Assisted Living in Florida
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Families looking for assisted living in Florida (FL) have a wide array of communities to choose from, since estimated that there are more than 30,000 assisted living communities serving seniors across the U.S., and over 1,776 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 20.1 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in Florida will pay $3,500 per month on average.
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What You Should Know About Assisted Living in Florida
Florida assisted living communities are referred to as "Assisted Living Facilities," or ALFs, and they require a state license to provide care. In addition to the general ALF license, Florida also offers three specialty licenses that allow ALFs to increase the scope of care they are eligible to provide:
- Extended congregate care (ECC) qualifies ALFs to provide additional nursing services and complete personal care assistance.
- Limited nursing services (LNS) qualifies ALFs to provide additional care by licensed nurses within the scope of their profession.
- Limited mental health (LMH) qualifies ALFs to provide limited mental health services according to a community support plan created with the resident and his or her case manager.
Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in Florida
If the cost for assisted living communities seems out of reach, Florida offers two different subsidy programs to help low-income seniors get the care they need.
Florida Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program (SMMC LTC)
Low-income seniors can apply for Florida Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program (SMMC LTC) to offset the costs of assisted living care. The state-run program was specifically designed for seniors at risk of being placed in a nursing home and offers a variety of plans to meet individual care needs. The program offers six Managed Health Care Organizations that cover Florida's 11 regions, though not every provider is available in every region.
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for the SMMC LTC program, individuals must:
- Be a legal Florida resident
- Be at least 65 years old, or over the age of 18 with a SSA-approved disability
- Require a 'nursing facility level of care' based on an in-person exam
- Meet Florida Medicaid financial eligibility requirements
When determining financial eligibility, Florida considers both income and assets. In 2018, individuals were limited to $2,250 in monthly income and no more than $2000 in qualifying assets. It's important to note that Florida senior couples, when only one individual requires care, may allocate joint income to the healthy spouse to help the other qualify for Medicaid.
How to Apply
To apply for the SMMC LTC, seniors or their family members will need to contact their local Area Agency on Aging, or call the Elder Helpline at 800-262-2243. Representatives will schedule a screening for home and community-based services and a prioritization decision will be mailed to determine when services can take effect. The next step is to apply for Medicaid approval through the Department of Children and Family Services.
Some individuals might be eligible for financial assistance from Florida's Optional State Supplementation Program (OSS). The OSS offers funds to low-income seniors to help cover room and board costs. In most cases, the maximum dollar amount an individual can receive is $78.40 for individuals and $156.80 for couples.
Who is Eligible?
To qualify for OSS benefits, applicants must:
- Be U.S. citizens and Florida residents
- Be 65 or older unless they have a qualifying disability
- Be below the monthly income limit of $828.40 for individuals and $1656.80 for couples
How to Apply
Applications will need to be submitted to the Florida Department of Children and Families.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Not every assisted living community will accept payment from these programs, so be sure to check facility policies in advance.
More Ways to Finance Assisted Living
While many families use their own funds or personal assets to pay for assisted living, there are plenty of additional options to cover these costs. Visit our 9 Ways to Pay for Assisted Living page for more information.
Free Assisted Living Resources in Florida
Florida is home to a number of nonprofit organizations and government programs that offer free aid to seniors in need of long-term care.
Florida Area Agencies on Aging
There are 11 Area Agencies on Aging in Florida that operate as Aging and Disability Resource Centers. The Department of Elder Affairs maintains a list of each resource center with current contact information. These centers have information about long-term care and access to any services available to Florida seniors.
5090 Commerce Park Circle, Pensacola, FL 32505
2414 Mahan Drive, Tallahassee, FL 32308
100 SW 75th Street, #301, Gainesville, FL 32607
10688 Old St. Augustine Road, Jacksonville, FL 32257
9549 Koger Boulevard, Gadsden Building, Suite 100, St. Petersburg, FL 33702
8928 Brittany Way, Tampa, FL 33619
988 Woodcock Road, Suite 200, Orlando, FL 32803
15201 North Cleveland Avenue, Suite 1100, North Fort Myers, FL 33903
4400 North Congress Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33407
5300 Hiatus Road, Sunrise, FL 33351
760 NW 107th Avenue, Suite 214, 2nd Floor, Miami, FL 33172
For Florida seniors who have served in the U.S. military, local VA centers are available to help navigate government programs set up to provide assistance to veterans and their families. VA representatives are trained to answer questions, assist in understanding the types of care available and determine eligibility.
