How To Pay For Assisted Living

For many older adults in Florida, cost is a big factor when considering whether to move into an assisted living community. Many fear it’s too expensive. Others are unaware of their options for financing the monthly rent.

In Florida, the average monthly cost of assisted living is around $4,000, according to the Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

At first glance, that may seem like a high number, but when you compare the average cost of a mortgage premium with rent in an assisted living community, you may be surprised, particularly because assisted living fees also typically cover meals, utilities, maintenance, housekeeping and transportation — not to mention activities and personal care. In the right senior living community, assisted living can be an incredibly good value!

Then there are the emotional benefits of life at an assisted living community.

“The thing that is really most attractive to future residents is getting together with other residents, playing cards, having something to do each day and meeting new people,” said Gail G. Matillo, MPA, president and CEO of the Florida Senior Living Association. “Living alone can be very isolating.”

Financing Florida Assisted Living

When it comes to financing assisted living in Florida, you have options. Most seniors use a combination of personal savings, proceeds from a home sale and other financial resources.

Home Equity

As long as house prices continue to rise, seniors’ home equity will rise, said Matillo. “That can be a huge help to those who want to move into assisted living,” she said.

Social Security

Many assisted living communities in Florida will accept your Social Security payments and apply them directly to your monthly rent, said Matillo. This saves a lot of hassle for residents by streamlining the payment process.


Many seniors are surprised to learn that Medicare does not cover the costs of assisted living, said Matillo. But if you qualify for government assistance, Medicaid may cover some of your assisted living costs.

Most states use 1915c Medicaid HCBS (Home and Community Based Services) Waivers to cover the costs of assisted living, according to However, Florida has eliminated this program and now covers assisted living through the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Long-Term Care option.

Unfortunately, not all Florida assisted living communities accept Medicaid, and the waiting list at those that do is often long, said Matillo. It’s also important to note that Medicaid may not cover all of your costs.

Family Support & Caregiver Tax Deductible

Many Florida assisted living communities allow family members to pay over the phone or internet via credit card for care and ancillary services like bathing or grooming, said Matillo. This helps to offset the cost of assisted living care.

Furthermore, if you are supplementing your loved one’s care, a caregiver may be able to deduct these expenses on their annual taxes.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance offers the best value for Floridians in their 40s and 50s, said Matillo. It may be too cost prohibitive for people in their 70s and 80s, she said.

It’s also worth noting that some long-term care applicants may be turned down due to pre-existing conditions, according to the AARP.

The Veterans Aid and Attendance Pension

Veterans and survivors who are eligible for a VA pension may also be eligible for this program, which increases one’s monthly payout to cover long-term care costs, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

This traditionally covers half the cost of the board and care, said Matillo.

Life Insurance

Some life insurance policies allow policy-holders to receive a tax-free advance on their death benefit, which can be used to fund assisted living costs, according to This could be a good option for seniors who don’t have children, said Matillo.

It’s best to start by understanding all of the different senior living options in Florida. Then see if assisted living is right for you.

Once you identify your needs, Matillo recommends working with an elder care attorney to determine what you can afford.

When comparing your options, she also suggested asking each community what’s included in the monthly rent, since amenities and meals are usually bundled into the cost.

Retirement living in Florida can be whatever you want it to be, and there is no shortage of choices. If you’re considering a move to a senior living community, you’ll need to narrow down your options. The best way to build a short list is to visit and tour a few top-rated senior communities in your area. Learn what you should ask on a community tour.

The price of assisted living in Florida can vary from county to county in Florida, said Matillo, with rural areas offering more affordable fees than urban city centers.

For more information on how to pay for assisted living or to learn more about Sonata Senior Living’s independent and assisted living communities, schedule a visit →


Visit Sonata Senior Living and find out how personalized programming in assisted living promotes independence and well-being.