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Guide to Senior Living in Florida

With its extended hot summers and short, snow-free winters, the Sunshine State has long been a popular retirement destination. One in five residents of Florida, or about 4.4 million Floridians, is aged 65 and older, while nationwide just under one in six U.S. residents is aged 65 and older. The Florida Department of Elder Affairs predicts that the number of Floridians aged 60 and older will rise to 7.37 million by 2030 and reach 8.1 million by 2040.

This guide offers in-depth information about the cost of senior living care in Florida, how costs here compare to nearby states, and local and statewide resources that help seniors.

The Cost of Senior Living in Florida

Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living.

Note: Memory care is typically provided in communities licensed as assisted living facilities, and in general, costs 20-30% more than standard assisted living services. No authoritative cost data is available for this type of care, so we estimated memory care rates by adding 25% to assisted living fees in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

Seniors in Florida have several choices when it comes to choosing senior care. Typically, this choice is dependent on the types of services provided, budget limitations and the exact location of the community. Independent living is ideal for seniors who don’t require assistance with daily living tasks but prefer to live in a community with others of their own age and enjoy an active lifestyle. Assisted living is similar but also provides some help with daily living tasks, like meal prep, housekeeping, grooming and transportation. Often memory care is provided within an assisted living community and supports those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia through specialized care. Nursing homes deliver the most intensive care for those recovering from an accident or injury or for those with a long-term chronic condition that requires around-the-clock care and skilled nursing. The cost for each can be determined from the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

Because independent living offers a minimum amount of assistance, it’s the least expensive residential option in Florida, at $2,600 per month. Assisted living varies, but the cost averages $4,000 a month, and memory care is about 25% more at $5,000. A semiprivate room in a nursing home is the most expensive option, at $8,654.


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Florida

At $4,000 per month, assisted living in Florida is $500 less than the national average. While the cost is low, assisted living in neighboring states is even lower. Georgia residents pay around $3,535 for assisted living, while those in Alabama and Mississippi have similar costs at $3,503 and $3,000, respectively.




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Florida

Because the care is much more specialized, nursing homes tend to cost much more than other senior care options. In Florida, the price for a semiprivate room is around $8,654. This is $746 more than the national average. Just to the north in Georgia, the cost is much less at $7,011. Mississippi and Alabama residents pay $7,118 and $6,676, respectively.




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Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in Florida?

Medicaid is the main form of public assistance that helps low-income seniors pay for senior care and health care in Florida. Aside from senior care, Medicaid can cover therapy, accidents, injury and most health care issues. In senior care, Medicaid doesn’t always cover room and board, but it can cover enough services to make residential care an affordable option.

In Florida, Medicaid will help seniors pay for some long-term care programs, including home and community-based services like grooming, housekeeping, bathing, meals and transportation. Nursing homes are typically covered directly, while assisted living and memory care services are covered under the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program.

Because independent living is typically an optional choice for retirees, it isn’t covered under Florida’s Medicaid plan or indirectly through any waivers. Independent living is simply a lifestyle choice that usually doesn’t include personal care or skilled nursing.

 Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement?*
Assisted LivingPartialMedicaid WaiversNo
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CarePartialMedicaid WaiversNo
Nursing Home CareFullMedicaidYes

*Note: Entitlement programs mean that everyone who qualifies will receive coverage and be accepted into the programs. If the program is not “entitlement,” then participant caps could be in place, and there may be a waiting list.

Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living & Memory Care in Florida

Florida’s Medicaid program pays for some, but not all, services in assisted living and memory care through the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care Program System (SMMC LTC). The program covers services in memory care and assisted living, but it can also help seniors receive care at home and avoid entry into a long-term care facility.

Long-Term Care Waiver

The Long-Term Care Waiver is a part of the statewide managed care long-term plan. Seniors who receive the waiver receive a Medicaid waiver care plan, provided by an assigned caseworker, that details the effective date, the renewal date and the recipient’s goal for care and personal preferences. It pays for some home and community-based services and many medically necessary services. This includes:

  • Companionship
  • Assistive devices
  • Dental
  • Vision
  • Hearing care
  • Meals
  • Personal emergency response systems
  • Transportation
  • Homemaker services
  • Nutritional assessments

To be eligible for the Long-Term Care Waiver, seniors must meet the Medicaid income and asset requirements and must require a nursing home level of care. To apply, contact the Agency for Health Care Administration at (850) 412-3600.

