ELDER ABUSE & FRAUD
Senator Nelson knows how difficult it is for seniors and their families to plan for retirement and long-term care. Too often our seniors are targets for predators who give them bad financial advice and defraud them of their hard-earned assets. And, for every documented case of elder abuse there are many more that go unreported. It's a serious problem in this country.
That's why, as chair of the Aging Committee, Sen. Nelson has made it a priority to explore ways to better protect seniors from financial exploitation by improving oversight and accountability at the state and federal level.
Today, about one million Americans live in assisted living communities. In Florida alone, 83,000 seniors have come to depend on these facilities.
Given the increasing use of assisted living facilities as a means of delivering health care to older Americans and others, it's imperative they provide high-quality care and service.
In 2011, the Miami Herald published an investigative series entitled "Neglected to Death" which found 70 people had died from abuse or neglect at assisted living facilities in Florida since 2002. The newspaper also reported that residents were restrained with ropes, locked in closets and given tranquilizing drugs in facilities licensed by the state. Additionally, there were 181 incidences of falsifying records reported at Florida facilities -- including the doctoring of medical records in death cases.
These kinds of incidents can't be tolerated. That's why Sen. Nelson and his colleagues on the Aging Committee are committed to ensuring that residents have the best experience possible in assisted living facilities and are protected when something does go wrong.
SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE
Retirees of this generation are faced with uncertainty about their Social Security, Medicare and access to affordable health-care coverage.
Today, there are nearly 3.5 million Floridians over the age of 65. Many have fixed or low incomes. And many have illnesses that require medical expenses and prescription drug costs they simply cannot afford.
For them, cutting Social Security and Medicare is not an option. Sen. Nelson looks forward to working with the committee on sensible ways to strengthen both programs.
PRESCRIPTION DRUG COSTS
Prescription drug costs put an unacceptable strain on many seniors as they struggle to keep their heads above water.
During his time in the Senate, Sen. Nelson has introduced a number of measures aimed at lowering the cost of prescriptions for seniors.
One such proposal would give Medicare the power to negotiate prescription prices and require drug companies to give a discount for bulk buying -- a practice used successfully by the Department of Veterans Affairs. By
one study, VA paid 1,066 to 1,229% less for the cholesterol medication, Zocor, than did Medicare.
As head of the Aging Committee, Sen. Nelson will continue to look for ways to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.
Saving for retirement has shifted dramatically in recent decades, and seniors now increasingly face retirement with little money saved or little guaranteed income due to the shift away from traditional pension plans toward the 401(k) plan.
Sen. Nelson recognizes that many factors impact a person's ability to save, from a lack of access to a retirement plan to high fees that can drain money from a person's account. He is also committed to exploring options that would give seniors a steady stream of income in their retirement so that they do not outlive their savings.