Joint Press

Senator Plans Fact-Finding Trip on Seniors’ Health, Security

Nelson will gather ideas from some of the state’s best scientists, doctors and policy-makersLawmaker is third Floridian to become chair of Special Aging Committee

GAINESVILLE, FL -- U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson begins his chairmanship of the Senate's Special Committee on Aging not only with a promise to fight for economic security for elderly Americans, but with a fact-finding tour to hear from some of his state's best scientists, doctors and policy-makers on a wide-array of issues affecting the elderly.

The lawmaker's tour will include stops next week at the University of Florida Institute on Aging in Gainesville, and the Claude Pepper Center in the state's capital city, which is named for the late Sen. Claude D. Pepper.  Pepper established the center before his death in 1989 to develop public-policy initiatives and conduct research aimed at benefitting the elderly.

Nelson (D-FL) was named chairman of the Aging Committee late last month.  The committee will hold its first meeting the last week of this month. 

"I'm going to do everything I can to improve the quality of life and retirement security of our country's elderly," said Nelson, who is the third Floridian to lead the Aging Committee since its formation in 1961, joining the late Sens. George Smathers and Lawton Chiles. 
"We're also going to be looking for ways to reduce fraud and abuse against seniors," Nelson said.

The Florida Democrat is scheduled to begin the week in Gainesville, where he'll pay a visit Monday to the University of Florida's Aging and Rehabilitation Research Center.  There, he'll participate in a roundtable examination of elder issues with the director of the University's Institute on Aging, Dr. Marco Pahor, M.D., and other faculty members.  Researchers at the institute recently were awarded a $5.2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop therapies aimed at preventing and rehabilitating age-related disabilities.  

On Tuesday, Nelson plans to meet with aging experts in Tallahassee at Florida State University's Pepper Center.  He and a panel of experts plan to delve into ways to:

- Make long-term care insurance more affordable;

- Hold assisted living centers more accountable;

- Control Medicare costs without cutting benefits; and,
- Help seniors avoid running out of money in retirement.   

Monday, February 18

Univ. of Florida Institute of Aging roundtable 
2:00 p.m.
Press access permitted; local contact is Celeste Brown at 407-506-6057

Aging and Rehabilitation Research Center Conference Room
University of Florida
2199 Mowry Road, Gainesville


Tuesday, February 19

Claude Pepper Center panel discussion
9:45 a.m.
Press access permitted; local contact is Lynn Bannister at 850-528-2188

The Claude Pepper Center, the Claude Pepper Library and Museum
Florida State University
636 West Call Street, Tallahassee