This legislation would sustain senior living caregivers in the wake of COVID’s financial devastation and renew America’s attention to the value of frontline healthcare workers assisting our seniors by:
1. Growing the senior caregiver workforce. The SENIOR Act builds upon existing workforce programs that have proven successful in meeting our nation’s varying healthcare requirements. Specifically, it bolsters workforce development programs within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) by emphasizing geriatric care and the needs of this vulnerable population. Expanding the caregiving workforce and increasing the number of individuals eager to serve our nation’s seniors will address the systemic workforce shortages that have been exacerbated by COVID.
2. Creating a Caregiver Sustainability Fund for struggling caregivers. The SENIOR Act establishes a Caregiver Sustainability Fund (CSF) to ensure that critical caregivers who are still struggling financially due to extreme COVID-related losses and insufficient federal relief—such as assisted living communities—can keep their doors open. Assisted living caregivers incurred over $30 billion in losses while keeping seniors safe during the pandemic yet received less than 1% of the Provider Relief Fund. The majority now operates at a financial loss. The CSF would stabilize assisted living caregivers and other senior congregate caregivers who can demonstrate significant and uncompensated COVID-related losses due to direct senior care.