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Given its position as one of the retirement capitals of the United States, it should come as no surprise that it is one of the oldest U.S. states when it comes to life expectancy, median age and other demographic factors.
In fact, the 8.6 million Florida residents 50 and older is the second-largest such population, behind only California in sheer numbers. That means that Florida has about as many seniors as there are people of any age living in countries like Switzerland, Israel or Paraguay.
About four in 10 residents of Florida are over 50, which is the fifth-highest percentage in the country. What else can we learn about the state of Florida’s seniors? What about their standard of living, life expectancy and participation in the workforce?
*Includes Black, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or individuals of one or more other races, and Hispanic/Latinx people of any race.
Senior Living Costs in Florida
As far as cost of living goes, Florida pretty much sits at the national average with a housing index of 100.50. This means that it is not really cheaper or more expensive to live in Florida than it is other states in the country. To give you some perspective, a one bedroom apartment in Florida may go for an average of $821 while the national average is $825. Two bedroom apartments rent out for an average of $1,026, while the national average for a similar room may go for $1,027. As you can see, the difference is very minimal in both scenarios. Seniors who prefer relaxed gulf living may enjoy Naples, Tampa, and Clearwater, while city dwellers might like Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Before committing to retirement in Florida, you may want to become familiar with the monthly living costs for seniors here. This way, you'll have a better idea of how you would budget your living costs along with other expenses you may have.
If you are a healthy and independent senior living in your own home, but don't have a caregiver at home to help you with some day to day tasks, you may consider home health care services available in Florida. These services include the basics like assistance with errands, meal prep, housekeeping, etc. It costs an average of $3,994 a month to take advantage of these services here.
Adult day care facilities are available throughout Florida to provide a supervised place for the elderly to spend their days while caregivers are out tending to their other daily obligations. On average, it costs $1,517 per month to stay at an adult day care facility in The Sunshine State. At adult day care centers, seniors can expect to participate in social activities to stay busy. They may also receive some basic health services as needed, and take part in therapy. Adult day care centers do not include extensive nursing care, so it is best for older people who are independent and healthy.
Florida has plenty of assisted living facilities available for the elderly requiring assistance with Activities of Daily Living. Some people get confused with assisted living and nursing home care. Both the cost and living situation is quite different. Assisted living is basically a step before nursing home care. It provides residents with the care they need to thrive but is not as extensive as nursing home care. It costs an average of $3,750 a month to stay at an assisted living facility in Florida. This fee enables aging adults to receive personal care and get access to health services.
Elderly individuals who are not able to live independently in their own residences and do not have caregivers to help them out may want to consider a nursing home in Florida. While it is the most expensive form of care, it will provide you with the proper care and supervision needed to live comfortably. If you want to save a bit of money, you can opt for a semi-private room which averages out to $7,148 a month. A fully private room goes for around $8,121 a month. At a nursing home, residents can expect to receive required medications, therapy, rehabilitation, and skilled nursing care 24/7.
Living Options for Florida's Seniors
Florida's seniors have a plethora of choices to consider when it comes to living options. Depending on individual needs and circumstances, aging individuals may opt for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care depending on individual needs. Get a better idea of what each option entails below, and determine which one is best for you.
The Sunshine State is home to more than 850 independent living facilities. Healthy seniors who are able to live on their own in their residences prefer this form of living because they're able to take advantage of privacy and live their own lives freely. It costs anywhere from $467 to $4,356 a month to stay at an independent living facility in Florida, depending on where in the state you're living. It's most affordable in the Sebring area, while The Villages in the metropolitan area is most expensive.
The most popular form of independent living is apartment living. There are apartments that are made specifically for aging adults aged 55+ or 65+ depending on the community. Apartment living allows people to not only live amongst people in their age range, but also to take advantage of the great amenities many apartment communities offer like workout rooms, walking trails, dog parks, and more. Some senior apartments may also include basic services to help seniors live comfortably, such as meal and transportation services.
If you are a senior who would rather own property rather than rent an apartment, you can look into buying a condo, townhome, mobile home, cottage, or single family home in a retirement community.
