Florida seems to be a retiree’s dream come true. It’s supposed to be a sunny paradise, for many oldsters to sit back and enjoy life after working for most of theirs. But is this the case? Many make the big decision to relocate to Florida without taking the real facts into consideration. While the warmth certainly has its allure, it’s important to understand how well you’ll be taken care of by the state, their hospitals, and the available healthcare options. These include at-home care, meals on wheels, and assisted living, just to name a few.
Before you take the leap, let’s go over the top 5 things that you should know about senior healthcare in Florida:
- Poor rankings
Despite its reputation as the place to retire, Florida boasts considerably poor ratings for both Medicare hospital ratings and quality of life for senior living. According to an article published by USA Today, Florida’s older population, which sits at around 20%, are very likely to face financial difficulties; this includes poor healthcare services, often due to a lack of income to obtain better.
Florida’s average hospital rating is poor too, sitting at 48th out of the 50 states for quality of care. It seems that while many are choosing to settle in the sun and sand somewhere in Florida, very few are considering the actual quality of senior healthcare being offered.
- In home care
Like most other states, Florida offers a good range of care options for its elderly population. With those over 65 making up roughly a quarter of Florida’s population, this makes sense. Unfortunately, just as the healthcare system in general has its drawbacks, so do its in-home care providers; however, that isn’t to say that there aren’t wonderful companies out there, offering comprehensive services to Florida’s most popular residents. Finding in home care is much like anything else—make sure that you do your research, and look for a service that offers full transparency in their services and costs.
You can expect to receive services that provide:
- Incontinence supplies
- Medications and medical supplies
- Assistive devices
- Ramp and other home accessibility modifications
- Nutritional supplements
- Services from a home health aide
- Home nursing
- The costs
The average cost for in home care in Florida is actually lower than the national average, sitting at around USD$4,000 a month. In home health care is an extra USD$200 on top of this.
The cost of living in a nursing home, however, is slightly higher than the national median, sitting at USD$117,804 a year for a private room and USD$104,025 for a semi-private room. While Medicaid for low-income individuals usually offer to cover 60% of these costs, estimations for the future calculate that the same options will cost USD$158,319 and USD$139,801 respectively in 2030. It’s unclear how the healthcare system and Medicaid will be affected by this continual growth. One thing is sure though: getting the long-term care you need is only getting more and more difficult.
- Nurse staffing rates
When it comes to the wellbeing of the elderly, those who are their biggest carers are nurses and aged-care workers. Florida is at the top of nurse staffing rates, among the nation’s ten most populous states—ninth overall. Many studies show that poor quality of care is linked to inadequate staffing in medical and aged-care facilities. Quality of care improved drastically in Florida between 2001 and 2007, when new staffing rules were put in place.
The more nurses available, the more care that’s available for seniors within the healthcare system, including those who live in facilities and those who don’t. These nurses are at the front line of senior healthcare, and are the key to Florida’s improvement in elderly healthcare.
While Florida’s senior healthcare definitely has its drawbacks, there’s a strong connection between current data and the improvements throughout the years. Overall quality of care has grown in the past, jumping from 16th to 7th between 2014 and 2018 for CMS’s national rating. Between 2011 and 2018, Florida’s nursing facilities did show strong signs of improvement in areas such as safety measures relating to falls, infections, wandering, physical restraints, pressure ulcers, and the use of antipsychotic medicines.
While Florida is still not yet the oldster’s paradise that it claims to be in the movies, it has shown signs of improvement. These improvements do insist that the state can change, and perhaps will over time, to offer better healthcare to its senior citizens; it still ranks quite highly among the states. However, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry, so it’s very important that before you make any retirement decisions for yourself or a family member, you do your own research.