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Top Ranked Assisted Living Facilities in Florida

There are 1001 assisted living facilities in FL and the median cost of care is $3,045. The average rating of assisted living facilities in Florida is 4 out of 5 stars and the top ranked facility is Belvedere Commons of Tampa.

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Florida--sunny skies, warm temperatures year-round, and a booming retiree population. As one of the most popular retirement states, Florida is a common destination for people who live in assisted care. Is it the right place for your elderly loved one to live? Here is your guide to assisted living in Florida, including how much it costs, how to pay for it, and things to consider as you contemplate moving your relative to the Sunshine State.

Florida Assisted Living: Types Of Senior Housing Options

With a large number of retirees flocking to Florida, there are many different options available for senior living. The type of assisted living facility that you choose for your loved one will depend on his or her needs. There are senior living communities that offer minimal services as well as assisted living facilities (ALFs) and nursing homes that offer a lot more.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are perfect for seniors who can still live independently but are not able or willing to continue to care for their private homes. Depending on the community, your loved one might live in an apartment, a condo, or a detached home, such as a mobile home. Because these communities are age-restricted, individuals live with others of similar age and have ample opportunity to socialize and participate in community activities. Some of these communities provide meals as well.

Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)

When a loved one is no longer able to live independently, an assisted living provider can be the good option. Assisted living residences are for residents who would like to (and are able to) maintain some independence but need help with meals, housekeeping, and some of the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as showering, getting dressed, or personal hygiene. There are 4 types of ALF licenses in Florida:

  • standard facilities
  • extended congregate care (ECC)
  • limited nursing services (LNS)
  • limited mental health (LMH)

Nursing Homes

For an individual who needs 24-hour nursing care, a nursing home would be a good option. Nursing homes have health care professionals ready to provide medical care as well as staff to help with any and all personal care needs. In Florida, an individual requires a physician referral to be admitted to a nursing home.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

Since many individuals gradually decline in their abilities as they get older, continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs) are a popular housing choice. These senior housing communities often include apartments for those who want to live independently, assisted living communities for those who need more help, as well as nursing homes for those who require nursing care. Residents can move into a more intensive community as their needs change.

Adult Family Care Homes (AFCHs)

In Florida, private residents are able to become licensed to provide housing for up to 5 individuals in their own home who need the types of services normally provided at an ALF. Services at adult family care homes (AFCHs) include meals, supervision, assistance with ADLs, and if needed, medication management.

Adult Day Care

For those who live with family members who cannot care for them during part of the day (because of work obligations, for example), adult day care is often a good option. These are places where seniors can go for part of a 24-hour day to receive supervision and assistance. There are usually also therapeutic and social activities offered.

In-Home Care

If an individual lives with family or alone and requires assistance to remain in the home, in-home care might be a good option. With in-home health care, a nurse or other medical professional goes into one’s home to provide medication management and other medical services as needed. Other types of in-home care include housekeeping services, meal preparation as well as transportation for errands and medical appointments.

Largest Providers Of Assisted Living In Florida

Some of the nation’s largest assisted living providers have facilities in the Sunshine State. For example, Brookdale Senior Living has 97 facilities; Atria Senior Living has 9 facilities; Holiday Retirement has 6 facilities; Sunrise Senior Living has 3 facilities; and Blue Harbor Senior Living has 1 facility.

Quality And Safety Of Assisted Living Facilities In Florida

With a high population of older adults in Florida, the state takes resident safety seriously. Care facilities need to be inspected every two years or more often if there have been violations reported. In addition, the state makes it simple for residents and their families to check on a facility’s history when it comes to sanctions and other public records. Please see the Florida Health Finder service to find more detailed information on various assisted living residences in your area.

Cost Of Assisted Living Care In Florida

The median monthly cost for assisted living care in the U.S. is $3,750. Florida’s median monthly cost is somewhat less at $3,100. This varies by region within the Sunshine State. For example, an individual can expect to pay $2,738 in Sebring; about $3,000 in Tampa and Miami; $4,000 in Tallahassee; and close to $4,500 in both Naples and The Villages.

