Diverse Elders Coalition Urges Policy Changes to Protect Diverse Elders from COVID-19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MARCH 13, 2020

CONTACT: Jenna McDavid, National Director
jmcdavid@diverseelders.org
646-653-5015

Diverse Elders Coalition urges policy changes to protect diverse older adults from COVID-19

New York, NY — Today, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) issued a plea to Congress in support of policy changes and protective measures to limit the impact of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, on older adults from communities of color, American Indian and Alaska Native communities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.

“People 60 years of age and older and those with underlying health conditions (e.g., diabetes, HIV, heart disease, and lung disease), are most vulnerable to getting sick or even dying from COVID-19. Many of the communities we represent already face pronounced health disparities,” our letter states. “Many older adults live on limited incomes and do not have the means to stock up on necessities for indefinite periods of time. Additionally, given no national policy on paid leave exists, when an older adult does get sick, additional hardships are placed on their loved ones and caretakers.”

The DEC urges three powerful responses from Congress and the administration to protect diverse elders and their families from the impact of this disease, including:

  • Older Americans, particularly those who are most vulnerable and suffer from chronic diseases, have access to the necessary medications and medical supplies. In an effort to keep older adults safe from COVID-19, we need to ensure their other health needs are met.
  • Older Americans, particularly those who are most vulnerable, have access to healthy and affordable food. Approximately one in every six American older adults faces the threat of hunger and not being properly nourished.
  • Caregivers have the support necessary to care for their loved ones. Now is the time to pass Paid Leave legislation to ensure caregivers are able to provide the necessary support for their loved ones during this current epidemic.

To read the full text of the coalition’s letter to Congress, click here.

The Diverse Elders Coalition looks forward to working with the nation’s Senators and Representatives to craft a response to the COVID-19 outbreak that protects and supports our country’s most vulnerable.

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Founded in 2010, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people; American Indians and Alaska Natives; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people. Our six member organizations have a rich history of advocating for and improving the health and wellbeing of the communities they serve. For more information, visit www.diverseelders.org.