Florida has long attracted retirees. Of the 21,781,128 people who live in the Sunshine State, one in five, or about 4.5 million, are seniors aged 65 and older. More than half a million Floridians live with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of progressive-degenerative dementia, and the prevalence of memory loss is increasing at a rapid rate. By 2025, the number of Alzheimer’s patients in the state is expected to rise 24.1%, and each year more than 6,500 Florida residents die from Alzheimer’s disease. 

Florida’s sub-tropical, snow-free climate appeals to seniors who want to enjoy a hot, sun-filled retirement destination. There’s also no state income tax, which can help retirees make the most of their retirement savings and pensions. Statewide, health care costs are slightly below the nationwide average, and there are about 206 licensed physicians for every 100,000 Florida residents. On average, residential memory care services in Florida cost about $5,000 per month. 

Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or, more often, it’s provided as a service in a separate wing of an assisted living facility. Memory care programs are designed specifically for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

This guide includes an overview of memory care costs in Florida and compares memory care rates to the cost of other long-term care services for seniors. It also provides information on how to finance memory care, state regulations for memory care programs and a list of resources for seniors who are living with memory loss. 

The Cost of Memory Care in Florida

Residential memory care is usually offered in assisted living facilities, and in general, memory care rates tend to be 20-30% higher than assisted living rates. No national database currently tracks memory care costs in the United States, so we’ve estimated the monthly memory care costs listed below by adding 25% to the rates listed in Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey. At $5,000 per month, average memory care costs in Florida are slightly higher than what the same type of care costs in neighboring Alabama ($4,379) and Georgia ($4,419), and $485 higher than rates in nearby South Carolina ($4,515). 

$5000

Florida

$5625

The United States

$4419

Georgia

$4379

Alabama

Memory care rates in Florida vary depending on the location, ranging from $2,938 in Gainesville up to $6,625 per month in Naples. In Tampa, residential memory care costs an average of $4,188, while the same type of care costs around $5,000 in Orlando. Miami memory care services cost an average of $5,481, while in the state capitol, Tallahassee, rates run around $5,813 per month. 

$2938

Gainesville

$4188

Tampa

$5000

Orlando

$5481

Miami

$5813

Tallahassee

$6625

Naples

Memory care is just one of the many long-term senior care services available in Florida. Rates range from $1,517 per month for adult day health care, and go up to $8,654 for a semiprivate room and $9,627 for a private room in a skilled nursing facility. Assisted living runs around $4,000 per month, while home care and home health care services cost an average of $4,767 per month. 

$1517

Adult Day Health Care

$4000

Assisted Living

$4767

Home Care

$4767

Home Health Care

$5000

Memory Care

$8654

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$9627

Nursing Home (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Florida?

Note: For the purposes of this guide, when we say “Memory Care” we are referring to memory care provided in a “social setting,” such as an Assisted Living Facility. This is the most common way to receive Memory Care, and is the best fit for all but the frailest seniors. Sometimes the actual service of memory care can be provided in a Nursing Home (“medical setting”), and so the financial assistance options will be very different. To learn more about the financial assistance options available for memory care provided in a nursing home, read our guide to Nursing Home Care in Florida.

Florida seniors who require residential memory care services and who qualify for Medicaid can apply to the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care, Long-Term Care Program. Launched in 2013 to replace all other Medicaid waivers, the SMMC-LTC is a nursing home diversion program that funds a wide range of medical and non-medical services and supports. These services may be delivered in a private residence, an adult day program or a residential care facility such as an assisted living community. 

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Florida?

Although the SMMC-LTC does not cover room and board costs for beneficiaries who require placement in a residential care program, benefits may include respite care, behavioral management and rehabilitation therapies. SMMC-LTC beneficiaries may also receive enhanced personal care services, intermittent nursing care, placement in an adult day program and other services needed to delay or prevent placement in a nursing home. 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Florida

In Florida, Medicaid eligibility is contingent on your income, assets, age, citizenship and disability classification. To qualify for Medicaid, you must: 

  • Be either aged 65 and older, legally blind, or have a qualifying disability
  • Have an annual gross annual household income of $17,131 or less when applying as an individual
  • Own no more than $5,000 in assets (excluding an owner-occupied home worth up to $636,000)
  • Be a full-time Florida resident who is either a U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident or legal alien

Florida seniors aged 65 and older who require Medicaid services, and whose income is over the Medicaid limit can apply for Florida’s Share of Cost program. This spend-down program allows seniors with high ongoing medical costs to apply most of their income towards their medical bills each month. Once the predetermined spend-down limit is reached, Medicaid benefits covers all eligible expenses for the remainder of the month. 

