Facing Tampa’s Senior Care Crisis - Mayor Bob Buckhorn joins seniors, caregivers and industry experts at a Town Hall to understand the issues affecting long term care in Tampa; will issue important Proclamation

04/01/16
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MEDIA ADVISORY FOR: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

Contact: Tobias Packer, tobias.packer@1199.org, (305) 619-7664

WHAT: Round Table

WHEN: Tuesday, April 5 from 4:30 pm to 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: 1199SEIU

                      500 N. Westshore Boulevard, Suite 900

                      Tampa, FL 33609

WHO:

  • Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn
  • Brian Lee, Families for Better Care (Moderator)
  • Kathryn Hyer, Professor USF
  • Katie Parkinson, Senior Connection Center
  • 1199SEIU retirees, nursing home workers and home care workers
  • Tampa seniors and community members

Tampa, FL –Florida is known to be a retirement destination for many seniors who expect to live the remainder of their life with the dignity and respect they deserve. However, there is a dangerous trend growing in Florida, where some nursing homes and home care agencies are putting profits over care.

There are currently more than 80,000 parents and grandparents living in Florida’s nursing homes, and a growing number receiving home care; and they deserve quality care. But alarmingly, nearly 1 in 5 Florida nursing homes are on the state’s watch list for chronically dangerous conditions and more than 30% are rated below the national ranking system. Some of them are located right here in Tampa. The situation is already getting headlines in local media.

On Tuesday, April 5th, Mayor Bob Buckhorn will host a community Round Table with caregivers, seniors, consumers, industry experts, advocates and elected officials to better understand the issues affecting our long-term care system and identify potential avenues to address them. Mayor Buckhorn will issue a proclamation related to the issue.

“As your mayor, it’s important to me that our seniors and people living with disabilities can live with dignity and receive the quality care they deserve,” said Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn. “That is why my office is hosting this important conversation. My hope is that Tampa will play a leading role in securing a healthier future for Florida’s seniors, caregivers and the long term care industry.”

Quality care is not the only concern. Experts will be on hand to discuss the correlation between decreases in quality care and paying low wages to those caring for our parents and grandparents. While the nursing home industry has enjoyed five straight years of market growth with revenues exceeding $350 billion annually, nursing homes and home care agencies are overworking and underpaying caregivers.

In addition, the demand for home care is exploding, but our long term care system is not equipped to meet families’ needs. In Florida, there are approximately 35 care consumers for each home care worker.

“My brother in-law and I both depend on home care to get by. My home care worker Patricia shows up everyday ready to do everything she can to help me.  Not because she’s being paid for her hard work, it’s because this is what she loves to do,” says Belinda Brewer, a home care consumer in Tampa who suffers from Osteoarthritis and has been on a wheel chair for 17 years. “These home care workers go above and beyond what they’re hired to do and they deserve more respect.  Disabled people like myself, we are blessed to receive their care.”