Volume 11 | August 2020
LeadingAge Ohio is pleased to share with you our legislative newsletter - The Aging Advocate. This monthly publication is designed to communicate what's going on in the world of aging and give you a peek at LeadingAge Ohio's 400+ members around the state. 

Please continue to support frontline healthcare workers during this time as they work to keep everyone safe.
What's Inside?
  • The civil immunity bill: Why is it important?
  • Welcome Speaker Cupp
  • Adult day to reopen, effects of closures still being felt
  • Opening Minds through Art - masks available!
  • Assisted Living testing on hold, state to conduct a review
  • LeadingAge, LeadingAge Ohio tell Congress "Don't walk away from COVID relief!"
Aging Happenings
The civil immunity bill: Why is it important?
House Bill 606, sponsored by Rep. Diane Grendell, and Senate Bill 308, sponsored by Senator Matt Huffman, would achieve roughly the same goal: to provide civil immunity to healthcare workers and service providers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Across the country, other state governments moved quickly to extend some level of protection to healthcare workers who are doing their best under terrible circumstances.

In the early days of the pandemic, LeadingAge Ohio received pleading calls as our first members experienced outbreaks, asking desperately for personal protective equipment that was in meager supply. Testing was also in short supply and for many weeks, the only option for some counties was to call the hospital and have the frail, symptomatic elder go to the emergency room for testing. Likewise, providers experienced a rapid-fire of new--and sometimes conflicting—information from numerous regulatory and oversight bodies.

Some of our members have lost 10 or 20 residents—individuals they cared for intimately, celebrated holidays and birthdays with, who were important parts of our communities. Some have lost staff.

On behalf of our members, LeadingAge Ohio asks for your support of and agreement on a version of this bill which would help shield vital healthcare professionals who have willingly gone to work unshielded—quite literally—throughout this pandemic. It is the right thing to do.
Welcome Speaker Cupp
LeadingAge Ohio would like to extend a warm welcome to new Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp. We look forward to working with Speaker Cupp on the issues that matter most to older adults and caregivers!
Rep. Cupp visited LeadingAge Ohio member Willow Ridge in Bluffton in 2018. 
During his visit, Rep. Cupp spent time with the long-term care staff, discussing policy issues, and spoke with residents.
Adult day to reopen, effects of closures still being felt
As announced this month, Ohio's adult day services centers and senior centers have been given the go-ahead to reopen beginning September 21 by Governor Mike DeWine. While LeadingAge Ohio understands the need for safety in the reopening process, another month is a long time to wait for the older Ohioans who rely on these services.

LeadingAge Ohio surveyed a group of adult day services providers from around the state to see what the effects of the closures have been - the results were powerful, showing the wide-ranging effects on both participants and caregivers alike.
Opening Minds through Art - Masks Available!
Opening Minds through Art (OMA) is an award-winning, evidence-based, intergenerational art-making program for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of neurocognitive disorders. Its failure-free program provides opportunities for creative self-expression and social engagement for people with dementia. OMA also provides volunteers with opportunities to improve their attitudes toward aging through the weekly interaction with OMA program participants.

OMA is headquartered at Scripps Gerontology Center, an Ohio Center of Excellence at Miami University. People with dementia (artists) are paired with volunteers (students, families, caregivers) who are trained to rely on imagination instead of memory and focus on remaining strengths instead of lost skills. OMA enables people with dementia to assume new roles as artists and teachers and leave a legacy of beautiful artwork.

Art produced through the OMA program has been translated to a series of masks available on RedBubble - get yours today and support this wonderful program!
Assisted Living testing on hold, state conducting review
Earlier this month, Governor DeWine announced a mandatory baseline saliva test of all staff and residents in Ohio's 735 assisted living facilities and ongoing bi-weekly staffing testing going forward. It was announced last week that, with reports of many false positives that cause disruptions in care, the testing initiative has been placed on hold while a review is undertaken. LeadingAge Ohio supports the Administration’s difficult decision to pause this important program and is working with members and Administration officials to quickly identify the problems, so they can be addressed. 

While a baseline test in assisted living is critical to begin to better understand the spread of COVID-19 in these congregate settings, it is the hope that a more strategic, long-term testing plan becomes clear. This virus is projected to remain an issue for those who serve vulnerable older adults for a long time.
LeadingAge & LeadingAge Ohio tell Congress "Don't walk away from COVID relief!"
LeadingAge Ohio recently joined its national affiliate LeadingAge to criticize a new version of the U.S. Senate's “HEALS Act” proposal —which does little to nothing to address the growing danger and escalating needs of older adults and their care providers.

“When eight out of ten COVID deaths are among people 65 and older, and infections in nursing homes are breaking new records, it’s shameful to largely ignore the continued deaths and escalating danger to older adults,” said Katie Smith Sloan, president and CEO of LeadingAge. “This bill provides no real relief to older Americans.”

Catch up with LeadingAge's press release, which features statements from LeadingAge Ohio president and CEO Kathryn Brod and Eliza Bryant Village (Cleveland) CEO Danny Williams.
About LeadingAge Ohio
Founded in 1937, LeadingAge Ohio is a nonprofit trade association that represents over 400 long-term care organizations and hospices, as well as those providing ancillary health care and housing services, in more than 150 Ohio towns and cities. The continuum of care reflected by the member organizations serve an estimated 400,000 elderly Ohioans daily and employ more than 35,000 persons statewide.

Want to meet with LeadingAge Ohio? Share a story? Visit a provider in your community?