How to Apply for Medicaid in Florida

To apply for Medicaid in Florida, seniors can use Florida’s Department of Children and Families’ Automated Community Connection to Economic Self-Sufficiency, or ACCESS, system. This online system is available 24/7. 

Alternatively, seniors can call Florida’s statewide Medicaid Helpline at 1-877-254-1055. 

What Information You Will Need

When applying for Medicaid in Florida, you need to provide proof of income for the past five years, along with statements from all bank and investment accounts opened or closed during that time. You also need to submit copies of all personal checks of $500 or more written during the 60 months preceding your application, and a income verification letter issued by Social Security. 

Additionally, you’ll be asked for:

  • Government ID verifying your citizenship and residency status
  • Copies of the title to your home and any vehicles that you own
  • Copies of any burial arrangements that you’ve made
  • Two professional appraisals verifying the current market value of your home
  • Your income tax returns for the past five years
  • Copies of your will, powers of attorney and any other documents related to your estate or care

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

In Florida, seniors who need assistance applying for Medicaid can contact the ACCESS Customer Call Center. Application assistance is also available through local senior service agencies, which can be located by calling Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs Elder Helpline. Some senior centers may offer free Medicaid counseling and workshops for seniors who need help completing their Medicaid application. 

Program

Contact

Services Provided

(850) 300-4323

Agents provide assistance with Medicaid applications over the phone weekdays during regular business hours 

1-800-963-5337

Operators can help callers determine if they are eligible for Medicare benefits

Online

This website includes in-depth information about the SMMC-LTC Medicaid waiver

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Florida?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Florida. As was mentioned above, this doesn’t apply to Memory Care received in a Nursing Home. Since it is the most common to receive memory care in a “social setting” (such as an assisted living facility), Medicare won’t be a viable financial assistance option for most seniors who need Memory Care. However, Medicare will still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for Memory Care in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Florida.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Florida

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Memory Care affordable.

How to Apply

How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at va.gov.

Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for memory care.

Reverse Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov

If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for memory care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically beginning within 12 months of receiving the loan.

Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance

Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.

Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for memory care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of memory care are typically not eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Florida

A number of free and low-cost resources are available to Florida seniors who require memory care services. These services include home meal delivery programs, assistance with prescription medication costs and advocacy for those living in congregate care settings. 

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

1-800-963-5337

Florida seniors can access county, state and federally-funded programs and services through one of 11 Aging and Disability Resource Centers/Area Agencies on Aging located throughout the state. 

Contact via website

The Florida Rx Card program provides eligible seniors with discounts of up to 75% off out-of-pocket prescription drug costs. There's no cost to apply for a card, and discounts are available at a number of pharmacies within Florida and throughout the United States. 

1-888-831-0404 or (850) 414-2323

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program protects the rights of long-term care residents statewide, including those who require memory care services. Trained volunteer ombudsmen provide seniors and their families with information on long-term care standards and regulations, help residents file complaints about their care, and when necessary, escalate concerns to local law enforcement agencies. 

Call the Elder Helpline at 1-800-963-5337 to connect with the nearest memory disorder clinic. 

Florida's ADI is a statewide program designed to help support those living with memory loss. The ADI operates 17 memory disorder clinics (MDCs) that offer specialized diagnostic and referral services for those with Alzheimer's disease and other types of progressive memory loss. 

(954) 714-6940

Meals on Wheels is a nationwide nutritional support program that provides housebound seniors with home-delivered meals. In Florida, regional Meals on Wheels programs can be located by contacting the MOWAF. 

