Seniors and Caregivers Continue to be Overlooked in COVID-19 Relief Negotiations

More than half of assisted living providers anticipate closures if relief is not provided.

Alexandria, Virginia, UNITED STATES


Alexandria, Va., Feb. 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Now a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of assisted living facilities are still waiting for federal COVID-19 relief, and for over half of them, closures are imminent, according to a recent Argentum member survey. They have faced over $15 billion in increased expenses and lost revenue, and these figures are increasing substantially each month. Meanwhile, provisions in the current COVID-19 relief package negotiated in the House of Representatives fall woefully short in protecting these seniors and caregivers.

“We are extremely disappointed that ongoing negotiations on the latest COVID-19 relief package continue to leave behind these vulnerable seniors and those who care for them,” said James Balda, president and CEO of Argentum. “The bill’s language does not come close to adequately addressing the urgent needs for those most at risk to COVID-19: residents of long-term care. These care providers cannot wait any longer—the situation is dire.”

It is with certainty that older adults are extremely vulnerable to COVID-19, and for a year, assisted living providers have been taking on high costs of PPE; providing for added staffing needs and offering hero pay; procuring tests; and seeing sharp declines in occupancy rates due to COVID-19 restrictions, all without the federal relief needed.

It is essential that the next COVID-19 relief package offers targeted relief to caregivers such as assisted living, independent living, memory care, and continuing care facilities to help with PPE, staffing, and testing needs. Any legislation must include $5 billion in funding for these communities.

“We are fervently asking Congress not to overlook seniors and their caregivers in their negotiations, and we are calling on the administration to process promised relief payments now, before it’s too late,” said Balda.

Facts and figures of note:

  • Assisted living providers have been promised only 1.7% of the total Provider Relief Fund and have received far less to date. This is in comparison to 83% for nursing homes, hospitals, and other care providers.
  • Over half of providers are operating at a loss—up 20% from October 2020—and 56% say they won’t be able to sustain operations for another year.
  • Many providers report increases in PPE expenditures as high as 2,000% for gowns and 1,500% for masks.
  • Assisted living provides direct and personalized care, where social distancing is not possible, 24 hours a day, seven days a week: 63% need assistance with bathing; 48% need assistance with dressing; and 40% need assistance with toileting. Over 42% suffer from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia. See more.

About Argentum
Argentum is the leading national association exclusively dedicated to supporting companies operating professionally managed, resident-centered senior living communities and the older adults and families they serve. Since 1990, Argentum has advocated for choice, independence, dignity, and quality of life for all older adults.

Argentum member companies operate senior living communities offering assisted living, independent living, continuing care, and memory care services. Along with its state partners, Argentum’s membership represents approximately 75 percent of the senior living industry—an industry with a national economic impact of nearly a quarter of a trillion dollars and responsible for providing over 1.6 million jobs. These numbers will continue to grow as the U.S. population ages.

Argentum’s programs and initiatives are driven by its membership. For more information about joining Argentum, please visit argentum.org/membership. Learn more at argentum.org.

Attachments

 
For a year, assisted living providers have been taking on high costs of PPE; providing for added staffing needs and offering hero pay; procuring tests; and seeing sharp declines in occupancy rates due to COVID-19 restrictions, all without the federal relief needed. Assisted living providers have been promised only 1.7% of the total Provider Relief Fund and have received far less to date. This is in comparison to 83% for nursing homes, hospitals, and other care providers.

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