Responding to Negative Views on Aging Services During the Pandemic


Despite the incredibly challenging conditions, LeadingAge members are taking a calm, caring, and thoughtful approach to this growing public health crisis. Wherever you support older adults—in nursing homes, assisted living, life plan communities, or in homes across the country—you are, as always, demonstrating the incredible value of your work. The stark reality is, however, that this truth of your value and the complexity of your operations is not always understood by the media and the wider public. In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, we all are forced to continue to fight long-standing, negative narratives.

We can assure you that LeadingAge is carrying forward the truth about the incredible work you are doing in the face of this global pandemic. Here’s how.

Media Relations

We’re calling our national media and communications response a “pounding our first” approach. Our country has undervalued and under-invested in older adults for decades, and the response from policymakers during the crisis has been inadequate and unacceptable.

To reach influencers, policymakers, and other leadership stakeholders, we are rolling out an aggressive media and messaging campaign. We’re pitching for earned media placements of articles, interviews and op-eds on national TV, radio and print outlets. We’ve shifted to a more aggressive and proactive stance, calling out the failures of federal response so far and calling for comprehensive support across the continuum of care. By getting ahead of this fast-moving news situation and delivering fresh angles on our core messages each day, we are carrying forward the truth about the incredible work of our members in the face of this global pandemic.

We’ve boiled our robust advocacy and messaging into a set of five essential actions, which we launched at a national press conference attended by major national media outlets, including reporters from ABC News, NBC News, The Boston Globe, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Washington Post, ProPublica, TIME Magazine, Wall Street Journal and the relevant trades. You can find all our media statements a select coverage on our Driving the Conversation web page.

Smart Ideas and Success Stories

At the same time, we have been capturing stories of our members’ successes in a challenging time. We are continually communicating this inspirational narrative to you, the press, and the general public. From writing up collected stories on our website to sharing member posts on social media, we are advancing the bright spots found across the field.

Thought Leadership and Perspective

LeadingAge experts are leaders in aging services—and we’re leveraging that position to share insights into critical issues during the pandemic. Following are two examples, and more are forthcoming.

What Can YOU do?

Be ready to share YOUR positive stories with the media. Now more than ever, LeadingAge needs members willing to talk to the press—to tell your stories and help us paint a realistic picture of life on the ground during the pandemic.

We also developed a set of talking points that you can use with your local leaders and policymakers to provide them with the valuable, and often underrespresented, provider point of view—with the aim of reframing LeadingAge members’ work. 

Be sure to visit LeadingAge's main coronavirus resources page for more information, tools and resources to help all aging services providers plan for and respond to COVID-19.