​The American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) is asking long term care professionals, residents, their loved ones, and members of the public to partake in a national moment of silence on Oct. 8 to honor the tens of thousands of lives lost in these settings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
 
“We’re asking fellow Americans to take part in this moment of silence to honor our residents and caregivers who have tragically lost their lives to COVID-19,” said Debbie Meade, AHCA board chair.

“In long term care, we become a family, and to lose even one resident or colleague is heartbreaking. This pandemic has been devastating—for our vulnerable residents who the virus uniquely impacts, for their family members who haven’t been allowed to visit, and for our heroic caregivers who continue to put their lives on the line and provide the best possible care.”
 
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, more than 80,000 individuals from long term care facilities (a combination of nursing homes, assisted living communities, adult day care centers, intermediate care facilities, and other long term care facilities) have died from the virus, or approximately 40 percent of the nation’s total COVID-19 deaths.

Older adults and those with underlying conditions are especially susceptible to the virus; the risk of mortality in this age group is 630 times higher than those 18 to 29 years old. 
 
“We must bear witness to the greatest challenge our profession has ever faced,” said Mark Parkinson, president and chief executive officer of AHCA/NCAL. “What our members have fought against and seen in their buildings has been traumatic, but they have shown unparalleled resilience and commitment. While we have experienced great loss, we have also seen tens of thousands of residents recover. We must continue to fight and never give up.”
 
The moment of silence will occur Oct. 8 at 3:30 p.m. (ET) and coincide with the opening general session of the AHCA/NCAL Virtual Convention & Expo. Individuals are not required to register for the conference in order to pay tribute.

Members of the public are encouraged to participate in their homes and communities. 
 
The AHCA/NCAL Virtual Convention & Expo runs Oct. 8-31. To learn more, please visit www.ahcaconvention.org.