A federal plan is needed to end the “national nightmare” of the pandemic, the leaders of six national organizations representing aging services providers told the president, vice president and leaders in the Senate and House on Tuesday.
“We implore you to immediately deliver the leadership, resources and support needed to ensure the health, wellbeing and the very lives of the people we represent and serve every day in this country,” the leaders of LeadingAge, AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine, the American Geriatrics Society, the American Society on Aging, the Gerontological Society of America and the Village to Village Network wrote in a letter.
“What you, the leaders of our country, do in the next weeks will determine the life and death of many of our nation’s most vulnerable older adults.”
Almost 110,000 people aged more than 65 years have died from COVID-19, and millions more are threatened in a pandemic that is not over yet, they said.
What is needed, the association leaders said, is “a national plan that puts older adults and their care providers at the front of the line right alongside hospitals for life-saving resources.”
Specifically, the letter called for:
- Immediate access to ample and appropriate personal protective equipment for workers.
- Fully funded access to accurate and rapid-results testing.
- Assurance that states will consider the health and safety of older Americans as they reopen.
- Funding and support across the aging services continuum.
- “Hero pay,” paid family and medical leave and healthcare coverage for frontline workers.
“This is a historic moment. It must be met with historic action,” the association leaders said. “What you, the leaders of our country, do in the next weeks will determine the life and death of many of our nation’s most vulnerable older adults. Older lives are not expendable. You must act now.”