Argentum Implores Government Officials to Allocate Targeted Financial Relief to Senior Living
Updated: Apr 18
House passes legislation to compensate bars, restaurants, and bakeries, as well as gyms and sports teams, as assisted living communities demand to know why not them?
Senior living communities are outraged the House on Thursday discovered $55 billion for restaurants and bars, as well as gyms and sports teams, to compensate for COVID-19 losses but continue to say there is no money for assisted living and memory care communities that face possible closure due to the pandemic.
While serving beers and wings is by no means unimportant, the fact the U.S. House of Representatives supports a restaurant owners’ COVID-19 relief package, while ignoring the frontline caregivers in assisted living communities, is like a bad skit on SNL. First, it makes no sense, and second, it is not funny.
“It is outrageous that the House takes this action and leaves seniors and their caregivers in assisted living behind yet again. We are urging our member communities to strongly urge the Senate to reject this legislation unless targeted billions are also found to help senior living providers recover from their own deep COVID-19 losses,” said James Balda, president and chief executive officer, Argentum.
He added that while there is true anger amongst the senior living community, the silver lining in the House action is that there is $55 billion to be spent on pandemic relief.
“We have been told time and again that there is no money,” Balda said. “Apparently, there is. The question is whether lawmakers can say with a straight face that keeping the corner bar and grill open is as important as protecting an 85-year-old great grandmother in her home and giving her the daily care she needs to survive. That is the heart of all this.”
Assisted living and memory care communities care for our nation’s most fragile seniors. They are 85-years-old on average, overwhelmingly widowed females, and most have limited mobility, and need help in eating, taking medications and using the bathroom. Most have some form of dementia. These seniors are the parents, grandparents, educators, industry builders, scientists, homemakers and veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. These are the seniors that made our nation what it is today.
Naturally, this group of older Americans with chronic care conditions would be first in line for federal relief from a virus that mostly affects their age and medical group. Right? Wrong! Six times over the last two years Congress has found what amounts to trillions of dollars in taxpayer money to offer every sort of entity compensation and support to fight the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the people most likely to get seriously ill or perish during the pandemic and who are living in assisted living and memory care communities have received 1/12th the relief as nursing home operators.
Time and again, the senior living profession has received assurances from lawmakers that something would be done to target aid to their businesses, which have amassed more than $30 billion in losses over the course of the pandemic. This comes from the extra pay needed to staff buildings, all of the masks and gowns and other equipment needed to protect staff and residents, and the ongoing battle to keep everyone properly cared for despite the virus.
These losses are having real-world consequences. Buildings are closing. Homes for seniors who chose to live where they live are being shut down…for good.
Stop the madness. Urge Congress – urge your lawmakers – to find some money for assisted living caregivers just like they have for airlines, just like they have for dentists, and apparently just like they may for restaurants.
Take seniors off the menu, put the relief on the table.
A new letter to Congressional leaders outlines more of the Argentum argument for relief and support. Read the letter here.