1-888-895-7873

Florida's Department of Elder Affairs operates a toll-free legal information line for seniors aged 60 and older. Seniors can call the Senior Legal Helpline to access free legal information related to long-term care, estate planning and guardianship. 

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Florida

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including floridahealthcovid19.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes, and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/3/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

RULES FOR FLORIDA COMMUNITIES

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?

Yes

Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?

No

Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?

Yes

Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?

Yes

Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

RULES FOR FLORIDA COMMUNITIES

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?

Yes

Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?

Yes

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

RULES FOR FLORIDA COMMUNITIES

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?

Yes

Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?

Yes

Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?

No

Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?

Yes

Are residents being tested for coronavirus?

Yes

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Florida

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Florida
Scope of Care
Memory care and dementia care facilities provide continuous supervision and monitoring of residents. At least one staff member must be trained in emergency response, including CPR. Medication monitoring and administration is permitted by trained staff members, such as nurses acting within their scope. Behavior management, such as de-escalation, is permitted.
Facility Requirements
Facilities offering memory care services as an option must advertise this on a separate document from the facility’s main flyer and emphasize that it is separate from other forms of senior care. A copy of this flyer must be on file with the bureau for license renewal. All facilities offering such care must have locks and alarms to prevent exit-seeking behavior. Hazards must not be within reach of residents unless directly supervised by staff. Kitchens and other food-handling areas must meet Florida state health standards for cafeterias and restaurants. Menus must be written in consultation with a registered dietitian. Facilities with the capacity to house 17 or more residents must have an awake staff member 24 hours a day.
Medication Management Requirements
Licensed nursing staff at all facilities are permitted to administer medications within their allowed scope of practice. Unlicensed staff may assist with self-administered medications, or they may assist licensed staff with administration under supervision.
Staff Screening Requirements
All facility owners, administrators, financial officers and employees must have a criminal history record check obtained via fingerprint search through both the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the FBI. Screened individuals must be rechecked at least once every five years.
Staff Training Requirements
Direct care staff at all facilities must receive at least four hours of annual training in senior care. Memory care staff who provide direct care must also undergo an additional four hours of dementia-specific training on an annual basis. Facility administrators must receive 12 hours of training every two years on assisted living, as well as six hours a year specific to dementia management.
Medicaid Coverage
Florida Medicaid and the Assisted Living for the Elderly waiver program provide some assistance with the costs of memory care for eligible Florida seniors. Applicants must meet state income and asset guidelines and have a medical need for residential memory care.
Reporting Abuse
Suspected elder abuse may be reported to the relevant local law enforcement agency. Reports can also be submitted by calling the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE (1-800-962-2873)

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Florida?

Memory care in Florida costs an average of $4,200 a month. This price averages out the costs of residential care, adult foster care and institutional care in dedicated facilities. Typical memory care costs include a monthly payment, plus the cost of medical and mental health care, as well as various other costs associated with the supervision and care of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.

Does Florida Medicaid Pay for Memory Care?

Florida provides assistance for Medicaid-qualified seniors through its Assisted Living for the Elderly waiver. This program is administered locally, through one of the state’s Area Agencies on Aging. The waiver program provides help with the monthly cost of residential care, including memory care at a qualified facility, personal care services and some medical supplies.

Does Medicare Pay for Memory Care?

Medicare does not directly pay for memory care, but seniors can get some assistance from the program. There is no specific provision in Medicare for memory care services, though the program can pick up some of the costs for residential care, such as room and board. Some medical services, independent of memory-specific care, are also covered by many Medicare programs.

What Are “Activities of Daily Living?”

Activities of daily living are ordinary tasks that seniors with disabilities often have trouble with. Common activities include hygiene, grooming and other personal needs, as well as cleaning, cooking and shopping. The term can also refer to errands outside of the house, such as shopping.

What Is the Difference Between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

Memory care and assisted living are two levels of senior care, and there is some overlap between them. As a rule, assisted living refers to personal help for seniors who can otherwise live independently, but who need assistance with activities of daily living. Memory care includes some of the services of assisted living, but it includes supervision and some behavior management. Memory care staff often assist seniors with medication and physical or mental therapy.

Memory Care Facilities in Florida (143)