Guide to Independent Living in Florida
Often referred to as the Sunshine State, Florida is a popular spot for retirees. It offers warm year-round temperatures and approximately 237 sunny days per year. There’s also plenty of access to the Gulf Coast and the Atlantic Ocean, and there is no state income tax, so retirees can keep more of their retirement income. Seniors will be in good company since close to 21% of the population is aged 65 and older.
Seniors who are still physically active and can live on their own without assistance have many options for independent living throughout the state. These communities offer residents convenient access to dining, medical care and entertainment and may provide some hospitality services, such as housekeeping, in a safe environment with their peers.
This guide provides an overview of the cost of independent living throughout the state and a comparison with neighboring states and the national average. It also discusses other types of care and their costs and provides a list of free to low-cost independent living resources that help seniors live their best life.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost 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 as reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
In Florida, seniors can expect to pay around $2,600 a month for Independent Living. This is $325 less than the national average of $2,925. Florida communities are slightly more expensive than in the neighboring states of Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, which all have similar costs at $2,298, $2,277 and $2,275, respectively.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in Florida’s Top Cities
The cost of independent living varies greatly in Florida. Gainesville has one of the lowest costs, at $1,528 per month. In the northwest along the Gulf Coast, seniors in Pensacola pay around $2,810 per month. Just to the east of Pensacola in Panama City and Tallahassee, the cost rises slightly to $3,303 and $3,023, and in Jacksonville on the east coast, independent living costs around $3,029. The Villages and Naples have some of the highest costs for this type of care at $3,385 and $3,445 per month, respectively.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
When choosing long-term care, it’s important to understand the different options and costs involved. Adult day health care is the least expensive option in Florida at $1,517 per month. Seniors in adult day health care enjoy a secure environment with an array of activities during daytime hours, typically when a loved one is working. Independent living is the next-cheapest option, at $2,600, while assisted living offers slightly more options for care at $4,000.
Seniors who prefer to stay in their own homes may opt for homemaker services or a home health aide, which costs around $4,767 for both types of care. The most intensive care is a nursing home, which is $8,654 for a semiprivate room.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Florida?
The short answer is no, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of living in an independent living community. That being said, those who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), may be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs in Florida to partially or fully cover the cost of care in Assisted Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need help with ADLs, read our guide to Assisted Living in Florida.
For more information about other ways to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc, read the section below.
How to Make Independent Living More Affordable in Florida
Seniors who choose independent living have several options, aside from cash and savings, to pay for these services.
- Reverse mortgage: A reverse mortgage is a type of loan for seniors aged 62 and older that provides a payout based on the equity in a home.
- Equity lines of credit: An equity line of credit is a revolving credit line that uses a home as collateral, which can be used to pay for living expenses.
- Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance may pay for some services, such as housekeeping, transportation and meals.
- Life insurance: Many insurance policies allow individuals to cash out the present value of the policy for any reason.
- Annuities: Annuities offer regularly scheduled payouts that may be used to pay for long-term care.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Florida
Seniors in Florida have options when it comes to assistance with aging and improving quality of life. The state has many free and low-cost services that address a variety of needs.
|Senior Resource Alliance||(407) 514-1800||The Senior Resource Alliance is a nonprofit that serves seniors aged 60 and older throughout the state. Administered by the Department of Elder Affairs, the alliance coordinates with community-based providers to offer services such as assistance with housing, information on local electricity and water services and help with meals and nutrition.|
|Senior Resources Association||(727) 569-0760||The Senior Resource Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes a healthy and independent lifestyle for seniors and their families. Support services include Meals on Wheels, transportation, emergency home energy assistance and companionship. Older adults can also obtain medical supplies, emergency alert devices, housekeeping services and adult enrichment through the association.|
|Elder Affairs Department||(850) 414-2000||The Florida Department of Elder Affairs provides direct essential services through the state’s 11 Area Agencies on Aging. These services include help locating housing, transportation, elder protection, senior companions and caregiving services. Assistance with disaster preparedness and nutrition and insurance counseling are also available.|
|Florida Council on Aging||(850) 222-8877||The Florida Council on Aging serves as an advocate for the aging population throughout the state. The council website offers publications on a variety of topics of interest. The council also connects older adults with the Elder helpline, which refers seniors to services in their area.|
|Florida Department of Veterans Affairs||(800) 273-8255||The Florida Department of Veterans Affairs connects men and women who’ve served in the military with programs and services offered by federal and state governments. These services include counseling, health care, educational opportunities, job help, housing and assistance filing disability claims.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Florida Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from floridahealthcovid19.gov, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to independent living communities and assisted living facilities.
This data has been most recently updated on 2/3/2022, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.
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|