Nursing Homes & Aging Services Providers Warn: Older Americans Under Increasing Threat from A Perfect Storm of COVID-19, Flu Season, and Federal Inaction
PRESS RELEASE | October 15, 2020 | by Lisa Sanders
“Federal funding is nearly exhausted. COVID-19 and the flu aren’t waiting for the election. Our policymakers shouldn’t wait either.”
October 15, 2020 Washington, DC -- Today, LeadingAge, the association of more than 5,000 nonprofit providers of aging services, released a report underscoring a stark new warning about the growing danger to older adults around the country.
“Americans are under increasing threat from a perfect storm of surging rates of COVID-19, the start of flu season, and the failure of federal leaders to take needed action,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “Congress and the Administration have the power to prevent more devastating losses if they act now with a package of coronavirus relief focused on older Americans.”
The comments came as LeadingAge released its latest “Situation Report on COVID-19 and Aging Services.” The report captures the toll of the pandemic to date, including loss of life, social isolation, and financial strain. It also quantifies the resources still needed for older adults to stay safe and healthy, only a fraction of which have been provided.
We appreciate the support we have received to date. But the pandemic is still with us and our needs are still dire. The support we have received is slated to run out by the end of the year. Money for aging services providers through the CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program are mostly allocated, and shipments of supplies allocated to providers in specific care settings are wrapping up. Some care providers have had to close their doors, and others can’t continue to pay for pandemic costs out of their own pockets.
“What happens when the support we have had from the federal government runs out?” asked Sloan. “We’ve known that older adults have been at increased risk since the start of the pandemic; their needs will rise as temperatures drop and flu season approaches. How will we ensure that older Americans and their care providers are not left out in the cold?”
The situation remains dire for nursing homes and other providers who have been fighting to support older adults throughout the many months of this health crisis. A new surge of COVID-19 on top of new flu cases could trigger additional shortages of PPE, testing supplies, and trained staff. Access to these vital resources and the funding to pay for them are already tenuous, as the Situation Report reveals.
The decisions our policymakers make now could mean the difference between life and death, warned Sloan. “COVID-19 and the flu aren’t waiting for the election. Our policymakers shouldn’t wait either. Lives are at stake.”
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.