How Costs Compare In Nearby States

When considering assisted living care in nearby states, it is helpful to compare assisted living costs in those areas. In Alabama, the costs for an assisted living facility is similar to those in Florida; the median monthly cost for assisted living is $3,057 statewide. In Georgia, depending on the area, an individual may pay less, as the median cost is $2,800. If a loved one is a snowbird and has a summer residency in a northern state, it can be helpful to check the prices there as well.

Paying For Assisted Living Care In Florida

Although ALF care is expensive, it is important to remember that the cost includes meals, recreation, some transportation, and personal care assistance. It may also include medication management. A number of options that one may consider to assist with the cost of ALFs in Florida include:

Private Funds

If an individual is ready to sell their home or has a retirement living fund, these funds will often be used to pay for assisted living care in Florida.

Medicaid Waivers

There are some Medicaid waivers available to Florida residents, particularly those who have health problems such as cystic fibrosis, AIDS, a traumatic brain injury, or a mental illness. People who are eligible for Medicaid are usually enrolled in the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program. This program can help determine whether a person is ready for assisted living services or nursing home care.

Florida Optional State Supplement

Florida residents who are not receiving Medicaid assistance might be eligible for the Optional State Supplement (OSS). This program provides some funding that goes toward room and board in an assisted living community. There are income limits and an eligibility process.

Reverse Mortgages

A reverse mortgage is a type of loan taken out against the equity of a home owned outright. This might be a good solution if an individual’s spouse is still living in the home and they wish to remain living in the home. When the house is sold or when neither spouse can live in the home any longer, the loan is repaid with the proceeds from the sale of the house.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Before one needs to move into an assisted living community, an individual might consider purchasing long-term care insurance. This insurance will cover all or part of the services provided by a long-term care services facility. It may also cover nursing home care and in-home care depending on the plan. There are many different types of long-term care insurance available so it is important to understand the terms of any policy before purchasing one.

Programs For Veterans

Florida has several veterans’ homes in the state, including one in Lake City that is an ALF. The other veterans’ homes offer skilled nursing care. In addition, the federal Aid and Attendance program might help cover some of the costs of ALFs for veterans. You can find out more about these options at your nearest Florida Department of Veterans’ Affairs (FDVA).

What Is Included With Assisted Living Care In Florida?

There is a wide variety of senior housing options in Florida and much of that variety is within the spectrum of assisted living services. ALFs can be large, serving hundreds of assisted living residents, or very small, serving less than 5 residents. All ALFs offer supervision and help with ADLs as well as meals. In addition, a variety of other services may also be offered at a cost so be sure to inquire about the availability and cost of services in ALFs you may be considering for a loved one. Some of the services commonly offered include pet therapy, massage therapy, arts and crafts, cooking classes, yoga, social outings, and dance classes.

In addition to standard ALFs, there are some ALFs that offer extra services. One type of ALF is known as an extended congregate care facility which allows assisted living residents to age in place. As residents have more needs, they can have them met without having to transfer to another facility.

A limited nursing services facility combines the services of an ALF with some of the services of a skilled nursing facility (SNF) while a limited mental health facility serves residents with mental health needs.

Some ALFs also include memory care for those with Alzheimer's disease or dementia. This is another important factor to consider and inquire about when considering communities for a loved one who requires memory care and Alzheimer's care.

Wellness Resources In Florida

Florida is teeming with activities and resources for the elderly. It is projected that by 2020, approximately 20% of Florida’s population will consist of individuals over the age of 65. Florida is also home to over 300 hospitals and many of the larger metro areas have teaching hospitals and large cancer centers. There are also many doctors that specialize in geriatric residential care in Florida as well. The Department of Elder Affairs offers a wide range of services for seniors in the state as well.

The Transition Into Assisted Living In Florida

In the process of determining whether assisted living care is right for your loved one, he or she will also need to be assessed by a healthcare provider to determine what their needs are and what type of facility could best meet their needs. If an individual needs 24-hour residential care or does not need assistance with ADLs, an assisted living community would not be appropriate for such an individual.

If an ALF is the right place for your loved one, be sure to take some time to find out what is included in the facilities you are considering. Think about whether your loved one would do best in a large or small facility. And finally, be sure your loved one will be able to access the resources and services that they need and want at a cost they can afford.

Florida Assisted Living Oversight

Florida’s ALFs are overseen by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. If your loved one is already living in an assisted living community and has a dispute with the facility, the Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program may be able to help.