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Florida

Approximately 19% of Florida’s population in 2019 received Medicaid to help pay for senior care. In a nursing home, Medicaid pays a fixed daily rate to cover necessities like room and board, meals, skilled nursing, transportation, grooming and personal care. To locate a nursing care facility in Florida that accepts Medicaid for payment, seniors may use this search tool to search by location and enrollment status.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Florida

Effective January 1, 2022, Medicaid applicants in Florida must have a yearly income that doesn’t exceed $30,276. In a two-person household, each individual must also have an income that falls below $30,276. Income includes any money received, including employment wages, pensions, disability income, alimony, Social Security, dividends and withdrawals.

Asset limits are $2,000 for a single applicant and $3,000 when both individuals apply. In a two-person household where only one spouse applies, the remaining senior may receive a Minimum Monthly Need Allowance under the spousal impoverishment rule, which seeks to ensure those who remain at home don’t have incomes that fall in the poverty level.

2022 Florida Yearly Medicaid Income Limits

 Income LimitsAsset Limits
Single Person$30,276$2,000
Two-Person Household(Only One Applicant)$30,276 per spouse$2,000 for applicant$137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household(Two Applicants)$30,276$3,000

To be eligible for Florida State Medicaid, seniors must also:

  • Be a resident of the state of Florida
  • Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Be 65 years of age or older or have a qualifying disability
  • Require nursing home level of care

Applying for Medicaid in Florida

Seniors may apply for Medicaid electronically at the ACCESS Florida website or by calling the customer service center number at (850) 300-4323. Paper applications may be submitted in person at any local Department of Children and Families by downloading the forms and filling them out. Applications may also be mailed to ACCESS Central Mail Center, P.O. Box 1770, Ocala, FL 34478-1770 or by faxing the application to (866) 886-4342.

Before You Apply

To receive full Medicaid benefits, individuals must prove eligibility by providing the following information:

  • Proof of citizenship or qualified alien status
  • Government-issued photo ID
  • Copy of Social Security number
  • Income statements for the past 60 days
  • Bank statements for the past 60 days
  • Copies of insurance policies
  • Proof of home and vehicle ownership
  • Other documentation showing proof of assets or income

How to Get Help

Medicaid applicants in Florida may want to consult with trained counselors who may help increase their chances of coverage by providing answers to the most popular coverage questions. The following agencies can also assist with additional insurance questions.

ContactWhat You Should Know
My Florida Families(850) 300-4323My Florida Families is the official Medicaid website for individuals applying for state Medicaid. The site serves as a resource center for eligibility, plan information and application updates. Individuals are assigned a caseworker who can also provide information about additional state programs and benefits. is a federal website that provides benefit information by state. The site provides a brief overview of each site, program contact information and eligibility.
Florida Agency for Health Care Administration(850) 412-4000The Agency for Health Care Administration is the primary agent for the state’s Medicaid program. Along with answers to Medicaid questions, the site also provides information on civil rights compliance, investigations against long-term care facilities, health care data and enrollment information.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in Florida?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living, independent living, or memory care. Unlike nursing homes, these care types are not considered to be “clinical settings” and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, those who live in these communities can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.

When it comes to nursing home care, it gets much more complicated. Medicare does provide limited coverage for a qualified stay in a nursing home,but there are strict rules and requirements of which you should be aware. This benefit is available to seniors who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge.

Once you’ve met the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility (per benefit period). While the first 20 days are covered in full, there is a daily coinsurance rate that must be paid starting on day 21. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

Medicare CoverageMedicare Coverage DurationCoinsurance Requirement?
Assisted LivingNoneN/AN/A
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CareNoneN/AN/A
Nursing Home CareLimited100 Days Per Benefit PeriodYes – After 20 Days

What Nursing Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation

What Nursing Home Care Services Aren’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

Florida seniors can discover the basics of Medicare through several organizations. These agencies offer trained counselors who can help individuals navigate the different parts of Medicaid and make an unbiased decision on coverage, including whether they need supplemental insurance coverage.

