent ageism laid the groundwork for the lives of older Americans to remain ignored. 

Collectively the six organizations represent a broad range of aging services providers, businesses, health care specialists, researchers, advocates and millions of older adults across the country. 

The letter notes that over 110,000 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. 

“LeadingAge’s members and the people they serve have long dealt with ageism and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated its effect,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “I am appealing to federal officials and legislators to acknowledge that older lives are not expendable and to act decisively to protect the health, safety and the very lives of these Americans.”

Sloan was joined in the letter by five leaders of associations and organizations focused on aging:

Christopher E. Laxton, CAE

Executive Director

AMDA - The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine

Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA

Chief Executive Officer

American Geriatrics Society

Peter Kaldes, Esq.

President and CEO

American Society on Aging

James C. Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon)

Chief Executive Officer

The Gerontological Society of America

Barbara Hughes Sullivan

Executive Director

Village to Village Network

The August 5 letter follows this July 28 letter from 10 groups representing more than 5,000 organizations across numerous religions and denominations urging Congress to find common ground and take action to deliver life-saving releif needed.    

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