29259 US Hwy 19, North, Clearwater, FL 33761
1655 East Highway 50, Suite 102, Clermont, FL 34711
1620 Mason Avenue, Suite C, Daytona Beach, FL 32117
3666 W. Oakland Park Blvd, Lauderdale Lakes, FL 33311
4110 Center Pointe Drive, Suite 204, Fort Myers, FL 33916
105 NW 75th Street, Suite 2, Gainesville, FL 32607
3728 Phillps Highway, Suite 31, Jacksonville, FL 32207
6650 West Indiantown Road, Suite 120, Jupiter, FL 33458
1370 Ariana Street, Lakeland, FL 33803
2098 Sarno Road, Melbourne, FL 32935
8280 Northwest 27th Street, Suite 511, Miami, FL 33122
2705 Horseshoe Drive South, Unit 204, Naples, FL 34104
3399 Southwest 34th Avenue, Suite 140, Ocala, FL 34474
5575 South Semoran Boulevard, Suite 30, Orlando, FL 32822
4996 10th Avenue, North, Suite 6, Greenacres, FL 33463
5139 Deer Park Drive, New Port Richey, FL 34653
2300 West Sample Road, Suite 102, Pompano Beach, FL 33073
4801 Swift Road, Suite A, Sarasota, FL 34231
6798 Crosswinds Drive, North, Building A, St. Petersburg, FL 33710
3637 West Waters Avenue, Suite 600, Tampa, FL 33614
2002 Old St. Augustine Road, Tallahassee, FL 32307
There are several Social Security offices in Florida that can help residents understand Social Security benefits and navigate the disability determination process. Seniors or their families can call or visit these offices to find out what programs are available to them and any eligibility criteria.
925 SE 1st Street, Belle Glade, FL 33430
5540 Sr 64 East, Bradenton, FL 34208
2340 Drew Street, Clearwater, FL 33765
310 Canaveral Groves Boulevard, Cocoa, FL 32926
36630 Adair Road, Dade City, FL 33525
1629 S Adelle Avenue, Deland, FL 32720
621 NW 53rd Street, Boca Raton, FL 33487
3201 W Commercial Boulevard, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33309
3650 Colonial Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33966
111b Racetrack Road NW, Fort Walton Beach, FL 32547
4562 NW 13 Street, Gainesville, FL 32609
6500 W 21 Court, Hialeah, FL 33016
1685 Dunn Avenue, Jacksonville, FL 32218
7185 Bonneval Road, Jacksonville, FL 32256
301 Simonton Street, Key West, FL 33040
1201 East Oak Street, Kissimmee, FL 34744
1348 SW Bascom Norris, Lake City, FL 32025
101 Commerce Street, Lake Mary, FL 32746
550 Commerce Drive, Lakeland, FL 33813
900 N 14th Street, Leesburg, FL 34748
5195 Coconut Creek Parkway, Margate, FL 33063
4125 Jireh Court, Marianna, FL 32448
1715 W Nasa Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901
11100 SW 211 Street, Miami, FL 33189
16900 NW 12th Avenue, Miami, FL 33169
6101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, FL 33126
1251 NW 36th Street, Miami, FL 33142
8345 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami, FL 33138
11401 W Flagler Street, Miami, FL 33174
1801 Alton Road, Miami Beach, FL 33139
8661 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey, FL 34654
933 E Silver Springs Boulevard, Ocala, FL 34470
5520 Gatlin Avenue, Orlando, FL 32812
3215 Hwy 77, Panama City, FL 32405
500 N Hiatus Road, Pembroke Pines, FL 33026
411 W Garden Street, Pensacola, FL 32502
1600 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, FL 33948
4990 S Clyde Morris, Port Orange, FL 32127
6810 S US Hwy 1, Port St Lucie, FL 34952
2001 Siesta Drive, Sarasota, FL 34239
3700 Commercial Drive, Sebring, FL 33870
2428 Old Moultrie Road, St Augustine, FL 32086
30 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Street South, St Petersburg, FL 33701
8501 W Sunrise Blvd, Plantation, FL 33322
2002 Old St Augustine, Tallahassee, FL 32301
3415 E Frontage Road, Tampa, FL 33607
4010 Gunn Highway, Tampa, FL 33618
1947 State Rd 60 East, Valrico, FL 33594
1435 E Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34292
724 20th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960
1395 Havendale Boulevard NW, Winter Haven, FL 33881
Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Florida
Assisted living residences in Florida are governed by a comprehensive set of laws and regulations. Some important laws and regulations to keep in mind are as follows:
Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements
A resident of an ALF must undergo a medical examination prior to the development of their service plan. The examination can be done up to 60 days before admission and up to 30 days after admission into an ALF. A service plan is designed by a team made up of the resident, his or her representatives, his or her physician or nurse and the ALF administrator. The goal of the service plan is to meet the resident’s needs and to improve the resident’s quality of life.
