LeadingAge Calls On House Speaker and Presidential Debate Moderator Not to Ignore the Needs of Older Adults Amid Escalating COVID Deaths

PRESS RELEASE | September 29, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders

“80% of COVID-19 deaths are among people over 65. This crisis is not over.”

Lisa Sanders

lsanders@leadingage.org 202-508-9407

September 28, 2020, Washington, DC -- As COVID-19 rates continue to rise across the United States, a national aging services leader released separate letters reminding the Speaker of the House and the moderator of tomorrow’s presidential debate about the need to prioritize older Americans who have suffered 80% of deaths from the worst pandemic in a century.

The letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi came after the Speaker’s offer to restart negotiations over COVID-19 relief by reducing the package passed by the House of Representatives in May. “This crisis is not over,” wrote Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services. The letter outlines a number of legislative and financial support provisions that are critical to providing essential services to older adults and those who care for them.

In a separate letter to Fox’s Chris Wallace, who is moderating tomorrow’s presidential debate, LeadingAge proposed three separate questions to ask the candidates about how they will address critical issues facing America’s older adults:

  • The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for older adults: 80% of COVID deaths are among people over 65, and over 50,000 people died in nursing homes. Aging services providers have struggled to obtain adequate personal protective equipment, testing, and workers--and mounting costs are unsustainable. How will you ensure that older adults in senior living settings like nursing homes, assisted living, retirement communities and affordable housing for older adults living on low incomes, are safe during the pandemic?
  • There is a severe lack of housing affordable for older adults with low incomes in the United States. Only 1 out of 3 older adults eligible for subsidized housing are able to obtain it. How will you address this crisis and invest in more affordable housing for older adults?
  • The coronavirus pandemic has shown the strain that caregiving has on families across the country. How will you invest services and supports to families, so older adults can stay in their own homes longer?

As LeadingAge’s recent Situation Report COVID-19 & Aging Servicesoutlined:

  • 80% of all COVID-19 deaths are among people 65 and oldera death rate at least 90 times higher than for 18-29 year-olds.
  • 1 in 6 Americans is aged 65 or older. That’s 52 million peoplemore than 16% of the population.
  • More than 207,000 nursing home residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19,
  • and more than 51,000 have died.
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