Congress Must Deliver COVID Relief for Older Adults and Caregivers, Groups Urge

As Congress negotiates the next COVID-19 relief package, five nonprofit organizations and associations focused on aging joined with The Gerontological Society of America to demand that lawmakers include comprehensive relief measures to safeguard older adults and care workers.

In a letter to Congress and the administration, they outline the crucial resources for all providers and staff who care for older adults, based on LeadingAge’s Five Essential Actions.

“Today, we come together to urge you to find common ground, and deliver the life-saving relief desperately needed by older Americans and the people who serve them,” the organizations said in the letter.

“For decades, our nation has undervalued and under-invested in systems/policies that benefit us all as we age,” the letter continued. “At the outset of this pandemic it was clear that older adults and care workers were at the greatest risk, yet rampant and persistent ageism laid the groundwork for the lives of older Americans to remain ignored.”

Collectively the six organizations represent a broad range of aging services providers, businesses, health care specialists, researchers, advocates and millions of older adults across the country.

The letter notes that over 110,000 people over 65 have died from COVID-19 in recent months, and that the virus has been most deadly for older people of color, and nearly half of all COVID-19 fatalities have been nursing home residents and staff.

The letter was co-signed by the heads of the six organizations:

  • James C. Appleby, BSPharm, MPH, ScD (Hon), Chief Executive Officer, The Gerontological Society of America
  • Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO, LeadingAge
  • Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, Executive Director, AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine
  • Nancy E. Lundebjerg, MPA, Chief Executive Officer, American Geriatrics Society
  • Peter Kaldes, Esq., President and CEO, American Society on Aging
  • Barbara Hughes Sullivan, Executive Director, Village to Village Network