TALLAHASSEE – Today, AARP Florida released its 2023 legislative focus areas, highlighting the importance of enhancing the quality and oversight of Florida’s long-term care system, adult guardianship system, and housing options as top priorities for the AARP advocacy team and volunteer advocates throughout the state.
AARP Florida State Director Jeff Johnson said, “As we have seen in past years, we anticipate further attempts by the nursing home industry to slash patient care and cut high-quality nursing staffing in Florida. AARP is prepared to show the state legislature why it is imperative to keep high-quality, safe care in our nursing homes and why residents deserve to feel valued.
“AARP looks forward to continuing to collaborate with legislative members and committee staff to provide subject matter experts who are well versed in policymaking on long-term care, adult guardianship, and housing.
“Most importantly, we are welcoming our AARP volunteer advocates back to the Capitol for the first time since the pandemic. These older adults are active AARP volunteers who are passionate about sharing their stories and helping elected officials understand how their lawmaking directly affects older Floridians.”
Nursing Home Quality - Most adults age 50+ want to live independently in their homes and communities, and this is generally more cost-effective than nursing home care. We will advocate improving nursing home conditions by addressing issues related to staffing, including enhanced training and career path trajectories for staff, as well as promoting increased enforcement and oversight of existing standards.
Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) - HCBS programs address the needs of people with functional limitations who need assistance with everyday activities and are often designed to enable people to stay in their homes rather than move to a facility for care. We will advocate increasing funding for a wide range of HCBS through Medicaid, the Older Americans Act (OAA), and other programs that offer long-term services and supports (LTSS).
Family Caregivers - Family caregivers in Florida provide an estimated $31 billion in unpaid care annually to adult loved ones facing daily challenges and needing support. We will advocate for developing and implementing state-level strategies to support family caregivers.
Affordability of Prescription Drugs - Fighting against high and rising prescription drug prices is a key priority for AARP. We will advocate reducing the financial burden for 50+ adults from expensive out-of-pocket prescription drug costs.
Telehealth - Telehealth allows older Americans to see their healthcare providers conveniently and safely, allowing for increased autonomy of the person, improved care coordination, and treatment adherence. We will advocate for policies that promote the expansion of Florida’s use and accessibility of telehealth technology for healthcare services.
Quality healthcare services - We will advocate for greater access to care by improving the delivery of care, promoting a skilled clinical workforce, and incorporating new technologies. We will oppose any changes that shift more risk and costs to older Floridians.
Adult Guardianship - Adult guardianship is a complex system that requires regular oversight,
accountability, and improvement to meet the evolving needs of individuals under guardianship. We will support policies that include safeguarding the rights and autonomy of individuals under guardianship, promoting less restrictive alternatives and the use of guardianship as an option of last resort, increasing the training of all guardians and other professionals involved in the guardianship process, addressing abuse, and improving court monitoring.
Vulnerable Adult Protection - Vulnerable adults are at significant risk of experiencing some form of physical or financial abuse or neglect. Currently, we cannot measure the problem's overall scope or the efficacy of our statewide responses to these cases. We will advocate for legislative and regulatory changes which promote increased interagency collaboration in response to vulnerable adult victim cases, as well as the creation and improvement of statewide data collection and reporting policies for these cases.
AARP is working to help Americans 50+ in Florida live life to the fullest. We advocate for our members on critical priorities, such as strengthening Social Security, protecting seniors’ access to their doctors, and ensuring all Americans have independence and choice as they age.
Fraud, Financial Exploitation, and Consumer Protection - Scams and frauds continue to pose a financial threat to many older Floridians. We will advance legislative and regulatory changes to better protect consumers from financial exploitation, scams and fraud.
Age Discrimination - Whether by choice or financial necessity, millions of older Americans are returning to the workplace. We will advocate for legislative changes at the state level to enhance age protections in employment.
High-Speed Internet - High-speed internet has become the technological foundation of modern society - employment, healthcare, education, commerce, social, and home life all now depend on affordable, reliable internet services. We will work to support broadband infrastructure investments to address key barriers to broadband adoption.
Utilities - Access to affordable and reliable telecommunications, energy, and water services is crucial to health and economic well-being. We will advocate protecting the ability of older adults to access affordable and reliable utilities.
Housing - People of all ages and ability levels need accessible and affordable housing choices that will enable them to continue living safely in their homes and communities as they get older. We will continue programs and policies that achieve these outcomes.
Transportation - Transportation options are critical to the quality of life of older Americans.
Older adults outlive their ability to drive by 7-10 years, and nearly 20 percent of people over 65 do not drive at all. We will advocate for safer, more reliable, and accessible transportation solutions for people of all ages and abilities.
Roadway Safety - Traffic-related fatalities have significantly increased in recent years. We will support policies that ensure road safety for all users, whether driving, riding, walking, or bicycling in and around their communities.
Disaster Preparedness and Response - Older adults often represent the largest share of deaths from extreme weather events and other natural disasters. We will support policies that ensure an all-ages lens is integrated into preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation efforts.
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