Today, as adults 65 and older account for approximately 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S., the House Democratic Caucus Task Force on Aging & Families announced a letter sent to President Joe Biden, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer outlining specific measures to strengthen COVID-19 assistance to seniors. This letter follows the Task Force’s request to the Biden Administration to appoint a geriatrician or expert in aging services to the President’s COVID-19 Advisory Board.
Topline Policy Recommendations to Assist Older Americans:
Streamline the vaccination infrastructure with seniors in mind and provide the clear, necessary guidance and funding to support states in this effort.
Prioritize seniors of color in vaccine engagement.
Strengthen senior-specific nutritional and housing support to meet the rising and unprecedented needs of isolated and food-insecure adults.
Expand and better train the workforce that cares for older adults.
Prioritize incarcerated seniors for compassionate release and vaccine engagement.
“The American Rescue Plan outlines a strong national directive to fight the pandemic, focuses on high-risk and hard-to-reach populations, and addresses racial inequities in the pandemic response. We are especially encouraged by the plan’s emphasis on improving vaccine distribution for seniors, a constituency that has borne the brunt of the coronavirus pandemic,” said the Task Force Members in their letter. “While the American Rescue Plan has many important provisions to help older Americans, it is imperative that our response matches the severity of this crisis and the toll it has taken on this population.”