Subsidized housing is another form of independent living designated for low-income seniors. Typically, there's a long wait list for this form of housing but it's certainly available to those who qualify.
Retirement Communities in Florida
When you retire to Florida, you might want to consider seven possible locations for the following reasons:
- These cities are ranked as some of the safest in the state.
- You’ll have access to quality healthcare. All seven of these locations are less than 10 miles from a hospital that is ranked in the top five percent of Florida’s best hospitals.
- These cities have great job opportunities. Although retired, many older adults want to work to have something to do, to have a reason to get out of the house or to have extra spending money. Let’s face it, you may have thought you had enough money to retire on and then insurance rates and real estate taxes went up more than you expected. Having access to a wide variety of jobs will make it easier to make ends meet.
- These cities offer more places to go and activities to take part in than many other locations in Florida (per capita) including pubs, restaurants, shops, parks and other entertainment and recreation options.
- These cities also have better schools. This is important for two reasons. More and more grandparents are raising their grandkids and you want good school if you find yourself in this situation. Also, better schools produce youngsters who are better suited to earning a good living which in turn helps to keep crime rates low.
With all these great reasons in mind, let’s look at seven cities that you might want to consider moving to for your retirement in Florida.
- Cape Coral – Median home prices in Cape Coral are lower than Florida’s median home price. Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, a top 5% hospital, is less than ten miles away. The crime rate is 70% lower than the national average.
- Cooper City – Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, a top 5% ranked hospital, is less than nine miles away. Located just 20 miles north of Miami, Cooper City is close to shopping, dining, employment and entertainment. Median home prices are double Florida’s average, but this is still exceptional value for this part of Florida.
- Naples – Home prices are some of the highest in the state but retired life in Naples is worth it. The NCH Downtown Naples Hospital is a top 5% Florida hospital. Violent crime rates are approximately 75% lower than national averages making it one of the safest places to live in Florida.
- Osprey – Osprey is less than ten miles from a top 5% ranked hospital, Sarasota Memorial Hospital. The crime rate is less than half the national average. It has lots of beaches nearby and is close to the west coast’s art and culture scene.
- Palm Valley – A recent study found that people who live in this part of Florida tend to enjoy healthier and longer lives than most other cities in the US. Palm Valley is less than ten miles from the best hospital in Florida (rated by the US News and World Report), the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville. The city’s crime rate is less than half the national average.
- Safety Harbor – Morton Plant Hospital, another top 5% ranked Florida hospital, is less than 10 miles from Safety Harbor. Violent crime rates are 70% lower than the national average. With close proximity to St. Petersburg and Tampa, you won’t lack for dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities. Home prices are approximately one-third more than Florida’s average. Beaches and fishing are just a short trip away.
- Dunedin – Morton Plant Hospital, another top 5% ranked Florida hospital, is just 6 miles from Dunedin. This beach town offers crime rates and property values that are significantly lower than the national average. With its close proximity to St. Petersburg and Tampa, you won’t lack for dining, entertainment and shopping opportunities.
Florida is home to nearly 2,000 assisted living facilities statewide. Assisted living is not to be confused with nursing care — rather, it is an intermediate form of long-term care. Seniors who are not able to live on their own or choose not to live by themselves have the option of staying at an assisted living facility in Florida. Assisted living facilities do not include extensive nursing care like nursing home facilities do.
For an average of anywhere from $850 to $7,920 a month, elderly individuals get access to healthcare, social opportunities, and help from experienced caregivers to keep the living space clean, do laundry, provide transportation, prep meals, and more. Assisted living facilities are also monitored 24/7 to provide safety for all residents.
Similar to independent living facilities in Florida, the more expensive assisted living facilities are located in the metropolitan area, while the more affordable ones are found in the Sebring area.
Memory care facilities in Florida are among the most important senior living providers in the state. Alzheimer's is the 6th leading cause of death in the nation, with an 89% increase in deaths since the year 2000. Memory care facilities provide an easy to navigate facility for seniors with dementia, reducing their risk of wandering and getting lost and sinking into a life threatening sense of helplessness. Staff are always on hand to help calm down seniors who can't remember basic things. Medications are administered under professional medical guidance, to make life more pleasant and less stressful.
