Located south of Tampa, Fort Myers is a moderately-sized city home to roughly 80,000 people. With year-round warm weather, plenty of sunshine, and lots to do, there’s something for everyone in this fun Florida town.
Thanks to its convenient amenities, close proximity to the beach, and relatively affordable housing, Fort Myers is quickly becoming one of Florida’s most popular destinations for retirement. The city is home to dozens of assisted living communities, offering personal care services and amenities according to the state’s regulations. This guide will discuss what families can expect when they retire at an assisted living community in Fort Myers, from the services they can receive the the amenities they will enjoy.
Fort Myers Assisted Living
With fewer than 100,000 residents, Fort Myers offers many of the resources families expect from larger cities without many of the drawbacks that come with living in metropolitan areas. Combined with the area’s exceptional year-round weather, it’s quickly becoming one of the nation’s hotspots for retirement.
Assisted living communities are located throughout Fort Myers, each offering their own unique set of services and amenities. They must provide personal care and housing according to the state’s assisted living guidelines, designed to make sure each resident receives the care they need at whichever long-term care community they choose.
If a senior living residence fails to meet the state’s regulations, they may not provide assisted living services or housing. To retain their licensing, an assisted living community must provide personal care services to at least one person (a non-relative of the residence’s owner or administrator) every twenty-four hours. Personal care services vary among communities, but typically include assistance with activities of daily living like eating, bathing, dressing, and maintaining personal hygiene. Medication administration is also common at assisted living communities in Fort Myers.
Assisted living residences may have a standard license (in accordance with the standards above) or they may qualify for a specialty license:
If a community provides personal care services like assistance with activities of daily living or medication administration at least once per 24 hour period, the may qualify for a standard license.
Communities licensed for limited nursing services may provide the same services as those with a standard license in addition to a handful of medical services, like wound treatment.
An extended congregate care license takes it a step further, permitting a community to provide all of the services typical of a skilled nursing facility.
In addition to personal care services, Florida requires assisted living residences in Fort Myers to provide meals for each resident. Communities must provide three meals per day and adjust them as necessary to accommodate residents and their personal needs. For example, a residence must offer kosher meals for diners with religious dietary restrictions or allergen-free meals when necessary.
Assisted Living vs. Other Types of Senior Care in Fort Myers
Assisted living is a popular choice for long-term care in Fort Myers, but it isn’t the only choice for families approaching retirement. In fact, there are a variety of long-term care residences available for retiring families, each with their own benefits and amenities.
For many families, assisted living is the right choice for long-term care. It provides ongoing personal assistance for individuals who need help with their activities of daily living, helping them navigate their day-to-day routines with ease and peace of mind. However, there are cases when assisted living services are not required for a person to get through their day, but the individual wants the additional benefits of community-based living.
In these situations, independent living may be a more suitable choice for long-term care. Independent living communities are similar to assisted living, offering meals, housekeeping, transportation, social activities, and more. They give retiring families a chance to enjoy community-based living, even when they are self-sufficient and do not require ongoing assistance with their activities of daily living.
Unlike assisted living, independent living communities do not arrange daily care routines for their residents that include medication administration and personal assistance. Instead, their staff assist and provide oversight as necessary. When independent living residents need help, they care request a caregiver to provide assistance.
Unless an assisted living community has a unique congregate care license, they may not provide skilled nursing care. Skilled nursing care is necessary when residents need ongoing medical attention to treat their chronic health conditions, providing assistance beyond that available at an assisted living community.
For some people, assisted living is a suitable alternative to skilled nursing care. While nursing homes provide a higher level of care than standard assisted living communities in Fort Myers, they may not offer the same resort-style amenities families will find at residential care facilities.
Standard Assisted Living Amenities in Fort Myers
Assisted living communities in Fort Myers frequently offer on-campus events and activities to help residents meet others and discover new hobbies. These activities and events vary for each residence, but may include:
Fellowship and devotional services
Happy hours and social mixers
Arts and crafts sessions
Group outings to nearby sightseeing locations, restaurants, or shopping malls
Continuing education opportunities (lectures, guest speakers, etc.)
It’s standard for assisted living communities in Fort Myers to provide housekeeping services, helping residents live a maintenance-free life without worrying about cleaning or chores.
Transportation services are also common, helping families navigate the city without worrying about driving or riding public transportation. How communities implement their transportation programs varies, but they frequently use community-sponsored shuttles or partnerships with ride-sharing services (like Uber or Lyft).
