Florida is known as a haven for senior citizens, and the actual numbers back up that reputation. At 17.6%, Florida has the highest percentage of residents over the age of 65 than any other state in the nation. Overall there are nearly 3.4 million seniors living in Florida, the second most of any state, behind only California?s 4.4 million. Half of Florida?s seniors are older than 75, and amazingly, the fastest growing segment is older than 100! With so many seniors, the state admits that ?Florida's future is linked to the financial, health and physical security of its elder population.?
With seniors being so important, the state’s Department of Elder Affairs offers a multitude of services and programs to make sure the senior population remains in good health. They include:
-- Adult Protective Services: Protecting seniors from abuse, neglect or exploitation.
-- Aged and Disabled Adult Waiver: At-home services for seniors assessed as being frail, functionally impaired or at risk of being placed in a nursing home.
-- Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative: Providing services for individuals and families affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
-- Community Care for the Elderly: Community-based services for impaired seniors.
-- Communities for a Lifetime: Programs such as housing, employment, transportation and volunteering.
-- Congregate Meal and Nutrition: Serving meals to the elderly at senior centers, houses or worship and other community centers.
-- Disaster Preparedness: Helping seniors get ready for hurricanes and other such natural disasters.
-- Elder Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program: Giving low-income Floridians coupons to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables.
-- Health & Wellness: Promotes health and disease prevention, keeping seniors healthy for as long as possible.
-- Home Care for the Elderly: Providing subsidies to keep seniors living in a family-type situation, rather than a nursing home or other facility.
-- Housing: Helping seniors find affordable housing.
-- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program: Advocating on behalf of residents of long-term care facilities.
-- National Family Caregiver Support: Helping out caregivers who are taking care of a senior.
-- Nutrition Programs: Educating seniors on healthy eating habits and providing quality meals.
-- Statewide Public Guardianship Office: Appoints a local public guardian for low-income seniors if there is no friend or family member willing to take the responsibility.
-- Respite for Elders Living in Everyday Families: Offering a day off for caregivers.
-- Senior Companion Program: Transportation for medical appointments or shopping outings, as well as help in preparing meals.
Perhaps more than any other state, seniors living in Florida should consider getting a medical alert system. With so many seniors in the state, it is easy for the 911 system to be overwhelmed with emergency calls. Having a medically-trained monitor who can direct your distress call to the proper authorities can increase response time and could possibly save your life.
Every medical alert company provides service in all 50 states, including Florida. You can compare the services from more than a dozen top companies here.
There is nothing more important, and stressful, to most seniors than health insurance. There is Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance, not to mention all of the changes brought on by Obamacare. Wading through this maze can be confusing even to the most informed people.
Florida has a program called Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders (or SHINE for short) that offers “unbiased counseling to help seniors understand their health insurance options.” There is also a web-based service to see what kind of programs for which individual seniors might qualify, as well as a Florida Discount Drug Card to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
At a time when newspapers are slowly disappearing from our landscape, the Department of Elder Affairs publishes a bi-monthly paper called Elder Update. It has important news that all seniors should know.
The best part is that it is distributed free to all senior Floridians. You can sign up for your subscription here.
The Florida Department of Elder Affairs provides programs and services through 11 Area Agencies on Aging.
To receive a free quote from our featured service call 888-888-3014
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