March 8, 2022

PALA Executive Director, Margie Zelenak, receives the 2022 Argentum Champion of Seniors Award

Ten awardees from Congress and state-based advocacy associations to receive recognition at the 2022 Argentum Public Policy Institute conference March 7-9 in Washington, DC

(Alexandria, Va.) – Senior living advocate Argentum announced 10 Champion of Seniors award winners to be honored at the association’s annual Public Policy Institute and Fly-In March 7-9 in the nation’s capital. The awardees all have promoted the cause of senior living through their daily work in the case of state-based senior living advocates or by supporting federal policies and legislation in the past year to aid assisted living caregivers.

James Balda, President and Chief Executive Officer, Argentum, said senior living caregivers are working tirelessly to meet the challenge of protecting residents and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic and workforce shortage crisis, but require support from leaders like the honorees.
“Our mission at Argentum is to promote choice, dignity, independence, and quality of life for seniors. Over the past year the ability to meet the challenge in achieving this high standard was made possible with the active work of these 10 Champions,” he said.

“As senior living providers continue to offer 24/7 care for some 2 million residents across the country who call these communities home, it is imperative we listen to and support the work of these award winners. The fight for equitable COVID relief and workforce programming targeted to assisted living and other senior living care settings is one we cannot win without individuals who promote our message and deliver results.”

Award winners from Congress are: Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine), Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rep. Lori Trahan (D-Mass.), Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), and Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-Va.)

State-based advocate awardees are: Karen Barno, President and Chief Executive Officer, Arizona Assisted Living Federation of America, Brian Doherty, President and Chief Executive Officer, Massachusetts Assisted Living Association, Sally Michael, President, California Assisted Living Association, and Margie Zelenak, Executive Director, Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association.

The foundation for Argentum advocacy efforts is to build support for the SENIOR Act, which was introduced in the House of Representatives in late January by Reps. Trahan and Fitzpatrick. Companion legislation will follow soon in the Senate. The proposal addresses two issues through new federal appropriations by creating a caregiver sustainability fund and expanding the senior caregiving workforce. The sustainability fund appropriates $10 billion in new federal funding to assisted living caregivers that demonstrate significant and uncompensated COVID-related losses due to direct senior care.

Read a summary of the bill here.

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