On National Day of Action, Nonprofit Aging Services Providers Demand Federal Lifeline to Save Older Adults & Their Care Workers

PRESS RELEASE | September 23, 2020

National Leader Calls Out President’s “Shocking” Remarks Devaluing the Lives of Older Americans

Contact: Lisa Sanders, lsanders@leadingage.org

September 23, 2020, Washington DC - As coronavirus deaths reach a grim milestone and nursing homes buckle under financial stress, aging services leaders are making today a National Day of Action to intensify demands on the President and Congress to address the urgent needs of older adults and their care providers.

The additional pressure comes as a new Senate report calls out the deficiencies of the Administration’s coronavirus response--and in the wake of the President’s astonishing remarks last night at a town hall meeting that COVID affects “virtually nobody,” and all but dismissing the deaths of older adults.

“The President’s comments were shocking,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Saying the virus ‘affects virtually nobody,’ or only older people with underlying conditions isn’t just false, it also devalues older lives.”

“The Administration’s tragic lack of focus and support for those most vulnerable to this virus has led to older adults dying in record numbers,” added Sloan. LeadingAge represents more than 5,000 aging services providers, including nonprofit nursing homes, assisted living, affordable housing, home health, hospice and other care providers.

The President’s remarks came on the same day that two U.S. Senators released a new report echoing what LeadingAge has been saying for months: nursing homes have been struggling to access and pay for PPE, testing, supplies, and staffing. “We appreciate that Senators Casey and Wyden’s report focuses attention on the dire situation that care providers face on the ground,” said Sloan. “We are losing more lives needlessly every day. The clock is ticking.”

“On behalf of millions of older adults, their families, and care workers, we are demanding that Congress extend a lifeline to older Americans living in nursing homes and other aging service settings. How can Congress go home without passing a comprehensive relief package with funding and programs specifically for aging services providers, and leave the millions of Americans they serve without the resources to fight this deadly virus?” asked Sloan.

“Many care providers have been cobbling together funds to pay extraordinary and unexpected additional costs for PPE, cleaning supplies, staffing, and other needs associated with coronavirus for more than half a year, and it is not sustainable. We’re starting to see closures, and we will have more if Congress fails to act,” Sloan added.

On this National Day of Action, aging services staff, residents, and advocates across the country are calling and emailing their Senators and Representatives with a simple message: “Please do your part to project older adults in the next coronavirus relief package without further delay.”

Additional Background

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