All the benefits of a memory care facility in Florida comes at a cost, as expected. The average cost of memory care in Florida is $52,200 a year, with monthly costs ranging from $1,232 to $11,484 a month. The Villages metro area has the highest memory care costs at $89,100 per year on average. Sebring and its nearby areas have the lowest average annual cost at around $50,000 per year.
Florida is well known for being home to the largest amount of seniors in the country. As of 2016, 19.9% of the state's population was 65 years of age or older. On top of that, Florida has four of the top ten towns with the highest senior population – Clearwater, Hialeah, Cape Coral, and Miami. Between now and 2030, seniors will account for 56.9% of Florida's projected population growth of 4.8 million. Thankfully, Florida has always been prepared for its senior population, with nearly 4,000 senior living providers. Facilities and programs that are designed for seniors needing a higher level of care are well represented as well, as will be shown below.
Adult Day Care Centers
Florida has 292 adult day care centers that go a long way in providing supplementary care to seniors who have family as their primary caregiver. Adult day care will take in adults during the day, usually every weekday but some may include weekends, while the primary caregiver is at work or other life responsibilities. Adult day care has grown into a great option for seniors who are not fully independent anymore, and need assistance throughout the entire day while their primary caregiver is away. Seniors will receive all their meals, and receive assistance with any daily tasks they need to complete like taking care of personal hygiene and taking their medications.
Adult day care centers are also a great way for seniors to socialize and feel a part of a bigger community. Some adult day care centers will have live music and performers to liven up the place and have a good time. Salon services and massage therapy can be had at some adult day care centers as well, inviting seniors to do these activities together and ward off feelings of loneliness through lasting friendships.
As for costs, Florida's adult day care centers have an average annual cost of $15,600. As with most things in life, location can play a big role in the costs of adult day care. The cities with the highest average adult day care costs are Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg. Adult day care centers in those cities have an average cost of $21,450 per year. Port St. Lucie has the lowest average costs, coming in at $13,000 a year. There are other variables that can affect cost, as seniors can opt to be in adult day care fewer than all 5 weekdays, or include weekends in some cases. There may also be extra amenities at some adult day care centers that would cost extra to make use of, such as podiatry services.
Hospices are an incredible resource that is often utilized too late, sometimes just days before the senior passes on, as admitting an elderly loved one to hospice care is to say that there are no options for recovery and that death is imminent. However, seniors can be admitted into hospice care with a doctor's approval saying their life expectancy is less than six months. Accepting this reality, hospices do an excellent job in making a senior's final stage in life as pain free and dignified as possible. Hospice care is not just great for the terminally ill senior, but for the family as well. Hospice care can include grief counseling and arrangement of funeral services, taking a burden off the family's shoulders so they can focus on cherishing their remaining time with their elderly loved one.
Medicare is the most widely used method to cover the costs of hospice care, as it has the Medicare Hospice Benefit that basically covers all of the costs. Medicaid can be used in situations where the senior has low income and no assets, and some private insurances will have hospice care benefits. Just about the only cost a patient may have to pay for hospice care in Florida is 5% of medications, up to a $5 maximum. Staff at hospices will assist seniors and their families figure out how to fill out all the forms and take care of the paperwork to qualify for hospice care coverage by whatever insurance is used.
When a family member is the primary caregiver to their elderly loved one, they can easily fall into a caregiver depression, which includes feelings of hopelessness and overwhelming frustration. To prevent this from happening, seniors and their family members can seek out respite care, which provides professional care for a temporary amount of time. The amount of time can be set up to occur on a regular basis at certain times of the day on certain days of the week, or for just a few days after a surgery. Respite care can be offered at home or at a dedicated, fully monitored senior living facility, if room is available.
Of the 950+ respite care facilities in Florida, they have an average cost of $83,950 a year. Location, level of care the senior may need, and amenities available at the facility all affect the cost of respite care. Monthly costs can range from $6,438 a month up to $19,140 a month. Unfortunately, respite care is generally not covered by any type of insurance. The cost of respite care is well worth it though, to preserve the sanity of the family caregiver and to ensure proper care is always given to the senior.