Washington D.C. (June 17, 2020)—As Congress prepares another COVID-19 relief package, a major association of care providers for older Americans launched a nationwide “Act For Older Adults” campaign to demand that it include comprehensive relief measures to safeguard older adults and care workers.
The announcement came on the heels of a startling assertion by Vice President Pence in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the Administration's mishmash response to the pandemic is a “cause for celebration.”
“80,000 people over 65 have died in just a few months, and the coronavirus is spiking in more than 20 states,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “More patchwork fixes and half-measures will cost thousands more lives. It’s time to end this national nightmare, with real leadership from the federal government and real relief from Congress.”
Sloan unveiled a campaign video where older residents and care workers remind policy makers that, “It’s not over.”
At the core of the Act for Older Adults campaign is a comprehensive relief package based on LeadingAge’s Five Essential Actions. It includes crucial resources for all providers and staff who care for older adults: immediate access to ample and appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE); accurate and rapid-results testing and the funds to cover costs; hero pay, paid sick leave, and health care coverage for the brave frontline workers who are risking their own lives serving older people during this healthcare crisis; and a $100-billion dollar emergency fund to help nursing homes and other aging services providers protect residents and clients. Complete details are provided in a letter from LeadingAge to senators and representatives.
“We know what is needed to keep older adults and those who care for them safe: leadership and resources,” said Sloan. “For too many months, pleas from older adults and aging services providers have gone unanswered. Together, we can ensure Congress hears their urgent call. We’re asking all Americans to take action.”
The Act For Older Adults campaign kicks off with virtual meetings with members of Congress (more than two dozen virtual meetings are underway), call-in and email campaigns, and a sign-on letter to enable more than 5,000 nonprofit care providers to urge Congress to include robust support for aging services providers. On June 23, the National Day of Action for Older Adults, Congress will hear from a virtual army of advocates through emails and calls to policymakers.
On July 8, LeadingAge and its members in the U.S. will join advocates in aging services from around the world for a global candlelight vigil to remember those who have been lost to COVID-19.
In the coming weeks, older adults, care workers and families will join with Act For Older Adults by sharing videos, pictures and posts on Twitter, Facebook and other social platforms. “Millions of older adults and their families are going to remember in November what their members of Congress do now,” said Sloan.
Visit leadingage.org for more information.