Along with personal care services, transportation, and housekeeping, assisted living communities may provide additional amenities to make life as enjoyable as possible for their residents. These amenities may include (but are not limited to) the following:
Swimming pools or jacuzzis
Business centers with computers and internet access
Living rooms with large televisions and comfortable furniture
Gardens with walking trails
Barbershops or hair salons
Game rooms or billiard rooms
Assisted Living Apartments in Fort Myers
Like amenities and social activities, an assisted living communities apartment layouts are unique to each residence. Senior living units must be built in accordance with the licensing structures in Florida, but residences have control over each unit’s design, amenities, and layout.
The state does not require assisted living residences in Fort Myers to offer apartment-style living units. Apartment-style senior living is popular at many assisted living communities in Fort Myers, but many communities offer standard, shared rooms. Depending on the person, shared living spaces may be preferred for their reduced cost and the additional companionship residents get from their roommates. Other incoming assisted living residents may prefer a community with private living spaces, depending on their personal needs.
If an assisted living community in Fort Myers received their license to provide care after 1999, they may house two or fewer people in one shared suite. Those who received their assisted license prior to 1999 may allow up to four people to live in one shared unit.
Residences with extended congregate care (ECC) licenses must offer senior living units in accordance with stricter regulations than communities with a standard assisted living license. They must offer private rooms or apartments unless incoming residents choose to house with another person. ECC communities are not allowed to assign roommates to shared rooms without the residents first requesting it.
Along with the legally required amenities, assisted living units may offer additional resources to help residents live as comfortably as possible. Optional in-unit amenities vary at each community, and may include features like individually-controlled heating and air conditioning, patios or balconies, internet, and cable television hookups. It’s common for assisted living communities in Fort Myers to provide unfurnished apartments, allowing residents to furnish their new home however they please. In many cases, furnished apartments are available for respite care.
Things to Do in Fort Myers
Fort Myers is one of the top tourist destinations in Florida, and for good reason. The area is known for its superb beaches, unique fishing opportunities, and world-class shopping. Families can enjoy plenty of indoor and outdoor fun in Fort Myers, thanks to the areas year-round warm weather, which makes it a great place for beach fun
Fort Myers is located a short drive away from Sanibel Island, an area famous for its coastline. Sanibel Island is home to some of Florida's most pristine beaches, where guests can enjoy soft white sands, crystal clear water, and unique coastal shopping.
If a day at the beach doesn't sound fun, families may enjoy the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium. located in Fort Myers. The Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium is a nonprofit educational organization, located on more than a hundred acres of land. The center includes an expansive Natural History Museum, complete with live animals that experts use for educational opportunities. Along with the center's permanent exhibitions, guests can enjoy one of a kind of events, like haunted walks in special live animal presentations.
Looking for a unique indoor experience in Fort Myers? Be sure to check out the Murder Mystery Dinner Train, offering a 5-course American meal on a retro locomotive. During the experience, guess we'll enjoy delicious food while they participate in a one-of-a-kind comic mystery, offering a full night a fun.
Funding Assisted Living in Fort Myers
Paying for assisted living on a set income consumed challenging, but it doesn't have to be. there are dozens of options available to help families pay for long-term care, including government subsidized programs and long-term care insurance policies.
Long-term care insurance policies are becoming one of the most popular ways to pay for assisted living. By purchasing a long-term care insurance policy before approaching retirement age, families can save thousands of dollars on their cost of care. However, purchasing a long-term care insurance policy requires Advanced planning, and may not be affordable the closer a person purchase it to their retirement. Typically, long-term care insurance policies are less expensive the farther a person from retirement age, so it's important for families to get their plan as soon as possible.
When long-term care insurance and paying out-of-pocket aren’t an option, there is a variety of government subsidized financing opportunities for those who are financially eligible.Unfortunately, Medicare will not pay for assisted living, but Medicaid may assist under certain circumstances.
In Florida, Medicaid offers a unique waiver program to help offset the cost of long-term care for qualifying individuals. This program, known as the Assisted Living for the elderly waiver, is open to families who meet Medicaid’s financial eligibility requirements and require the assistance of another person to complete their activities of daily living.
To qualify, a person must be at least 65 years of age and they must need help with at least four of their activities of daily living, like bathing, eating, dressing, or maintaining personal hygiene. a person may also qualify if they are between the ages of 60 and 64, and they are classified as disabled by the Social Security Administration.
Additionally, the Department of Veterans Affairs offers programs to help those who served in the United States armed forces pay for long-term care. The program, known as Aid & Attendance, is exclusive to those who served in the armed forces during a time of war and we're not dishonorably discharged. Additionally, a person must be eligible to receive the VA’s standard monthly pension, and they must require the assistance of another person on a daily basis to complete activities like bathing, eating, or dressing.
To learn more about the aid and attendance benefit, families should contact their VA caseworker.