Assisted Living Admission Requirements
An ALF will admit adults who are able to perform daily tasks, such as eating, dressing, grooming, walking and transfers with some assistance or supervision. They should be able to participate in social activities and not be a danger to others or themselves. They should not need 24 -hour nursing or medical care.
Assisted Living Scope of Care
Different levels of care are provided depending on the type of license an ALF has. A standard ALF is required to provide housing, meals, and one or more personal care services, such as help with daily activities and help with self-administration of medication (like reading labels, opening bottles, storing medication). Three meals per day and snacks, including special or therapeutic diets, must meet the physical and nutritional needs of residents as determined by their health care provider and must meet the current U.S. Department of Agriculture Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and the current summary of Dietary Reference Intakes established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.
Assisted Living Medicaid Policy
Medicaid is accepted in many ALFs in Florida either to supplement the cost or to cover certain services that residents may need.
Assisted Living Facility Requirements
Each assisted living residence location must be licensed with the state individually. Licenses will specify the type of care the facility is eligible to provide. Extended licenses can be granted in the event a current resident requires care beyond the scope of the current license to prevent the need to move to a new community.
Medication Management Regulations
Only licensed nurses and residents of ALFs can administer medication, but residents who are taking it themselves may receive help from a non-licensed staff member in tasks that relate to taking medication such as retrieving and storing medication, reading labels and opening bottles.
Every ALF must have an administrator, direct care staff (certified nursing assistants or home health aides) and a staff member who is certified in first-aid and CPR. The administrator supervises staff, operations, maintenance and care of residents. Direct care staff assist residents with personal care activities. Licensed nurses are only required in ALFs licensed for special care, such as in an LNS and ECC. Florida does require a minimum number of staff based on the number of residents in the ALF and also mandates adequate staffing to supervise residents and to fulfill their service plans.
Staff Training Requirements
The Department of Elder Affairs requires administrators to take 26 hours of core training and a competency test. In addition, administrators must complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years. Direct care staff have to complete 1 hour of in-service training per year covering infection control and sanitation procedures as well as 3 hours of training per year in assisting residents in daily tasks and meeting their personal care needs.
Background Checks for Assisted Living
Anyone employed in a Florida assisted living community must submit to a Level 2 background screening as a condition of their employment, and every five years once employed. This screening includes fingerprint submission to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Some of the disqualifying criminal charges include:
- Medicaid fraud
- Domestic violence
- Identity theft
Requirements for Reporting Abuse
Florida defines adverse incidents as any incident within the facility's control which results in the resident's death or injury, failure to honor advance directives, a criminal event or resident elopement if it places a resident in harm's way. In the event of an adverse incident, Florida law requires assisted living communities submit a preliminary report within one business day and a full report within 15 days to the Florida Department of Elder Affairs. The department also has an abuse hotline: 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873).
Assisted Living Facilities in Florida
Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in Florida
Caring.com’s Caring Stars award program recognizes the best assisted living facilities across the U.S. based on reviews from family caregivers and older adults. This award is meant to help older adults and their loved ones find the best assisted living or in-home care option in their area. The list below shows up to 10 listings that have won the most Caring Stars annual awards in their state, sorted by their current overall average rating. For a complete list of Caring Stars winners for each year, please visit our Caring Stars info center.
Atria Windsor Woods
Hudson, FL $
Meridian at Westwood
Fort Walton Beach, FL $
Pacifica Senior Living Forest Trace
Lauderhill, FL $$$
Sun Towers Retirement
Sun City Center, FL Cost Levels
Aventura, FL Cost Levels
Port Orange, FL $$
Pacifica Senior Living Ocala
Ocala, FL $$$
Cabot Cove of Largo
Largo, FL $$
Atria Park of Baypoint Village
Hudson, FL $
Atria Evergreen Woods
Spring Hill, FL $