Florida is home to over 21 million people, and it is a popular retirement destination for seniors from all over the country. Nearly 21% of Florida’s residents are seniors aged 65 and over, and almost 600,000 have Alzheimer’s disease. As the population ages, and as more seniors move to the state, Florida’s population of seniors with Alzheimer’s is expected to increase by more than 24% in the five years between 2020 and 2025. Alzheimer’s disease is already the state’s sixth-leading cause of death, with an estimated 6,725 passing away each year.

Memory care facilities house seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s chorea, advanced forms of Parkinson’s disease and several other forms of dementia. Staff at these facilities have training in memory care and behavior management, including de-escalation and preventing wandering behavior by seniors who have become confused. Seniors with dementia are kept safe and comfortable in memory care facilities, and most facilities organize activities and therapy to help residents maintain the highest level of function possible.

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 is written for seniors, family members and caregivers in Florida who may be dealing with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. It goes over some of the costs of senior care in the state, as well as various methods for paying them. The guide also lists several helpful resources available to seniors who need memory care in Florida.

The Cost of Memory Care in Florida

Memory care generally costs 20 to 30% more in each state than the cost of assisted living in the same area, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2019. In Florida, where the average cost of assisted living is $3,500 per month, the typical cost seniors pay for memory care is $4,200. This is significantly less than the average cost of memory care nationwide, which is about $4,861 a month.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

The $4,200 a month seniors pay in Florida for memory care is not only lower than the national average of $4,861, but it is also significantly less than the average in nearby Mississippi, where monthly costs average $4,229 for similar care. Other nearby states are competitive with Florida, such as South Carolina, where costs are also $4,200 per month. Memory care in Georgia and Alabama is somewhat less expensive than it is in Florida, at $4,002 and $3,900 per month, respectively.

$4200

Florida

$4861

United States Average

$4002

Georgia

$3900

Alabama

$4200

South Carolina

$4229

Mississippi

Cost of Other Types of Care in Florida

Memory care in Florida is cost-competitive with several other forms of senior care. At $4,200 per month, the costs associated with memory care are very close to the cost of home health care, at $4,195. In-home care is somewhat less costly, at $4,004 a month. Residential care in an assisted living community in Florida costs an average of $3,500 a month. Adult day care is significantly less expensive than most other senior care arrangements in the state, at just $1,473 a month. Nursing home care in Florida is well above the typical cost of most other forms of care. A semi-private room in a nursing care home in Florida costs an average of $8,547 a month.

$4200

Memory Care

$4004

In-Home Care

$4195

Home Health Care

$1473

Adult Day Care

$3500

Assisted Living Facility

$8547

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Florida’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Florida

Memory care in several of Florida’s largest cities is somewhat less expensive than the statewide average of $4,200 per month. Miami and Tampa, for example, average $3,900 a month for memory care in a residential setting. Port St. Lucie averages $4,200 a month for similar care services, putting it exactly in line with the state average. Other urban areas in Florida are up to $1,500 per month more expensive than the state average. Tallahassee seniors pay an average of $5,730 a month for memory care, while seniors in Jacksonville and Orlando pay $5,116 and $5,129 a month, on average. Cape Coral, like many midsized cities in Florida, falls somewhere close to the median point, at $4,800 a month for memory care.

$5116

Jacksonville

$3900

Miami

$3900

Tampa

$5129

Orlando

$5730

Tallahassee

$4200

Port St. Lucie

$4800

Cape Coral

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Florida

Florida Optional State Supplementation (OSS)

The Florida Department of Children and Families provides some financial assistance for seniors who need residential care. This includes memory care in a residential setting and adult foster homes, as well as in dedicated memory care facilities. Payments are made directly to the senior beneficiary, or to the legal guardian of record, to help pay the cost of room and board. Some other assistance is available for direct care services delivered at the residence.

