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AARP’s LeaMond: We’ll Fight Hard to Protect New Rules for Retirement Security, Nursing Home Staffing

JOB ID 76859 -AARP - General
Greg Kahn for AARP

En español | AARP is mobilizing its resources to stop measures in Congress that would overturn two federal rules to protect retirement savers from bad advice and set minimum staffing standards for nursing homes, a top AARP official said Thursday.

Speaking at a White House event to mark the end of Older Americans Month, AARP Chief Advocacy and Engagement Officer Nancy LeaMond vowed the organization will fight “as hard now as we did over the years to get these [rules] over the finish line.”

The Department of Labor’s new Retirement Security Rule requires financial professionals to put retirement savers’ interests ahead of their own. Loopholes in 50-year-old regulations allowed some advisers to steer retirement savers toward products that charge higher commissions and often come with high fees.

The nursing home staffing standards, meanwhile, would “for the first time require nursing homes to have enough staff to provide the high-quality care that residents expect and need,” LeaMond said. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized the AARP-backed standards this spring, which LeaMond called “long overdue.”

“Taken together, these are important steps to protect older Americans, shore up retirement security and safeguard the health and quality of life of vulnerable seniors,” LeaMond said. “We must preserve the gains we’ve made and ensure these important regulations remain in place.”

LeaMond was joined by senior White House officials and advocates who echoed the importance of the changes for older adults and their families. Panelists told stories of retirees who saw their retirement savings drained because of conflicted advice from financial professionals and of nursing home residents who were forced to sit in soiled clothing because of chronic understaffing.

Gabrielle DaSilva, a licensed practical nurse from Connecticut, said she and her fellow nurses have often left work feeling guilty because they were unable to give residents the attention they deserved.

“It would break our hearts,” she said.

AARP has long called for adequate staffing in nursing homes to improve the safety and quality of care for residents. To meet the new standards, a facility with 100 residents would need at least two or three registered nurses and at least 10 or 11 nurse aides, as well as two additional nurse staff, who could be registered nurses, licensed professional nurses or nurse aides, per shift, according to the White House.

We backed the Labor Department rule as part of our work to address the nation’s retirement savings crisis. AARP research shows that older women especially are concerned about not having enough money to retire, with more than half of those age 50-plus in the workforce saying they’re not confident they’ll have enough money to retire when they want.

“The last thing they need is to have financial professional advice — which they should be able to trust — that is not in their best interest,” LeaMond said.

Watch a recording of the event and keep up with AARP’s advocacy work.

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