ContactWhat You Should Know
SHINE(800) 963-5337Florida SHINE, also known as Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders, is a free program offered by the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and local Area Agencies on Aging. SHINE volunteers provide information on health insurance and provide educational presentations and speeches, training and leadership opportunities, and general support. is the official government website for Medicare. Seniors can get answers to their most common questions, apply for Medicaid, check the status of their applications or make changes to their accounts. Counselors can also provide assistance with bills and medical care.
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services(800) 465-3203The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid is a government website that provides information about Medicare and Medicaid to Florida seniors. The site also includes a blog with useful health information.

Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in Florida?

Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Florida. Below, we cover some of the common ways that seniors can make senior living options such as assisted living or memory care more affordable.

How to Get StartedWhat You Should Know
Aid and AttendanceApply online at you are a veteran and you receive a VA pension, you may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit takes the form of a monthly cash allowance that you receive in addition to your standard pension. This benefit is used by veterans who need long-term care services, including care received at an assisted living facility.
Reverse MortgagesResearch and learn about the different types at you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to access some of the equity in your home. Like traditional loans, reverse mortgages do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months, so seniors should carefully weigh this option alongside other financing methods.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at those who currently need assisted living will typically not be eligible, if you purchased an LTC insurance policy in the past, you may be able to use it to help pay for assisted living. While most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, you still need to check the specific terms of your policy.

Free Senior Living Resources for Seniors in Florida

Seniors who live in Florida have many free resources that help improve their overall quality of life. Provided by both government and private agencies, these resources assist with everything from meal prep and insurance counseling to housing and memory care.

 ContactWhat You Should Know
Florida Department of Elder Affairs(800) 963-5337The Florida Department of Elder Affairs promotes the health and well-being of the state’s elder population. The agency helps deliver community-based services, including mental wellness, housing options, elder protection, guardianships and food assistance.
Florida Council on Aging(850) 222-8877The Florida Council on Aging provides education, information and advocacy for the state’s aging population. The council offers a monthly newsletter that keeps seniors updated on new and improved treatments and educational opportunities throughout the state. The site also offers virtual education on a variety of topics of interest to older adults.
Florida Long-Term Care Ombudsman(888) 831-0404The Florida long-term care ombudsman serves as an advocate for seniors living in senior care throughout the state. The ombudsman investigates complaints of abuse against facilities and makes annual visits to ensure communities and their employees understand and maintain the rights of the aging population.
Florida Chapter Alzheimer’s Association(800) 272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association works to end Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia through education, support and research. The organization holds several fundraising opportunities throughout the year and presents awareness campaigns to local communities.
Florida Legal Aid(888) 895-7873The Florida Legal Aid program helps low-income seniors get legal help when they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it. Legal Aid covers guardianships, consumer complaints and charges of fraud, abuse and neglect.

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Florida Senior Living Facilities

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including and 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.

Visiting Loved Ones

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 and Group Activities

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

Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors

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

Safety Measures for Residents

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

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Florida

Note: All these rules typically apply to non-clinical senior living facilities, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. Nursing homes and other senior living facilities with a clinical setting may have additional or slightly different requirements and regulations. 

Senior living facilities in the state of Florida are licensed and inspected by the Agency for Health Care Administration. This government agency works to ensure compliance with ALF licensing requirements, standards of care and staffing standards.

In Florida, senior living facilities may be awarded either a standard license or one of three types of specialty licensing, including Limited Nursing Services (LNS), Extended Congregate Care (ECC) or Limited Mental Health (LMH). These special designations allow an ALF to provide specific medical and non-medical care beyond what is provided in a standard ALF.

Admissions Requirements

Regular senior living facilities are residential care facilities that provide accommodation, meals and non-medical care services to seniors and adults with disabilities. Some medical care services are provided at senior living facilities with specialty licenses.

To qualify for admission to an senior living facility, Florida seniors must meet the following criteria:

  • Be free from any signs and symptoms of a communicable disease that could be transmitted to other residents or staff through casual contact
  • Be able to perform activities of daily living with some assistance
  • Be capable of self-administering prescription and over-the-counter medications with some assistance as needed
  • Not require treatment provided by a licensed mental health professional on a 24-hour basis
  • Be free from serious medical conditions that require the use of tube feeding, intermittent positive pressure breathing therapy or oral or tracheotomy suctioning
  • Be free from stage 3 or stage 4 pressure sores
  • Not be bedridden
  • Not present a danger to themselves or others

By law, all seniors must complete a medical assessment prior to, or within 30 days of, admission to a senior living facility. Seniors who do not meet the medical requirements for residency in an ALF must be transferred to a facility that provides the appropriate level of care.

