Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Sen. Bill Nelson speaks to Hispanic seniors about concerns

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, center, practices his Spanish with Jesus Nieves and Rosa Gonzalez as they play dominoes at the Town ’N Country Senior Center in Hillsborough County on Monday.


U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, center, practices his Spanish with Jesus Nieves and Rosa Gonzalez as they play dominoes at the Town ’N Country Senior Center in Hillsborough County on Monday.

TAMPA — Jacklynn Hurst's questions about her future grow.

The 70-year-old wonders: What's going to happen to me tomorrow? Will Medicare be around? How good will my quality of care be?

"Will my children be able to afford to take care of me?" she asked.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, state Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, and a panel of local, federal and nonprofit officials who work with senior citizens addressed these concerns Monday at a roundtable discussion of aging issues affecting area Hispanics. They met at the Town 'N Country Regional Public Library.

Amid all the pressure to reduce the federal deficit, Hurst and other seniors invited to the event wondered whether Medicare could be carved up.

"There is a lot of fear among senior citizens because they see Medicare under attack in the political arena," Nelson said. "Let me assure you, you don't need to worry."

Medicare will not be trimmed, Nelson pledged, adding "we have the votes" to protect the federal health insurance program. He also told the group about legislation passed over the past decade, as well as planned reforms, aimed at helping caregivers take care of elderly family members outside nursing homes.

"It just makes common sense," Nelson said. "If you can keep the senior citizen in the home, it's just a better quality of life. It also saves the government a whole lot of money."

While Nelson explained how legislative changes increased caregiver benefits, the panel of federal and Hillsborough County aging services officials elaborated on specific programs and protections available, such as work leaves allowed by the Department of Labor to care for elderly family members.

"I was impressed with personal health care (benefits) and what's available," Helen DeMarco, 83, said. "I was very impressed with him saying Medicare is safe because that's the biggest issue facing us."

According to the Administration on Aging, significant health disparities exist for Hispanic seniors, ranging from poorer access to health care to problems controlling diabetes. According to the U.S. Census, in 2009 Hispanic people made up 7 percent of people 65 and older. By 2019, that population is expected to become the largest racial or ethnic minority in that age group.

In 2008, 16 percent of Hispanics 65 and older lived in Florida, third-most in the United States, according to the Administration on Aging.

Justin George can be reached at or (813) 226-3368.

Sen. Bill Nelson speaks to Hispanic seniors about concerns 04/09/12 [Last modified: Monday, April 9, 2012 10:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Storm routs Cleveland


    TAMPA — Alvin Ray Jackson intercepted two passes, returning one for a touchdown, and recovered two fumbles as the Storm routed Cleveland 57-27 Saturday night in its home regular-season finale at Amalie Arena.

  2. Miscue sends Rays to another stinging loss to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays gave away DJ Kitty onesies Saturday night. Then they gave away the game.

    Rays centerfielder Mallex Smith misses a drive hit by Adrian Beltre with two outs in the sixth, allowing the tying runs to score. Beltre puts Texas ahead 4-3 when he scores after two wild pitches.
  3. Rowdies shut out Charleston


    ST. PETERSBURG — The Rowdies know a thing or two about stalemates, with five of their past 10 games ending in a draw.

    Rowdies in the first half during the game between Tampa Bay Rowdies and the Charleston Battery at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Saturday, Jul 22, 2017.
  4. 13-year-old Janessa's father holds memorial service at Rogers Middle School


    RIVERVIEW — About 100 people sat in the tile-floored multipurpose room Saturday at Rodgers Middle School where Janessa Shannon once sat as a student.

    A mourner embraces Nahshon Shannon after the memorial service for Nahshon’s daughter, Janessa, Saturday at Rodgers Middle School in Riverview.
  5. Trump: Aircraft carrier a symbol of America's might (w/video)


    NORFOLK, Va. — With praise and a blessing for the military, President Donald Trump helped hand over the USS Gerald R. Ford to the Navy on Saturday and said the state-of-the-art aircraft carrier will send a "100,000-ton message to the world" about America's military might when it is ultimately deployed.

    President Donald Trump commissions the USS Gerald R. Ford on Saturday in Norfolk, Va.