Florida Trying to Lure Retirees Back

They've unveiled a marketing campaign targeting seniors in cold northern states, but the governor's former elder affairs secretary says Florida is not the best choice for retirees.
A 30 second spot is airing in upstate New York trying to entice senior citizens to relocate to Florida.

Until last year, one out of every four people retiring to a warmer climate chose Florida, but wealthy retirees and their disposable incomes caught the attention of other sunbelt states like California and Arizona. Now, with the number of retirees relocating to Florida dwindling, Chris Pool with the Department of Elder Affairs says Florida's going on the offensive.

"The competition now is a little stiffer and because of that, we're trying to be proactive and get out there and start marketing for the baby boom generation," says Chris Pool.

The retirement industry is Florida's second largest economic sector with seniors bringing $135 billion in spending power, but at least one activist is questioning whether seniors are getting enough bang for their buck here.

Former Elder Affairs Secretary Gema Hernandez says Florida does not have the transportation or health care systems to support seniors with limited mobility on fixed incomes.

“We are telling them come to Florida, live here, when in reality all we want is to make sure they invest, bring money, and when they become frail they go back north,” says Gema Hernandez.

Hernandez argues the state should take the cash it’s spending on marketing and put it into improving nursing home quality, but state officials say pumping the billions more dollars retirees would bring to Florida into the economy is the best way to improve the quality of life here.

The state is spending about $100,000 on the Destination Florida campaign.