Following Senate Democrats’ vote on Wednesday to block a Republican $500 billion coronavirus stimulus proposal, LeadingAge is calling for Congress to quickly provide “real relief” for older adults and their caregivers that includes not just nursing homes, but also assisted living, affordable senior housing, home health and hospice.

“With COVID-19 skyrocketing in more than 40 states and flu season underway, time is running out for Congress to pass a real relief package to protect vulnerable older Americans who have suffered 80% of deaths — over 160,000 — for the worst pandemic in a century,” LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan said. 

Although Sloan said she is pleased that negotiations between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and U.S. Secretary of Treasury Steve Mnuchin are continuing, she added that a “real relief” package must address the whole continuum of aging services.

“The need to access and pay for critical resources, including personal protective equipment, testing, supplies and staffing, is unrelenting,” she said. “Their COVID-19-related costs are staggering, and they are unsustainable. Some providers are shutting down, and more will follow — unless Congress steps up and provides robust support.”

Sloan pointed to LeadingAge’s “Situation Report on COVID-19 and Aging Services,” which amplified the senior living and care industry’s call for ongoing access to rapid-results testing, PPE, staffing, infection control supplies and financial relief.

Sloan said it’s “unconscionable” for Congress to even consider legislation that does not address the “escalating danger to older Americans and those who care for them.”

“After yesterday’s [Wednesday’s] Senate vote, our leaders have a clear choice,” she said. “Will they deliver what older adults need, or will they go down in history as a body that walked away from a generation of Americans?”