Open Letter to the Public from LeadingAgeBrandermill Woods independent living angle

Open Letter to the Public from LeadingAge

Monday, November 23, 2020

Friends and neighbors,

On behalf of more than 5,000 mission-driven aging services providers, we are asking our fellow Americans for your help. The coronavirus has killed more than 170,000 older adults--that’s four out every five who have died from COVID. Families across the country are dealing with fear, loneliness, and grief.

And it’s not over yet. The worst pandemic in a century has now reached its darkest hour. What we do now will determine if we protect or endanger the lives of older Americans.

We are writing to remind everyone that a few simple precautions can help ensure that you don’t put your older relatives and others in your community in danger. When you are out of the house and with others, wear a mask and stay six feet apart. Also, don’t forget to wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds (or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol).

We fully understand that some people may not like these steps. Wearing a mask may not feel comfortable or attractive, and some people feel that masks infringe on their personal liberties or increase the chance of being racially profiled. Staying socially distant may feel isolating and inconvenient. More frequent handwashing may feel tiresome.

But please ask yourself: as COVID-19 surges, would you want your grandmother or grandfather to be exposed to the virus? How bad would it be if your older loved ones got sick? What if they had other health conditions, like asthma or diabetes, that make them more vulnerable to death from COVID?

Each of us has the power to protect the older adults we love, and those who live in our neighborhoods and communities. Working together, we can save lives.

Thank you for being a part of the solution.


Katie Smith Sloan, President and CEO, LeadingAge

Bob Mosca, President and CEO, LeadingAge Alabama

Pam Koester, CEO, Arizona LeadingAge

Shannon Strickler, President/CEO, LeadingAge Iowa

Debra Harmon Zehr, President/CEO, LeadingAge Kansas

Lisa Henderson, Executive Director, LeadingAge ME & NH

Tom Akins, President and CEO, LeadingAge North Carolina

Kathryn Lasley Brod, President and CEO, LeadingAge Ohio

Mary Brinkley, Executive Director, LeadingAge Oklahoma

Jeannee Parker Martin, President & CEO, LeadingAge California

Laura Landwirth, President & CEO, LeadingAge Colorado

Mag Morelli, President, LeadingAge CT

Ilana Xuman, Executive Director, LeadingAge DC

Steve Bahmer, President & CEO, LeadingAge Florida

Ginny Helms, President, LeadingAge Georgia

Karen Contrenchis, President, LeadingAge Gulf States

Karen Messer, President and CEO, LeadingAge Illinois

Eric J. Essley, President and CEO, LeadingAge Indiana

Allison Ciborowski, President and CEO, LeadingAge Maryland

Elissa Sherman, President, LeadingAge Massachusetts

David E. Herbel, President and CEO, LeadingAge Michigan

Gayle Kvenvold, President and CEO, LeadingAge Minnesota

William B. Bates, CEO, LeadingAge Missouri

Rich Rasmussen, President/CEO MT Hospital Association

Jenifer Acierno, President & CEO, LeadingAge Nebraska

James W. Clyne, Jr., President and CEO, LeadingAge New York

James W. McCracken, President and CEO, LeadingAge NJ & DE

Ruth Gulyas, CEO, LeadingAge Oregon

Adam Marles, Esq., President & CEO, LeadingAge PA

James Nyberg, Executive Director, LeadingAge Rhode Island

Vickie L. Moody, CEO, LeadingAge South Carolina

Tammy Hatting, VP Post-Acute Care, SD Assoc. Healthcare Org.

Gwyn E. Earl, Executive Director, LeadingAge Tennessee

George Linial, President & CEO, LeadingAge Texas

Deb Murphy, President/CEO, LeadingAge Washington

John Sauer, President/CEO, LeadingAge Wisconsin

Eric Boley, President, LeadingAge Wyoming

You can learn more about protecting yourself and others from COVID-19 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.