CHICAGO, June 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nursing homes and aging care providers have been working for months to protect Illinois’ older adults from the threat of COVID-19. In the face of this virulent virus, they have faced heartbreak, shortages of life-saving tests and supplies, and personal risk to their health and safety. 

Now older adults are facing a new danger: complacency.

Although the coronavirus curve has been flattened in Illinois, the danger to older adults has not passed. “Our older family members and friends can only be as safe as the communities around them,” said Karen Messer, President/CEO of LeadingAge Illinois.“That’s why it’s so important that Illinois and states around the country include clear protections for older adults as we move forward.”

As of June 29, there are over 141,723 cases, including 6,888 deaths, in 101 counties in Illinois. Illinois has made great strides in reducing COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. As a result, all four regions have moved into Phase Four of the Restore Illinois plan.

Local policies need to prioritize older lives, planned and conducted with caution, thoughtfulness and respect for the rights and dignity of older adults. That’s why LeadingAge Illinois has worked with other state organizations to advise the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on recommendations for a safe and phased-in plan on reopening strategies for nursing homes and assisted living communities. The plan has been submitted to the IDPH.

It’s essential that aging services providers – here and around the country – have the PPE, testing supplies, and financial resources they need to stem this rapidly spreading, deadly virus, so that a new crisis doesn't threaten our oldest residents. Consistent messaging from the federal, state and local levels is imperative to ensuring providers can do everything they can to keep their residents safe.

LeadingAge Illinois is also joining our national association of nonprofit aging services providers, LeadingAge, to urge Congress to allocate $100 billion in new funding to help nursing homes and other aging services providers protect older residents and clients. They are also calling for hero pay, paid sick leave, and health care coverage for heroic frontline workers who are risking their own lives serving older people during this crisis. 

For older Americans, the coronavirus threat is not over. The good news is that we know what to do. It’s time to begin.

To view this release in a media-rich format, go to: https://leadingageil.new-media-release.com/2020/covid-19-release/

Contact:

Karen Messer
LeadingAge Illinois
630.325.6170
kmesser@leadingageil.org