Medication Management

Unlicensed staff working in Florida senior living facilities with a standard ALF license can help residents self-administer regularly scheduled medication. Staff are permitted to assist by managing weekly pill organizers, reading labels, opening medication containers and providing medication reminders. Unlicensed staff cannot assist with the administration of injections or PRN (as needed) medications. Before an unlicensed staff member can assist with self-administration of medication, they must complete at least 4 hours of initial medication safety training and at least 2 hours of training each year afterward.

Senior living facilities with a limited nursing service license can provide all the services permitted under a standard ALF license plus any nursing service permitted within the scope of a nurse’s license. This may include the administration of medications by licensed nursing staff. senior living facilities with an extended congregate care license can provide all of the above services when delivered under the direct supervision of a registered nurse.

Memory Care Regulations

Senior living facilities that provide specialized care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or other conditions that cause memory loss must have 24-hour staffing. Facilities with 17 or more residents must have at least one awake staff on duty overnight, while facilities with fewer than 17 residents must either have an awake staff on duty at all times or have mechanisms in place to monitor resident safety such as motion-activated sensors.

Memory care staff are required to complete at least four hours of specialized training in dementia care within 30 days of commencing employment in an ALF and complete an additional four hours within nine months. Staff who continue working in the facility beyond nine months are required to complete four hours of continuing education in dementia care every year.

Senior Living Facility Staffing Requirements

All senior living facilities in Florida must have an administrator who is responsible for facility operation, maintenance, staffing and resident care. Administrators must complete at least 26 hours of core training approved by the Department of Elder Affairs and pass a competency test within 90 days of commencing work as an administrator.

Senior living facilities must employ direct care staff who have completed approved first aid and CPR training, and at least one staff member must be physically present in the facility at all times. Staff must also complete at least 1 hour of in-service training in infection control and 3 or more hours of training on resident behavior and assisting with activities of daily living.

LNS and ECC-licensed senior living facilities must also employ or contract with a licensed nurse who provides skilled nursing services to residents in accordance with the respective license. In ECC-licensed senior living facilities, the licensed nurse must perform monthly nursing assessments on all residents, prepare resident service plans and oversee the day-to-day management of the ECC program.

Senior living facilities must maintain adequate staffing to either provide or arrange for resident services in accordance with each resident’s needs and care plan.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Florida?

The average monthly cost of assisted living in Florida is $3,500, but actual costs vary depending on the location and facility. Costs are highest in The Villages at $5,375 and lowest in Sebring at $2,836 per month. Costs are close to the state average in Gainesville ($3,463), Lakeland ($3,498) and Port St. Lucie ($3,500).

Does Florida Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Yes. Some Medicaid-eligible seniors who require long-term care are eligible for Medicaid funding for assisted living through the Florida Statewide Medicaid Managed Care, Long Term Care Program. This program is administered through the 11 Area Agencies on Aging/Aging and Disability Resource Centers located throughout the state.

What are “Activities of Daily Living”?

Activities of Daily Living are daily self-care activities that an individual needs to complete in order to manage their basic physical needs. Also known as ADLs, these tasks include getting dressed, using the toilet, eating, moving around one’s home, bathing, showering and handling dental care. As people age, they can have difficulty performing ADLs independently, which is why senior care facilities often provide assistance with one or more ADLs.

What types of amenities are commonly in Assisted Living Communities?

As with costs, there is a wide range of amenities offered in Assisted Living Communities throughout Florida. Most assisted living facilities feature multiple common areas, such as dining rooms, libraries and outdoor spaces that are available to all residents. Recreational activities, such as organized games, exercise classes and social groups, are also offered. Some communities have in-house beauty salons, private dining rooms, guest suites, swimming pools and complimentary local transportation.

Who should consider assisted living?

Assisted living is geared towards seniors who struggle to maintain their independence in the community due to age-related loss of functioning. Seniors who have trouble managing day-to-day tasks, such as cooking, cleaning and self-care, and who would like to live in a community setting where caregivers are always available may want to consider assisted living. Elders who do not want to live alone following the loss of a spouse or who need to move into a barrier-free setting may also find that assisted living is a good option.

Learn More About Senior Living in Florida

For more information about specific types of senior living in Florida read our Guide to Assisted Living and Independent Living.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Florida

Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top California cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.

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