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

May 26, 2020, Washington, DC -- Statement from Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO, LeadingAge, the association of nonprofit providers of aging services, including nursing homes, in response to today’s remarks in the White House Rose Garden.

“Americans need their government to focus on doing what it takes to protect the older American and their caregivers who face the greatest risk from the coronavirus pandemic. Instead of offering support and resources, today the President offered only words.

He suggested that our country’s 15,000 certified nursing homes are being provided the personal protective equipment (PPE) they need to protect vulnerable older Americans, but we know that’s not true. LeadingAge members have reported as recently as this morning that they have yet to receive the care packages FEMA promised several weeks ago. What’s more, some of the deliveries our members have received include useless items like cloth masks that are not CDC-recommended and are unfit for medical use. And, we know that FEMA does not even plan to finish these one-off deliveries until the end of June.

Earlier this month, the President made a similar misleading claim—that the U.S. has “prevailed on testing.” But despite guidelines that nursing home staff be tested weekly, thousands of nursing homes and other aging services providers still do not have access to testing or resources to pay for it.

The sad truth is this: The country has little more than a patchwork plan for protecting older lives. Our leaders in Washington, DC did not listen, did not plan, and did not prioritize the health and lives of older adults. Now our most vulnerable Americans are paying the price."

Watch C-Span video here; comments are around 17 minutes in.

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