Who is Eligible?
Seniors enrolled in OSS must reside in Florida and must be citizens or legal residents of the United States. The minimum age to enroll is 65, though younger adults with physical disabilities may be eligible as well. An adult services or mental health case manager must certify the senior applicant as someone needing placement in a residential care setting. Income limits for seniors with Alzheimer’s or other mental health issues are $956 a month for singles and $1,912 a month for married couples, as of 2019. Total asset limits for individuals are $2,000 and $3,000 for married couples.

How to Apply
Seniors or their caregivers can apply for OSS benefits through the Department of Children and Families website. Application packets can also be requested by mail.

Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative (ADI)

The Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative helps seniors with several forms of dementia cover many of the secondary costs of memory care. Resources are available through the program to pay for adult day care, respite care and a special 30-day extended respite care program for caregivers. In addition to these expenses, ADI contributes to the cost of several associated care expenses:

  • Case managers to help identify and sign up for benefits
  • Caregiver group counseling and training
  • Diagnostic and referral services for seniors with suspected dementia
  • Adult day care
  • Emergency respite care on short notice
  • Durable and disposable medical supplies and equipment
  • Nutritional supplements, including over-the-counter vitamins
  • Transportation to and from medical office visits

Who is Eligible?
To qualify for enrollment in the ADI program, applicants must be Florida residents and U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents aged 18 and over. Applicants must have a diagnosis of any one of several specific forms of dementia, including:

  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Multi-infarct dementia (MID)
  • Pick’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lewy Body Disease
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

Applicants are not excluded from eligibility by income, though financial need does affect seniors’ placement on the program waiting list. Seniors who live with family or other loved ones are also considered for placement before seniors who already reside in an assisted living community or another professional care setting.

How to Apply
Seniors, caregivers and loved ones can apply for enrollment on the ADI waitlist through the Florida Department of Elder Affairs website. They can also contact their local Area Agency on Aging. Some applications go through one of the 16 approved memory care facilities in Florida. Phone inquiries can be made by calling 1-800-963-5337.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Florida

Seniors in Florida have several programs available locally to help them live independently, in residential care settings or in memory care. Many programs are available at no cost to seniors or their families.

ProgramContactServices Provided
Congregate Meal ServiceFind a local Area Agency on AgingCMS serves hot meals at hundreds of sites around the state. The program also provides nutrition risk screenings at 425 locations, as well as home delivery of nutritionally balanced meals for seniors who have trouble shopping or preparing meals for themselves.
Florida Rx CardContact via program websiteFlorida RX Card provides uninsured and underinsured seniors in Florida with assistance for the cost of prescription medications. Discounts can be as high as 75%, and the card is accepted at over 56,000 participating pharmacies, including out of state.
Long-Term Care Ombudsman ProgramCall 888-831-0404 or write to:4040 Esplanade Way Tallahassee, FL 32399-7000This is a statewide volunteer program to monitor and report on conditions at assisted living and memory care facilities throughout Florida. The program conducts annual assessments and reports findings, in addition to receiving reports of unsatisfactory conditions and abuse.
Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition ProgramDora Soto
SFMNP Coordinator
850-414-2131
sotod@elderaffairs.org
This nutrition program issues coupons to seniors and their caregivers that can be redeemed for fresh produce at farmers’ markets at select locations throughout the state. Coupons are each worth $4 and come in books of 10.
Home Care for the Elderly (HCE)Elder Helpline at 1 (800) 96-ELDER (1-800-963-5337)HCE provides a monthly cash subsidy for necessary medical and health supplies for seniors living at home, with family or in a residential setting.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Florida

The Florida Bureau of Health Facility Regulation oversees memory care facilities at the state level. The bureau also oversees several other forms of senior residential care, such as adult foster homes, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing care homes. To keep seniors with Alzheimer’s disease safe and comfortable, the bureau has several regulations all licensed care homes must follow.

Scope of CareMemory 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 RequirementsFacilities 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 RequirementsLicensed 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 RequirementsAll 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 RequirementsDirect 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 CoverageFlorida 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 AbuseSuspected 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 (139)